Twelfth Night

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!

game-of-thrones-characters-as-cats

 

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?

16940_flags_pirates_pirate_flag

[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

What if Shakespeare…were an INVESTMENT BANKER?

(On the brink of the current financial crisis) 

There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest, / For I did dream of money-bags to-night (1).  I greatly fear my money is not safe (2).  Say ‘tis not so (3).

I pray you sir! (4). I am not in a sportive humour now: / Tell me, and dally not, where is the money? (5). I beseech thee (6), answer me / In what safe place have you bestow’d my money? (7).

There is a written scroll! I’ll read the writing (8).  Mine eyes deceive me (9) It is not so; for how can this be true (10).  This paper has undone me: ‘tis the account / Of all that world of wealth I have drawn together (11).

‘Tis gone, ‘tis gone, ‘tis gone (12), melted into air, into thin air (13).

Alack the day! (14). Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more than he’s worth to season (15).

What hath been cannot be (16). You can fool no more money out of me (17). From this day forth (18) – Neither a borrower nor a lender be (19).

1          The Merchant of Venice [II. v. 865-66]

2          The Comedy of Errors [I. ii 270]

3          Anthony and Cleopatra [II. v. 1138]

4          All’s Well That Ends Well [II. ii. 863]

5          The Comedy of Errors [I.ii.58-59]

6          Anthony and Cleopatra [I. ii. 139]

7          The Comedy of Errors [I.ii.77-78]

8          The Merchant of Venice [II. vii. 1052]

9          The Comedy of Errors [V. i. 1773]

10        Love’s Labour’s Lost [V. ii. 2349]

11        Henry VIII [III. ii. 95-96]

12        Romeo and Juliet [I. v. 642]

13        The Tempest [IV. i. 81]

14        Romeo and Juliet [III. ii. 1760]

15        The Comedy of Errors [IV.ii.58]

16        All’s Well That Ends Well [I. i. 28]

17        Twelfth Night [IV. i. 2227]

18        Julius Caesar [IV. iii. 2030]

19        Hamlet [III. ii. 2091]

Shakespeare re-arranged by Linda Nicoll

SHAKESPEARE FANS ASSEMBLE

Shakespeare in The Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?

I am sure most of you know where that quote came from. No, it wasn’t in any of Shakespeare’s plays! It comes from a little film you might have heard of called The Avengers. It only had the biggest opening weekend results of all time!

Anyways, I just thought that I would share with all of you the casts’ Shakespeare connection!

Robert Downey Jr.- Tony Stark/Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in Richard III, a film version of the play with a modern twist released in 1995.

Gwyneth Paltrow- Pepper Potts

One of Gwyneth’s most famous roles was that of Viola in the Shakespeare In Love. It was released in 1998, and gave Gwyneth her first Oscar for Best Actress!

Tom Hiddleston- Loki

Tom Hiddleston is the cast member with the most Shakespeare related experience. He has appeared in stage versions of Cymbeline, Othello, and Twelfth Night. He is currently working on two made for TV movie versions of Henry IV and Henry V, which will be released later this year!

Joss Whedon- Director

You don’t have to be an actor to work on Shakespeare related projects! Joss Whedon is currently working on a modern retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, being responsible for writing the screenplay! This project is due to be released sometime later this year.

Take a look at your favorite actors’ body of work, and see if you can find a Shakespeare influence! Leave me a message with your findings!

Shakespeare at the Movies: She’s the Man

It’s time to talk about one of your blogger’s favourite Shakespeare adaptations: She’s the Man! Yes, that’s right, I love this silly movie, and more than that, I think it’s a pretty darn good adaptation of a Shakespeare play. It’s great when movies based on Shakespeare are more literal or exact adaptations, featuring Shakespeare’s witty dialogue along with the original settings and character names. But Shakespeare’s plots have also proved to be interesting in modern settings with updated dialogue.

She’s the Man is a 2006 movie starring Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, and Vinnie Jones, featuring the hilarious David Cross (Tobias from TV’s Arrested Development) as the school principal. The plot revolves around Viola, Amanda Bynes’ character, and her attempt to be taken seriously as a great soccer player. When the girls’ team at her school is cut, she decides to disguise herself as her twin brother Sebastian (who conveniently takes off for London to play in a rock band) and join the boys’ team at his boarding school, proving that she can play just as well as the boys can. But she ends up falling for her new roommate Duke, even as he asks her to help him win the heart of their classmate Olivia. Meanwhile, their weirdo classmate Malcolm is determined to win Olivia’s affections. Comedy – and romance – ensues!

The movie is based on Shakespeare’s delightful play Twelfth Night, a romantic comedy of mistaken identities. The action begins when a brother and sister are involved in a shipwreck. Viola washes up alone on a beach, and assuming that her brother Sebastian has drowned, disguises herself as a boy in order to work as a page for Duke Orsino and figure out what to do. But she ends up falling for the Duke, even as he uses her to woo his lady love Olivia. There’s also a subplot involving a slightly crazed servant, Malvolio, who is convinced that Olivia loves him. You can guess what happens next – mostly wacky hijinks.

So you can see that She’s the Man is a pretty faithful adaptation in terms of plot alone. But I think that the movie gets a lot of other stuff right, too. As a playwright, Shakespeare understood the value of good supporting characters. Many of his plays are focused on intense, doomed, or very charismatic lead characters – Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, etc. But the supporting characters are just as important and often add that all-important humour to the story. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are funny while also being important to the plot, just as the Nurse gives Romeo & Juliet a lot of humour to balance out that sad ending.

She’s the Man also features weird and hilarious supporting characters. There’s David Cross’ nutty principal, who tries to get involved in the action and ends up causing a lot of trouble; Viola’s band of friends, who help her with her transformation into Sebastian; Monique, Sebastian’s stuck-up girlfriend; and last but not least, the male classmates Viola meets as she pretends to be Sebastian. Like Shakespeare’s original play, the movie knows that having a rich cast of odd supporting players is key to the success of a story.

The dialogue in She’s the Man, while not quite as sparkling as Shakespeare’s original text, is also pretty funny. And I think Shakespeare would have loved a lot of the physical comedy moments: soccer wipe-outs, Amanda Bynes’ character learning how to walk like a boy, etc. He definitely enjoyed his silly and over-the-top humour. The movie didn’t originally get very good reviews, but just remember that many of Shakespeare’s plays – even performed with original dialogue, sets, and stage directions – are very silly and feature a lot of crude humour about bodily functions and more. I really think She’s the Man captures the spirit of Twelfth Night. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t find the movie funny!

Here’s the original movie trailer, embedded for your viewing pleasure!