And Robin Shall Restore Amends

You’ve probably seen (or heard) impressionist Jim Meskimen‘s work. Not only was he on America’s Got Talent, but he’s also turned up in everything from Friends to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. If you haven’t seen his Richard III you really should. This is a Shakespeare blog after all. I’ve followed him on Twitter since I first discovered that one.

Recently he put out an offer on Twitter for custom recordings. I assume he was expecting people to ask for voice mail greetings. But just like my habit of typing “Shakespeare” into every new search engine I see, I knew exactly what I wanted him to read, and which voice I wanted him to do.

Robin Williams doing “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”

I can’t even really tell you why. I had no plans for it. It’s not my voice mail greeting. I just wanted to hear his voice again. Not the manic Robin Williams who never stood still. The Dead Poet’s Society Robin who wanted you to hear what he was saying to you because it was important. It made me think of Steve Jobs’ “Here’s to the crazy ones” commercial. Maybe I’ll put this to a video montage at some point.

In the meantime, though, please enjoy.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Thanks Jim, I love it. Flights of angels, Robin.

These Happy Masks

Ok, fine, we all have to wear masks for a little while. Like so many other things these days we don’t have to love it, but we can make the best of it.

Today I learned the great news that one of my merchandise manufacturers, Redbubble, is doing mask designs! I immediately made a number of designs available. If they turn out to be popular I’ll certainly do more. Bardfilm had already requested one that says “A plague on both your houses!” Or was it “A plague on none of your houses?”

Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

The popular “Shakespeare Insults” theme
I went looking for short Shakespeare quotes to sum up what we’re all going through, found this one.
Shakespeare doing Einstein’s famous pose.
Sometimes this just sums it up.
I’m hoping the rainbow theme finds its audience. I have a lighter version of this one coming soon.

If you’re tired of looking at geometric and animal prints and want some more Shakespeare in your government mandated accessories, leave a comment and let me know what you might like! Happy to put your favorite quote on a mask.

Flourish! A New Tradition is Born! #ShakespeareDay

We have a very small Shakespeare channel on our Slack group at work. Yes, I started it ๐Ÿ™‚

This morning I posted, “Happy Shakespeare Day!”

Almost immediately a co-worker responded, “Flourish!”

And I thought, “You know, she probably means the stage direction, like ‘enter with a flourish'” or fanfare.

But then I thought, “Flourish also means thrive, too. That sounds like a wish to me, like ‘May you and your family prosper and be well on this illustrious day!'” And yes I said, “be well and prosper” in deliberate homage to the Vulcan “live long and prosper” because that crossed my mind at the time.

I wrote to her and she laughed, confirming that the stage direction was what she had in mind.

“Too late!” I replied. “New tradition born!” The double meaning makes it perfect for the occasion.

So if you catch me on Twitter today telling people to flourish, you can say you were there when the whole thing began.

UPDATE – Wow, I posted that whole original spelling it “fluorish” instead of “flourish”. I’m annoyed with myself, my spell checker, and my coworker (who spelled it that way originally), all in that order.

Shakespeare Happy Hours

I have been doing whatever I can to get the word out about Rob Myles’ The Show Must Go Online project, where actors gather to perform Shakespeare virtually every week.

What I didn’t realize is that a bunch of people, including some in my own back yard, had the same idea!

Shakespeare Happy Hours comes from the Seven Stages Shakespeare Company which is right down the street from me in New Hampshire. (I’ve seen productions there though I can’t remember which. Hamlet, maybe?)

Seven Stages’ approach is a little different. They’re doing shortened versions – 90 minutes – but they’re doing them more often. Rob’s group goes once a week, while Shakespeare Happy Hours goes three times a week and have already put nine shows up in their archive! I’ve not seen them yet, I literally just discovered their existence today, but hope to check them out.

Streaming Shakespeare

I’m probably the last guy on the block to post links of Shakespeare productions to stream, and I have no excuses. But it’s Shakespeare’s birthday and tradition dictates that we fill the day with content.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/apr/22/play-on-12-of-the-best-shakespeare-productions-to-stream

I like this list because it’s got a little of everything – some stuff on Amazon Prime, some on YouTube, some BBC and others. It’s no fun when you click through to a list and all you find is stuff on services you’re not subscribed to.

It’s also a good list because it doesn’t just serve up half a dozen different Hamlets. 12 suggestions, and I’d say no repeats but technically Henry V shows up twice as one of the suggestions is actually a trilogy.

I’m hoping that I get a chance to see some of these while they’re still up. In theory I’ve love to say I have all the time in the world to spend my days binge watching Shakespeare, but that’s simply not been the case. I can’t make the family sit through hours of productions, and I can’t disappear from them for hours. The closest I’ve gotten to Shakespeare is getting most of the way through The Crown with my wife. Get it? It’s a Queen Elizabeth joke. Help me, I’m losing my mind.