Could A Slings & Arrows Prequel Be Coming?

I noticed some stories lately talking about Slings & Arrows, the undisputed “greatest show about Shakespeare” ever.  But this was the first one to drop the word “prequel” and now you have my attention.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2019-11-05/slings-arrows-acorn-tv-shakespeare-prequel?fbclid=IwAR1eSIG54i2GZ3CjXNzmNMrc2BfifdxPpkgpJ7UlXSznzaG309tqDfES8Ic

I’d do some “If you’ve never seen Slings & Arrows” banter here, but seriously, if you’ve never seen Slings & Arrows, stop reading and go watch it. It’s just that good. To recap, each of the three seasons maps to one of Shakespeare’s plays – Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear (with some side plots thrown in, too). We’re introduced to the series via Geoffrey, our director, who once had a nervous breakdown after he played Hamlet (and yes, now he’s directing it). He’s haunted by the ghost of his own former director.  Meanwhile we get to see what makes a Shakespeare festival work, from how they rehearse to how they make money.

And now they’re pitching a prequel about the origins of the festival itself, back in post war America in the 1950s?  I’m not sure what play that’s going to map to, or how much of the original cast would still be relevant, but the original just has so much credibility that I’d get in line to see what the creators come up with next.  I hope somebody picks it up.

 

 

~ Leave a comment

Book Review: Jo Nesbø’s Macbeth


Because I do love copying Bardfilm so much, and I saw that he published his review of Jo Nesbø’s Macbeth (for which, as he likes to say, q.v.), not only did I decide to publish mine, but I just went ahead and copy-pasted that ø character from his site instead of trying to figure out how to do it myself.

Seriously, though, I have been reading this one and did plan to review it this week, the timing is a coincidence. (The ø thing is totally real, though.)

This book is part of the Hogarth series of modern novelizations of Shakespeare. The only other one I’d read was Hag-seed (for which, q.v.!  it’s fun to say!) which I’d been told was the best of the bunch, and I didn’t love it.

I think Macbeth is a better book, but at the same time it left me very, “Meh.”

Continue reading “Book Review: Jo Nesbø’s Macbeth”

~ Leave a comment

Shakespeare Crossword Clue, Macbeth, 4 Letters

Coworker:  “Shakespeare a clue in my crossword this morning.”

Me:  “I die.”

Coworker:  “What?”

Me: “Sorry. Was it, Romeo’s last words? Because I know that one.”

Coworker:  “No.  It was, ‘the witches in Macbeth’.”

I thought I had this one.

Me:  “Wyrd.”

Coworker:  “Nope.”

I admitted I was stumped.  What else could you say that was specific to Macbeth’s witches, in only 4 letters?

Coworker:  “They wanted ‘trio’.”

Me:  “Well that’s just … that’s annoying.  There’s nothing Shakespeare about that answer.”

Coworker:  “I know, but sometimes they’re like that.  Don’t feel bad, I had the t and the o and I still didn’t get it.”

I was obviously thrown off by Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, because that one had four witches.  🙂

 

~ Leave a comment

Shakespeare and Friends

I admit it, this post is a complete advertisement for my latest merchandise. I think I honestly do a pretty reasonable job of not spamming you folks every time I put up a new t-shirt design, don’t I?  So surely you won’t begrudge me a Friday afternoon commercial.

When I’m working at night, chances are Netflix is on in the background. I’m one of those folks that just likes the noise. I would love to churn through all the new original shows they’re making, but then I have to pay attention to what’s on, rather than letting it just drone in the background. So instead I turn to old series that I  know I like, that have a lot of episodes (that will auto play, you see).  You see where I’m going with this.

The entire ten season run of Friends has graced my television so often I think I’ve memorized all the episodes.  But it wasn’t until recently that the idea hit me … that opening font of theirs is absolutely iconic.  If you do “Skip Intro” you may never even notice it, but when you see it that classic scribble font with the little colored dots you’re definitely thinking, “I recognize that!”

Shakespeare and Friends

I wasn’t even sure Amazon would let these up, so I didn’t go crazy with the “Look! It’s Friends!” keywords.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell the real story here.  To get started I made a bunch of versions of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters – Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio. All are available in both t-shirt and hoodie. The t-shirts are available in men’s, women’s and youth sizes (the hoodies are unisex). All the images below are clickable, where you can see the colors available for each.

What do you think? Did I miss your favorite character?  What do you think looks better, character names or play names? For those first couple it doesn’t matter 🙂 but I soon ran out of 5-7 character single words. 🙂 Should I make Prospero and Malvolio and Viola and some other more lesser known characters?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

~ Leave a comment

Book Review : Macdeath by Cindy Brown

I’m always torn when people offer to send me books for possible review.  If it’s not an audiobook or ebook, it goes on the bottom of the “get to when neither of those is available” list. That’s just the way my schedule works. As such, it takes me forever. Such is the case with Cindy Brown’s Macdeath, which I’ve had so long I can’t remember when I got my copy.  But I’m happy to say I finished it!

Book one of a series, Macdeath introduces us to Ivy Meadows, a struggling actress / part-time detective (thanks to her Uncle Bob, a full-time detective). Ivy’s been cast as one of the witches in Macbeth, and we all know that the Scottish play is cursed.  Sure enough, somebody winds up dead. Now Ivy can’t seem to stop investigating whodunnit, despite the pleas and flat-out demands of her coworkers, the police, and her detective uncle.

Maybe if I was a backstage theatre geek I would have liked this one more, since that’s where most of the action takes place. I just couldn’t get into any of the characters. None of them are around long enough or described deeply enough to care about. Which, granted, is part of the point of a murder mystery because you need to keep guessing about who the murderer is.  But without that, I was stuck in the head of our narrator, and as a 50yr old husband and father with stuff on my to-do list, I felt exactly as comfortable with that as I would have hanging out in real life with a 20something struggling actress :).  Oh, your costume is too tight in the crotch?  You’re not sure if you have enough money to get your car out of the parking lot?  The struggle is real, people.

There’s plenty of twists to the story, a couple of dead ends, and a reasonably satisfying ending (as these things go).  A cast of characters has been introduced, and there’s obvious room for a series.

Know what it reminded me of?  Once upon a time, there was a golden age of television where it seems like everything was a detective show.  Magnum P.I., Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Remington Steele, Hart to Hart, Miami Vice, Charlie’s Angels, Simon and Simon …  This book reminded me a great deal of those.  Imagine a Charlie’s Angels episode where one of the girls has to go undercover in a production of Macbeth.  You get a very brief glimpse at the cast of characters, she runs around trying to uncover clues even though everybody tells her not to (because she can’t blow her cover), and all the while she still has to remember her lines and go perform when her cue comes.  Then when their allotted hour of tv time is up the bad guy is revealed, the day is saved, and everything wraps up nicely until next week.

That’s not a bad thing. There’s a reason why they made so many of those shows, and some of them did very well (Murder She Wrote went for 12 seasons!)  But the strength of each of those shows was in the main character, and finding an audience that connected with that character.   Just because I’m not the audience for Ivy Meadows doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

P.S. Just one more thing before I go?  We all know that Shakespeare was a master of the dirty double entendre, whether Hamlet’s putting his head in Ophelia’s lap or Mercutio’s got his hands upon the very prick of noon.  I’ve got people regularly telling me that Shakespeare itself is a euphemism for something (as is “will”, come to think of it).  The author chose to have one of her characters named … are you ready for this?  Detective Pinkstaff.  Yikes.  Every time that character was in the scene I couldn’t take him seriously, not because he was a bad character, but because he was a walking phallic joke.  At least she didn’t make him the love interest.

 

 

 

~ Leave a comment