How about Shatner doing Julius Caesar?

Everybody loved that video of the Beatles doing Pyramus and Thisbe. How about William Shatner doing a pretty funky rendition of Marc Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” speech? Halfway through it turns into a rap video. His take on “Let slip the dogs of war” is nothing compared to how his arch enemy General Chang did it in Star Trek VI.

Weird. It’s from Free Enterprise, which I’ve never seen.

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John Keats

I like this article on “Enjoying La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, by John Keats. It’s here because of the nice reference to Shakespeare:

Keats praised Shakespeare’s “negative capability”. If I understand the passage correctly, he’s referring to the lack of unambiguous messages in Shakespeare’s works. Instead of preaching or moralizing, Shakespeare’s works mirror life, and let the reader take away his or her own conclusions.
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Sonnet 65 : Video!

I’m still looking for more examples of the sonnets put to music. But since I’m trolling through the videos this morning, here is the link to a short film somebody made of Sonnet 65. Interesting. Sometimes the sounds effects (the running water in particular) were too loud for the narration, and in general it was read rather fast. But still, a cool idea. I’d be happy to find a collection of such things.

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Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me

Ok, this is just painful. On this week’s edition of NPR’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” there was an item about the changing curriculum of Shakespeare in England. Apparently (looking for a news item to back this up) they’re officially making it “easier”. Ready for the quote they gave? From Macbeth, they use the example: “Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee…I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.” Apparently this is being translated, and I’m not making this up, into “Oooooo, wouldya lookat that?”

At least one line in Romeo and Juliet, as well, is translated into “Hey, how ’bout a snog?”

It’s almost too silly to believe, but they reported it as a true story. Gotta find me some confirmation!

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Shakespeare, by Pink Floyd

Excuse me while my head explodes, in the good way. When I saw this blog‘s headline, “David Gilmour – Sonnet 18”, I first skipped past it. Then said “Wait a minute…the Pink Floyd guy?” I got excited. Everybody hopes to hear the sonnets put to music, could it be that there’s audio of Pink Floyd doing it? Talk about your head exploding in the good way.

Sure enough, the link (head for “download”) offers an MP3 of David Gilmour singing Sonnet 18. I won’t lie — the iambic pentameter model does not lend itself well to music — but who cares! It’s got that Pink Floyd sound, there’s nothing bad about that.

I’m trying desperately to find out if there are more like this, but so far coming up with just the one (even “download this entire playlist” only has the one entry). Anybody know where this came from, and if there’s more like it? I see “Bonus” in the title so I’m assuming that it’s an extra track on one of the DVD collections or something.

Update: Found it – it is indeed the bonus track on David Gilmour in Concert. Unfortunately that means it’s probably the only one.

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Promptbooks are cool

Promptbooks are copies of the script with a whole bunch of handwritten notes inside that the actors would have used to detail exactly how a scene would be played. This site has scans of a number of Shakespearean prompt books, including Macbeth. Fascinating stuff. It’s a little hard to navigate at first. Head for the images, basically. If you find yourself on a page that says “Hand” a lot, it’s actually describing in detail who wrote what on the page — but there’s probably an image of the page that you can click on.