The Winter’s Tale

What If Modern Authors Redid Shakespeare?

In June of 2013, Random House imprint Hogarth Press announced that they are commissioning a slate of authors to novelize the complete works of Shakespeare for a modern audience. The launch of these books in 2016 will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

The roster of illustrious authors who have signed on to modernize Shakespeare’s plays includes Margaret Atwood (The Tempest), Jeannette Winterson (The Winter’s Tale), Anne Tyler (The Taming of the Shrew), Howard Jacobson (The Merchant of Venice), and Jo Nesbo (Macbeth).

With the 400th anniversary only two years away, and 32 plays left unclaimed, Hogarth is running out of time to get these books written, so we thought we’d help them out with suggestions of author and play pairings we’d like to see. We had trouble limiting our imaginations to living authors only though!

jrr-tolkein

J.R.R. Tolkein + Hamlet: Hamlet, Shakespeare’s longest work, is a four hour play about a prince who decides in Act 1 to avenge his father’s death, and after five acts and 3834 lines of flip-flopping, he eventually gets around to it. Who better to take on the dithering Dane than the man who wrote the three-part story of a skittish hobbit who takes 1300 pages to accomplish one task?

stephenie-meyer

Stephenie Meyer + Romeo and Juliet: Despite its reputation as the greatest love story ever told, let’s face it, once Mercutio dies, Romeo and Juliet is a total snooze-fest. In order to appeal to today’s main audience for epic love stories (i.e. tweens), R&J could use an injection of vampire vs. werewolf warfare to pump up the drama. “O Romeo, Romeo, a werewolf art thou, Romeo?”

george-rr-martin

George R.R. Martin + Titus Andronicus: Shakespeare, who was never one to shy away from bloodshed and violence, has a literary soul mate in the bloodthirsty author of the Game of Thrones series. I get chills just imagining what gruesome twists Martin would add to a story already brimming with beheadings, tongue removals, and characters getting baked into pies.

dr-seuss

Dr. Seuss + Timon of Athens: Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens is essentially the plot of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas told in reverse. In this lesser known play, Timon, a wealthy Athenian, blithely bestows his riches on his flaky artist friends, and anyone else who asks. But when his money runs out and his friends abandon him, he renounces human society and runs off to the forest to live in a cave. He spends the rest of his days hating everyone and spouting abuse at anyone who dares to visit.

jasper-fforde

Jasper Fforde + The Tempest: I know Hogarth already has an author for The Tempest, but we couldn’t resist fantasizing about what kinds of transgressions Fforde’s literary detective Thursday Next would call out the characters on Prospero’s island for.

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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!

Winter is Coming

I’ve been thinking a lot about winter lately. There are several reasons for this, but it’s mostly because Winter snuck up on me a week ago like a thief in the night and stole all my warmth away. You see, I’m a recent transplant to Toronto from the West Coast, so this business of the thermometer dropping to sub-zero temperatures just as soon as you’ve packed away your Hallowe’en decorations is new to me, and I don’t quite know how to cope!
“A sad tale’s best for winter,” says young Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale. These words happen to be true in the case of poor Mamillius, but in general I have to disagree. Winter is a time to discover warmth and cheer in unexpected places, which is why I recommend that you combat the winter blues by cosying up with a warm mug of something-or-other and watching (/reading)…wait for it…The Winter’s Tale.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. The Winter’s Tale often gets the cold shoulder (har har) from theatre companies or your high school English teacher, who brush it off as a “Problem Play.” But <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>The Winter’s Tale is and always will be one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise. The dark realism of the jealousy that destroys a marriage, a friendship, and a life in the play’s first half is beautifully counterpoised by the selfless love that restores all three in the second half. It really warms the cockles of the heart.
Still don’t believe me? Let this quirky (and only slightly creepy) stop-motion animation version produced by BBC change your mind!

What if Shakespeare…were an ARTIST?

Image

Dost thou love pictures? We will fetch thee straight Adonis painted by a running brook, and Cytherea all in sedges hid (1). A thousand moral paintings I can show that shall demonstrate these quick blows of Fortune’s more pregnantly than words (2).

O proper stuff! This is the very painting of your fear (3). A Death’s-head or a memento mori (4). Have I frightened thee (5)?

What’s here? the portrait of (6) a virtuous gentlewoman, mild and beautiful (7). Here in her hairs the painter plays the spider and hath woven a golden mesh to entrap the hearts of me (8). Good my lord, forbear: The ruddiness upon her lip is wet; You’ll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own with oily painting (9).

For your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company (10). Inspiration of celestial grace (11) has struck (12); I wish (13) to create (14).

1)    The  Taming of the Shrew, Prologue, 193-6

2)     Timon of Athens, I.i, 110-12

3)     Macbeth, III.iv, 1347-8

4)     Henry IV, Part II, III.iii, 2036

5)     Henry IV, Part II, III,I, 1710

6)     The Merchant of Venice, II.ix, 1184

7)     The Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV.iv, 221

8)     The Merchant of Venice, III.ii, 1489-1492

9)     The Winter’s Tale, V.iii, 3384-7

10)  Much Ado About Nothing, V.i, 2262-3

11)  Henry VI, Part I, V.iv, 2711

12)  Henry V, IV.viii, 2735

13)  All’s Well That Ends Well, I.i, 180

14)  Henry VI, Part III, IV.iii, 2207

Shakespeare re-arranged by Lisa

Image: ClipArt ETC – Kantner Book of Objects 114

What if Shakespeare…were a SPORTS COMMENTATOR?

 

Image

A happy evening [1] and ye’re welcome all [2]. We first address toward you [3] that stay’d at home [4], and they that watch [5] from yonder [6] elsewhere / from me far off [7], a hundred thousand welcomes [8]. This great sport [9] is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage [10]. And mark thee [11] well worth watching [12].

And all that are assembled in this place [13] that wait [14] with bated breath [15], lend me your ears [16]. Hark! hark! what shout is that [17] among the crowd? [18] And, hark! they shout for joy [19]. Thus we are agreed [20] what sport tonight [21] you shall see [22].

Be the players ready? [23] Ajax is ready [24] And look you [25] Percy is already in the field [26]. With roaring voices [27] the shouting plebeians [28] bid the players make haste [29]. Hark, they roar! [30] loud shouts and salutations from their mouths [31]. Alas, what joy! [32] There are the players [33]. Aeneas is a-field [34.] At last, though long [35] now I see [36] Anthony is come into the field [37]. Then shall we have a match [38].

Ajax goes up and down the field [39]. On there, pass along! [40] He scores, he scores [41] This cheers my heart [42]. He knows the game [43] excellent well [44]. Hark, the game is roused! [45] Shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth’d sea [46].

And then begin again and stop again [47]. The match [48] is tied [49]. Methought that Gloucester stumbled [50]. They stumble that run fast [51]. Let’s see the penalty, [52] who takes it? [53] The thrice-victorious Lord of Falconbridge [54]. No no, it cannot be! [55] he hath miss’d [56]. The people in the street cry [57] you base football player [58].

And then the people fell a-shouting [59]. But where’s the great Alcides of the field, / Valiant Lord Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury [61]. He has been yonder [61] on the bench [62]. And in all this time [63] why he, of all the rest, hath never moved [64]. With open outcry [65] the crowd [66] call him forth [67], a most gallant fellow [68] to win this easy match [69]. Here he comes [70] once more unto the breach [71]. Hark! do you not hear the / people cry [72] roaring louder than / the sea or weather [73].

It grows very late [74], the sport is at the best [75] when none can call [76] – who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out [77]. My heart leaps [78] breathless and faint [79], I cannot bring / my tongue to such a pace [80]. But look thee here [81] brave Talbot [82] how he outruns the wind and with what care / he cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles [83.]

The game is up! [84] Victorious Talbot [85] now hath won the day [86]. Didst thou not hear their shouts? [87] The ways of glory [88] would scarce make that be believed [89]. Renowned Talbot [90] he hath done well in people’s eyes, / hearing applause and universal shout, / giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt / whether these pearls of praise be his or no [91].

The games are done [92] This had been cheerful after victory [93]. O my soul’s joy! [94] I saw not better sport these seven years’ day [95]. A thousand thanks and [96] fare thee well [97]. In celebration of this day [98] applause and loving shout [99] shall be heard [100] through the streets [101]. Why, then, good night indeed [102].

Shakespeare – re-arranged by Linda Nicoll

1.        Two Gentlemen of Verona [V. i. 2056]

2.       Coriolanus [II. i. 1113]

3.       King Lear [I. i. 204]

4.       Pericles [II. iv. 553]

5.       Rape of Lucrece [1626]

6.       Henry VI P I [III. ii. 1466]

7.       Sonnet 61 [13-14]

8.       Coriolanus [II, i. 1114]

9.       Henry VIII [I. i. 88]

10.     Romeo and Juliet [Prologue 1, 12]

11.     Henry IV P I [II. iv. 1196]

12.     Cymbeline [II. iv. 1257]

13.     The Comedy of Errors [V. i. 1841]

14.     Two Gentlemen of Verona [IV. ii. 1770]

15.     The Merchant of Venice [I. iii. 451]

16.     Julius Caesar [III. Ii. 1617]

17.     Troilus and Cressida [V. ix. 3619]

18.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2481]

19.     Julius Caesar [V. iii. 2528]

20.     Anthony and Cleopatra II. vi. 1283

21.     Anthony and Cleopatra [I. ii. 57]

22.     All’s Well That Ends Well [III. Vi. 1824]

23.     Hamlet III. [I. i. 1986-87]

24.     Troilus and Cressida [III. iii. 1901]

25.     All’s Well That Ends Well [V. iii. 3032]

26.     Henry IV PI [IV. ii. 2443-44]

27.     King Lear [II. iii. 1265]

28.     Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. xii. 2942]

29.     Hamlet [III. ii. 1925]

30.     The Tempest [IV. i. 2008]

31.     Henry IV P I [III. ii. 1876]

32.     Henry VI P I [IV. iii. 2967]

33.     Hamlet [II. ii. 1452]

34.     Troilus and Cressida [V. iii. 3354]

35.     Taming of the Shrew [V. ii. 2489]

36.     All’s Well That Ends Well [I. iii. 492]

37.     Anthony and Cleopatra [IV. vi. 2713]

38.     All’s Well That Ends Well [V. iii. 2708]

39.     Troilus and Cressida [[III. iii. 2129]

40.     Anthony and Cleopatra [III. i. 1589]

41.     All’s Well That Ends Well [IV. iii. 2307]

42.     Henry VI P III [V. iv. 2870]

43.     Henry VI P III [III. ii. 1484]

44.     Hamlet [II. ii. 1279]

45.     Cymbeline [III. iii 1708]

46.     Henry V [V. Chorus, 2849]

47.     Richard III [III. v 2071]

48.     The Comedy of Errors [III. ii. 854]

49.     Sonnet 137 [8]

50.     Richard III [I. iv. 851]

51.     Romeo and Juliet [II. iii. 156]

52.     Love’s Labour’s Lost I. i. 126]

53.     Coriolanus [IV. vii. 3252]

54.     Henry VI P I [IV. vii. 2324]

55.     All’s Well That Ends Well [II. i. 601]

56.     Cymbeline [I. i. 20]

57.     Romeo and Juliet [V. iii. 3164]

58.     King Lear [I. iv. 615]

59.     Julius Caesar [I. ii. 315]

60.     Henry VI P I [IV. vii. 2317-18]

61.     Twelfth Night [II. v. 1043-44]

62.     Timon of Athens [IV. iii. 1702]

63.     As You Like It [IV. i.1877]

64.     Two Gentlemen of Verona [I. ii. 177]

65.     Romeo and Juliet [V. iii. 3166]

66.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2481]

67.     Henry IV P I [V. ii. 1517]

68.     All’s Well That Ends Well [III. v. 1701]

69.     King John [III. I 1264]

70.     Coriolanus [II. iii. 1462]

71.     Henry V [III. i. 1092]

72.     Troilus and Cressida [I. ii. 372-73]

73.     The Winter’s Tale [III. iii 1596-97]

74.     Romeo and Juliet [III. iii. 2045]

75.     Romeo and Juliet [I. v. 748]

76.     Macbeth [V. i. 2162]

77.     King Lear [V. iii. 3138]

78.     Pericles [V. iii. 2573]

79.     Henry IV P I [I. iii. 357]

80.     Coriolanus [II. iii. 1476-77]

81.     The Winter’s Tale [III. iii. 1606]

82.     Henry VI P I [II. i. 694-95]

83.     Venus and Adonis [703-4]

84.     Cymbeline [III. iii 1708]

85.     Henry VI P I [II. iii. 900]

86.     Henry VI P III [IV. iv. 2257]

87.     Julius Caesar [V. iii. 2594]

88.     Henry VIII [III. ii. 2349]

89.     All’s Well That Ends Well [IV. i. 1959]

90.     Henry VI P I [IV. iii. 2039]

91.     The Merchant of Venice [III. ii. 1512-15]

92.     Julius Caesar [I. ii. 269]

93.     Henry IV P II [IV. ii. 2535]

94.     Othello [II. i. 975]

95.     Henry VI P II [II. i. 728]

96.     Henry V [IV. iv. 2429]

97.     All’s Well That Ends Well [II. i. 745]

98.     Henry VIII [IV. i. 2389]

99.     Richard III [III. vii. 2240]

100.   King John [I. i. 28]

101.   Anthony and Cleopatra [I. i. 64]

102.   Anthony and Cleopatra [III. x. 2099]

What if Shakespeare…were a FISHERMAN?

Here’s another ballad of a fish, that appeared upon
the coast on Wednesday the four-score of April,
forty thousand fathom above water. [1]
What have we here? a man or a fish?
he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-
like smell. [2]
As fish are in a pond. [3]
What strange fish hath made his meal on thee? [4]
The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat. [5]

Nay, then thou wilt starve, sure; for here’s nothing
to be got now-a-days, unless thou canst fish for’t. [6]
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat
of the fish that hath fed of that worm. [7]

Than baits to fish. [8]
Bait the hook well; this fish will bite. [9]
The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait. [10]

Here’s a fish hangs in the net. [11]
Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable. [12]
I marvel how the fishes live in the sea. [13]

Shakespeare re-arranged by Zhan Zhang.

References:

1) Winter’s Tale [IV. 4. 2160-2162]
2) Tempest [II. 2. 1108-1111]
3) Henry IV [Part II. I, 1. 258]
4) Tempest [II. 1. 812-813]
5) Merry Wives of Windsor [I. 1. 20]
6) Pericles [II. 1. 649-650]
7) Hamlet [IV. 3. 2738]
8) Titus Andronicus [IV. 4. 2115]
9) Much Ado about Nothing [II. 3. 927]
10) Much Ado about Nothing [III. 1. 1101-1103]
11) Pericles [II. 1. 695]
12) Tempest [V. 1 2343]
13) Pericles [II. 1. 606]