Friday, January 30, 2009

Shakespeare and Modern Culture

I like this illustration by New York Times Book Review. I think will buy the book.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shakespeare's Mulberry Cup

This makes me want to plant a mulberry tree so that I can cut it down ten years later and carve a cup out of it. Then I will give it to someone, and they will put it into a museum so that I will forever be in that cup freshly remembered.

Shakespeare allegedly wrote this about his mulberry cup as a toast.

Behold this fair goblet, 'twas carved from the tree,
Which, Oh my sweet Shakespeare was planted by thee;
As a relic, I kiss it, and bow at the shrine;
What comes from thine hand, must eer be divine.
All shall yield to the Mulberry Tree
Bend to thee, Blest Mulberry ;
MatchIess was he who planted thee
And thou, like him immortal shall be.
Don't know if I believe that this was Shakespeare's bag, but it's interesting enough. I found out about this here and here, where there is also a drawing of a pewter cup Billy Shakes supposedly carved his name into at the Mermaid.

Dudley Moore and Peter Cook Use Shakespeare in Comedy

After the caveman bit, there's a song about Robin Hood's best friend. Tons of Shakespeare stuff in this, which is why I like it. Well, that and Dudley Moore is a hero. I remember the first time I heard a Dudley Moore/Peter Cook record. I nearly shat myself. This is from their TV programme, "Not Only. . . But also," which I've never seen.
If you pay attention, you'll hear quotes from 12th Night, Macbeth, and Hamlet. posted this before I did.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pimp My Shakespeare

Since I am pimping Shakespeare these days more than ever, I have decided to own it. I think I will have more graphics on this blog. More graphics and more flashy shit that really gets people "excited" about coming to see a play.

Also, if you are a writer or a blogger and want to score some tickets, you should promise me that you will blog or publish by traditional means a review about a show at the American Shakespeare Center. I will hook you up like it's nobody's business. That's how I roll.

Thanks to Bryan Coffelt for this graphic. The thing I like about Bryan Coffelt is that he can really put away a burrito. He also has no problem pimping in the rain. Go Bryan Coffelt!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shakespeare Santa Cruz Announces 2009 Season

I am immeasurably pleased that Shakespeare Santa Cruz has announced their new season. They're rolling out the crowd-pleasers, too. A Midsummer Night's Dream is Shakespeare's most popular play, and Julius Caesar is his most American one.

Dream is perhaps most popular because most people think the language is more accessible than most. I don't think that's true. I think it's most popular because you can't break it. It's harder to make a bad Dream than it is an easy one. It's very rare that an audience leaves a playhouse disliking a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It is Shakespeare's most theatrically interesting play in that it in habits four worlds and blurs the boundaries between them. A much longer post is needed to talk more about this.

Julius Caesar is the most American play because it is about assassination in the name of democracy. The meaning, the importance, and the cost of democracy are all at stake in Caesar. It's one of my favorite plays, and productions of it are more dangerous than other plays. Which side do you push? Which character is right? Who is the villain? Hero? It's almost (almost) as if the play begs its audience to ask those questions. But while you're asking them, it scoffs at you with irony, making you feel bad for having bothered. By bad, I mean sad, I guess. It is a tragedy, after all.

The photo above is of Yvonne Woods in Burn This. Just an excuse to put her picture on the blog because I think she is beautiful and talented. I hope she's at Santa Cruz this year. They haven't announced the cast yet.

Friday, January 9, 2009

American Shakespeare Center Must Survive and Thrive

Things are getting tougher all the time for Shakespeare companies in America. Now the American Shakespeare Center is running a fund-raising campaign to keep its lights on. If it goes dark, a town and a county will die, but also the tradition. The ASC at the Blackfriars Playhouse has brought a new vitality to the Shenandoah Valley, and it is the most unique theater experience in America. It would be an undeniable tragedy if the American Shakespeare Center went dark.

Please donate if you can. ASC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3). ASC needs to raise $250,000 by the end of January! Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated.
If you're poor and can't donate, please at least join the Facebook Cause.