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George Lucas takes on Shakespeare | Fit for a Fool

By November 14, 2014 No Comments

This week in foolery stars George Lucas, those who want Shakespeare gone from the stage, a couple of quizzes, conspiracy theories and Twitter. Strip the Stage of Shakespeare? The somewhat controversially titled article ‘Shakespeare is too obscure for the stage, methinks’ was published this week the writer, Jemima Lewis, argues that Shakespeare is just too old (looking good for 450 I thought..) for the stage. Her remark that Shakespeare plays are full of people laughing at Shakespearean jokes that are either too silly or too outdated is what landed the article in this week’s foolery column.

Is there any less convivial feeling than sitting in a theatre surrounded by people pretending to laugh at a Shakespearean gag? “Wahahaha,” they squawk, perhaps dabbing at their eyes for extra authenticity. And then, when you ask what’s so funny, it turns out to be a 400-year-old pun that means Sir Toby Belch has a tiny willy.

But she makes some interesting points whether you agree with her stance or not. She’s perhaps not alone in her honest confession, “never having dustily studied the text, I haven’t the faintest idea what this fellow is on about.” The question is should Shakespeare be retired from the stage, have a read of the article and see what you reckon. Conspiracy Theories Last week in England we celebrated Guy Fawkes Night, which sees people trooping out to watch some fireworks with the vague recollection that a guy many years ago tried to blow up parliament. This inspired an article on the Guardian‘s website on literary conspiracy theories, including J.K. Rowling, the Brontes and yup, you guessed it, Shakespeare. This time they’ve pinned it on Elizabeth I. Check out the logic, flawless stuff.

The argument is that Shakespeare was simply too uneducated and untravelled to have penned so many genius plays about historical figures, famed myths, strange and distant lands. Elizabeth, on the other hand, had a royal knowledge of history, politics and geography. She also published some poetry under her own name in her lifetime, so we know she had a decent handle on a phrase. She could never publish such raunchy plays under her own name, she paid Shakespeare to use his, which is probably how he could afford that golden hoop earring.

George Lucas takes on Shakespeare | Fit for a Fool shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare

Spot the earring..

Shakespeare Matchmaker There doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by without the appearance of a new Shakespeare themed quiz – not that I’m complaining this week you get two for the price of one! First up is the Guardian’s match quiz. The challenge? Match the setting to the play. Sounds simple right? Well go on then – go and get full marks! Some are easy like: “Verona. A Public Place” but others are more of a challenge, like “A desert place”. If you know your Shakespeare you should be well away. And fear not, speaking as a geographically challenged kind of person no substantial geographical knowledge is required! Which Shakespeare character are you? I came across possibly my favourite Shakespeare quiz so far this week: What Shakespeare Character are you? produced by the American Shakespeare Center and working on the BuzzFeed model of using contemporary questions to figure out who you’d be if Shakespeare had written you. Asking questions like:

Which of these headlines would you be most likely to click on? (a) 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Microsoft Billionaire Paul Allen, Seattle Seahawks Owner (b) Love life of Israeli PM’s son sparks uproar (c) America’s oldest poetry journal celebrates 125 years of great verse (d) Man Surprised Lifelong Friend in Need of a Little Help (e) How to prevent a hangover – for the night -of and the morning-after (f) Modi’s visit a chance for Obama to improve relationship, enlist India in his Asia policy (g) Cinco Ranch “kid at heart” wants to be a paediatrician

And then the quiz churns out a response after asking all sorts of crazy questions like this one landing you with a Shakespeare character identity. I apparently am Beatrice (that the second time one of these quizzes has said that, in as many weeks! First Buzzfeed now this.. Haunted by Much Ado) “Your friends and family know they can count on you, even when the going gets tough. You are fiercely loyal. You notice and remember specifics about people who are important to you, and are deeply concerned with how others feel. You thrive around other people, and feel a little uncomfortable on your own. You’re always at the ready with a warm hug to console, a witty quip to defuse the tension, or even a slap across the face to admonish the person who wronged your friend.” You can then get your itinery – for those days when you want to live a day in the life of a Shakespeare character. For instance on mine I get to take a pit stop to snack on healthy treats at Cranberry’s after buying a friend something special at Artful Gifts – I’ll bear that in mind for next time I’m Beatrice in Staunton. Whereas if I was Lucentio I’d be advised to pick up a classic romance after choosing some chocolates for my sweetheart. Well you get the picture. Why not check out yours?   George Lucas and Shakespeare I came across a very exciting piece of Shakespeare news this week, that of George Lucas’s up-coming Shakespeare inspired movie aka Strange Magic due to hit movie theatres Jan 23 2015. Not long to wait now! It’s an animated musical fantasy. Here’s the official plot synopsis:

Strange Magic is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

Lucas wrote the story and executively produced the movie and it stars voices from people of X-Men, Bridesmaids, Spiderman 2 and 22 Jump Street. It’s not just for the kids. But keep your eyes pealed for the movie just after Christmas time. Who wouldn’t want to catch some Shakespeare inspired action written by the guy behind Star Wars. George Lucas takes on Shakespeare | Fit for a Fool shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare George Lucas takes on Shakespeare | Fit for a Fool shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare   The Twitter Dream And finally for those lovers of Twitter amongst you, there’s a new project on the block which sees the creation of Shakespeare character accounts and the performance of the play on Twitter. Yes, you heard that right! For the full project check out their twitter account here. Or if you’d rather you can see it character by character, like Oberon here. To give you an idea here’s a pretty standard tweet from the play’s twitter rendition. Until next week foolery lovers keep foolin’ around!

Author Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, England where she is currently researching female melancholia in the early modern period (as presented in Shakespearean and early modern drama and proto-medical treatises) and contemporary female depression. She is interested in all things Shakespeare related, particularly contemporary Shakespeare adaptation and appropriation.

More posts by Sarah Waters

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