Browsing Tag

Shakespeare

Shakespeare in the Ballpark

September 26, 2014

Dear Reader,

Last Friday night I was freezing and enthralled as Commonwealth Shakespeare Company put on their fantastic event “Shakespeare at Fenway.

2014-09-20t163013z_2_gm1ea9k0wo201_rtrmadp_tr3_usa-cultureThey performed scenes from many famous Shakespeare plays including OthelloA Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing, making the audience alternately burst into laughter and grow quiet and contemplative. The show had its hiccups, as the fire alarm went off for a while in the middle of a scene and it was so cold the audience was shivering in their seats, but it was easy to see that everyone was hungry for more Shakespeare.

10375905_10203004260887367_7264720633089764359_nWhich one can easily get by checking out what they have coming up. You can find that here 🙂

 

 

Kill Shakespeare

August 20, 2014

Dear Reader,

Kill Shakespeare has something of the flavor of Lost in Austen, although much bloodier and more full of creepy ladies throwing the word “hecate” around. It employs the same disconcerting and effective tactic of taking stories that are so ingrained in our collective consciousness and making them run a different course. And thus we have a comic where Juliet did not kill herself after Romeo died, instead becoming a Shakespearean mockingjay out to stop the tyranny of Richard III (who apparently has not yet had his “My kingdom for a horse!” moment yet). In fact, he is ruling and with an iron fist. It appears that none of his Shakespeare-created enemies could stop him so he is now burning villages and searching for unsuspecting messiah figures.Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am Tonight

This messiah is none other than Hamlet, who is here given a chance to stop being such a complete and utter ass. Hamlet still struggles with his demons, sometimes quite literally as above, but he has a purpose outside his mad quest to avenge his father. Don’t get me wrong, he still has daddy issues that plague him throughout the text. But his goal becomes larger: to find and kill the mysterious being that is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is treated alternately as a great wizard with a magical quill that can shape destiny and change fate, and as a literal god. People don’t say “For God’s sake” in this. They say “For Will’s Sake.” He is their creator and the shaper of their destinies and their is a bit of a consciousness that they are just puppets in his stories. But now, the puppet strings have been severed because he is somehow no longer calling the shots. One can’t help but wonder what will happen when the author comes back and sees his characters have run amok.Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am TonightAnd so Lady Macbeth is consorting with Richard III and plotting with Iago, Juliet is teaming up with Othello and Falstaff and flirting with Hamlet. It is all so disconcerting. And so much fun. Minor characters weave in and out of the pages, with Demetrius and Lysander apparently friends again (though with no Hermia and Helena yet to be seen), and Shakespearean easter eggs abound. Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am TonightThe Weird Sisters from Macbeth are doing the Lady’s bidding now, and Hamlet is wavering in his purpose to kill the great wizard Shakespeare. There is even a bonus comic about the magical manipulation involved in the murder of Julius Caesar. It is a Shakespearean fan’s dream, to be honest. It is just so much fun to see these characters outside of their set lines and actions. Never more so than when Juliet is being everything her character promised to be but never achieved in Romeo and Juliet. Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am TonightJuliet was always the wiser one in that relationship, always the one to call a halt and beg that they not get carried away. She takes ninety percent of the action and it is good to see her survive and thrive. Thank Will for that.Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am TonightFalstaff is a barrel of fun, as per usual. I can’t wait to see if they deepen his character a bit. I am just through the first volume and immediately picked up the next. Shakespearean fan or not, this is a comic that most everyone would enjoy. It is full of action, blood, political intrigue, romance, and kickass art. And I hear the Lady Viola is going to be putting in an appearance. So all you Shakespeare on the Commons folks, stay tuned. Kill Shakespeare-The Person I Am TonightYou can pick up the first three volumes here  and at most comic stores, and the fourth should be coming out pretty soon. You can get the individual issues for the fourth volume already (the third one comes out the 27th). Pick it up and tell me what you think!

Shakespeare on the Commons

August 4, 2014

Dear Reader,

Shakespeare in the park is a big city tradition, allowing the greenery of many a city to experience the bard’s immortal tongue and plot twists. Boston has its own Shakespeare on the Commons tradition, putting on a play every summer right on Boston Commons. It is playing right now and Twelfth Night is the play of choice. Twelfth Night happens to be my personal favorite Shakespearean comedy, and it has been many a day since I have seen it performed. So I was more than happy to risk the almost certain rain and dampened grass for a leisurely three hours listening to those wonderful words. (It almosssst rained but didn’t. The gods were with us).Shakespeare on the Commons- The Person I Am Tonight

My compatriots in Shakespeare appreciation and I decided to grab a bite and a cocktail at Stoddard’s, a place I have written about before. We tend to go there after the ballet, as it is right around the corner from the Boston Opera House. But that means it is also really close to the Commons, and thus a great choice if you are headed down to this event. Their food is pretty phenomenal and still reasonably priced. My friend Laura had poutine, a favorite of hers and something I have seen more and more in Boston. I, on the other hand, opted for an all-American burger and fries. It was exactly perfect.Shakespeare on the Commons- The Person I Am Tonight

My favorite drink to get there is a French 75, which usually includes gin. I ask for it with cognac instead and it is just out of this world delicious. The bartenders there are the ones that actually introduced me to that substitution and are really great at improvising. Plus, their drink menu changes really often and is always full of really memorable and oddly named concoctions.  Shakespeare on the Commons- The Person I Am Tonight

But to the Shakespeare. Twelfth Night runs until August 10 and is free to attend. They do a pass the hat with a suggested donation of $10 so its all very reasonable. And Ben & Jerry’s parks a tantalizing truck right behind you too. All very convenient and lovely. The performance is a lot of fun. I tend to prefer Twelfth Night  played for its darker and more subtle elements, and that is not something this production does in the least, but I still had a great time.Shakespeare on the Commons- The Person I Am Tonight

The actors are decent, with some standing out as being truly good (Malvolio, Olivia, and a handsome Antonio… it was the voice). Theres a strange eighties vibe going on with the sets and music that I could have done without and the production is best when they let Shakespeare happen without so much interference… but if you can overlook that then you are in for a fun time. Shakespeare on the Commons- The Person I Am Tonight

I certainly had a sweet time sharing a blanket and some tea with friends. A very English major outing, of course, but enjoyable for all. Hope you guys have a chance to catch it before it’s gone!

Sorry these pictures aren’t mine, photography is rather discouraged.

Big Damn Heroes

June 4, 2014

Dear Reader,

I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past recently and went all giddy with happiness. I sat down in the theatre and felt like a child waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of pancakes and the sounds of wrapping paper rustling. Except I could smell mozzarella sticks and popcorn and hear the theme from X2 pumping through the speakers. Needless to say, I was a happy camper. I was still happy when, like thirty minutes into the movie, I started to cry just a little (more than a little). It had some really touching moments! And it is also pretty intense, as the future no fan ever wanted some of his or her favorite characters to ever experience unfolds before the eyes. Or such a past for that matter. Every character in the movie is at their lowest low, constantly dodging fiery death and their own fears and hatreds.The Person I Am Tonight- Big Damn Heroes

Not to dwell on the tragic or anything. It is also really funny and, of course, action packed with daring heroics. Everything about it pleased me and if you haven’t seen it I would really really encourage you to. I will likely write up another post in a bit that is more spoiler filled, as their are a couple things I really want to talk about. But for now, I just want to recount how this movie led me to reconsider other movies like it. It basically just made me want to watch all the X-Men movies (yes even that one. And that other one). But also… all the Marvel movies. Sorry DC. Sometimes you are good too. But this is Marvel’s show. The Person I Am Tonight- Big Damn Heroes

So I watched Thor last night. Holy God! I remember watching it when it first came out and really liking it. But something about watching it again just made it into something that blew my mind. It’s like I was having the best cup of hot chocolate ever and then someone poured Bailey’s into it. That is Thor now. And X-Men is the Bailey’s of superhero movies at the moment. Thor is a Shakespearean play come to life as a comic book movie, unsurprising as Kenneth Branagh directs, and what’s more– it actually works as such. The Person I Am Tonight- Big Damn Heroes

It is a self-contained movie, something comic book movies have sometimes struggled with in the past, and it is just… great. It is a great movie all on its own, even without and beyond its source material. It is the story of two brothers, both so opposite and both so lost, trying to find a way to make their father love and approve of them. What is more Greek or Shakespearean than that? This could have been performed on the stones of Athenian theaters or the boards in London-town and it is a story that everyone could relate to. Especially the Greeks. They were closer to the gods than we.The Person I Am Tonight- Big Damn Heroes

 

And at its core, the new X-Men is also just such a fundamental story. A group of people who have lost their hope, watching their worst fears materialize into a future they don’t know how to prevent. Add in some togas and its got all the makings of a modern Julius Caesar, with Wolverine desperately pointing his finger and proclaiming that the Ides of March will soon be upon us all. The Person I Am Tonight- Big Damn HeroesSo today I am thinking about all those Big Damn Heroes and their stories. I am so happy to be able to sit a spell and listen.