Shakespeare meme

  • Dec. 14th, 2010 at 12:09 PM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
Meme stolen from [ profile] viorica8957.

Bold the ones you've seen stage productions of, italicize the ones you've seen movies of, underline the ones you've read or listened to, and add a star to any you've performed in, done readings of, or in which you've otherwise theatrically participated.

the plays )

I also saw a play that was several of the history plays stuck together, but I don't remember which and that probably doesn't count.

Also, I don't use it much, but if anyone wants my tumblr of people I find hot and stuff I'm watching/thinking about, it's under the same name. Feel free to give me yours!

Everybody's Shakespeare

  • Jul. 21st, 2010 at 7:34 AM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
First off, my friend James has been here for a week, so I totally lost track of the internets. I am trying to catch up, but don't know how far I'll get. Anyway, one of the things we always do when he visits in the summer is see every outdoor Shakespeare production we can. We've got (at least) two companies in Seattle, GreenStage and Wooden O, and this year we saw Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello in three days.

Yes. That is a lot of Shakespeare.

Ever since I got back into acting about a year ago (two whole productions!), going to plays has become more interesting. In the sense that I am contemplating whether I can work for X company, and get to see people I've worked with in another context. The best was seeing my Oberon as Bat Boy, but there were three BLT alums in the shows this weekend. I got to see Starcat and Lysander fight as Tybalt and Benvolio, so that was surreal.

Anyway, it got me thinking. I would like to do more Shakespeare. Beyond that, I'd love to do more acting. I want to see what I can do before I inevitably decide I suck. But I lost several acting years in there, doing another (perfectly worthy) things, and now I wonder. I loved playing Puck. I'm a Puck-type, I guess you'd say. I'm not a leading lady. Neither am I a character actress. Right now, I'm a 31-year-old who's less than 5'4" and I wonder how long I can hold out as Puck (or Chicklet or whatever else). Have I lost my chance to play Peter Pan? Should I give up the idea of playing Viola or Jo March or Rosalind or Anne Shirley? It seems like men have a little more leeway in the sexless roles, and maybe when my metabolism changes or something I'll read as more of an adult. But I can see myself getting stuck in this weird place where I'm too old to play kids and too short to play adults.

This is not, obviously, a dire thing in community theater. For one thing, they'll cast me younger as long as they can, because it's not high stakes and it's not on film. But it's interesting to look at the make-up of a cast and try to figure out where I fit as an actor, or where I will fit in the future.

Falstaff - Verdi vs. Welles

  • Mar. 11th, 2010 at 9:01 AM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
Last night, [profile] tkp and I attended the Seattle Opera's production of Falstaff. It was a far different experience from the only other I've seen there, Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle paired with Schoenberg's Erwartung. That was an incredibly intense visual and musical experience, unlike anything I'm likely to see again, while Falstaff was much more traditional comic opera.

The production itself was charming: as we wandered in, there were singers on the stage, milling around, stretching, talking--one with a dog, that arrived from somewhere and was not part of the show--and dressing. The back curtain was absent so you could see right through to the wall of the theater. The set was composed of a sort of boardwalk around three side, with stairs and tables and things which were moved around during the course of the show. I think the "behind the scenes" aspect was probably justified by the several references in the libretto to singing. Regardless, it was lighthearted and fun, and set the tone that this was not serious business, though when the opera started everyone was in full costume and the backdrop descended.
more thoughts )

Thoughts on Puck

  • Jan. 11th, 2010 at 3:45 PM
my_daroga: Orson Welles (orson)
This week, rehearsals began for a 50's rock 'n roll version of A Midsummer Night's Dream in which I play Puck. I wanted to get some preliminary thoughts down, in an effort to work through how I'm going to do this, and I thought other people might be interested.

The way the script is put together, basically, 50's pop/rock songs are scattered throughout cut but otherwise unaltered Shakespeare. A prologue is added which I find not only unnecessary but problematic, and here's why:

It makes explicit certain aspects of the period and setting which alter the dynamics between the characters despite the language of Shakespeare being intact in the rest of the play. To wit: The setting is high school. Theseus is the principal, Hippolyta the drama/gym teacher and his fiance. Oberon and Titania are high school royalty, the Mechanicals are mostly former graduate ne'er do wells, and Puck is the (explicitly female) freshman class clown who follows Oberon around.

So far so good (sort of--the prologue is not at ALL Shakespearean in tone, and I fear will do more to confuse than clear up), but what does it mean when we get to the lines which imply a former relationship between Oberon and Hippolyta, or Theseus and Titania? That's not, ultimately, my problem, and good thing. The problems facing Puck are more interesting, I think.
Read more... )

Shakespeare on Film

  • Oct. 20th, 2008 at 12:43 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (rochester)
Due to the enabling power of the Seattle Film Festival Shakespeare series, I was recently afforded the opportunity to see Orson Welles' Macbeth and Othello on screen and restored. As a show of my lack of bias, I also saw Olivier's Hamlet again, and thoroughly enjoyed all three despite what I see as massive problems in each. Perhaps I'll delve into those further at a future time (though I know my Orson posts are not very exciting for all of you!) but I will say that they all offer exciting things to watch and think about even as they also raise questions about filmmaking, Shakespearean adaptation, and character interpretation. (I will say that despite some opinions I've seen to the contrary, and black face politics aside, I think Orson's one of the least ridiculous looking white guys I've ever seen play Othello. Even if his makeup seems to be all over the place over the course of the 3 year filming period, and he looked darker in parts of Jane Eyre and Macbeth.)

I'm struck, every time I see Hamlet in whatever form, at how brilliant it is. I don't know why it would be, considering how many times I've seen it and how much I've apparently memorized, that I should be surprised by it every time. I am not so much a fan of Macbeth, and I honestly don't know Othello well enough to have a firm opinion of it, but Hamlet kills me every time. And I do like Olivier, sometimes; his Hamlet is bizarre and theatrical even when no one's watching, which I suppose is valid enough, though Ophelia is rather awful and I wish he'd sucked it up and let Vivien play her. Certainly, 33 is far too old for an Ophelia playing opposite his 41-year-old Hamlet. Considering Gertrude's 28, this argument seems rather flimsy. Anyway, I suppose it is merely a matter of Hamlet's themes and writing striking a chord with me, though I feel rather unoriginal and redundant, expressing my love thus.

Welles' Macbeth and Othello are quite different from Olivier and from each other, though both are plagued by technical issues arising from lack of funds. One gets the impression that at this point Welles felt trod on and denied enough that he merely wished to get something done, and certain things fell by the wayside. Still, both movies are strong in certain areas, especially if one can get past the first few minutes of Othello which are appallingly edited and difficult to follow. This film, especially, has moments of sublime beauty and exhibits flashes of brilliance through the technical limitations Welles was forced to by paying for most of it himself.

But adapting Shakespeare is always an issue--both men were flogged by critics for taking liberties with the text, though as Branagh's Hamlet proved, presenting unexpurgated Shakespeare is not a foolproof method of translating it to the screen. But by necessity, it's going to be a different experience than watching it on the stage. So my question to you is: Do you think it's been done well? By whom? What's your favorite Shakespeare movie? (Any discussion of the three movies named above is also welcome!)


my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (Default)
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