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review 2018-06-04 02:35
King Lear (Folger Shakespeare Library Series) - William Shakespeare

My first time through King Lear. Some absolutely wonderful prose in there. The story was a touch hard to follow, but I managed okay. 

 

I think the moral of the story is: "Never never never give your kids their inheritance before you die." Lear certainly did this and earned the contempt and resentment from his two daughters while shafting Cordelia, who could have maybe had used some tact while trying to signal to her father that her older sisters were awful.

 

I did like that the good son of Gloucester was named Edgar (a certain family name)... Edgar was weird, though. Instead of protesting (or proving) his innocence, he just kinda rolled over too.

 

Maybe I just thought that the characters were too broad, too cartoonish. The pathos and emotion was good, but it's really all over the map.

 

But who am I to criticize the Bard, really?

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review 2018-05-27 12:14
Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet - Crystel S Chan,William Shakespeare

I’ve been reading the Manga Classics since the beginning and I really like how they bring classics to life in a new way. Especially some stories have been told so many times in so many different ways that it is difficult to bring something new to the stage (see what I did there?), and now they have branched into a new field: Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been turned into manga before (at least I believe I saw some lying in The Globe shop last year, but I haven’t read those (yet)).

They start with Romeo and Juliet, probably a logical choice but also one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays. All the original text is included, and the drawings help with understanding some of the more difficult metaphors if needed. Manga really lends itself into exaggerating personalities into caricatures (especially with characters like the nurse which already have these tendencies).

Nice artwork make a nice adaptation, but I would be looking forward to other plays which are said to come soon!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-05-26 18:24
To read or not to read?
A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare

I went to the theatre to see a performance of Macbeth (I am not superstitious, therefore I can say that) last week and that actually got me in the mood for some Shakespeare. But instead of re-reading one of his tragedies (out of which I really enjoy Macbeth the most, but this review actually has nothing to with Macbeth, so I am going to stop mentioning it now), I wanted to try a comedy for a change.

 

I have actually seen a performance of A Midsummernight’s Dream a couple of years ago, but honestly I do not remember anything about it – which shoud have struck me as a bad sign to begin with. Anyway, after reading it, it now makes sense, that I forgot all about this play, because it really is a pretty shallow one (sorry to all of you hardcore Shakespeare fanboys and fangirls out there). It might also be possible, that I am only confused because nobody died and, reading Shakespeare, that is a first for me.

But A Midsummernight’s Dream was not my taste and considering my love for Russian literature, I might be more the kill-everyone-at-the-end instead of the they-now-live-happily-ever-after type of person in generall. Well, at least now I know that for sure.

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review 2018-04-24 15:53
Timon of Athens / William Shakespeare
Timon of Athens - William Shakespeare,Thomas Middleton

Timon of Athens is a bitterly intriguing study of a fabulously rich man who wastes his wealth on his friends, and, when he is finally impoverished, learns to despise humanity with a hatred that drives him to his grave.

 

This is probably the Shakespearean play that I like the least of those that I have seen thus far. The plot line reminded me strongly of many celebrities today, who have made a ton of money and don’t really pay attention to the details of it. They spend wildly on themselves and their hangers-on, and then suddenly find themselves bankrupt. Just as suddenly, all of their “friends” disappear, leaving them holding the bills. Timon follows this pattern to a T.

But, more often than not, today’s celebrities pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and reorganize their lives and end up living in a more modest, reasonable way. They realize their part in the whole debacle. Timon doesn’t—he blames everyone, even the people who tried to help him. And it’s all everyone else’s fault, he doesn’t accept a bit of blame for his misfortunes. He goes from one extreme to the other—from wealth to living in a cave eating roots. When he discovers buried treasure, instead of taking responsibility & getting his life back on track, he once again uses it to prove that he is hard-done by.

I can see why this play is rarely performed now—Timon’s form of self-denial after his ruin is hard for me to empathize with. I can understand being more careful in relations with other people, but I don’t understand his Unabomber-like withdrawal from human society. For me, roughing it is a cheap motel, so you won’t find me living in cave no matter how low my fortunes may fall.

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review 2018-03-26 20:27
Hamlet / William Shakespeare
Hamlet (Cambridge School Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,Rex Gibson,Richard Andrews

I went to an encore screening of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch this weekend.  I went in a bit skeptical, thinking that he might be a bit too old to be playing the part of a young man in university, but he won me over.

 

Hamlet is my favourite Shakespearean play and it’s been a long time since I saw it performed.  It remains my fav, and I’m so impressed with how many quotes and sayings from the play are still widely used in current discourse.

 

The theatre, naturally, was filled with mostly grey-haired folk, so there was a bit of a universal snort when Hamlet tells his mother that she’s old and shouldn’t be interested in sex anymore!  Since this is the first time I’ve seen the play since losing my own parents, I found myself much more sympathetic to Hamlet’s situation however, expected to get over the death of his father in a mere two months! 

 

A most enjoyable experience.

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