Saturday, June 5, 2010

Holy Crap. Shakespeare Makes Sense.

Hello all,

I finished reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and the other stories in the collection) and have decided that, were Robert Louis Stevenson still alive, I would want to have his babies. He is so brilliant. Now I'm reading Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, which I was inspired to pick up because a friend of mine (David Andino) showed me these videos (of songs from the musical Darling, which is a completely new take on the Peter Pan story):


Lost Boy

So the other day I was wandering through Target and I spied by chance a DVD version of Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. My older sister and I are HUGE David Tennant fans, stemming from his performance as Dr. Who, and when we found out he was going to be Hamlet in London we actually tried to figure out how to get over there to see it (having no money turned out to be an obstacle). Anyway, we were depressed because we thought we'd never be able to see his take on the character, or Patrick Stewart's on Claudius. But, miraculously, there this DVD was before me, a specially staged edition that seemed to say, "Dear Cayla and Cara: Thinking of you. Love, The Royal Shakespeare Company."

I bought it. We watched it.

Now here's the truth of the matter: I've always known that William Shakespeare wrote some of the most beautiful material ever put to paper, but prior to this Hamlet, every Shakespeare show I'd seen had me bouncing my foot and itching to get out of my seat because I just couldn't make myself enjoy it, and I thought I had to be dumb and uncultured because of it. (I'm still sure I'm dumb, but that's for unrelated reasons.)

But aha! I have been shown: the difference between amateur Shakespeare and professional Shakespeare is the difference between a preschool pageant and a rock concert. It just has to be done right. Patrick Stewart and David Tennant understand the material so completely in this production that the lines they deliver don't seem like high language, or language that's fallen out of use. There's no pretension, it's just like this beautiful melding of brilliant minds and more talent than the planet ought to be able to hold, to form something so utterly REAL that you can't help but be devastated by the progressiveness, uniqueness, awesomeness, and GENIUS that William Shakespeare possessed.

If he were still alive, I would have his babies as well.

Seriously, if you love Shakespeare, buy this Hamlet. If you've never gotten Shakespeare before (like me), buy this Hamlet. Here:

Awesome Amazing Spectacular Hamlet

This blog post in sum: read Robert Louis Stevenson, and watch Hamlet. (Also watch Dr. Who. Because who doesn't love Dr. Who??)

Hearts and loves,



Ari said...

Ah! David Tennant! I didn't know you were a fan! (Sorry, but I'm the biggest fan of Doctor Who ever.) I just went to the UK a few weeks ago for a theater trip, and not only did I get to go to the RSC (we saw Romeo and Juliet, not Hamlet, but it was still amazing) but I made a special trip to the official Doctor Who store, hahaha. :D But yeah, he was brilliant in Hamlet - I've watched it a bazillion times. I'd think we would be great friends in real life, as we both love Supernatural...Doctor Who....writing...'cept I live in Taiwan, so yeah.

It's nice to find out you're a Tennant fan as well. Have you seen the new series? I don't really like Matt Smith much at all...he's not bad, I suppose, but I think he's trying too hard to be eccentric. >.<

Okay, that's enough.

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

I LOVE David Tennant ! I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and would've sold my arms and legs to afford a trip to England and see him on stage. But I didn't (selling my arms and legs didn't seem that fun). Shakespeare, when well-played, is indeed amazing to hear.

Stu said...

Yes, yes, yes!

I'm a bit of a Shakespeare nut (see and I can count the number of really lucid well presented productions I've seen of most of his plays on one hand.

As you say, many become overwhelmed with the prospect of "doing Shakespeare" that results are stale and ponderous.

If you're wondering where to go next, can I recommend the BBC Shakespeare?

Shot in the 80s mostly on video in studios.

The quality strike rate is about 60% and some of the stagings are matter of taste (the As You Like It with Helen Mirren has a undeservedly poor reputation).

But some of them are still the best versions available -- the Measure for Measure particularly and the Histories.

jedi145 said...

I LOVE David Tenant and Doctor Who!
And Ari says you both love supernatural too !

Ari - I went to the doctor who store too, it was awesome :)

The Never Fairy said...

You'll find that Peter Pan is a lot darker, more complex and quite bittersweet from what you'd normally expect! Enjoy!
And be sure to read these cool books, too...

A novel based on Barrie's own idea for more: Click!

A book that takes Wendy on a different path: Click!


Okie said...

Great post.

I fully agree with you on the Jekyll/Hyde thing...I really love that book and (most) other things I've ready by Stevenson.

Peter Pan should be an interesting read after Jekyll/Hyde. The psychological aspect of Stevenson may help present Peter Pan in a more thoughtful light...when I read Barrie, it left me with a fair amount of retrospection that I didn't get from Disney (although it's still one of my favorite Disney films).

As to Shakespeare, I've loved his stuff for as long as I can remember. There are some plays that just bombed for me, but almost all of them really strike a chord. Seeing them live or on video is absolutely awesome. Hamlet is one of my faves so I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for the edition you mention.

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on Dr. Who. I don't have the cable/satellite subscription that allows me to watch it regularly...nor do I watch much TV anyway. I've watched a few episodes from the older series (mid 80s??) and one or two of the new series online. I really enjoyed the story/concept and someday may rent the series on DVD and catch up. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Nnamhel said...

Man, I am not digging the bad rap that Steldor is getting. :( Although I am the only one (so far) who answered that he is perfect, I really think that, arrogance aside, he is a competent person for gaining the throne. He is intelligent and skilled, even if he is the epitome of the sexist norm of the time. He knows that he would make a good king and is attracted to Alera, at least physically. His actions at the end of the book shows he does have humanity and respects her. So he may not love her, but he is certainly not interested in only the throne.

LHerschell said...

I just finished Peter Pan by J.M Barrie a couple days ago! It's really good, I think you'll enjoy it. :)