Twelfth Night

Shakespeare for Kids and Young Company for Teens Summer Camp Announcement!

Great news! Shakespeare in Action is proud to announce the focus plays for the 2014 Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp and Young Company for Teens training program!

The cast practices its final bow with Director Sascha Cole.

Campers coming to the Shakespeare for Kids Summer Camp will be performing their very own version of Twelfth Night, while our Young Company for Teens will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

As a special treat to all of you, we have extended the Early Bard deadline to April 21, 2014!

Visit our Summer Programming page for more info!

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:

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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!

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Judi Dench (Best Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:


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

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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

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Sally Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress Nominee)

Appeared in:

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

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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!

The Past and the Present: Shakespeare on the Big Screen

Image: ClipArt ETC Chandler B. Beach The New Student's Reference Work for Teachers Students and Families (Chicago, IL: F. E. Compton and Company, 1909)

Image: ClipArt ETC
Chandler B. Beach The New Student’s Reference Work for Teachers Students and Families (Chicago, IL: F. E. Compton and Company, 1909)

 

Would William Shakespeare have pictured Hamlet as a lion cub? Or imagined Othello as a high school basketball player?

It’s impossible to say how Shakespeare would react to seeing adaptations of his most famous characters in modern times. There is no dispute that his plays remain a popular source of inspiration for movies. These aren’t limited to direct adaptations. Many characters, stories and themes penned by him have been transferred to a modern setting on multiple occasions.

West Side Story (1963)

Romeo and Juliet is brought to 20th-century New York and the star-crossed lovers are re-imagined as Tony and Maria. Maria is the sister of a Puerto Rican gangster while Tony is affiliated with a rival gang. The Jets and Sharks take the place of the Capulets and Montagues. While Tony mirrors Romeo’s untimely death, Maria diverges from following Juliet’s end. Instead of committing suicide, Maria uses Tony’s death to end the fighting between the Jets and the Sharks.

Ten Things I Hate About You (1999)

Taming of the Shrew goes to high school in this adaptation of the famous Shakespeare comedy. The theme of finding a husband and shaming a shrewish woman into submission changed to dating among teenagers and being true to yourself. The plot mirrors Shakespeare’s original play as it focuses on Bianca’s attempt to find someone to date her older sister Kat since her father has made a rule preventing her from dating until Kat does.

O (2001)

This modern version of Othello turns the protagonist into Odin, the captain of his high school basketball team. Desdemona becomes his girlfriend Desi. Iago becomes Hugo, Odin’s treacherous teammate. The English Journal noted that Hugo’s actions in spreading rumors of Desi’s infidelity to Odin cause him to spiral out of control in school and on the court — in the same manner Iago affected Othello. Both characters become overwhelmed by their desire to inflict physical violence based on a false rumor.

 

By Scott Grayson

 

To learn more about the Shakespeare connections in The Lion King (1993), click here.

For She’s The Man (2006), click here.

And for Romeo & Juliet through the ages, click here.

What if Shakespeare was… on American Idol!

american_idol-show1

What if Shakespeare was on American Idol singing a heartbreaking love song for a place in the final?

If music be the food of love, play on, (play on, play on)

Give me excess of it (excess of it) [1]

For stony limits cannot hold love out, (cannot hold)

And what love can do, that dares love attempt [2]

The course of true love never did run smooth [3]

 

O my love! Here’s to my love (Oooooh my love! Here’s to my love) [4]

If thou canst / love me… I say to thee / that I shall die [5]

Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all (yea take them all, all, all) [6]

But love, for love, thus shall excuse my jade [7]

A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind, / A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound [8]

 

I love thee, I will not say pity me…

But I say, love me (But I say, looooovvve me) [9]

Canst thou love me? (Canst thou love me?) [10]

Most radiant, exquisite, and unmatchable beauty [11]

I love thee more and more: think more and more (think more and more) [12]

 

I have not art to reckon my groans;

But that I love thee best, O most best believe [13]

If thou dost love me [14] O joyful day! (joyful, joyful day) [15]

To say thou dost not [16] O, break my heart! (break, break, break)

Poor bankrupt, break at once! [17]

 

But I say, love me… [18]

 

In this city will I stay / And live alone and [19]

Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth [20]

Ay me!… and twenty times! Woe, woe / And twenty echoes twenty times cry so [21]

 

But I say, love me… [22]

For now my love… I know thou canst [23]

 

By Linda Nicoll

 

References:

1          Twelfth Night I. i. 2-3

2          Romeo & Juliet II. ii. 916-17

3          A Midsummer Night’s Dream I. i. 140

4          Romeo & Juliet V. iii. 3037 & 65

5          Henry V V. ii. 3132-35

6          Sonnet 40, 1

7          Sonnet 51, 12

8          Love’s Labour’s Lost IV, iii. 1679-80

9          Merry Wives of Windsor II. i. 580-81

10        Henry V V. ii. 3176

11        Twelfth Night I. v. 464

12        Cymbeline V. v. 3498

13        Hamlet II. ii. 1216-18

14        Romeo & Juliet I. v. 943

15        Henry IV P II V. iii. 3539

16        All’s Well That Ends Well I. iii. 497

17        Romeo & Juliet III. ii. 1779

18        Merry Wives of Windsor II. i. 581

19        Henry VI P II IV, iv. 2570-71

20        Richard II III. ii. 1557

21        Venus and Adonis 855-6

22        Merry Wives of Windsor II. i. 581

23        Comedy of Errors II. ii 514 & 28

Shakespeare meets Game of Thrones!

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The Shakespeare in Action office is currently in a state of excitement over season three of Game of Thrones (starting on March 31st)! I saw this gem today and couldn’t resist posting… Then it got me thinking, if the above were Shakespeare characters – who would they be?? There have been many parallels drawn between Shakespeare’s plays and George R.R. Martin’s epic series – A Song of Ice and Fire.  So just based on the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, here are a few musings…

(Based on the show – No spoilers if you haven’t read past the second book!)

Melisandre ~ Lady Macbeth

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!

Macbeth [I. v. 388-97]

Tyrion Lannister ~  There really are a multitude of choices for Tyrion as he is such a multifaceted character.  Maybe the carefree and boisterous Mercutio from Romeo & Juliet,  who couples his bawdy sense of humour with a keen intelligence and an impressive way with words, might be a good match.

Daenerys Targaryen ~ Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc from Henry VI PI).  This beautiful female warrior is also thrust into a man’s world of warfare, and just like Daenery’s blood riders knelt before her and swore to follow her as part of the ‘Queensguard’, the French soldiers followed Joan la Pucelle into battle.

My courage try by combat, if thou darest,
And thou shalt find that I exceed my sex.
Resolve on this, thou shalt be fortunate,
If thou receive me for thy warlike mate.

Henry VI P I [I. ii. 286-89]

Sansa Stark ~ Blanch from King John.   As John’s niece, Blanch is also used as a bargaining tool to help the King gain further political power with an alliance with the French.  She is married to the Dauphin, although when war breaks out between King John and France, Blanch is stuck in the middle and completely torn as to where her allegiance should lie.  Sansa is propelled into a bitter battle and power struggle she does not understand between her father Eddard Stark and the mother of her betrothed – Cersei Lannister.  Just as Blanch kneels before her husband begging him not to go to war with her uncle, Sansa kneels before Joffrey and pleads for her father’s life.

Upon thy wedding-day?
Against the blood that thou hast married?
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter’d men?
Shall braying trumpets and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me! ay, alack, how new
Is husband in my mouth! even for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne’er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms
Against mine uncle.

King John [III. i. 1227-1236]

Margaery Tyrell ~ Katherine of Aragon.  Katherine of Spain was first married to Prince Arthur, the heir to the English throne in order to form an alliance between Spain and England.  After Arthur’s death, Katherine was then later married to Arthur’s brother when he became Henry VIII.  Katherine was a  valuable commodity and was bargained as such, just like through Margaery the House of Tyrell transferred their political allegiance from Renly to House of Lannister through her betrothal to King Joffrey.   Also as with Katherine in Henry VIII, there appears to be more to Margaery than a mere token bride.

Sam Tarley ~ Snug the Joiner from the Rude Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Again, there is a lot more to Sam than meets the eye, but I thought Snug’s endearing shyness and inherent lack of confidence in himself parallel that aspects of Sam’s character.

Joffrey Baratheon ~ Emperor Saturninus.  Joffrey is also a hard one, as he really doesn’t have any endearing qualities, nor does he possess the scheming intellect of a master Shakespearean villain such as Richard III.  Even though he is controlled by a stronger and more cunning woman in his mother who orchestrates his path to the throne, I would still not equate him to Macbeth.  Another Shakespearean villain and ruler with a stronger, more vicious and astute woman by his side is Saturninus from Titus Andronicus who marries Tamora – Queen of the Goths.  His childish petulance and sadistic nature is more akin to that of Joffrey Baratheon.

Jorah Mormont ~ The Earl of Suffolk.  In the Henry VI plays, Suffolk orchestrates Margaret’s marriage to Henry VI and remains by the warrior Queen’s side.  They are both in love with the Queen they serve and are men with dubious pasts and ulterior motives.

These are only a few loosely drawn musings.  If you can think of better matches based on the show so far, please let us know and comment below.

By Linda Nicoll

Picture:

Dorkly,’ Games of Thrones characters as cats’, Connected Ventures 2013: http://www.dorkly.com/picture/50988/game-of-thrones-characters-as-cats [Accessed 20 March 2013]

http://www.hbocanada.com/gameofthrones/

What if Shakespeare…were a PIRATE?

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[The Pirate’s Code]

I must obey (1). I drink the air before me (2). I’ll confine myself no finer than I am. These clothes are good enough to drink in, and so be these boots too. An they be not, let them hang themselves in their own straps (3). My commission is not to reason of the deed, but to do’t (4). When I was born: Never was waves nor wind more violent; and from the ladder-tackle washes off a canvas-climber (5).

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do (my) minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend (6). I am not such an ass, but I can keep my hand dry (7). My very walk should be a jig (8).

My stars shine darkly over me (9), (and yet) my bounty is as boundless as the sea (10), (upon which) my drink and good counsel will amend (11). Heigh, my hearts! Cheerly, cheerly, my hearts! Yare, yare! Take in the topsail. Tend to the master’s whistle (12).

Ships are but boards, sailors but men; there be land-rats and water-rats, land-thieves and water-thieves (13). (But I am a) notable pirate (14). One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never (15).

Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe (16). On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves. Or lose our ventures (17). (We) must obey (18).

1) Twelfth Night, III. iv. 299
2) The Tempest, V. i. 102
3) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 129-131
4) Pericles, IV. i. 88-89
5) Pericles, IV. i. 63-66
6) Sonnet 60, 1-4
7) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 65-66
8) Twelfth Night, I. iii. 115
9) Twelfth Night, II. i. 2
10) Romeo and Juliet, II. ii. 133-134
11) Twelfth Night, I. v. 43-44
12) The Tempest, I. i. 9-12
13) The Merchant of Venice, I. iii. 19-21
14) Twelfth Night, V. i. 63
15) Much Ado About Nothing, II. iii. 46-47
16) Julius Caesar, IV. iii. 221
17) Julius Caesar, IV. iii. 228-229
18) Twelfth Night, III. iv. 299

(Shakespearrr re-arranged by Vineeta)

Shakespeare and Music

“If music be the food of love, play on” (Twelfth Night, 1.1.1-7)

Music and Shakespearean Theatre. The two art forms go hand in hand, like hot chocolate on a snowy day.

Shakespeare embraced the use of music, and saw its transformative potential to take stage drama to a deeper level of meaning. He held access to a treasure chest of music at his very doorstep, since Elizabethan culture was steeped in popular ballads, madrigals, church chorals, and courtly arias (to name a few). And he carefully chose songs and musical styles to suit character development.

In terms of vocal music, Shakespeare penned his own lyrics, as well as made use of pre-existing songs. The singing roles in his plays are mostly given to minor characters, clowns, ruffians, and servants. The principal characters never sing (imagine Hamlet breaking into song and dance! *gasp* :O), with the exception of heroines, Ophelia (Hamlet) and Desdemona (Othello). In Desdemona’s case, Shakespeare borrows an existing 16th Century song for her to sing called ‘The Willow Song‘. The tune is slow and lyrical, and provides a lamenting undertone in preparation for her death (IV.iii):

DESDEMONA.

[Sings.]

“The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow;
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow:
The fresh streams ran by her, and murmur’d her moans;
Sing willow, willow, willow;
Her salt tears fell from her, and soften’d the stones;–“

Instrumental music is also integral to Shakespeare, and there are quite a number of stage directions in the plays that signal musicians to perform either on stage or off to the side. Textual cues like ‘A Flourish, Trumpets!’ (Richard III, IV.iv.149) are used to signal stately entrances of royal characters. While ‘Hoboys and torches. Enter King Duncan…’ (Macbeth, I.vi) brings a foreboding quality with the oboe’s (hoboy’s) haunting tone.

In addition, music is also used to accompany characters in dance, such as the Capulet Ball scene in Romeo and Juliet (I.v). Although no specific dances are mentioned in the stage directions, Shakespeare would’ve preferred dance styles popular to the time period. The Coranto, Pavane, or Galliard – like the one featured below – would’ve all been fair game for a courtly dancing scene ~

By Vineeta Moraes