Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare

Alright folks,

What’s your favourite Shakespeare play and why? Are there any screen/film/stage adaptations you like?

I’ll start things off. Definitely Richard III. Some might classify his villainy as cartoonish, but man, after watching Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in the Hollow Crown series, I have a new found respect for the complexity of the Macchiavelean character. Not that I laud his villainy; it’s just the character is so freaking messed up (in a good way).

Hamlet. For particular reasons, I’ve seen it performed dozens, perhaps hundreds of times. I love the moment in the final Act when the audience realises that Hamlet, who’s already been fatally poisoned by Laertes’ poisoned sword, now has the sword in his hand. I once was in the wings in a production in Hamburg, Germany, when nearly 2,000 people were in the audience. At that moment a barely audible hiss of realisation snaked through the auditorium. It was the expiration of tension tightened simultaneously to breaking point in 2,000 heads by almost three hours of drama (it’s a long play). Marvellous!

Richard II. The poetry! The pathos! The history! I love it.

I discovered a brilliant iPad app a few weeks ago – The Tempest, by Heuristic Shakespeare. The full Arden Shakespeare version of the text and notes, the First Folio text, history things, essays, interesting visual breakdowns of the scenes and characters, videos, interviews, performance history, and reading-out-loud by real actors (including Ian McKellen). Completely fabulous, and the best use of tablet technology that I have ever seen. It’s the first of thirty-seven such apps, apparently, covering all of Shakespeare’s plays, and I can’t wait for the next one (whichever it might be).

Edited to add… Sorry, forgot to mention performances of Richard II. My absolute favourite is probably the one with Fiona Shaw as Richard – stunning, but I don’t know how widely available the video is, since I saw it as part of a literature course rather than buying it commercially. I loved the Globe Theatre production with Mark Rylance, which I’ve also got on DVD somewhere, I think. Ben Whishaw did a pretty good job in the Hollow Crown series on television, but I did not much like David Tennant’s recent-ish RSC version (which I saw live-streamed to a cinema).

I too love Richard II (although as one of the less regarded of Shakespeare’s plays, it entered my awareness late). I also agree about the Tennant version. My favourite interpretation is McKellen’s, which was the first I saw.

I’ll look out for the app.

Yeah, I just googled the heuristic Shakespeare thing. Looks insane. Yet another reason to get a tablet. Alas, I’m a poor student working off an 8-year-old mac. But maybe one day.

Thing about Richard II, I’ve been debating long and hard over whether he’s a hero or an antihero. On the one side, I feel for the guy when Bolingbroke seizes everything from him, upon his return from Ireland. Particular that last scene when whining about his bad luck and all that just before he gets stabbed. Really felt sorry for the chap. On the other hand, he totally screws Bolingbroke out of pettiness, and he’s like a major freaking jerk that I’d totally lift a finger to if someone treated me that way.

Anyways, I guess I like Richard III cause I know where everybody stands. Richard III is the bad bad wolf, the great Hitler of the play, and everything is about his craziness.

BBC did a Shakespeare series in the 70s.
Jacobi does a decent enough Hamlet. … PfGHoCsO0I


I prefer the former. Less technology. Better acting. And it’s live!

I admire some of the wording and speeches (his?), but I don’t have a favourite play. Would like to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream produced as the writer intended, rather than the watered-down puerile magical slush that we are usually presented with today. Would also like to see The Merchant of Venice done as a comedy (though without the anti-Semitic overtones).

If you are interested in works attributed to Shakespeare, Emma Smith from the University of Oxford has produced a thought-provoking podcast series that focuses on answering one key question each lecture specific to one play…

Earlier this year, I wrote a play / plaria script that focused on the life of Anne Hathaway, who Shakespeare married in 1582. (Delighted that it got eight curtain calls when performed in Denmark…in English. Great Danes. All credit to the production team.) An intriguing woman and an intriguing relationship… … -hathaway/


When I was in Singapore, I saw an Indian version of Midsomer Night’s Dream years back. Psychedelic…Imagine Shakespeare combined with bharatnatyam dancing…

As You Like It (?)

so beautiful! I’d totally date the centre woman!
It’s really hypnotic 8)

i do enjoy east/west fusions; if any out there know any mongrelized shakesperean adaptations feel free to post.

As for that psychedelic post Vic, it’s those eyes on the hands that makes everything so freaky and yet beautiful

The 1956 movie “The Forbidden Planet” was amazing for the young Leslie Neilsen’s Bryllcreem, and for the fact that it is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, with a dollop of Freudianism. Full colour, and a Theremin providing the sound effects. And Walter Pidgeon as the mad scientist. See it!

This was quite fun too (including a great late-60s-style guitar solo from the actor who played Cookie).

And now…

  • The Tempest retold”.

oooh that looks nasty :smiling_imp: Have to make room on my Billy Shake, shelf and see if I can squeeze Billy Atwood/MaggieShakespeare in somewhere!

I absolutely adore Shakespeare. Macbeth is my all time favorite book!

Wow, it’s really difficult to name the favorite Shakespear’s creation. I just love Hamlet, Richard III, Macbeth… Don’t wanna mark one of them as my favorite among others.

An update to my previous post. The BBC collection mentioned above, is no longer available on line. The full collection is still available as a box set, if anyone’s interested. However Derek Jacobi’s Hamlet, from the series is available here. … o_be.shtml
The soliloquy can be found at 1-24-40secs.
Take care