Hi friends! Today is our last day of Bard on the Blogs which means I am going to remind you one last time to go forth and enter a Rafflecopter giveaway because we want to give you a Shakespeare retelling, my friends!! Also don’t forget to head over to Alexa’s blog to see what amazing posts she has to offer!!! My very dear friend Amy from Tripping Over Books is gracing us with her lovely presence today and she even made a MAP! WE LOVE MAPS OVER HERE, FOLKS!! Take it away, Ame!
First of all, I want to thank Alyssa and Alexa for hosting this wonderful event! I’ve always enjoyed Shakespeare, so it’s fun to be able to talk about him and his work in all kinds of new and fun ways.
Second of all, I had a great time making my World of Shakespeare map! Even knowing his works in limited detail like I do, it’s clear that very few of Shakespeare’s plays take place in his own country, especially in his own time. This map isn’t about chronology, though. Just straightforward geography. It doesn’t include any of his histories, either.
A few notes: If a play takes place in more than one country, I only used one on my map. That’s simply logistical; I didn’t have enough room. This map is also of Western Europe, but some of Shakespeare’s plays don’t take place there. So, alas, some locations and works are only mere notes on the side. There are also a few plays that don’t have any specific location within a country, so I just made one note for those as well. For places–basically Italy–that had SO MANY PLAYS, I put pushpins in the actual locations, but grouped the notes into bigger groups. You’ll see.
Today we have Candice from The Grown-Up YA chatting about different adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing! As I told you guys before, this play has the best adaptations! Enjoy her reviews and clips below and then head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
One of my favorite Shakespeare plays is Much Ado About Nothing. I’ve loved this one since I was young and feel like I get more out of it every time I watch it! My favorite thing about this particular play is the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice. I’ve always been a fan of witty characters who banter with each other, although wouldn’t surprise me if the reason I loved these types of characters was because of these two!
Today I’m talking about 3 different adaptions of this play, all of which I encourage you to go watch! I’ve focused on the two main characters, Benedick and Beatrice, and about how great I found these performances to be!
Much Ado About Nothing (2012) – Joss Whedon version
When I heard my favorite director was going to be adapting my favorite play starring my favorite TV couple I swear I squealed for DAYS. I literally became the ultimate fan girl. What made this one even better is that it is chock full of Whedon-esque actors.
With a modern day setting and only minimal changes, I was very glad to see that this adaptation stuck to the original play. At first I might have had a teensy bit of trouble separating Benedick and Beatrice from Wesley and Fred, but after a little while that went away. The film definitely has that indie, college film student, foreign film vibe going on but I thought that just added oh so much to the story.
One thing I did notice about the portrayals in this adaptation was that it was very somber at times. While in other adaptations the interactions between these two characters are active and almost border-line comedic, I felt this one took on a darker tone and certain lines felt like a punch in the gut. There was a little back story created between Benedick and Beatrice, so hearing some of their dialogue changed the meaning from light banter to pain-tinged arguments.
Much Ado About Nothing (2011) – Wyndham Theatre/DigitalTheatre.com Version (aka Doctor Who edition)
Now for some more fangirling! Did you know that there is a Doctor Who edition of Much Ado About Nothing? Did you? DID YOU?! I didn’t either.
But there is!!!
So maybe it’s not ACTUALLY a Doctor Who edition, but it does star some of my favorite Doctor Who actors! David Tenant and Catherine Tate star as Benedick and Beatrice and honestly these two can do no wrong! This is actually a stage version but you can watch it at DigitalTheater.com (I know I will be!)
I watched a few clips from it and man oh man David Tenant really knows how to stretch his acting legs. While I love how he acts anyway, there is nothing better than when he really gets going. His whole body expresses what he is saying, his facial expressions are top notch, and throw in that Scottish accent and it’s like something magical happens! And Catherine Tate is just phenomenal period. I love her humor and the way she can deliver a line. While I can’t see her as anything but Donna Noble, the little I’ve seen of her as Beatrice was perfectly endearing!
One thing that I think is oh so important to these roles is the chemistry between the two actors. Benedick and Beatrice, while disliking each other, have this perfect chemistry that allows them to banter and bicker flawlessly. It’s a battle of wits, to the death! Tenant and Tate have great chemistry already which I think makes them both perfect for this bantering couple.
And then there’s this scene…
David Tenant never ceases to entertain me!
Much Ado About Nothing (1993) – Kenneth Brannaugh version
I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t talk about the performance that made me absolutely fall in love with this play, the 1993 film with Kenneth Brannaugh, Emma Thompson and every other popular 90s actor.
Let’s be honest: Kenneth Brannaugh is phenomenal. I have yet to see a role he has played that I have hated. Ditto times a million for Emma Thompson. These two are like the Hollywood dream team in my opinion and their performances as Benedick and Beatrice were spot on.
I love this particular scene. Even though they’re both being pretty scathing to each other, you don’t feel like you’re watching something completely awkward and horrible. It’s like either of them could say something absolutely horrible to you but with the way they said it you would probably laugh and go have a beer with them afterwards.
What strikes most about these two characters is their range as actors. They can both express a myriad of emotions and feelings and thoughts seamlessly. These two characters certainly have a way with words and their tongues are extremely quick; while I’ve never played either role (obviously) I imagine with all those words their meaning can easily be missed. I never felt that Brannaugh nor Thompson let me miss a single thing thanks to their spot on delivery.
This play truly has it all: deception, love, mystery, romance, deception (so much that I listed it twice!), comedy, wit, pain, passion… Out of all Shakepeare’s plays, this one really captured my attention and my heart.
Hello there, friends! Today, we have Emma from Miss Print chatting all about one of my favorite sonnets by William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130! After you are done reading, head on over to check out Emma’s blog and Twitter and head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the name William Shakespeare?
For me, the immediate answer is “poet.”
Considering the iambic pentameter of his plays, it makes sense that Shakespeare was also a brilliant
Today we have a great post by Erika from Rickus Bookshelf! Erika has reviewed one of the lesser known plays by William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives of Windsor! Don’t forget to head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
When speaking of Shakespeare, one mostly thinks of Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. But in all honesty, Shakespeare is so much more.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of Shakespeare’s comedies and one of the underrated ones. It also happens to be my favourite. It is believed to have been written in the late 1500s or the early 1600s, apparently this cannot be completely certified. It isn’t really important for this review anyway.
The play is built like a farce. It relies heavily on physical gags and several linguistic jokes (although this is not uncommon with Shakespeare), which gives life to the comical theme of the play. It is probably the play of Shakespeare’s that is the most fun to watch due to the way it is staged. The intrigue in Merry Wives is never too dramatic as it is in some of his other comedies, instead the tone is jovial throughout and never deviates from this joviality. The characters are of course what makes the play, and the mix of personalities only enhance the comical air of the play.
Characters (There are many more than those below, but these are the important ones)
Mistresses Ford and Page are the wives of Windsor. They are both married, Ford to a jealous man and Page to a very trusting man. They both receive a letter from Falstaff, wherein he tries to seduce them. Both are very affronted by this and swears revenge. Not in an evil vindictive way, but in a manner that will teach him a lesson (well, possibly also ruin him). Mistress Page is also battling her husband over who their daughter should marry: both of them supporting different suitors.
Falstaff is a knight and a character that can be found in several of Shakespeare’s plays. He believes himself to be God’s gift to women and tries to seduce most of them. He tries to seduce Mistresses Ford and Page in order to get his hands on their husbands’ cash.
Master Ford is the extremely jealous husband of Mistress Ford. He believes that his wife cannot be trusted, and creates his own plot to catch her in the act of cheating. He creates a persona, Master Brooke and intends to get Falstaff to aid him in catching his wife cheating. However, he finds that his wife has already sent a letter to Falstaff, asking him to come to her house.
The main plot is centred around the wives clever plotting, Falstaff hubris and Ford’s jealousy. However, there is also a subplot, which focuses on the fair Anne Page (Master Page and Mistress Page’s daughter) and who she will choose to marry. Both her parents wants her to marry different men, neither in which Anne is interested. She has her eye set on a third suitor.
An honourable mention goes out to Mistress Quickly. She is a servant to the town’s French doctor and acts as everyone’s messenger. She creates her own little plots and is the one who actually listens to Anne and helps her get the man she want’s. Mistress Quickly has a knack for misunderstanding and mishearing conversations, hearing sexual innuendos where there are none (well, it’s Shakespeare. There are always sexual innuendos).
So, why should you read/watch this amazing play? Because it is one of the few of Shakespeare’s plays that will not upset anyone (apart from maybe the French or the Welsh). “What?” I hear you say. What I mean by that is that the women are strong without being mean or cruel, the men who are flawed (like jealous Master Ford) are redeemed at the end of the play and see the error of their way. Love and reason conquer all. Exactly what you want from a comedy. The only “mean” jokes are made when speaking of the French doctor or the Welsh clergyman.
The female characters in this play are just fabulous. They are strong-willed, yet loving. They get to be clever and demand revenge for a slight on their person, without being labelled cruel or demonic. Female friendship is also celebrated and the friendship between the two women is an equal one, wherein they both support and help each other. The male characters (well, mostly Ford) are redeemed and learn the importance of trust and love. Falstaff is publically shamed for his behaviour at the end of the play, and shown that one should not mess with another man’s wife. The Page’s realises that they should have listened to their daughter and respected her wishes. Everybody gets a happy ending. Like any good comedy that is.
The final question is: should you read it or watch it? As we all know, Shakespeare can be quite tricky to read due to the language. This is one of those plays that you kind of need to watch to fully appreciate it. Since a lot of it is dependent on physical gags, reading it fails to bring out all the finer points of the play. It can actually get boring when you read it, but this is never the case when watching it. I totally recommend you to get a hold of Shakespeare’s Globes official DVD recording of the play, it is brilliant.
Okay, I am incredibly excited for today’s post! Today we have C.J. from ebookclassics writing about Shakespeare references in popular culture! I LOVE when I find references to some of my favorite works – this happens often for me as I love Shakespeare and The Wizard of Oz, they are always referenced! Let’s see what C.J. found!!
Also don’t forget to check out a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
Shakespeare References in Pop Culture by ebookclassics
Although I still struggle to understand the work of Shakespeare, I fully appreciate his genius and nothing makes me happier than seeing references to his many wonderful plays and poems in pop culture. You probably have heard of Shakespeare references in Star Trek and Disney movies, but some of the more recent references you may have missed include the following:
1. Iron Man rewording a Shakespeare quote to tease Thor in The Avengers movie (2014).
2. William Shakespeare as a master builder in The Lego Movie (2014) and heckling Emmett, the main character.
3. The Bard is a favorite of Orange is the New Black’s fierce poem quoting Crazy Eyes played by Uzo Aduba.
4. The pairing of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers with our strange obsession with zombies in Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, both a popular YA novel (2010) and movie (2013).
5. MacHomer, a play that combines the doh-ness of Homer Simpson with Shakespeare’s most intense protagonist.
6. Mumford and Son’s debut album title, Sigh No More (2009), is taken from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and several lines from the play are in the song.
7. The Tenth Doctor and Martha meet Shakespeare and foil a dastardly plot in The Shakespeare Code (Doctor Who, series 3, 2007).
8. Who would know better than someone close to her? The novel, Juliet’s Nurse by Lois Leveen (2014) is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
9. We see how two black men in Shakespeare’s time react to Othello in a hilarious Key and Peele skit (2013).
10. The addictive, House of Cards, is greatly influenced by Shakespeare and, in particular, Richard III, with Frank Underwood played by Kevin Spacey often breaking the fourth wall with the audience.
What do you love about Shakespeare? What are some of your favorite Shakespeare references in pop culture?
Today, we have Lily from ChaptersPagesWords reviewing the (in my personal opinion) FANTASTIC Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing!! This is one of my favorite Shakespearean adaptations EVER! Enjoy Lily’s review and don’t forget to head over and check out a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!
Title: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Main Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton
My Rating: 4 stars
I very much enjoyed this movie not only because of the plot but because of the characters, setting and overall experience. I would recommend this movie to anyone thirteen or older because I found this movie fun and entertaining.
Much Ado About Nothing was a great retelling of the play by Shakespeare. Branagh does a good job of taking the best part of the play and making them into the movie.
The movie is set in Messina in Italy so the setting throughout the entire film is beautiful. The setting is an important aspect in this film and was in my opinion well chosen. Much Ado About Nothing is meant to be set in 1598 and Branagh chooses to show this in an interesting way that made it fun for me to watch.
This movie / play is a comedy and it did make me laugh. So many things go wrong in the plot of this movie and the actors/actresses become characters that you sympathise with and grow to love. Although the film is in Shakespearean language, the movie was easy to follow and at times the plot benefited from this asset.
I think this movie was very well adapted from the play. With the amazing choice of cast and setting, this movie was overall very enjoyable and loyal to the play.
That’s all for this review, I hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you soon!
Today we have Katherine from Neon Yeti Reads sharing her review of Hamlet by William Shakespeare! Hamlet is one of my favorite plays – and quite possibly was my favorite play to teach. I once wrote a scholarly essay titled, “Mother May I” all about the relationship between Hamlet and his mother! Good times! Take it away, Katherine!
P.S. Don’t forget to head on over to a Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!!
Author: William Shakespeare
Publishing Information: Originally published between 1599-1601, published in a quarto edition in 1603
For me, Hamlet was always the Shakespeare play I stayed away from for the longest time. It’s the longest of all of Shakespeare’s plays and probably the most intimidating because of that. However, earlier this year, I decided that I would finally pick up this play with the handy guide of No Fear Shakespeare and plenty of notes to help me along with reading it. I am so thankful that I did by the end of it though!
My favorite aspect of Hamlet is that there are so many different layers to our main character, Hamlet. After the death of his father and seeing the Ghost appear to him with a message of revenge, he starts slowly going crazier and crazier. I really loved the internal conflict in his character about whether or not he was acting crazy or if he was actually, mentally insane. I struggled with trying to figure out my own opinion throughout the book, and I went back and forth. Some of my favorite scenes included the moments when Hamlet was with his royal family, acting strange every time, but a little different type of strange as well. There was so much royal drama – it felt like this time period’s version of a political drama.
Another aspect of Hamlet I enjoyed were the minor characters – people like Ophelia and the Queen. Both girls were very interesting characters, especially considering the historical context of the play and when it was written. There is a little bit of dialogue about the relationship of the British Crown to the people; the little underlying themes of palace drama was really interesting. When everything starts going down in the last two scenes, everything gets really creepy and I could not stop reading! Everyone has their own ulterior motives and it’s all about figuring out who is up to what.
Of course – the language of Shakespearean time takes a little bit of getting used to. In the past experience I have had reading Shakespeare plays, I have tried to read them in large chunks so I can stay involved in the language of the play. While I wasn’t able to do that with this one, I really liked the footnotes and annotations both from No Fear Shakespeare and in the edition of my book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this play! I think that it really added so much to my Shakespeare reading experiences so far and I love the way that he is able to tie in so many underlying themes. It is a classic tale with so many themes that have been used in all of literature. It really shows how much influence Shakespeare has had across all genres and I am quite happy with how Hamlet turned out!
P.S. The movie version of Hamlet starring David Tennant was really good, so I would suggest watching that to help understand the play while reading! It adds a whole new dimension to the story.
Welcome! Happy birthday to Mr. William Shakespeare TODAY!! He would be 451! Crazy how time flies, am I right?! Today I am chatting about buying ALL OF THE THINGS for that special Shakespeare lover in your life!! (*sends entire list to loved ones) Let’s see what we have here! As something a little extra (because we love you guys) Alexa and I are hosting a giveaway for the duration of Bard on the Blogs!! You just head on over to the Rafflecopter and see what’s up!
Romeo and Juliet Hairpins! Admittedly not my favorite play by Shakespeare (read: my least favorite, possibly) but these are still pretty neat! I wouldn’t say no to receiving these babies! Find them here.
Look at this Macbeth cuff! There are tons of other designs, but I LOVE how this one captures the dramatic and macabre moment when Lady Macbeth struggles to clean the blood from her hands. Find this cuff (and others like it) here.
These Shakespeare Hamlet Skull Cufflinks will go perfectly at your (or my) literary themed wedding!! They are fancy while also being a teensy bit read it: dangerous. Perfect for your partner! Find these babies here!
This simple yet awesome key chain would be perfect for your Shakespeare lover, bonus points if she is also a librarian like yours truly! Adorn your keys with this great key chain by heading over here!
To Tea or Not To Tea? Is the question….the answer is always a resounding YES!! How lovely would this look hanging in your kitchen? I can picture it now, and it looks gorgeous! Find this tea towel (to buy for ME) here!
What better pairing to go with your new tea towel than some Shakespearean inspired teas!! Fandom made by Adagio Teas you can get a sampler pack with all different kinds! Speaking from experience, I have the Game of Thrones sampler pack and it is worth. every. penny. Go buy these NOW!
I am pretty obsessed with these prints. Though they (apparently) would go great in a nursery, I don’t see why I can’t have them hanging above my own bed! Admittedly, the first quote is from Napoleon but still, they go together perfectly! Find them here!
You all might remember that I wrote a post dedicated to the Bard on his birthday last year. Well this year I thought that I would make it a little more fun! Since part of my focus on the Classics Retold project is dedicated to Shakespeare, I thought that it would be fun to offer a giveaway to my readers to celebrate William’s birthday, and to remind you all how fun retellings are!
Therefore, to wish Mr. Shakespeare a happy birthday and deathday: one winner will receive their choice of any Shakespeare retelling! Here is a link to a Goodreads list of retellings but I will of course take additional suggestions!!