danieldwilliam: (acting)

Last night I watched A Midsummers Night's Dream as adapted by Russel T Davies.

I quite enjoyed it.

I have mixed feelings about the play. It's the most hipsterish of Shakespeare' plays. Which means it was probably writen by the Earl of Oxford. Not content with writing one play we get the play within the play. And the Mortals are performing for the Fairies, who are performing for us. Hamlet also has an internal play but that's about the use of propaganda. This play is about itself.  It's a play about plays, about players, and playwrights, a play about being in a play, a play about plays about plays. And therefore as exciting as a night at the Baftas.

I also find the Mechanicals quite unamusing. They feel forced and unfunny. A bit like my accountancy exams; the main thing I enjoy about Bottom is when he's over.

On the other hand I enjoy the farcical element of Hermia and Helena, Lysander and Demetrius wandering through the forest each in love with the wrong person, misconstruing everything that is said and getting more and more irrational and lost. Which then bumps up against the plotting and cross-plotting and plots gone awry of the Fairies.  Then love triumphs over pride and everyone is happy. There's no dog on a string but you can't have everything.

I also have mixed feelings about the adaptation. It was brilliantly lush. Well performed. Fast enough paced. I'm not convinced by the pseudo-fascist trappings or the death of Theseus or entirely sure what was going on with Hippolyta.

What I loved about the adaptation was the brilliant performance of Fisayo Akinade giving Flute's brilliant performance as Thisbe. In amongst all the silliness and ham, intentional and untentional, he rounded off the peformance with a reminder that stories, and plays and films do have the power to move us and to change us.

Early one morning I shall try the Captain on it and see if he goes for the bright colours and the silliness.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
In order to properly celebrate the greatest ever playwright I'll be solemly taking part in a 30 Day Meme - a post a day as follows.

The 30 days:
Day #1: Your favourite play
Day #2: Your favourite character
Day #3: Your favourite hero
Day #4: Your favourite heroine
Day #5: Your favourite villain
Day #6: Your favourite villainess
Day #7: Your favourite clown
Day #8: Your favourite comedy
Day #9: Your favourite tragedy
Day #10: Your favourite history
Day #11: Your least favourite play
Day #12: Your favourite scene
Day #13: Your favourite romantic scene
Day #14: Your favourite fight scene
Day #15: The first play you read
Day #16: Your first play you saw
Day #17: Your favourite speech
Day #18: Your favourite dialogue
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play
Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play
Day #21: An overrated play
Day #22: An underrated play
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
My favourite Shakespeare play is Much Ado About Nothing (or Noting or Love's Labour Won).

It was the first Shakespeare play I was in. I played Leonato, governor of Messina and father of Hero, the wronged herione of the play. The production was staged in a courtyard garden at Aberdeen University. In early summer. I was 20. Given a run up I can probably still perform the opening scene.

A memorable event in the production was the actor playing the Friar forgetting a line. These things happen - but as the line he forgot was his speech at the aborted wedding of Claudio and Hero halfway through the play where he recaps the plot of the first half and lays out the plot of the second half it was quite some line to forget. I launched in to perhaps the greatest piece of improvised dialogue I have produced starting with "What I think the Father is saying to us is..." and summarised the Friar's speech and my own interuptions to is.

Straightaway after to the University library to borrow the largest bible we could lay our hands on and stick a copy of the text to the middle page.

A few years before Kenneth Branagh had released his film version. I love the sunshine of it. And Emma Thomson.

I like the play because I was in it and I have a fondness for things that I've done. It's funny. I also like it because it is a funny but quite serious critique of double standards of sexual morality set on a sunny day in Italy.

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danieldwilliam

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