Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shakespeare Swifties #ShakespeareSwifties

Do people still remember "swifties"?  Taking its name from the old Tom Swift series of adventure books, a swiftie has Tom making a statement that's described by the adverb that comes along for the ride, making for an awful (or, depending on where you sit, genius) pun.

Some examples?

"I'm just over here putting an edge on my new knife," Tom said sharply
"Can you find the light switch? I can't see a thing," Tom said darkly.

Get the idea? Part of the fun is seeing how deep you can bury the pun, so a bunch of these you're likely going to have to work at.

Both Bardfilm and Shakespeare Geek were surprised to realize that they'd never done this one.  There was some argument, some hair pulling, some kicking and some scratching, but the finished product was well worth it.  Without further ado, we give you ...

Shakespeare Swifties

  • "I miss Banquo," Macbeth said hauntedly.
  • "I know where Juliet is," said Paris cryptically.
  • "Now what am I going to do with all these flowers Ophelia gave me?" thought Gertrude ruefully.
  • "This production of Winter's Tale is never going to end," Tom said unbearably.
  • "Don't worry, Bottom, I can change you back," said Oberon reassuringly.
  • "God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none," said Beatrice utterly.
  • "I wish I could kill King Edward, but I can't," said Richard, abashedly.
  • "What, you need another signature on my will?" asked Shakespeare resignedly.
  • "I am so angry that you wrecked that ship with all those people on it!" said Miranda tempestuously.
  • "I am thy father's ghost," said the figure transparently.
  • "What's coming toward the castle?" asked Macbeth woodenly.
  • "Ten more sonnets will ruin it, this is the perfect amount of sonnets!" said Shakespeare grossly.
  • "Don't worry, Miranda--none of the ships were lost at sea," said Prospero recklessly.
  • "Wait—weren't there two people attending Lady Macbeth?" asked Macbeth paradoxically.
  • "When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married," Benedick said singly.
  • "The problem with Bottom the Weaver is deep in his subconscious," said the literary critic acidly.
  • "I think I'll put King Edward on my list of people who stand in my way to the throne," said Richard markedly.
  • "Poor Tom's a-cold," said Tom chilly.
  • "My name is Cesario," Viola said disguisedly.
  • "I don't think I have enough melancholy bile," said Hamlet humourlessly.
  • "Let's have a brief, silent part before the play-within-the-play," said Hamlet dumbly.
  • "Quick, Jack, hide in the laundry!" said Mistress Ford tidily.
  • "Have another beer," said Titania assailingly.
  • "I'm invisible through most of the play, and I'm ok with it!" said Ariel spritely.
  • "I've finally been convinced that the Earl of Oxford wrote the works ascribed to Shakespeare" said Tom unwillingly.
  • "I get very upset when I see you look at other men," Othello said smotheringly.
  • "Isn't it a great day to pick flowers down by the river?" said Ophelia buoyantly.
  • (Or, if you prefer...)  "What do you mean my Uncle Ganymede is really my Aunt Rosalind?" asked Tom buoyantly.
  • "Yes, I suppose Lavinia is attractive," Tom said off-handedly.

As with all of our lists, if you cleft this one in twain and threw away the worser half you'd be left with Bardfilm's amazing and invaluable contributions to the cause.  Seriously, people, if you're not following his blog and his twitter you're missing out on, like, 51% of the good stuff.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do You Recommend Shakespeare Movies?

Yesterday my boss told me that he'd watched the ending of Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus with his wife the previous night.  Apparently it was on one of the movie channels, or they were channel surfing or something, but the general gist was that he only saw the ending.

He then asked me whether he should take the time to watch the whole thing.

It's a trickier question than you might first think.  I am careful in my Shakespeare recommendations.  I do not blindly say "ABSOLUTELY YES ALL MUST SEE ALL PLAYS AT ALL OPPORTUNITIES."  On the contrary, I'm well aware that to the unitiated, sitting through a Shakespeare play can be a chore.

Here's what I told him, first about Coriolanus and then about Shakespeare recommendations in general:

"Keep in mind that the ending is different from the source text, and this upset some people greatly.  If you don't know the text that may not matter, but keep in mind that your expectations are now set for the movie, not for what Shakespeare wrote.  Having said that, I think the ending is the best part.  I love the way Coriolanus stands up to Aufidius at the end and hurls his 'Boy!' back in his face in legendary fashion.

"Whether you should watch the whole thing? That's different.  See, I watch them to see different interpretations of my knowledge of the text.  I mean, I don't know the text inside and out, but I do know enough to compare one version to another and the focus in on why they are different.  I have my scenes that I look for and pay close attention to.  Without that? For the casual movie goer who has no knowledge of the text?  Then I'm not really sure I recommend sitting through it. I think it will be difficult to follow."

Is that sacrilege?  Even now writing it I feel bad, like I should go seek out the boss and say "I changed my mind."

Note a couple things.  I'm not talking about live theatre.  I think the experience of live Shakespeare is a must see and I always recommend going.  But we're talking about movies here, and I think that sitting on your couch with a remote control sitting through two hours of special effects and soundtrack and camera cuts is a different beast.

Second, I would not say the same about Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet.  I think that both those places are so deeply ingrained in popular culture that even if you've never read them, you've got a significant head start on what's going on.  But Coriolanus?  That's a different story.  If somebody hasn't explained it to you up front (or, even better, while you're watching it), I think it's a harder sell.

Thoughts?  Somebody with no knowledge of play X asks whether he should watch a movie of play X.  What do you say?

Assist In This Shakespearean Scavenger Hunt!

Jill writes in with a request I'd love to see my loyal readers help fulfill. She's part of a scavenger hunt team who is tasked with the following:
I must go to a fast food restaurant and express these things:
1) greet the attendant at the drive-through
2) explain how hungry I am
3) tell and what I want to eat and how good it will make me feel.
I must speak as the Bard wrote. That is where I need you, kind sir. The more creative and funnier it is, the better. Feel free to go wild. I guess I would order a bucket of wings and thighs, mashed potatoes, and a diet coke. If there is an order that would make things easier, please feel free.
Sounds like fun!  Who wants to help her out?  They have until Sunday (the 18th?) to complete the task.