July 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

A recent discussion with a Shakespeare enthusiast and world renown, critically acclaimed  American author, a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”  on a Mid -Summer Night at “Shakespeare’s Globe” Theater, as well as, a day trip to Stonehenge, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, and “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” a new musical presented by “The Public Theater” has inspired me to read the complete works of Shakespeare.  We’ll see how far I get.  I’m definitely starting with the comedies first. Yes, I did attend high school, however, I need a refresher, and I get much more out of the required reading from high school now that I am more mature.

1. The first one I have read, read the Cliffs notes and watched the 1978 BBC version, starring Helen Mirren as Rosalind,

“As You Like It”    Brilliant!

Act II, Scene 7, features one of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues, spoken by Jaques, which begins:

“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts …”

2. Julius Caesar with Marlon Brando. Amazing. Read it. Read Cliffs Notes.

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” is the first line of a famous and often-quoted speech by Mark Antony in the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. It is taken from Act III, scene II.

3. “Two Gentleman of Verona” True love prevails! Loved it!

4. “The Comedy of Errors” Diplopia. Seeing double. Roger Daltrey as the Dromio of Syracuse and the Dromio of Ephesus.

5. “The Merry Wives of Windsor” Revenge.

6. “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” A New Musical, presented by “The Public Theater” for free at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, NYC is hysterical.

As part of “The Public Theater’s” three part summer series 2013, they have already shown, “Comedy of Errors,” the first night of “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” was last night, and “The Tempest” is soon to follow in September.

On a picture perfect summer evening in NYC with an occassional cloud floating by, a sporadic breeze and the moon rising up over the open air, rain or shine, circular Delacorte Theater with the Belvedere Castle in the back drop, there sits a lodge, a wooden bar, chaise lounge chairs, and a banner sign strung across the two buildings stating, “Welcome Back Class of 2008!  Windsor Apartments and Resort.”

Much like the 2000 film version starring Alicia Silverstone and Alessandro Nivola, set in the 1930’s, this is a loose, modernized, musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy, “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”

When the King of Navarre and his friends swear to live without women for 3 years, and to devote that time to studying instead, the Lord Berowne starts singing, “Young Men are supposed to be having s#x. Don’t make me act 30 years old and be responsible before my time.”

There enters the Princess of France and her 3 friends, Lady Rosaline, Lady Maria, and Lady Katharine, singing “Fling with the King,” the eight of them fall madly in love, and the rest is a hysterical, story and subplot filled with gorgeous costumes, toe-tapping songs, amazing choreography, singing and acting, and a not so predictable ending.

Watching the Spanish swordsman, Don Adriano de Armado (played by Caesar Samayoa), dressed in a red speedo and cape, try to swoon the country wench, Jaquenetta,  by singing her an Eminem style rap song, is HYSTERICAL!!!

“How can love compare to a cold shower? A Kierkergaard book? A wheatgrass cleansing?”!loveslabourslost/cq8d

“Hamlet,” Globe to Globe, A 2 year tour to every country in the world, departs April 23, 2014

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7. “The Tempest” Free Shakespeare in the Park. September 6, 7, and 8th at Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Synopsis: “Twelve years ago, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, was overthrown by his treacherous brother Antonio and Alonsa, the Queen of Naples. Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, were driven out, exiled in a barely sea-worthy little boat, which miraculously brought the pair to this enchanted island.

Now a powerful magician, Prospero rules a kingdom-in-exile; the monster Caliban, sweet-voiced spirit Ariel, and the island’s many supernatural inhabitants. When at last, a dozen years into Prospero’s banishment, Antonio and Alonsa’s ship sails temptingly close, Prospero conjures up a storm-a tempest-to wash its company ashore.

The newly marooned Italians bring surprises, like drunken clowns Trinculo and Stephano, who conspire with Caliban, and Alonsa’s sister Sebastia, who nurses murderous intentions. Most astonishing of all, the now-grown Miranda “changes eyes” with Alonsa’s son Ferdinand-an innocent love that shakes Prospero’s certainty. Will ‘justice’ cost the next generation its happiness? Can Prospero interrupt the cycle of betrayal, or will he stay- alone and proud-on this island forever?”

“Confrontational exterior with a hidden heart. Once you see it, you’ll want to give them one more chance.”

8. “Romeo and Juliet” at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway, starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.

A very loose, modern, adaptation where the Capulet’s (Juliet’s family) are African American), while Romeo’s family, the Montegue’s, are Caucasian. The opening scene of the fight between the two rival families gets broken up by Lord Capulet (Juliet’s Father), and Romeo comes riding in on a motorcycle wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans and Dr. Marten’s boots. Romeo is depressed because he is in love with Rosaline (a niece of Capulet), and wishes to meet her. He attends a Capulet ball in the hopes of seeing her, however, while at the lavish party with flame throwing, and attendees donning masks and beautiful costumes, he falls in love at first sight, with Juliet. The rest is tragedy.

Opening night was September 19, 2013.

9. “Twelfth Night” starring Mark Rylance began previews October 15, 2013.

I’m on my 9th Shakespeare play, and I’m noticing a trend, Shakespeare loved misunderstandings, confusion, love triangles, and girls who dressed up as boys (perhaps it is because all the actors were men back then).

When you walk into the artsy Belasco Theater with stained glass surrounding the light fixtures, there are actors up on stage preparing for the performance to begin, tailors mending Shakespearean robes, make-up artists are powdering noses, and musicians are banging on their drums, playing flutes, and rattling tambourines.

Much like “The Globe” theater in London, there are wooden bench seats with cushions physically up ON both sides of the stage.

Viola, a young lady who is shipwrecked on the coast of Illyria (the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea covering parts of modern Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Albania, Croatia, and Montenegro), has lost contact with her twin brother, Sebastian, and disguised herself as a man named Cesario, and enters the service under Duke Orsino.

Duke Orsino (Male) falls in love with Olivia (female, but the actor who plays her is male/Mark Rylance). Olivia is a wealthy countess and falls madly in love with Cesario (who is really Viola/who is a woman, played by a male actor, Samuel Barnett). Cesario is in love with the Duke Orsino.

Meanwhile, in the subplot, Olivia’s uncle (Sir Toby Belch), a rich man (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Olivia’s servants (Maria and Fabian), and her fool, Feste, are all playing a trick on Malvolio (a steward in Olivia’s house). They have told Malvolio that Olivia is in love with him, when she really isn’t.

Wacky and funny!

10. “King Richard the Third” Killing people who stand in your way, will not make you a King. Lol.

11. “Macbeth” starring Anne-Marie Duff. Don’t listen to your wife! 🙂 Lol

12. “King Lear” with Frank Langella at BAM. Three daughters will drive any man mad, even a King.

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