Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Favorite Shakespeare Play

So again this weekend somebody asks me my favorite Shakespeare play, and again I give my standard answer, "No favorite, they're all good for different reasons." But she wants to argue it with me, saying I must have a favorite.  I point out that if you ask me what I think the best play is I will say King Lear, but that I have read The Tempest to my children as a bedtime story and had my 3yr old quote it back to me, and that offers a value that I can't get anywhere else.  They are different.

I've decided to change my approach.  Now, when somebody asks me that question and does not take my honest answer, I'm going to name random Shakespeare plays and see what sort of response I get.  "Favorite play?  Oh, gotta be All's Well That Ends Well.  Do you know it?  Great stuff."  Be interesting to see if I get anybody who actually wants to pursue the question after that. :)

8 comments:

Alan K.Farrar said...

Trouble is - you'll hit some idiot like me who'll come back with - "Oh, you think so? - surely the ending is a bit too fairy-tale and the morality distinctly dubious?"

To which, many would say: gkhmwtsn

(I am falling in love with the word verification character generator!)

Duane said...

Well that was kind of my point, Alan - if somebody insists on conversational dominance by not accepting my answer to the question, then I get back at them by suggesting a weaker play and demonstrating their lack of knowledge on the subject :). If somebody actually wants to discuss the play in question I'd be all for it! I picked All's Well on purpose in that example :). Should I have said Two Gents?

Craig said...

I really like All's Well that Ends Well! Don't we all know people like Helena (the beautiful, intelligent, capable woman who only has eyes for the jerk that doesn't deserve her)? Or Bertram (the pampered pretty boy who makes a religion of his own awesomeness, real or imagined)? And then, of course, the best line in the play, a throwaway speech given to "First Lord," that is the key to approaching all the great Shakespeare characters:

"The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and
ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our
faults whipped them not; and our crimes would
despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues."

It's a really underrated play!

Duane said...

By the way, on the subject of All's Well I highly recommend this post from last year where KPhoebe was doing a very interesting "translation" of some plays:

http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/2007/04/forget-cliff-notes-just-read-kphoebe.html


Countess: My husband has died and I’m sad.
Helena: My father has died, and I’m sad.
Bertram: I am the Countess’s son and I am also sad. But also WOO WAR. *goes to Marseilles*

Craig said...

Excellent! You ever read "The Skinhead Hamlet?"

Duane said...

http://sub-zero.mit.edu/bakunin/hamlet.html

I have! Although I'm surprised at myself for not having linked to it previously. Of course, it is terribly obscene and I do like to keep it as family friendly as I can, here.

Gedaly said...

I get asked what my favorite is every now and then. I have trouble picking, for the very reason you said: they're all good for different reasons. Sure I like some more than others, but it's like being asked "who is your favorite friend?"

I'll sometimes answer the question by giving a history, tragedy, and comedy I really like. I think I'll go your route and mention one of the lesser known plays. Maybe I'll say Henry VI part 2, or Cymbeline, or Troilus and Cressida. Hm...

I also really like Alls Well That Ends Well! Great play. Very fun and clever. I might be working on a production of that this fall. I'm crossing my fingers.

Alan K.Farrar said...

I usually end up in trouble when I DO mention my favourite - so, perhaps i should say something like Hamlet (which is an awful play) and stop getting into trouble for the opposite reason?

fvdhxfh - which is certainly not the response I'd give to anyone here!