Podcast: Appeals and Amends

This week’s episode on The Bard and the Bible Podcast is live. It pairs Puck’s closing soliloquy from Act 5 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Paul’s appeal to Philemon for the escaped slave Onesimus in the King James Version of the Bible.

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My 12 Favorite Shakespeare Lines

A friend recently commented on my list of favorite Shakespeare plays by asking what my favorite lines from Shakespeare might be. Wow, is that an impossible task?

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It is even more like choosing a favorite child or grandchild than that list of favorite plays. Continue reading

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Reviewsday: Stratford Festival’s The Tempest

From the first moment, the Stratford Festival’s 2010 production of The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, made me long even more ardently to attend that hallowed spot near Toronto.

Des McAnuff’s direction was outstanding. The stagecraft was incredible. From the opening scene, in which the nearly bare stage became a rolling ship (!), to the final moments, I was wowed by this production.

My first impression of Miranda was that Trish Lindstrom was an odd choice, and the costume and manner of Ariel (Julyana Soelistyo) took some getting used to. I also disliked some of the other costuming choices. But the acting overcame it all, and the first meeting of Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban was hilarious–perfectly played.

I loved the stagecraft of the feather and the sword and the dugout canoe “floating” on the turntable stage. Ariel’s “You fools!” soliloquy was riveting, and the masque (always a difficult scene to stage and play, and thus often condensed or skipped entirely) blew me away.

Most importantly, I can’t say enough about Christopher Plummer’s pitch-perfect portrayal of Prospero. Wow. Every syllable intelligent, accessible, and feelingly delivered.

In short, if you’ve never seen The Tempest performed, see this one. If you’ve seen a dozen different versions of The Tempest, see this one.

I watched it on a DVD I borrowed from the public library. It is also available online via iTunes and other outlets.

 

 

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The Worst Kind

Monday, Monday, sang the Mamas and the Papas. No better time for an insult from the likes of William Shakespeare.

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Today’s insult comes from King Lear. Since we learned the meaning of “cullion” a couple weeks ago (here), we may be ready to hear the Earl of Kent, a Ph.D. in the craft of insult, speak these words to Oswald:

You whoreson cullionly barbermonger! (King Lear, II.2.32).

Truly, a “whoreson cullionly barbermonger” is the worst kind of barbermonger. Believe you me.

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Podcast: Earth Music

A brand new episode on The Bard and the Bible Podcast is now live. This week, the words of Caliban from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises”) meet the words of Psalm 98:4-9 in the King James Version of the Bible.

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My Favorite Shakespeare Plays

When people learn that I am a Shakespeare nut, I am often asked, “What’s your favorite play?” It’s not quite like choosing a favorite child, grandchild, or book. But it’s close.

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Reviewsday: First Impressions of Will

Okay, so I’ve watched only the first episode of the new television series, Will, airing on the cable channel TNT (the second episode is waiting for me on the DVR). So this is only a quick first impression.

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I expected very little. In fact, I expected to hate this “Moulin Rouge Shakespeare” (the show’s creator is Moulin Rouge writer Craig Pearce). But I mostly liked it.  Continue reading

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