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review 2020-06-02 22:24
Verily, a Great Entertainment
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Jonathan Davis,Marc Thompson,Daniel Davis,January LaVoy,Ian Doescher

"CHORUS:
As our scene to space, so deep and dark,
O’er your imagination we’ll hold sway.
For neither players nor the stage can mark
The great and mighty scene they must portray.
We ask you, let your keen mind’s eye be chief –
Think when we talk of starships, there they be."

 

"LUKE:
Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears
Wish not we had a single fighter more,
If we are mark’d to die, we are enough
To make our planets proud. But should we win,
We fewer rebels share the greater fame.
We have all sacrific’d unto this cause.
[...]
For with the Force and bravery we win.
O! Great shall be the triumph of that hour
When Empire haughty, vast and powerful
Is fell’d by simple hands of rebels base,
Is shown the might of our good company!
And citizens in Bespin now abed,
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here.
For never shall rebellion see a time
More glori’us then our strong attack today!"

Well, of course Doescher channels the Bard's great speeches, but this is not just parody (of either Shakespeare or Star Wars); it's a cleverly-executed synthesis, transposing the complete screenplay(s) into Shakespearean iambic pentameter -- and somehow managing to remain faithful to both.

 

I am glad that I opted for the audio version, though: Just as Shakespeare's plays are best experienced in performance (and, well, George Lukas wrote movie scripts, not novels), Doescher's synthesis of the two really comes to life when performed.  And I have to give huge kudos to the actors who, while they are clearly having more fun than should be permitted, take the work seriously and give it their full attention, all the way from R2-D2's "beep, squeak, squeeeaak"s (Death of Rats, anyone?) and Han Solo's "hey, I'm just here for the money" attitude to the weightier interactions between Obi-Wan, Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader.  (Interestingly, the total length of Doescher's text also falls squarely within the average range of that of a Shakespearean play.)   I'm not one of those who can do Star Wars marathons, nor will I typically watch more than one play by the Bard at a time, so I don't see myself bingeing on Doescher's syntheses of the two sources. But I'm glad there is more than one of these -- they just may turn out to be the things to turn to when my life needs a bit of brightening up.

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text 2020-06-01 11:21
Next up in the Will's World Project...
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

My plans of reading the plays in order have been thwarted again, but since the NT at Home will show Coriolanus (the Donmar Warehouse production starring Tom Hiddleston) this week, I'll try to read the play before Thursday. 

 

This is also one where I do not have the Arkangel audiobook to accompany me (and I don't have a spare credit at the moment). So, this will be "text then play" reading. 

 

I'm excited about the Hiddleston production, tho. I was really impressed by his portrayal of Prince Hal / Henry V in The Hollow Crown

 

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text 2020-05-31 22:34
BL-opoly, Pandemic Edition -- Third Roll
Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham,David Thorpe
William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Jonathan Davis,Marc Thompson,Daniel Davis,January LaVoy,Ian Doescher

 

 

 

Well, at least I didn't DNF my last 2 reads (but then, at least with the Christie I didn't expect that to happen anyway).  Still, since I collared another double, let's play it safe (again) in this round ...

 

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review 2020-04-26 23:19
As You Like It
The Complete Works (Oxford Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare,John Jowett,Gary Taylor

Love is merely a madness, and I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.

I loved this quote. As You Like It is probably most famous for its "Seven Ages of Man" speech, which is fabulous of course, but it was the above quote that called out to me most in this play. 

 

As You Like It started out as an interesting story, with the old Duke exiled by his brother, the Duke's daughter being best friends with the new Duke's daughter. 

And of course, there we a few young men, who had no idea what they were doing or what they were looking for really - and there was a fool. Or were they all fools?

 

The theme of exile had promise for development into something, but Shakespeare didn't take up the challenge here. I guess he wasn't ready for that play, yet. The Tempest would develop later, so would The Winter's Tale.  

 

The idea of star-crossed bonds had promise, too. And this is an idea that Shakespeare used before, yet again only hinted at but chose to not really develop in this play. 

 

So, what was left?

 

Not a lot. 

 

Despite an interesting start, Shakespeare seemed to have lost interest, or time, or both, and basically fell back on the same formula of farcical and really, really dumb romantic comedy that made Comedy of Errors look like a bonkers but inane masterpiece. 

 

I am seriously done with Shakespeare's comedies. ... Tho, I know, I still have at least one more to suffer through (The Merry Wives of Windsor). 

 

Nevertheless, there is one thing I would like to recommend: I mentioned  the Arkangel Shakespeare productions in reviews of previous plays, but with respect to As You Like It, the Arkangel audio production really was what held my interest on the play until the end. 

The production included musical pieces for all of the songs included in the play, and those were brilliant. 

 

So, I feel like I should rate the play and the production separately:

 

Original Play - 2*

Arkangel Audio Production - 3* 

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text 2020-04-26 16:23
Reading progress update: I've read 104 out of 104 pages.
As You Like It (Arkangel Complete Shakespeare) - William Shakespeare

Out of all the Shakespeare plays I have read so far, this was my least favorite. 

 

I have used this word before in one of my status updates and I will use it again: everything about the plot felt so random. We ended up with four marriages, two of which I can get on board with (even though these couples suffer from the worst kind of instalove). But the other two couples 

 

 

Touchstone and Audrey and Phebe and Silvius 

(spoiler show)

 

are just downright horrible. Divorce didn´t exist in Shakespeare´s time, so I´m pretty sure someone will end up dead at some point in the future. 

 

Another thing that really bugged me about this play was the treatment of Duke Frederiks character. Towards the end of the very last scene, Shakespeare did remember that there was a little conflict between people and that he hadn´t solved the conflict just yet. What to do?

 

Let Duke Frederick meet a priest and let him move to a cloisterand give up his dukedom. Yeah, right? That´s convenient.

 

 

[Source]

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

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