Here we go, it’s that time of year again! Happy Shakespeare Day!
This year the party’s online! The Town and District Councils have collaborated with many key stakeholders in the town to enable this virtual Birthday Celebrations to be staged. The tribute will be aired on Friday 23 April at 11:00am and can be accessed via the link www.shakespeares-birthday.uk
So there’s a whole lot of Shakespeare going on during the pandemic. There’s so many “Zoom readings” there’s even a meme about it 🙂 (The granddaddy of them all, of course, is Rob Myles’ The Show Must Go Online. If you haven’t watched one of their productions yet, seriously, do yourself the favor.)
But I’m here today to talk about an entirely different kind of Shakespeare project – Bard in the Yard:
What that means is a 45 minute one-person show featuring “The Bard”, using you the audience as his inspiration for a new play (tentatively titled, “The Lamentable Comedy of King Leonardo, his Three Daughters and Their Dog.”)
Here’s a few reasons why I think this project has the potential to be something a little different from the rest:
It’s original content. From what I gather it’s something of a “greatest hits” walkthrough as it’s scaffolding, but other than that it’s an all new story about Shakespeare. Great place to start.
There’s 23 different actors playing Shakespeare. By that alone every show is going to be completely unique.
It’s all about the interactivity. This is not a sit back and watch show. Expect Shakespeare to be talking to you, and expecting you to answer. It’s made for Zoom. You literally pay for your tickets by screen. Thinking in very “Mulan on Disney+” American terms I wondered why you wouldn’t just pay your ticket price and then invite a dozen people over to hover around the screen. “No no, ” they corrected me, “That would defeat the purpose. Even if you’ve got a bunch of people in the house that want to watch, have them all fire up the show on their own screen. That’s what makes it an individual experience.” This is not an improv show where there’s a hundred people in the audience and every now and then an actor calls out for movie styles and you never get picked. You get your own virtual front row seat.
This is a show about the actors. Right now live theatre is having a tough time as an institution. But underneath that “macro” problem is the micro problem that there’s actors not getting paid. This show was developed to address that. That’s one of the reasons why there’s so many different one-person shows. That’s one of the reasons why you pay per screen. So yes, you’re going to have to pay for tickets (unlike the myriad of Zoom readings we know and love), but they’re very open about that – you pay for this show so money can go into actors’ pockets.
So this one’s more than a bit about motivation. If you want to see some original Shakespeare related content, great. If, however, you know and love people involved in live theatre and know the struggles they’re having, and have been wondering how you can help give back to them? Here’s an opportunity. If you’re only one person, take the opportunity to pay it forward by donating some screens (the base ticket price is for three screens and goes up from there). It’s not even a hand out or donation. Actors get to do their job and you get a show. It’s for a great great cause.
Bard in the Yard – Coming this November, straight to your living room.
I don’t think many of us here hold to the strictly orthodox view that Shakespeare worked alone. I have no problem believing that the plays were a collaborative effort in many cases. Looks like somebody’s about to make this official, by crediting Christoper Marlowe as co-author of the Henry VI plays:
The Elizabethan tragedian’s name will appear next to the Bard’s on the title pages of Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three when they’re published under the New Oxford Shakespeare by Oxford University Press this month.
Is it me or is this a reallllly slippery slope? Wasn’t collaboration the name of the game back then? Wouldn’t we logically reduce to the conclusion that all of the plays (and not just Shakespeare’s) have multiple authors? Isn’t equally likely that Marlowe himself had co-authors on his own work? Or do we think that this is just an attack on Shakespeare personally?
Although Pitt and Cotillard are apparently working together on a new project that hasn’t come out yet, who knows? Maybe he saw her in that and liked the whole Shakespeare vibe. I can’t find any Shakespeare in Pitt’s biography, but I do see that Gwynneth Paltrow, who went on to win an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, claims that after he broke up with her she was almost too distraught to audition for the role (item #10).
When I read a headline that the Actors Hall of Fame was bringing back Shakespeare classics after 20 years I thought, “What, something like the Criterion collection? DVDs?” Nope, I’m completely wrong. They’re doing multiple ground-breaking things that look crazy exciting!
A MidSummer Night’s Dream will be produced as a state of the art family animated film, with the addition of new songs and dances from established and emerging artists. The film will be released globally in midsummer 2018.
All my children’s lives I’ve wanted “start of the art family animated film” versions of Shakespeare. I just hope this one hasn’t got gnomes in it.
The Taming of the Shrew will be produced as a 10 hour miniseries for broadcast/streaming, and will also introduce the next generation of characters in the lives of Petruchio and Katherina.
I’ve seen rumors that at least three major television networks are doing some version of a Shakespeare series, including a Romeo and Juliet sequel. The idea of a mini series is an interesting one, because you can tell a determined story arc without worrying about having to create ongoing material for several seasons.
Romeo and Juliet the classic story of young love will make history by airing ‘LIVE’ on mobile and social media around the world starring today’s most popular young stars from film, television and music.
Since joining Twitter back in 2008 I’ve been inundated with every possible combination of live tweeting the plays in “text speak” from various accounts behaving in the persona of the individual characters, and I’ve never liked it. I’m at least curious what “airing live on social media” means because I am interested in the advancement of the technologies to do that, however.
Should be very interesting to keep an eye on these projects!