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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

B is for Bard - Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

I remember being read to in primary school, but the first literature I remember studying was in senior school and it was Shakespeare. I have loved the Bard ever since.

I am definitely not a Shakespeare scholar. I don't know everything there is to know and I never will, but I do know that I enjoy a good production of his work in a way that some modern plays don't touch me.

The first play we ever studied in English lessons was A Midsummer Night's Dream and I clearly remember loving the play within a play. It probably helped that our drama group did the play within a play for a drama competition as well and I was praised for my portrayal of Moonshine :). I'm not going to say what they said about the rest of it.

At school I also studied The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth, both of which I also adore. I have to say it was a production of The Merchant of Venice where Antonio was openly gay for Bassanio that opened my eyes to alternative interpretations of various texts. My English teacher never mentioned that possibility during lessons, funnily enough, they were just very good friends.

My favourite of the three, however, has to be Macbeth. Ghosts, murder, intrigue ... what's not to love? I saw this once in the Barbican where they had a totally black stage with virtually no props and it was magnificent. Last month I also saw the production with James McAvoy in London and it was utterly, utterly amazing. If you would like to see my full review then you can find it at James McAvoy as Macbeth is Bloody Brilliant also on this blog. Wait for J and I'll tell you just how much I love James McAvoy, with lots of pictures :).

David Tennent as Hamlet was superb; saw that on his first performance back after he hurt his back. I also really enjoyed the TV version. Probably a sign that I enjoyed the murder, ghosts and intrigue again, right? ;)

I also loved the BBCs productions of Richard II with Ben Whishaw (left) (more about him for Q), Henry IV with Jeremy Irons and Tom Hiddleston (right) (lots about him for T later) and Henry V. I just wish they had released them in HD rather than just on DVD. These versions were done so well in the way the language was simply treated like English. It meant that even if the words were a little odd at times, the meaning came through anyway. Absolutely brilliant.

I have seen a couple of productions I haven't liked, however. I saw a version of Much Ado at a local event that was yawn worthy and I have to say I was not impressed with The Tempest when I saw it in Stratford even though it had Patrick Stewart in it. I found it totally dull, which, given there are shipwrecks, magic and mayhem in it, should not have been so.

Then there was the version of Macbeth with Sean Bean. Sean was superb, but the director should have been shot! I actually missed the murder of Banquo along with significant parts of the rest of the play.

Shakespeare has it all: humour, drama, murder, magic, witches, ghosts, tension, love, romance, madness ... I could go on. A good production can make you laugh, cry and jump, sometimes all at the same time. Don't be afraid of the language; just enjoy it.

So lovely visitors, what is your favourite Shakespeare play?

If you would like to see what all of my posts will be about in advance, click here to see my theme post.
My twin and I are also doing the A to Z Challenge over at our fantasy erotica blog: http://fantasyboysxxx.blogspot.co.uk/


  1. My favorite is still 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' It's the one I acted in when I was a child (I was Peter Quince). I still love that 1999 movie version with Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer (and especially Stanley Tucci as Puck). I just watched it again this past Saturday.

    1. I keep meaning to get the 1999 version on DVD, but haven't yet. It is a fabulous productions. Sometimes film version miss, but that one hit it on the nose. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  2. I'm not much of a Shakespeare lover even though Stratford is close by. However loved your drabbles. I will be featuring several during the A-Z Challenge.

    1. I wish I could get to more Shakespeare plays, but I only get to see a production once or twice a year. I think it's all in the direction and the players, Shakespeare done badly is usually utterly incomprehensible :).


      Drabbles are fun and can be surprisingly hard I have found. Exact word choice is tantamount when you only have 100 to play with. I look forward to seeing yours.

  3. Wish I'd seen that James McAvoy production!

    1. It is brilliant and it's still on http://www.macbethwestend.com I think they only have day tickets left, but it's on until April 27th.

  4. Sadly I'm not much of a Shakespeare fan. I don't really enjoy theater, and I have difficulty reading anything other than modern English. The only works of his I've read were for school, and sadly we only ever studied tragedies. The only one I liked at all was Macbeth.

    Though to be fair, we didn't actually read Hamlet due to time constraints. Our teach brought in a video and fast forward to what she considered the "important" scenes. So my experience of Hamlet is really just Mel Gibson, in tights, in fast forward.

    1. I love theatre when I can get to see it, which is less often than I would like. There is something about being right there that I love. I find Shakespeare much harder to read than to see performed by a good company. Our English teacher always used to make us read it out loud in class so that it was easier to understand.

      Mel Gibson in tights ... have to say I prefer David Tennent in a T-shirt :).


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