Tag Archives: shakespeare

My Top 5 Shakespeare Plays

Well, I couldn’t let this occasion pass without mentioning my favourite plays by the “world’s most celebrate playwright”, could I?

I actually really like Shakespeare. This was quite a difficult choice as I have seen quite a lot of his plays, but these are the ones that have stuck in my mind over the years.

So, and I’m probably going to get all cliché and popularist, but these are my favourites:

5.  The Winter’s Tale – OK, so this made it in only because it has possibly the best stage direction ever – “exit, pursued by bear”. But I did see a thoroughly brilliant production of this play a couple of years ago and the performance of Autolycus was so utterly and brilliantly funny it has stuck in my mind.

4.  Hamlet – this had to be in really. I’ve seen the Mel Gibson and Kenneth Brannagh movie as well as seeing both David Tennant and Jude Law play the roles. I always fancied playing Ophelia – maybe because of the flowers – but to be honest I don’t think I would make a very good Ophelia, I don’t think I could carry off the wistful look and I’m far too tall for a start.

3.  Macbeth – this was the second Shakespeare play I was ever introduced to. I was in my final year of primary school and our headmaster introduced us to the bard and we had to sit and listen to a record of the play (yes, a record!!!) Did I understand it? Not really. I then saw it whilst I was a drama school – admittedly it was an understudy rehearsal so the cast were playing several characters, which was equally confusing, but then they went and killed the good-looking one!!! Why??? I have seen Macbeth once since then and it was only after watching the short play afterwards – called “Elsie & Norm’s Macbeth” – did I actually get what the play was about.  So thanks Elsie and Norm, and for anyone studying Macbeth who, like me is a bit stuck, then try and find Elsie & Norm to explain it to you.

2.  Much Ado About Nothing – OK I unashamedly admit this is in purely because of the Kenneth Brannagh film, the Italian countryside and Keanau Reeves sporting a brooding look and leather trousers!!

1.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream – yes, I know it’s obviously all about the fairies, but this was the very first Shakespeare I read and saw when I was about 8. I love everything about this play.  Being tall I always wanted to play Helena, but I’ve got a hankering to play Titania as well one day. This was also the first Shakespeare play I took SC to – he was 6 and he sat through it at The Globe. It was a cracking production and made even more memorable due to several mishaps on stage which had the cast in stitches.

 

Where do you stand on Shakespeare? Love him or can’t abide it? What’s your favourite play?

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Friday Poem – All the World’s a Stage

I thought I might resurrect my Friday poems and the obvious choice for today is William Shakespeare, in honour of his 452nd birthday tomorrow, but more importantly the 400th anniversary of his death.

This most famous of phrase’s and the monologue from which it is taken is spoken by Jacques in the masksplay As You Like It.

All the World’s a Stage

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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Friday Poem – The Passionate Shepherd to his Love

A lovely poem by Christopher Marlowe, (1564 – 1593) an English dramatist, poet and translator of the Elizabethan era. As the foremost Elizabethan tragedian, next to shepherdWilliam Shakespeare, he is known for his blank verse, his overreaching protagonists, and his mysterious death.

The Passionate Shepherd to his Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’s swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

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Friday Poem – Shakespeare Sonnet #18

midsummerWhat poem could be more apt on Midsummer’s eve than, possibly, Shakespeare’s most famous of sonnets:

Sonnet #18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

HAPPY MIDSUMMER – I’m looking forward to having a Midsummer Night’s Dream tomorrow 😉

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Friday Poem – Shakespeare Sonnet #89

A little bit of Mr Shakespeare on this autumnal evening 😉

Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
And I will comment upon that offence:
Speak of my lameness, and I straight will halt,
Against thy reasons making no defence.
Thou canst not, love, disgrace me half so ill,
To set a form upon desired change,
As I’ll myself disgrace; knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance strangle, and look strange;
Be absent from thy walks; and in my tongue
Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,
Lest I, too much profane, should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.
For thee, against my self I’ll vow debate,
For I must ne’er love him whom thou dost hate.

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What Would You Write to Juliet?

I stumbled across a film last week on the television called “Letters to Juliet”.G77-503383

Great chick flick, easy watching with a plot that’s easy to guess. But it did get me thinking 3 things:

1.  Franco Nero is still a stunningly gorgeous man – first saw him in the 1960s film version of Camelot (scrummy!) and like a good wine he just improves with age – mmmm 😉

2. Italy is a beautiful country and I am more determined than ever to try to learn the language and explore it – I think I might even take SC on a train trip next summer.

and

3. If I were to leave a letter for Juliet, what would I write???

 

Dear Juliet

I envy you?

You found what most of us spend an entire lifetime searching for.

True love.

That one person who loves you and would be willing to die for you.

One day I hope that I too, will find someone with a good heart who will love me unreservedly, unashamedly and passionately, someone to be my best friend and someone who will be my companion as I walk on my journey through life.

Blessed Be.

x

 

What would you write?

Why not leave your letter in the comments?

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Friday Poem – Shakespeare Sonnet 29

I love this sonnet, one of my favourites.forgetmenot

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When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

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West Side Story…

… is as relevant today as it was when it first burst onto Broadway.

This Leonard Bernstein musical based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet hits the right social and cultural issues, and makes you think. That’s why I believe every teenager should watch it.

Primarily, the rivalry is transferred from between 2 families to between 2 gangs. And as we all know gang warfare is rife on streets in cities today, just as much, if not more than it was in the 1950s. Barely a week goes by without some teenager being killed, by whatever means, by someone from a rival gang.

Over the years nothing has been learned, it seems.

As a mum to a small boy, I’m already fretting over his teenage years, which at the moment seem a lifetime away, but in reality will be upon me sooner than I can blink an eye.

What is ever gained by fighting, physically?

Why do people physically fight over the most trivial of things?

Where does it end?

SC has just started school and not a week has gone by where some charming child hasn’t physically attacked him. I don’t believe violence solves anything. So I tell him to walk away. No matter what, just walk away.

Mr Wrong No. 1 had the other approach with regard to tackling this issue with his son – he told him to fight back!

Now, my stance is if they fight back, where will it end?

I hit you, you hit me.

I hit you harder, you hit me harder.

I hit you with a stick, you hit me with a bigger stick.

I get a knife.

You get a gun.

Violence grows and no one wins!

That in essence is the crux of the whole musical. Maria (aka Juliet) says at the end of the show that she can kill now because she now hates.

Is that what all this gang warfare is about?

How can you hate someone just because they ‘hang with a different crowd’ or wear a different type trainer? You can’t really hate someone you don’t personally know, can you?

West Side Story shows that, at the end of the day, no one wins with violence or hatred, and that we need to learn tolerance and effectively ‘love thy neighbour’.

I don’t hate. For sure there have been people I have met in my life that I don’t like, but hate? No.

We’re all born different, be it hair colour, eye colour, taste in clothes, hobbies, etc. We all have good points and bad points. These should be embraced, not used as a reason for attack.

Can society change?

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