Thursday, March 29, 2007

Prospero...The Moor of Milan?

I'm not really sure what blog Thrice Fresh is all about, but his envisioning of character Doc Prosper got my attention:

My version of the Duke was born in Scicily (after its occupation by the Moors) and later made his way to Milan in the north. I'm thinking before becoming Duke, he studied Neuromancy in the ruins of Alexandria.

I wonder if he'll spot the link and check in.  I can't tell if this is some sort of graphic novel in progress, or an animation project, or what.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mr. Shakespeare, Can I Have Your Autograph?

When there's only 6 known copies of your signature in the world, and you're not in a position to make any more, how much do you think each one goes for? 


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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Romeo and Juliet, as performed by Peeps.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I said.  Romeo and Juliet, enacted by Peeps, the marshmallow Easter candy.  Warning, lots of bad words and peep sex.


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Shakespeare for Lunch

Now there's a neat idea.  Break down the plays into 45 minute versions that you can watch on your lunch hour.  Instead of a three hour chore, you get an entertaining break in the middle of the day.  If they did such a thing walking distance from my office I'd be there every time.

Like any modern attempt to bring Shakespeare to the masses, I'm sure that it will be met with criticism.  What parts will they cut?  How much of the essence will be removed?  There are folks that will only be happy with Branagh's four hour Hamlet.  For the most part, I'm with you.  I'll take the original novel over the comic book any day.  But when I don't have time to sit through four hours, 45 minutes is much better than nothing.


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Monday, March 26, 2007

Tarantino as Shakespeare. Discuss.

This story made the rounds this weekend.  It seems that Quentin Tarantino, he of Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and now Grindhouse, "can't rule out the possibility" that he's Shakespeare reincarnated"I've always had a thought maybe I might have been Shakespeare in another life," he says.  "I don't really believe that 100 per cent, and I don't really care about Shakespeare, I've never been into Shakespeare, but then people are constantly bringing up all these qualities in my work that mirror Shakespearean tragedies..."

It's actually an interesting question.  Once you get past the liberal use of f-words, Tarantino is actually known best for his writing, and through that, his character development.  Look at Samuel L. Jackson's character in Pulp Fiction, a hired hitman who has an epiphany after experiencing a miracle.  Or the journey of Bea in Kill Bill, to hunt down the man who'd tried to murder her and her unborn child.  There's enough gore and chopping of limbs in that one in particular to do Titus Andronicus proud.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Basic Sonnet Forms

We've talked about sonnets before, but this link to is worth checking out for its treatment of all the sonnet forms - Italian, Spenserian, English/Shakespearean, and "Indefinable".  Sometimes it's neat to look at resources where our dear Shakespeare is just one small part of the big picture.  Keeps things in context.  He wasn't the only one writing sonnets, and not every sonnet is written in the form he popularized.


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Monday, March 19, 2007

Hamlet on Trial

I am kicking myself for not jumping on the whole Hamlet on Trial thing going on down in Washington.  I'm being bombarded with links to it now.  When I first saw this story about a mock trial where Hamlet is tried for killing Polonius, I thought it just some weird law school academic exercise.  I guess I was wrong.  Everybody seems to have loved the "performance."

The verdict?  Split decision.  Apparently other similar trials in the past have found Hamlet what does that mean, guilty?  Held accountable?  It doesn't really say.

This particular article I've linked to doesn't seem to take the actual arguments very seriously, pointing out both sides use of the whole "Hamlet talks to himself as if there's an audience that can hear him" thing to be the defining issue of whether he's insane and/or suicidal.  Could they not call Horatio, who was witness himself to Hamlet saying "I shall seek it meet to put an antic disposition on"?  Or are we going beyond the whole "acting crazy / really crazy" thing and just assuming that perhaps he has really gone crazy? 

Man, I'm sorry I missed it, sounds like I would have enjoyed that.


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King Lear versus George Bush

In an article entitled What The Bard and Lear Can Tell A Leader About Yes Men, the Washington Post compares Lear to Bush on the whole question of surrounding yourself with die-hard loyalists who will only tell you what you want to hear.

I'm not sure I fully agree with the comparison, as I really do believe that Bush surrounds himself with truly loyal people, regardless of competence.  That's not the same as the feigned loyalty of Regan and Goneril who say whatever it takes to get what they want, and then change their tune as soon as they have it.

I do agree, however, about the "hurt himself by shutting out those with a dissenting opinion" line.  That's certainly true.


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Shakespeare Wiki

I'm a little surprised that this Shakespeare Wiki has existed since Feb 2006 and I've never noticed it.  It looks like it needs a little help, all I see are Character summaries and even then a bunch of them (like The Tempest) are empty.  The page says it was last modified Oct 2006.  For a minute there I was hoping that it was a typo and that the site really had come into existence in Feb 2007 a mere month ago.

So there you go, folks.  If you've ever wanted to contribute some Shakespeare content but feel overwhelmed by the encyclopedic amount of info already in Wikipedia, here's a place where you can start fresh.


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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Love's Labour's Lost

If Coriolanus is getting some love, I should also link to some thoughts on Love's Labour's Lost over at Ann McN's blog.  Is it that these shows are never performed near me?  I think maybe it's that they are but when the time comes to put my money where my mouth is I chicken out, stay home and watch American Idol instead :).


Reader's Diary : Coriolanus

More coverage for the less popular plays.  "The Book Mine Set" blog has a post up about Coriolanus.  If I remember correctly, this is the one where Coriolanus tries to become a Roman politician, fails, then plots to attack Rome only to be talked out of it by his mom.  But I could have some of that wrong, it's been awhile.


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All of Shakespeare's Places

I'm finding some good geeky Shakespeare stuff lately.  How about a Google Earth representation of all the places Shakespeare ever mentioned?  I don' t have Google Earth installed, but you can look at it on Google Maps, too.  Neat!  I don't see The Tempest listed.  That would have been funny.


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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Tudors, coming to Showtime

Ok, I don't get Showtime so I can't really watch this, someone else will have to tell me if it's any good.  Certainly a different picture of Henry VIII then we're all used to.  There'll be no big fat guy with a turkey leg in this story.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Romeo's Last Words

Looking for the answer to a crossword puzzle clue? Look no further. 

Originally I posted this content in relation to the finale of the musical HAIR, where it's sung as background harmony. But it became a huge hit for me once Google spotted it, because "Romeo's last words" comes up as a crossword puzzle clue quite frequently.  Without further ado, Romeo's last words:

Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace!  and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love!  (drinks)
O true apothecary!
They drugs are quick.  Thus with a kiss I die. 
If you're here for the crossword puzzle clue, it's "I die".

See Also

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hey, Free Wii

[ I dig the irony of Chow setting up a contest that he knows is incredibly spammy and then making part of the rules be that you have to link the phrase "root of all evil" to his web site.  ]

The root of all evil, John Chow is giving away a Nintendo Wii. To enter, all I have to do is write a blog post about it. So here you go.The contest is sponsored by They make promotional pens.

Sorry for the spam.  But my kids would dig a Wii.  Who wouldn't?

Shakespeare Geek's Holiday Week

Big week for celebrating silly holidays if you're both a geek and a Shakespeare geek.

Today is Pi Day.   Get it?  3/14?  Happy Pi Day, everybody!

And tomorrow, of course, 3/15 is the Ides of March.  Beware!

I should have planned to use my two floating holidays at work back to back.  I wonder if people would look at me funny?  You know, funnier than they usually do.

(One of my children was born on August 24, and it crosses my brain everytime her birthday comes up that August is the 8th month and 8 evenly divides 24.  My oldest was born on 7/8, and my youngest was born on May 4, 2006.  If we lived in a country that did the dd/mm/yyyy thing he could have a truly geek 4/5/6 birthday.)


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Monday, March 12, 2007

Mental Shakespeare Floss

This is actually pleasing to me as a Shakespeare geek.  Mental Floss posts an article entitled 14 Sentences About 14 Shakespeare Comedies, containing several little side comments like "you'll need to know the comedies if you truly want to impress with your obscure knowledge" and "There now, feeling a little more like a genius already, aren't we?"

The problem is they made half a dozen or more mistakes in their summaries, and promptly got taken to task for it before I ever even got a chance to respond.  Hooray for more Shakespeare geeks in the world!


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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cheerios Commercial

How do you know you're a Shakespeare geek?  Your ears perk up when the latest Cheerios commercial comes on, you know the one where the son compares his upcoming test on Shakespeare with his father's upcoming cholesterol test?  And you're sitting there staring at the tv waiting for them to mention more about the Shakespeare.   They don't, and it is very disappointing.



Selling Shakespeare : A Puzzle

Ok, Dum Luks has a blog post up called "Selling Shakespeare" which contains a puzzle.  There's a graphic containing a couple of words and numbers that is supposed to represent the ad for a run of 5 Shakespeare plays.  I have absolutely no idea to solve it.  I want to say "Measure for Measure" in there since the numbers appear to be inch markings, but that'd be pretty close to a guess.  Richard III?  Henry VI?  I don't get it.

Somebody go solve it and tell me the answer :).


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Don't Insult Shakespeare

I got a kick out of this post about what happens when two guys are out having a pint, and one of them insults Shakespeare.   Reminds me of the friend of my wife who said that Taming of the Shrew was better than Hamlet, because it was more entertaining.  That was a fun drive home, I can tell you.


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Teaching A Midsummer Night's Dream

Mr. Miller has a post up about experiences teaching Midsummer's to his 10th graders, and what's worked for him.  I like how he goes off on a geeky tangent about setting up a collaborative wiki for them.


Monday, March 05, 2007


Check out this guy's ode to his Apple products.  I'm impressed that he even gets his iambic pentameter accurate, not just his scansion.  I'm having trouble getting line 6 to scan properly, though.  I think AUtoMAticLY (get rid of the "-cally" extra syllable) will do it.


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Friday, March 02, 2007

Shakespeare In The Park, Boston : I'm So Disappointed

For years I've tried to get in to Boston to see free Shakespeare on the Common.  I'll go see something like that like other people go see a movie or hang out at a bar.  What do you want to do tonight?  Let's go watch some Shakespeare.  Over the years I've seen Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest.  If you've got the access, how can you not want to do that?

Two years ago, I missed Hamlet completely by waiting until the last day of the performance and having it get rained out on me.  That's what happens when you try to coordinate a bunch of people going.

This past year we went to see Taming of the Shrew, again on the last week. I hate seeing things on the last week, because all the fun of reviewing it and telling people whether or not it's worth seeing is lost.  But at least we saw it.

I happen to have a new job, if I didn't mention it, which is on one side of Boston Common.  This means that when I walk to my train every day I literally walk right through the Shakespeare folks doing their dress rehearsals.  That is awesome.  I told myself, my wife and anybody that would listen that this year I will camp out on the first night of performance.

And then I read this...

I'm so disappointed.  At least they're coming back to the Common for me - I'd heard a rumor that the production would be over at the Hatch Shell, which throws out my whole "I walk right past it anyway" strategy.  And I suppose it's good news that they're moving back to their original Common location near the bandstand.  I don't think anybody liked last year's location on the other side, too noisy and not enough good seating.

But A Midsummer Night's Dream?  AGAIN?  Doesn't anybody get tired of doing that play?  Didn't everyone who'd want to be in a professional Shakespeare cast already get it out of their systems by doing it every couple of years growing up?

Plus, they're only doing a week of performances (last week in July, 24-29).  Why... are you ready for this?  Because our Beacon Hill neighbors complained about the noise.  Seriously.  Instead of garbage trucks backing up and police sirens wailing, they get to spend a couple of weeks hearing motherf&*(ing Shakespeare performed out their g$%^&*mned windows, and they complained about it.  Can you tell I'm pissed off?   Why not just turn off the stupid television, open your windows, and enjoy it?  Who else gets to have background Shakespeare while they sit on their deck and have a glass of wine?

Boston is not having a good couple of weeks.  We've gotten into a very McCarthy-esque way of thinking, blowing up everything in site that might be a terrorist's Lite-Brite.  But I think that this disappoints me more.  Because overreacting to terrorism is a job for goverment people, but complained that you don't want Shakespeare in your neighborhood says something about the people themselves.

(Ironically, July 24-29 was also going to be the week that I'm down the Cape this summer, so I would have totally missed it again.  But at the last minute the house we wanted to reserve became unavailable and we had to switch weeks, so it looks like I'll be free.  True, I'm all upset now, but as the day gets nearer I'm betting I'll get just as excited as I always do.  Although I do wish they'd do something that I haven't seen a million times.  Oy.  Where's my Twelfth Night?  Winter's Tale?  Heck, I'd take Julius Caesar over Midsummer's, at least it would be different.  How come nobody ever tackles King Lear anymore?)