Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare at the Movies- The Oscars 2014

The nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards are in, and I must say, there is some fierce competition for a statue this year!
Until the awards are actually given out on March 2, we can only speculate on the internet and join the office pool, guessing who will walk away a winner. In the meantime, we can dive into the nominees past works, and learn about the interesting and brilliant choices that this group of actors have made throughout their careers.

Seeing as we are a Shakespeare related theatre company, I have sifted though the careers of the nominees and compiled a list of some of the Shakespeare related works that they have been a part of over the years! Enjoy!

christian-bale-american-hustle

Christian Bale (Best Actor Nominee)

Appeared in:

chiwetel-ejiofor-12-years-a-slave

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Best Actor Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • Macbeth (1997 theatre production) as Malcom
  • Romeo and Juliet (2000 theatre production) as Romeo
  • Twelfth Night, or What You Will (2003 TV movie) as Orsino
  • Othello (2007 theatre production) as Othello

leonardo-dicaprio-the-wolf-of-wall-street

Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor Nominee)

Appeared in:

amy-adams-american-hustle

Amy Adams (Best Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • Into the Woods (2012 Shakespeare in the Park Production) as Baker’s Wife

cate-blanchett-blue-jasmine

Cate Blanchett (Best Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • Richard II (2009 Sydney Festival) as Richard II


*Fun Fact- This role was part of a show called The War of the Roses, which condensed all of Shakespeare’s historical plays into one 8 hour performance!

judi-dench-philomena

Judi Dench (Best Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:


*Fun Fact- Judi Dench also performed with The Royal Shakespeare Company for many years.

meryl-streep-august-osage-county

Meryl Streep (Best Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • The Taming of the Shrew (1978 Shakespeare in the Park Production)  as Katherine
  • Romeo and Juliet (2012 Shakespeare in the Park Staged Reading) as Juliet

michael-fassbender-12-years-a-slave

Michael Fassbender (Best Supporting Actor Nominee)

Appearing in:

  • Macbeth (Currently in Pre-production) as Macbeth

sally-hawkins

Sally Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • Much Ado About Nothing (2000 theatre production)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2000 theatre production)

lupita-nyongo-12-years-a-slave

Lupita Nyong’o (Best Supporting Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

  • The Winter’s Tale (Yale School of Drama Production)
  • The Taming of the Shrew (Yale School of Drama Production)

Have you seen any of these movies or performances? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

Photo Friday- Shakespeare In Action @ Nuit Blanche

Hello!

Last Saturday Shakespeare In Action did a guerrilla style performance of  scenes from three of Shakespeare’s plays: Romeo And Juliet, Taming Of The Shrew, and Midsummer Night’s Dream at King Blue Condo Presentation Centre as part of Nuit Blanche. The following are pictures I took at the final performance.

Juliet on the balcony: Romeo and Juliet Balcony scene

Juliet on the balcony: Romeo and Juliet Balcony scene

above: scene with the lovers (romeo and Juliet)

above: scene with the lovers (romeo and Juliet)

In the King Blue Condos presentation centre hallway actors perform for the audience a scene from Taming of the shrew.

In the King Blue Condos presentation centre hallway actors perform for the audience a scene from Taming of the shrew.

actor playing Romeo addresses audience

actor playing Romeo addresses audience

Romeo and Juliet opening scene transition to interior: Romeo and Juliet continue speaking while the actor in the foreground watches in the background as Puck

Romeo and Juliet opening scene transition to interior: Romeo and Juliet continue speaking while the actor in the foreground watches in the background as Puck

Romeo and Juliet balcony scene: Romeo approaches juliet

Romeo and Juliet balcony scene: Romeo approaches Juliet

sword fight scene: Shakespeare In Action Nuit Blanche Performance: King Blue Condos Presentation Centre hallway

sword fight scene: Shakespeare In Action Nuit Blanche Performance: King Blue Condos Presentation Centre hallway

Photo Friday – Shakespeare Alive, Rave Reviews!

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Shakespeare in Action has just wrapped up its Shakespeare Alive 2013 tour!  This 75-minute interactive presentation travelled to  elementary and secondary classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, and gyms across the GTA!  Their goal was to show students why Shakespeare is still relevant and why his language – his poetry – is so important. Here’s what the teachers had to say about Shakespeare Alive!:

 

I was so impressed with the actors who came in and ran the workshop. They were exceptional and the kids loved it. I’m extremely happy with the way things went. It was an excellent experience for us.

-Jarrett Flindall, Middle School Teacher

 

I want to thank your organization for bringing an exciting, hilarious and gripping presentation to John Fraser Secondary School. Our students were energized and engaged throughout, and some even got to improv onstage in front of their drama teacher. We had a range from just-arrived ESL to near graduates take in the performance, and all the feedback I’ve heard from kids and teachers so far has been positive. Each kid came away with different favourite moments. They say they were impressed and enjoyed learning why we still care about Shakespeare.

Thanks for accommodating our needs, and thanks for a great show.

-Stephen Morra, High School Teacher

 

Yesterday’s performance was outstanding! The three performers were energetic, talented, funny, informative and it was a great pleasure for me to look out at the audience’s faces in the lecture theatre — the really academic students, the not-so-academic students — all were grinning and under the spell cast by your actors. The audience participation elements were very well received.I told your performers after the show that they made my job easier (the kids found a new respect for and interest in Shakespeare), but also harder, because how can we teachers match the fun of what they did?We would be pleased to have them come again in the future.

-Paula Nevins, High School Teacher

What if Shakespeare…LIVE-TWEETED WRITING HIS FIRST SONNET?

In honour of our upcoming Sonnets by Kids event – the most adorable Valentine’s idea of all time! – let’s imagine that Shakespeare was trying to preserve every moment of his creative process for the ages.

(NB: The Dark Lady is the name we give to the anonymous woman who inspired many of Shakespeare’s sonnets; Christopher Marlowe was Shakespeare’s only plausible rival among the Elizabethan playwrights, who died too young to reach his full potential. Anne Hathaway (!) was Shakespeare’s wife who lived far from London.)

Shakespeare Twitter

————————————————————————————————————–

DarkLady: @WillShakes Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical. (1) #BoredofAvon

WillShakes: @DarkLady I do not know what ‘poetical’ is. Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing? (2)

DarkLady: @MarloweFabulous @WillShakes D: What’s here? the portrait of a blinking idiot, Presenting me a schedule!  (3)

MarloweFabulous: @DarkLady @WillShakes virginity is peevish, proud, idle, made of self-love, which is the most inhibited sin in the canon. (4) #getoveryself

WillShakes: @DarkLady Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit; write, pen! (5) #WritingUSonnets

DarkLady: I’ll believe as soon This whole earth may be bored. (6)

WillShakes: @DarkLady “From fairest creatures we desire increase, / That thereby beauty’s rose might never…” (7) — melt? break? fry? #wordchoicelesigh

WillShakes: Oh – die! “rose might never die” (should not have been so hard 😦 oh well)

WillShakes: (I have heard a sonnet begin so to one’s mistress.) (8) So it’s all about ‘we want more of you!’ 🙂

DarkLady: If thou say so, villain, Thou kill’st thy mistress. (9) Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting! (10)

WillShakes: @DarkLady “But as the riper should by time decease, / His tender heir might bear his memory.”  (11) Better?

WillShakes: My sister wants me to talk about the “marriage of true minds” (12) – guess she missed mine. #hathawayfollies

MarloweFabulous: @WillShakes Thy marriage, sooner than thy wickedness. (13)

WillShakes: @MarloweFabulous You’re shallow, madam, in great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me which I am aweary of. (14) ;P

DarkLady: @WillShakes If you’re going to write this stop interrupting and explain what you mean, this is pretty abstract 😡

WillShakes: AAAGGHHH BACK TO WORK TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY THIS IS TITUS ALL OVER AGAIN #betterin1590

WillShakes: Where were we again – wait – hang on – ok, here we go, on a roll, just gonna post these as I get ’em:

WillShakes: @DarkLady “From fairest creatures we desire increase, / That thereby beauty’s rose might never die”(15) = there should always be more you!

WillShakes: @DarkLady “But as the riper should by time decease, / His tender heir might bear his memory.” (16) = it’s okay, you’ll have cute babies!

WillShakes: @DarkLady “But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes, / Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,” (17) = oh no, you’re too vain to think about kids!

WillShakes: @DarkLady”Making a famine where abundance lies, / Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:” (18) = that means you might leave the world w/o your looks!

WillShakes: @DarkLady”Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament, And only herald to the gaudy spring,” (19) = honestly lady, you’re life & beauty incarnate!

WillShakes: @DarkLady”Within thine own bud buriest thy content, And tender churl mak’st waste in niggarding:” (20) = so don’t ‘save yourself’ – there’s enough win for everyone!

WillShakes: @DarkLady”Pity the world, or else this glutton be, / To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.” (21) = better have kids or you’ll have wasted PERFECT GENES ;P

DarkLady: @WillShakes …It shall suffice, sir. (22) ;3  So rude, but so funny! It’s you all over, really.

DarkLady: @WillShakes I probably should get on the kids thing, considering my super-secret identity (you know)…usual time? 😉

WillShakes: I need to write more of these; so much easier than a whole play! #moneyfornothing

LizziesaurusRex: @WillShakes And that would set my teeth nothing on edge, Nothing so much as mincing poetry (23) – keep writing plays. Not a request.

WillShakes: @Lizziesaurus Rex My precious queen, forebear. (24) Side project it is. I’ll give it a title later. Maybe ‘The Alpha Sonnet’? Eh, just ‘Sonnet 1’ for now.

 

(Shakespeare rearranged/interpolated/mangled by David)

Sources:

(1) Touchstone, As You Like It (III.iii.1517)

(2) Audrey, As You Like It (III.iii.1518-19)

(3) Prince of Aragon, The Merchant of Venice (II.ix.1184-5)

(4) Parolles, All’s Well That Ends Well (I.i.146-8)

(5) Don Adriano, Love’s Labor’s Lost (I.ii.479-81)

(6) Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (III.ii.1085-8)

(7) Sonnet 1

(8) Duke of Orleans, Henry VIII (III.vii.1681)

(9) Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra, (IV.iii.1082-3)

(10) Biron, Love’s Labor’s Lost (IV.iii.1489-90)

(11) Sonnet 1

(12) Sonnet 116

(13) Countess, As You Like It (I.iii.358)

(14) Clown, All’s Well That Ends Well (I.iii.362-3)

(15) Sonnet 1

(16) Sonnet 1

(17) Sonnet 1

(18) Sonnet 1

(19) Sonnet 1

(20) Sonnet 1

(21) Sonnet 1

(22) Francis Feeble, Henry IV Part 2 (III.ii.2021)

(23) Hotspur, Henry IV Part 1 (III.1.1677-9)

(24) Antony, Antony and Cleopatra (I.iii.382)

Wordy Wednesday – “Primrose path”

primrose

In Hamlet, Laertes, leaving for France, tells his sister Ophelia to guard her heart against Hamlet.   Laertes suggests that Hamlet’s affections are “Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, / The perfume and suppliance of a minute; no more.”

OPHELIA

I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.

The primrose is a flowering plant of over 400 species, bearing blue, pink, purple, red, white, or yellow blossoms.

Here, Shakespeare’s “primrose path” is the path of ease, indulgence, and pleasure.  Ophelia not only listens to Laertes, but also challenges him to heed his own advice.  Primroses are perennial though, in this context, they represent fickleness – perhaps “perennial” frivolity?

There are six more references to primroses in Shakespeare’s plays:

Cymbeline

QUEEN

So, so: well done, well done:
The violets, cowslips, and the primroses,
Bear to my closet.

ARVIRAGUS

Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
I’ll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack
The flower that’s like thy face, pale primrose

Henry VI, Part II

QUEEN MARGARET

I would be blind with weeping, sick with groans,
Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking sighs,
And all to have the noble duke alive.

Macbeth

PORTER

I’ll devil-porter
it no further: I had thought to have let in
some of all professions that go the primrose
way to the everlasting bonfire.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

HERMIA

And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet…

The Winter’s Tale

PERDITA

…pale primroses
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bight Phoebus in his strength…

By Vineeta Moraes and Laboni Islam

Sources

“Primrose.”  Encyclopedia Britannica
Image:  Sloat Garden Center

Photo Friday – The Church of Night

Image

I travelled to Montréal this summer, I visited Notre Dame church and it reminded me my parents wedding and also Midsummer Night’s Dream which is all about a wedding.

Here some words of Puck

Midsummer Night’s Dream (V. i.2220-39)

“Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,
Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,

Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:

And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic: not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallow’d house:
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.”

 By Christian Albarrán

Wordy Wednesday – “Skim milk”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a very popular play this summer! It’s being produced for CanStage’s Dream in High Park, as well as several other companies in and around the GTA. (Including a Brampton production that one of our very own interns is a part of!) So why not a Shakespeare invented word featured first in that very play?

When we’re first introduced to Puck, the king of the Fairies’  henchman,  a Fairy describes to us the mischief he causes…

Fairy:

Either I mistake your shape and making quite,

Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite

Call’d Robin Goodfellow: are not you he

That frights the maidens of the villagery;

Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern

And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;

And sometime make the drink to bear no barm;

Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?

Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,

You do their work, and they shall have good luck:

Are not you he?

Here we see “skim milk” used for the first time. According to the OED, it is defined as…
“Milk with the cream skimmed off or otherwise removed. Also in fig. context.”

But as is noted at the end of the definition, Shakespeare more often used it metaphorically. First here in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595 or ’96, according to the OED) describing Puck as dividing himself and popping up unexpectedly to fright ladies. (And if you’re familiar with the 1999 film version you might remember that Puck – Stanley Tucci – vanishes and re-appears just like this shortly after this description.)

Shakespeare uses it again in Henry IV, Part I (Act II, Scene iii) with Hotspur. Although here he uses it to talk about York’s betrayal (dividing his loyalties like cream from milk/skim milk).

It’s a clever metaphor, but not one I see slipping back into our vocabulary too easily. Try to use dairy products to describe a friend’s betrayal nowadays and you’re sure to get a funny look.