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?