Monday, January 31, 2005

Friends, Generals and Captains of Industry,
Lend Me Your Ears


QUEENSTOWN, Md. - The Air Force generals were hard on Brutus. The consensus was that he acted with deadly force when other avenues were open to him. He made a bad decision, they said - at least as it was portrayed by Shakespeare - to sanction and lead the conspiracy to murder Julius Caesar.

"Brutus is not an honorable man," said Lt. Gen. William R. Looney III, one of 20 or so senior Air Force officers and executives - mostly two and three-star generals and their civilian equivalents - gathered at the Aspen Institute for a daylong leadership seminar here. "He was a traitor. And he murdered someone in cold blood."

And though General Looney acknowledged that Brutus had the good of the republic in mind, Caesar was nonetheless his superior. "You have to understand," the general said. "Our ethos is to obey the chain of command."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Best of the Bad Guys

RIGHT off the bat, British actor, director and playwright Steven Berkoff sets the scene for his latest offering, Shakespeare's Villains: A Masterclass in Evil.His greeting is permeated with Alfred Hitchcockian creepiness. This is unintentional; he is not even trying to step into character. 'Maybe I just naturally come across as evil,' he says. "

Posted by Hello
Susannah York brings the Bard's ladies to Ark's stage
One-woman show gives life to range of playwright's women

Though Susannah York's new show, 'The Loves of Shakespeare's Women,' patches together speeches from many of the Bard's most famous female characters, reviving Ophelia is not on the agenda. "

Friday, January 28, 2005

British Shakespeare Association Biennial Conference 2005
Call for Papers

The British Shakespeare Association exists to enable Shakespearean academics, theatre directors and actors, as well as teachers, writers, and community groups from a wide variety of backgrounds, to explore the study and performance of Shakespeare in ways that cross traditional academic, cultural, and institutional boundaries.

The second British Shakespeare Association conference will be held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in September 2005. Bringing together people with diverse interests in Shakespeare from all parts of the British Isles and around the world, it will include academic papers, panel and seminar sessions, as well as performances, workshops, and opportunities for discussion on all aspects of Shakespeare’s life, works, and afterlife.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Shakespeare & Company plans Spring Tour

Lenox – Shakespeare & Company’s annual Spring Tour of Shakespeare for 2005 presents Julius Caesar, which will join 22 other professional theatre companies, selected by the National Endowment for the Arts, to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation – a major arts-in-education initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.
Complete Casting Announced for Broadway's Julius Caesar
Complete casting was announced today for the all-new Broadway production of JULIUS CAESAR, starring two-time Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington as Brutus. The cast also stars Colm Feore as Cassius; Jessica Hecht as Portia; William Sadler as Julius Caesar; Tamara Tunie as Calphurnia; Eamonn Walker as Marc Antony and Jack Willis as Casca. "

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

BBC to screen Shakespeare season

Leading television writers including Bafta Award-winner Peter Bowker and North Square creator Peter Moffat have been enlisted by the BBC as part of a large scale initiative aiming to bring Shakespeare to a wider audience.

Later this year the Corporation will be screening four programmes inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth but not featuring the actual text. Influenced by the success of last year’s adaptations of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the 90-minute films place Shakespeare’s plays into a contemporary context

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Making ‘Hamlet’ fun in Malaysia

IMAGINE that ‘Hamlet’ is not the Prince of Denmark. Now imagine that his real name is Tengku Hamid Badiuzzaman Ibni Tengku Kintan, a British-educated Malay nobleman. Or Lee Ham Let, the young heir of a multi-million-ringgit matchstick company.

Michael Radford rehearses Al Pacino as Shylock. Posted by Hello
PopMatters Film Interview: Bring It Alive: Interview with Michael Radford

Michael Radford sits at a table set near a window. The morning's grey light is cast on him as if he's posed, his close cropped gray hair and dark sweater composing a kind of portrait -- precise, quiet, assured. The director best known for Il Postino has recently tackled another project as attentive to tone as theme and character, William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Set in 16th century Venice, the film follows the complicated relationships -- the fealties and tricks -- between the merchant Antonio (Jeremy Irons) and his beloved friend Bassanio (Joseph Fiennes). When Bassanio asks Antonio for money in order to court the lovely (and very wealthy) Portia (Lynn Collins), Antonio borrows it from the Jewish usurer Shylock (Al Pacino), bitter after years of abuse from the Gentiles, who abhor but make use of his money lending services. When Shylock's daughter Jessica (Zuleikha Robinson) runs off with a Christian boy, the father is distraught, and he takes out his vengeance on Antonio, in a debtor's court: he hopes to exact literally from his client the price they agreed on, the famous "pound of flesh."
Shakespeare's Bottom pinched by Levi admen

Its stylish adverts have helped to launch -or relaunch - the careers of countless actors and musicians over the past two decades. From Marvin Gaye to The Clash, Nick Kamen to a struggling young actor called Brad Pitt, many have enjoyed the benefit of the so-called "Levi's effect".

Now the jeans manufacturer is to give William Shakespeare's career a boost after turning to the Bard for its latest television campaign.

Amanda Sudano is Titania in the new Levi's advertisement
In a marked departure from its usual formula of using pop music soundtracks to create a cool, rebellious image, Levi's new advert is an excerpt from Shakespeare's romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, complete with original Shakespearean dialogue.

The commercial, to be launched on Valentine's Day, is based on Act III Scene 1 of the play and stars Amanda Sudano, daughter of the Seventies disco diva Donna Summer, as Titania. It shows a romantic encounter between Bottom and Titania, queen of the fairies, set in contemporary Los Angeles.

Although the language is complex and archaic, Levi's says it is not worried that it will go over the heads of young jeans buyers.

"I think we underestimate young people today. Our research shows that they understand it immediately," said Kenny Wilson, brand president for Levi's Europe.

He said that Levi's chose A Midsummer Night's Dream as the basis for its new advertisement to be different and stand out: "It demonstrates independence and freedom of thought. Young people appreciate the fact that it's not the same as anything else on television."

Levi's is hoping the £21 million campaign will help reverse a seven-year decline which has seen its sales plummet by 42 per cent.

Industry experts say the company has been hit by a series of unpredictable changes in taste.

"For a period in the late Nineties denim became unfashionable," said Louise Foster, of the fashion trade magazine Draper's Record. "501s - Levi's flagship brand - in particular suffered from the so-called `Jeremy Clarkson effect', the association with men in middle youth.

"But when demand for denim returned Levi's found itself caught between cheap jeans and cooler, more expensive designer brands such as Diesel."

In the ad, Bottom exits a factory walking past a gang of older men wearing unfashionably high-waisted jeans. One of the men says, "Bottom, thou art changed, what do I see on thee?", as he grabs Bottom's loose fit 501s.

The focus switches to Titania, a waitress sweeping up in a cafe, who says: "What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?" She is mysteriously drawn out on to the street towards Bottom, exclaiming, "Mine eye is enthralled to thy shape". The ad ends with Titiana whispering to Bottom: "I love thee."

Monday, January 24, 2005

Was Shakespeare gay, children?

A campaign aimed at encouraging children to question whether William Shakespeare was homosexual has been defended by the head of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The campaign, launched by the Schools Out! lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender group, aims to teach children in schools about historical figures and their sexuality.

Other famous figures on the Schools Out! website - backed by a Department for Education and Skills grant - include Florence Nightingale, King James I, Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci."
ecoShakespeare: Shakespeare and ecology

The 2005 meeting of the British Shakespeare Association at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 1-4 September 2005 will include a seminar for 'Shakespeare and ecology' led by Gabriel Egan (Loughborough University) and Kevin De Ornellas (Queen's University of Belfast).

The most pressing social and political problem of our time, ecological degradation, has had virtually no impact upon Shakespeare studies to date. Debates about how the countryside and animals are exploited by humans are apparent in Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic and non- dramatic writing, but, since their productive forces were not sufficiently developed to make the widescale changes that we've become capable of, it is easily but wrongly assumed that ecological concern emerged only in the last 50 years. In fact, arguments about how to define the natural in contradistinction from the human, about the proper relations of these two spheres, and the ideological and political purposes to which arguments about nature might be put have long been apparent in literature and drama, as work on the Romantics has shown."
The New York Times Sunday Book Review

Essay: Who Owns Shakespeare?

Published: January 23, 2005

Will in the World,'' the biography of Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt, was on this paper's best-seller list for nine weeks. Its publisher, W. W. Norton, estimates that out of 200,000 copies in print, 150,000 have been sold. With its intense yet informal prose, wealth of historical material and illuminating textual analyses, the book paints a vivid picture of Elizabethan England and Shakespeare's place in it.

But whether it belongs on the nonfiction list, where it was, or the fiction one, is a matter of some debate. Outside of his astonishing body of work, the playwright didn't leave materials of the kind biographers have traditionally relied on. So in order to unite the Shakespeare who left a will and one surviving letter with the Shakespeare who wrote ''Hamlet'' and ''King Lear,'' Greenblatt took imaginative leaps. The result is a book shot through with ''might haves,'' ''could haves'' and ''may well haves,'' chief among them that Shakespeare's father might have been a Catholic and an alcoholic and that Shakespeare could have seen the execution of a Jew accused of treason, which may well have affected his characterization of Shylock in ''Merchant of Venice

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Variety's Review of Shakespeare Behind Bars

What brave new documentary is this, that has such conviction in it? 'Tis 'Shakespeare Behind Bars,' an arresting account of inmate thesps preparing and performing a production of 'The Tempest' at Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in La Grange, Ky. Pic could find appreciative auds in limited theatrical furloughs prior to global tube airings, and may later be used as a teaching tool in theater, sociology and criminal science disciplines."
Husband's suicide evokes comparisons to Shakespeare play

It's being compared to the tragic ending of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

Italian television reports that a man in northern Italy killed himself out of grief over his ailing wife, hours before the woman came out of a four-months-long coma.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

So Rosalind, the daughter of an exiled duke, hides behind the verbal dexterity she practices with her cousin Celia (the pouty, flirty Rebecca Callard) and a fool named Touchstone (Michael Siberry, who evinces a lively wit). This Rosalind has a sharp tongue that surprises even herself, and Rebecca Hall renders Rosalind's often complicated language with a wholly comprehensible sense of its meaning.

 Posted by Hello
Director's daughter poses as she likes it

In his lucid new production of 'As You Like It,' Sir Peter Hall - the renowned British director who has been the head of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre - casts his daughter, Rebecca, to play the starring role of Rosalind. It's blatant nepotism, but nobody seems to mind much.

That's because Rebecca comes by her talents honestly, showing the same fluency with Shakespeare as did her father and her brother, Edward, the director who made waves in New York last year with audacious productions of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and the Henry VI trilogy."
Film Threat - Reviews
Another review for Shakespeare Behind Bars. He gives it 3 1/2 stars.

SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS follows an all-male Shakespeare company working behind bars at Kentucky’s Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. For one year a cast comprised of convicted felons rehearse and perform a full production of Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest, a play fittingly about forgiveness.

Marking their seventh year as an acting ensemble in the film, the inmates cast themselves according to their lives and in relation to the crimes for which they are serving a prison sentence. Just as in Shakespeare’s day, men play all the female roles. They swear that the roles “pick them”, and this proves to be an uncanny truth, as many of the men experience powerful epiphanies while exploring their characters. Twice a week, the inmates work with volunteer director Curt Tofteland, who pushes them to find their own truth within each part.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Shakespeare’s Globe Announces UK Tour of Faith-Based Schools

In the same week as the chief inspector of schools speech on citizenship, Globe Education announces a national tour to visit both multi-faith and single-faith schools. The tour will visit eight cities and 63 schools including Muslim, Catholic and Church of England single-faith schools.

Globe Education’s Magic in the Web tour is inspired by the clash of faiths in Shakespeare’s Othello. In workshop performances, five actors will work with students to explore the play’s issues of justice, judgement and forgiveness. This is Globe Education’s first UK tour.

Following the performance, students will be asked to design two handkerchiefs which feature in Othello. The first, the ‘handkerchief of love’, is Othello’s first gift to his new wife Desdemona and is ‘spotted with strawberries’ (act III, scene VI). The second, a ‘handkerchief of peace’, is offered to Othello by Desdemona to soothe him when he believes she has been unfaithful. This handkerchief will draw on students’ own interpretations of peace.

Handkerchiefs in many Islamic lands were objects of far greater beauty and size than the modern European equivalent. These finely embroidered cloths were important symbols of status and dignity.

The Magic in the Web project is free to all schools. It follows a year-long exploration of Shakespeare and Islam at the Globe in 2004.

The tour will include five Islamic schools. Earlier this week David Bell questioned whether such schools equipped their pupils for living in modern Britain.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Simon Russell Beale: A performer at his peak.

Simon Russell Beale can justifiably be called the best actor of his generation. Now he is tackling Shakespeare's trickiest tragic hero - Macbeth at London's Almeida Theater. He talks to Paul Taylor.
Playbill News: Public Theater to Offer Two Summer Productions at the Delacorte

Two productions will be offered this summer at Shakespeare in Central Park. The New York Times reports that both As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream will be presented in summer 2005 at the Delacorte Theater. The stagings will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Public Theater.

The Rivals' Mark Lamos, a Tony nominee for his direction of Our Country's Good, will helm Shakespeare's As You Like It, which will run June 25-July 17. Outgoing Public Theater producer George C. Wolfe will direct the second summer Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Dream is scheduled to play the Delacorte Aug. 9-Sept. 4.

Summer 2005 will mark the first time in four years that the Public has presented two separate Shakespeare productions. Public Theater executive director Mara Manus told the Times that increased donations for the Public's 50th anniversary will allow two productions this coming summer. 'Financially, we're in a much better place,' explained Manus"
KBYU-FM Presents "About Shakespeare"

About Shakespeare is a new radio series from KBYU-FM. Listeners will get to know a host of guest scholars as they speak about issues from Shakespeare and family life, to Shakespearean comedic themes, Shakespeare and film, the task of the Shakespearean actor, period performance practice compared with modern expectations, Victorian painters and their attraction to the dramatic moments in Shakespeare, and more. Drawing on the literary, historical, and thespian expertise of BYU faculty and other experts in the field, the series is hosted by Sharon Swenson of the BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts.

Hear it online at Thursday’s at 9 p.m. beginning January 13

Monday, January 17, 2005

Shakespeare never suffered from Syphilis, story challenged by Indian

Dublin - A shocking story has appeared in press that William Shakespeare was suffering from syphilis. Even earlier many authors attempted to malign him on some pretext or the other and gave a negative view of his early life. Some of them even went to the extent of doubting his credibility as a playwright. Their main purpose seems to be destructive.

In this connection, we sought for the comments of Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist from India, and also because of his special interest in the literature of Shakespeare, which has been teaching to his students for a few years.

Dr. Raj Baldev gave his comments from New Delhi - 'Nothing could be more unpardonable and unforgivable than the act of disgracing the great personality like William Shakespeare, the great English Playwright, leveling a wild allegation against him that he was suffering from syphilis."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sheik Meets Shakespeare

Would Caliban have been more at home in the mangrove forests of the Sunderbans than on the island in The Tempest? Or was Puck a "pakhi" before he morphed into a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream?

The first few pages of Kalyan Ray's debut novel Eastwords give a glimpse of an enticing land and a fascinating narrative. Here, Shakespeare pops up on Indian shores and hobnobs with our own Sheikh Piru, straight from the pages of Parashura's Ulot Puran.

Eastwords is a novel that the professor of English literature in Morris College of the US has written between semesters and bundles of answer scripts.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Crash pad: Tempest goes to Cyclorama

Boston Theatre Works was gearing up to present The Tempest at its home base, the Tremont Theatre next to the Wang.

That was until a car drove through a windowand onto the stage, forcing the theater to close and leaving the company without a venue for its production of Shakespeare's late comedy.

But all was not lost: Thanks to some creative thinking and assistance from the city, ``The Tempest'' will play as scheduled, but in a different venue: the Cyclorama at the Boston Center of the Arts, starting today
Shakespeare set to a can-can

Anyone who has read the plays of William Shakespeare knows there is a mesmerizing musicality to his Elizabethan verse that has never been matched.

But Alaric Jans hears the music beyond the words. As resident composer at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, he has created music for 25 plays and is currently working, along with lyricist Cheri Coons, on the upcoming production of 'Measure for Measure.'"
Royal Shakespeare Company's King Lear Begins Previews Jan. 13

The Royal Shakespeare Company, criticized for abandoning a regular London home when Adrian Noble pulled them out of the Barbican Centre, is — under Michael Boyd — colonizing the West End with a vengeance.

Corin Redgrave previews his King Lear at the Albery beginning Jan. 13, following the RSC’s Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet at the same address. And the Playhouse, Arts and Soho theatres are also preparing to welcome the Stratford-siders.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Shakespeare's Writings Indicate He May Have Had Syphilis

Shakespeare's name usually inspires thoughts of kings, fairies, lovers, wars and poetic genius--not syphilis.

Infectious Diseases Society of America - However, some passages in his plays and sonnets indicate that the Bard may have suffered from one or more venereal infections, according to an article in the Feb. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Although syphilis is relatively uncommon now, it was rampant five centuries ago, transmitted from country to country by sailors, soldiers and merchants. Symptoms of syphilis can include genital lesions; rashes on the torso, palms, and soles of the feet; neurological problems; and destroyed facial tissue. Shakespeare alluded to sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms--and treatments--in several of his plays and poems, including Troilus and Cressida, As You Like It, and Sonnets."

Monday, January 10, 2005

FalconTheatre: The Comedy of Errors meets Aerosmith

It's a “Crazy” case of mistaken identities, sex, drugs and rock and roll as the Troubadour Theater Company send up the Bard with their raucous new parody of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors mixed with the music of American rock icon, Aerosmith. So “Walk This Way” to experience the “Sweet Emotion” of Shakespeare because when the Troubies are in town, you “Don't Wanna Miss a Thing!”

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Oh, Shakespeare!

By E.G. Porciuncula
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page C4 of the January 10, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

REPERTORY Philippines is shaking up Shakespeare in its first offering for 2005, 'Oh Romeo,' a farce with music by Ephraim Kishon.
The play has Joy Virata as director and an all-star cast: Pinky Amador, Michael Williams and Miguel Faustmann.
'It's a great combination of high literature and low comedy,' says Virata, 'a mix of the author's dialogue in modern language and lingo, and lines in the Shakespearean style.'
The proof of the spoof is this premise: What happens if Shakespeare's Romeo (Williams) and Juliet (Amador) didn't die, but instead lived through a modern-day type of marriage with all its ups and downs? Shakespeare (Faustmann) himself will help solve this riotous riddle."
Shakespeare's gifts to a modern world: SHAKESPEARE AFTER ALL by Marjorie Garber
She has a way with Shakespeare

NEW YORK -- When people tell Lynn Collins she is going to be the ultimate Shakespearean actress of her generation, her response is crisp and logical.

''Why do they have to put 'Shakespearean' in front of that?' she shoots back."
Studio France- Shakespeare Workshops

Studio France is hosting Shakespeare workshops in France, an hour North of Toulouse. Julia Wilson-Dickson, a world famous specialist in her field of voice and dialect, spends a week teaching students to celebrate Shakespeare, not fear it. This workshop is perfect for actors and is about giving you more confidence in your voice, and ways of using it to make the words come alive with honesty and realism"

Friday, January 07, 2005

Chortler - Something About Hamlet

(Ed note: This is a joke)

Today we present the first in our series of Shakespeare adaptations for the modern cinema.

Something About Hamlet

Hamlet (screen genius Adam Sandler) offers a riveting performance as a carefree, party animal living the good life when he is informed of his father's death and mother's marriage to his Uncle Claudius (Bill Murray). Claudius, who has taken over control of the business empire belonging to Hamlet's father, immediately orders Hamlet home. Hamlet's funds are cut off. Unable to return to the college life he loves, he accepts a tidy sum to court Ophelia (the lovely Kate Hudson wearing far too many clothes.) But her brother Laertes (ferret-like Will Ferrell) suspects Hamlet's carnal intentions and schemes to break up the relationship. Meanwhile, Hamlet's friend Horatio (high-strung Ben Stiller) sees Hamlet's father's ghost (overacted by a bored Patrick Stewart) and freaks out in his most hilarious neurotic episode since "Along Came Juliet."

Hamlet eventually has a reluctant conversation with his father's ghost, who informs him he must renounce his slacker ways and get a job in order to save the family business and wrest control from his evil uncle. However, Hamlet decides instead to fake a nervous breakdown, giving him time to work on his murder mystery screenplay. Suffering from severe writer's block, he decides to use his father's actual murder as the template for his languishing literary endeavor. The scene in which he speaks to the skull of Yorick during a brain-storming session, moving it from side to side for improved reception while inquiring, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?" is vintage Sandler.

The plot gets complicated as Claudius prepares to send his seemingly deranged and extremely annoying nephew off to England to a secluded drug rehabilitation clinic. Hamlet quickly finishes and discreetly sells his screenplay. Claudius comes across Hamlet's direct-to-video movie on HBO, and is furious that he has not been included in the credits of this unauthorized biography. Hamlet catches Claudius on the phone with his lawyer, and considers killing him right then and there, but decides against it. Instead, he confronts his mother, Gertrude (lantern-jawed Glenn Close in a familiar role) about possible copyright infringement. But Hamlet suddenly sees the ghost of his father again and freaks out Sandler-style in one of the funniest scenes of the entire movie. However, this convinces his mother that drug rehab might indeed be a wise option.

So Hamlet is hurriedly sent off to England. While in route, he discovers his film has been pirated and bootleg copies are being sold on the Internet. He immediately returns home to file a lawsuit. But back at the castle, Ophelia is grieving the death of her father and the emotional abandonment by Hamlet, and like everybody else in this neurotically depressing movie, she freaks out, and drowns herself in one of the film's more poignant scenes. A sharp departure from Kate Hudson's typical genre of “feel-good flicks,” this scene leaves the viewer bummed out and bemoaning the waste of good eye candy.

In a petulant fit, "metrosexual poster child" Laertes vows revenge and plots with Claudius to kill Hamlet with a poison letter opener (with an inlaid jade handle.) Claudius also secures a poison keg of beer, just in case. Hamlet arrives home -- as Ophelia is being buried -- and tells Horatio that Uncle Claudius has set him up. Hamlet then confesses to having Rosencrantz (Carrot Top) and Guildenstern (Howie Mandel) whacked in retaliation. Horatio (Stiller) freaks out (again). Later, in a welcome bit of comic relief, Laertes suddenly falls through the door and challenges Hamlet. Highly irritated by Laertes' whiny voice, Hamlet goes into a rage, getting into a room-clearing brawl. After an intense struggle over the letter opener, he stabs Laertes in the hand with it.

Gertrude, unaware of the poisoned keg kept in reserve in case Laertes is too big a wimp to finish Hamlet off, succumbs to the seductive allures of an ice-cold keg and poisons herself, too. Dying in a drunken stupor, she confesses Claudius' treachery and Laertes nods in silent affirmation lest he be pummeled again. Hamlet then confronts his Uncle Claudius about intellectual property, as Claudius cynically assaults him with noogies in a way only Bill Murray can. Indulging the audience, Hamlet kills Claudius with a tire iron and finishes off the keg, expiring with a loud belch of satisfaction.

The preceding piece was donated to Chortler by the Marshall Dunn Satire Emporium.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


The Philomath Films documentary about the Kentucky Shakespeare's program Shakespeare Behind Bars has been selected as one of 16 documentaries (out of 624 entries) for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

The 90 minute documentary follows the nine month long process of bringing William Shakespeare's play, The Tempest, to performance.

Shakespeare Behind Bars is the only North American Shakespeare Company contained within the walls of a medium security adult male prison. Shakespeare Behind Bars uses an original practices approach to producing full length productions using the First Folio Text with the male inmates playing all the roles.

Below is the blurb from the Sundance Festival site:

Shakespeare Behind Bars
U.S.A., 2004, 92 Minutes, color

Take Shakespeare's final play The Tempest, with its violent seas, windswept island, crucial connection to nature, and underlying theme of forgiveness, and bring it into a prison, the ultimate venue of confinement. The result is an extraordinary story about the creative process and the power of art to heal and redeem--in a place where the very act of participation in theatre is a human triumph and a means of personal liberation.

In Hank Rogerson's revelatory trip into and around this prison production, we embark on a year-long journey with the Shakespeare Behind Bars theatre troupe. Led by Shakespearean volunteer director Curt Tofteland, whose innovative work with Luther Luckett inmates began in the mid-1990s, the prisoners cast themselves in roles reflecting their personal history and fate. Their individual stories, including information about their heinous crimes, are interwoven with the plot of The Tempest as the inmates delve deeply into the characters they portray while confronting their personal demons.

Shakespeare Behind Bars is a tremendously moving film, where the protagonists are not merely defined by their crimes but are afforded dignity and a fresh chance to look truth in the eye, and embrace it.— Diane Weyermann

Producer : Jilann Spitzmiller
Cinematographer : Shana Hagan
Editor : Victor Livingston
Music : James Wesley Stemple

Screening Times
Friday , Jan 21 11:30 AM Prospector Square Theatre SHKBR21PD
Saturday , Jan 22 1:00 PM Screening Room, Sundance Village SHKBR22SD
Sunday , Jan 23 12:45 PM Broadway Centre Cinemas V, SLC SHKBR23BD
Sunday , Jan 23 11:30 PM Holiday Village Cinema II SHKBR232L
Wednesday , Jan 26 10:00 PM Holiday Village Cinema IV SHKBR264N
Friday , Jan 28 8:30 PM Holiday Village Cinema II SHKBR282N

Juliet's Balcony Posted by Hello
Veronese want Romeos to stop

City officials want to stop people posting love letters on wall of Juliet's balcony

Imagine if Romeo had text-messaged his love to Juliet. Romantic? Not, says the founder of Verona's Juliet Club.

Giulio Tamassia is upset that city officials want to stop people from posting their love-letters on a medieval wall outside Juliet's house, known to tourists as Casa di Giulietta.

Chewing gum is the culprit, says city official Andrea Spiazii. It's hazardous to the walls, and one of the means used by people to post their letters to the wall.

The city estimates it will take four months to rid the gum from the walls, and unfortunately, in the process, the thousands of letters already there, will be thrown in the trash.

But the city doesn't want to discourage visitors from coming to the legendary house, so it has decided to provide lovelorn pilgrims with plaster boards to post their heartfelt messages.

Thought is also being given to setting up a giant screen in the house's courtyard to display text messages sent via cell phones.
These novel ideas are a Shakespearean tragedy, says Tamassia. Text messaging kills the romantic mood, and that shouldn't be the case in one of Italy's most famous houses. The letters are a tradition that must be preserved and which can not be substituted by technology, he adds.

Imagine the possibilities: 4 ME U R THE 1.

Shakespeare Society Holds Ian McKellen Film Retrospective

The New York-based Shakespeare Society, which has hosted film retrospectives of the Bard-related work of Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom and Derek Jacobi, will give Ian McKellen the star treatment on Feb. 7."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Kathakali version of Julius Caesar staged- The Times of India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A solo act of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar using the techniques of Kathakali theatre was staged here on Tuesday night.

The one-hour performance by noted actor Suresh of Margi Kathakali School depicted some of the dramatic moments in Shakespeare's play culminating in the assassination of the Roman dictator and his horrid realisation that those who conspired against him included his friend Brutus.

"Though Kathakali versions of King Lear and Othello had been tried earlier, the present one seems novel in many ways. Here we used the technique of pakarnnattam , by which the same actor becomes different characters," Suresh said.
Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference

The Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference will convene from April 7 - 10 at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Notable speakers will include Michael Cecil, the 8th Marquess of Exeter and the present Lord Burghley; Prof Edith Friedler; Prof Alan Nelson; Prof Elizabeth Eckhart; Prof Kevin Simpson; Prof Roger Stritmatter; Prof Ren Draya; Dr Michael Delahoyde; Dr Eric Altschuler; Prof Jon Wyneken; Mark Anderson; Richard Whalen; Dr Jan Sheffer and many others.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


THROUGH SHAKESPEARE'S 'The Tempest,' playwright Tom Ziegler brings Fanny Kemble to life. Her name doesn't ring a bell? Well, see the play 'Mrs. Kemble's Tempest' at the Walnut Street Theatre through Jan. 23, and her story unfolds.

Shakespeare's story of one woman's turbulent life sort of parallels Kemble's. 'Kemble's Tempest' illustrates her battle with smallpox, and the dissonance and dismay she felt upon discovering that her Philadelphia-born husband was one of this country's largest slave owners."
The Merchant of Venice review by Frank Kermode: Our Muddy Vesture
This movie version of the play will just about do. It has most of the virtues and most of the faults endemic to such ventures, but it exposes the latter less grossly than some. As Shylock Pacino succeeds as any good, experienced actor should, and Jeremy Irons is appallingly sad as Antonio, just as he promises to be in the opening line of the play. He cannot understand why he is so sad but the film all too insistently offers a complete explanation. Joseph Fiennes as Bassanio shows us why the Christians in this play are, on the whole, such an unlikeable lot. Lynn Collins as Portia looks as good as she ought to, and redeems some tiresome moments in the early scenes by being startlingly good and grave in the trial scene. Since the piece is set in Venice there is a lot of photography, and some of the results are indeed beautiful. The movie runs for 131 minutes and feels longer, partly no doubt because quite often nothing strictly relevant is actually happening � and certainly not because it includes boring quantities of Shakespeare�s text."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Merchant of Venice Posted by Hello

Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons Posted by Hello

Al Pacino plays Shylock as a man whose grief equals his viciousness.

 Posted by Hello
The New York Times Review

The Merchant of Venice: Putting a Still-Vexed Play in a Historical Context

By A. O. Scott
Directed by Michael Radford (best known for "Il Postino"), "The Merchant of Venice," which stars Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes and Lynn Collins, is better-than-average screen Shakespeare: intelligent without being showily clever, and motivated more by genuine fascination with the play's language and ideas than by a desire to cannibalize its author's cultural prestige.
Shakespeare in Malta

Shakespeare made an appearance in Vittoriosa last month at the Lorenzo GafĂ  Boys' Secondary School annual Prize Day.

Staff and students of the school presented excerpts from The Merchant of Venice in Maltese, translated by Cyprian Dalli, following months of rehearsals during school breaks.

The school band and choir, made up of staff members, students, former students, parents and friends of the school performed and were followed by a less traditional but energetic breakdance show.

The effort and commitment put in by staff and students to ensure a successful Prize Day production was praised by the Education Minister, Dr Louis Galea, who in a short speech said the performance was a successful start for this scholastic year.

Prizes were then presented to prize winners by the Director-General of Education, Dr Cecilia Borg.