Strange interpretations?

Upon hearing that we’re about to experience Hamlet in a wading pool wearing water wings, a coworker and I got into a discussion about why Hamlet seems to be the play that has the wildest interpretations. I attribute it to the underlying theme of Hamlet’s dementia, feigned or otherwise, and the overall emphasis on what’s going on in his head as opposed to reality.

But it did bring up the question of just how odd a presentation of Shakespeare can get. I once saw a performance of I believe Midsummer Night’s Dream, if I’m not mistaken, where Oberon periodically lapsed into what turned out to be Klingon. Or the “post Apocalyptic” Macbeth where poor Banquo lost his head courtesy of a powered automobile sunroof.

Shakespeare Forums

Does anybody know where all the Shakespeare Forums are hiding? I’m surprised to discover very few. I see Savage Shakespeare, but is that all?

A friend who runs a popular Hemingway site told me that his attempt to start up a forum was a big disaster as it was rapidly swamped with people wanting answers to their homework questions, instead of people who wanted to actually discuss Hemingway, so he took it down. I wonder if Shakespeare sites suffer from the same problem?

Director preparing play on Shakespeare’s personal life

Iranian director Khosro Amiri announced on Tuesday that he is currently preparing a play that tells the story of the personal life of Shakespeare entitled “Mystery of Shakespeare’s Dolls”.

“My new play is a modern tragicomedy which reveals hidden aspects of Shakespeare’s life,” he added.

“Shakespeare is blind drunk in this play. He has four dolls and writes all his masterpieces based on his own personal life. For example, he writes Macbeth because he has problems with his wife and her family; that is, Shakespeare appears totally different on stage,” he explained.

All the Shakespeare Stuff You’d Hope to Find

Shakespeare’s Den is great for a laugh even if you’re not in the mood to buy. Anything and everything that’s ever had Shakespeare’s mug plastered upon it (including mugs, natch) can be found here. Of course there’s also every book, wall hanging and statue you might imagine as well.

Some gems:

  • Shakespeare bobblehead doll
  • Shakespeare action figure
  • After Shakespeare mints
  • Hamlet finger puppets
  • Shakespeare “celebriduck”

I don’t get an affiliate fee, either, so there :-P. I just wish my wife would let me buy half this stuff.

Starring Karl Rove as Falstaff

I don’t have enough of an opinion on the politics surrounding the whole Rove thing to really take a stand either way. But when somebody makes such an articulate case comparing Rove to the “calculating, corpulent and very good at self-preservation” Falstaff it merits a mention. I wasn’t about to pass up an article that has gems such as this one: “It’s time for Bush II to be less Prince Hal and more Henry V. There is no better, smarter or meaner political operative than Karl Rove. But Bush II cannot afford to keep Falstaff on staff.” It even reads like a Shakespeare lesson :)!

What, no parseltongue translation?

Harry Potter fans aren’t that nuts, says this article about just how nuts they are. They haven’t, quote, “gone the Star Trek route and translated the works of Shakespeare into parseltongue yet”. Referring of course to the fascination with the Klingon language that has inspired so many a Trekkie/Trekker over the years. (Parseltongue, by the way, is the snake-language of Harry Potter, in case you’re not much of a fan.)

But maybe that’s not so far off, if you look at your Star Trek history. A few words of the Klingon language were specially commissioned for I believe it was the second movie. The producers found a real linguist, Mark Okrand, to do the work. It was a hit, so they included more and more in the movies and the series. And before you knew it, a cult following was born.

Why not in Harry Potter? Stranger things have happened.
More Harry Potter / Shakespeare …

Top Twenty Female Actors

Found over at, this guy’s list is particularly interesting because of all the Shakespeare on it:

Judi Dench (’nuff said)
Emma Thompson (formerly married to Kenneth Branagh, starred in Much Ado about Nothing, Henry V…)
Joan Plowright (formerly married to Laurence Olivier. Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice … )

The name of the game is to see how many of his top 20 have Shakespeare in their resumes. I was hoping the answer would be “all”, but alas Cher had to fail me.

Shakespeare and Star Trek

Every good geek knows that Star Trek is loaded with Shakespeare references. Mostly in Next Generation, where Captain Picard just quoted it all the time, and Data kept performing it on the Holodeck, but also in the original series and the movies as well.

I found a site that tries to track as much as it can. It’s pretty impossible to get them all, given how many episodes Star Trek ran through, but it’s a start.

One of my favorites has always been Star Trek VI, in particular during the final battle scene where Christopher Plummer (playing Klingon General Chang) cries, “Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!” Gives me chills. Even better for a whole different reason is when the shot switches to the Enterprise, and they can hear Chang taunting them over the speaker:

Chang: “I am constant as the northern star…”

Dr. McCoy : “I wish he’d just shut up.”