Sunday, May 17, 2009

What Shakespeare Are You Looking Forward To?

Good for us, Shakespeare never goes out of style.  As summer rapidly approaches, what special event in the Shakespeare world has got you excited?  Your local Shakespeare in the Park?  A new movie coming out, a DVD release?

I’ve always loved our local Shakespeare on Boston Common, put on by Commonwealth Shakespeare.  This year is especially important as Citibank dumped them (good, they never appreciated what they had!) and now the founders are going it on their own.  So I’m looking forward to getting to the show – Comedy of Errors – and showing my support.

I saw a story today (that made me think of this post) that they’re doing a Coriolanus movie, but I have to say I’m not that interested.  However, Julie Taymor’s Tempest will definitely put my butt in the seat.

Last year we saw a great Tempest for the kids down on Cape Cod, and I’m hoping to find another “for kids” show this season to make a family event of.  Maybe Dream, but surprisingly my oldest (not yet 7) has spotted Winter’s Tale in her book and wants to know more about that one.

What else?

9 comments:

Craig said...

Georgia Shakespeare is doing a Titus Andronicus this Summer, which I'll be eager to see--I think it's a hugely underrated play. And our Shakespeare Tavern baffled me by not doing one of the _four_ plays they have yet to produce, but at least they're giving a Richard III that follows up and puts the crowning glory on the three Henry VI plays they produced last year. I imagine that one will be a lot of fun.

The thing that really breaks my heart, though, is the play I won't get to see--Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey canceled their production of Timon of Athens (replacing it with some damn French thing), and I'd been planning to go see it. How can you _not_ do Timon of Athens in this moment in time?

amusings_bnl said...

Rebel Shakespeare will be touring Hamlet and 12th night this summer in July and August.

The intermediate program (ages 9-15) will be doing Winter's Tale in july and Midsummer in August. please bring your daughter to that one. it should be spectacular.

I have yet to see Titus Andronicus. one of our rebels directed an adaptation of that at hampshire college last year and he tells tale of almost being expelled for it. hahahah.

just looking forward to the summer in general, returning to Winter Island in Salem where the children run free and learn shakespeare. aaah me.

Willshill said...

Although I can say I'm looking forward to whatever might be in the offing Shakespeare-wise, it's with more of a morbid curiosity than any other that I anticipate anything "Taymor". She's lucky she had the actors she had in Titus--they're the only thing that saved the film from her self-indulgent, overdone, and distracting "Concepting".

Craig said...

Once you get over the cross-casting (and cross-casting is generally something I couldn't care less about), I guess Taymor's Tempest will be pretty "straight." I mean, is she going to try to out-weird "Prospero's Books?"

Of course, I liked both "Prospero's Books" and "Titus," so I'll probably be fine whatever.

Duane said...

I make the Taymor comment more due to The Tempest than the Taymor. She's got cred in the movie making world, and she's not Kenneth Brannagh. Not anything against Mr. Brannagh specifically, I just like to see a world where more than one director can make mainstream Shakespeare movies.

I keep forgetting about Prospero's Books, really really really need to get that in the Netflix queue. Hear it's not for kids, though, even if it is their favorite :).

Willshill said...

Duane, I think her Titus wasn't particularly 'mainstream' at all. Rather, I saw it as so gimmick-ridden and haltingly in and out of context a statement that its appeal was limited. Thematically, she was all over the map trying to be "avante garde" . Though I fairly detested Baz L.'s R&J also, it wasn't for reasons of schizophrenic conceptual thematic attempts at 'genius'. Such nonsense doesn't promote Shakespeare. Rather, it lowers his genius to the level of whoever is making the attempt to elevate their own impression in the eyes of others. Miss Taymor strikes me as someone who thinks rather highly of her own rather obvious pedestrian inventiveness.

Anonymous said...

Next month the annual Shakespeare Festival in Abilene Texas presents Henry IV pt 1.
The ACU Shakespeare presentations in the past have all been superb.
www.acu.edu/academics/cas/theatre/asf.html

Duane said...

Will, I meant "mainstream" strictly in the "maybe it'll show up in a local theatre, maybe I'll run into people who might have actually seen it" sort of mainstream. Barring fellow Shakespeare geeks, I couldn't say the same about McKellen's Lear, for instance.

I suppose I could say the same for the Coriolanus, though -- if it exposes more Shakespeare to more people, I'm for it.

Willshill said...

Duane wrote:" -- if it exposes more Shakespeare to more people, I'm for it."


And, of course, so am I. That sentiment in you, a "civilian" is truly admirable and much appreciated by many, I'm sure. But as a professional, I always ask: what could be, in total, ALL of the results of that particular exposure? Will it set a trend? And is the perception of that trend healthy for the work?
I have, at times, refused to become involved with a project because I thought it would be damaging rather than beneficial.
There's a danger inherent in the presentation simply for its own sake (or for the sake of personal artistic ego) without taking into account what may be perceived by those we want to be attracted to it most.
For instance, many, many people have been completely turned off to the work over the years because the approach to it and/or the mode and means of expressing it have been so skewed--or just downright obtuse sometimes, relative to how the work itself is best expressed; turned off to it many times by the very ones seeking to promote it. In the arena of Theatre, the Restoration accomplished a great deal towards turning off, for a very long time, what would have been Shakespeare's audience by completely altering proximity to the Work itself. Method acting reinforced this removal, to the greater detriment of making his characters thoughts and feelings even more directly inaccessible-- very much, ironically, a pretty, but UNREALISTIC PICTURE, devoid of the beauty of common human interaction and inclusion, enclosed behind a hermetically sealed wall of glass.
I'm just saying that one has to be careful in sanctioning a particular treatment, simply because someone has "cred" as you put it, in a particular genre. The unhealthy transition ( directly affecting the perception and popularity of Shakespeare for hundreds of years) was perpetrated by those who had a great deal of "cred". :)