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Search tags: the-play-s-the-thing
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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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review 2017-09-25 18:13
Julius Caesar / William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar - William Shakespeare
  Politics. Power. Ambition. Backstabbing (Literally).

Shakespeare knew human behaviour well. I thoroughly enjoyed the production that I attended on Sunday. So many lines of this play are still used today! “The fault … is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” “Cowards die many times before their deaths.” “Constant as the northern star.” “Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!”

And of course, I cannot think of this play without remembering the Canadian comedy team, Wayne & Shuster and their still funny sketch, Rinse the Blood Off My Toga. (Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR_5h... )

Now, join me for a martinus (wait, we’ll need more than one: martini) and we’ll “Beware the Ides of March.”

 

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review 2017-04-21 15:49
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead / Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard

Hamlet told from the worm's-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.

 

Each of us is the star of our own life. You may be a bit part in someone else’s narrative, but in your own mind, yours is the story that matters. Or you may struggle to find meaning in your own life, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this play by Tom Stoppard.

Last night I attended a live broadcast of the National Theatre production, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Josh McGuire. The set was very simple and the dialog was copious and delivered rapidly. I couldn’t help but admire how well they knew their parts.

There was definitely a “Waiting for Godot” vibe to the production, as R & G wait for some kind of sign or direction as to what they are supposed to be doing.

A knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet isn’t necessary to appreciate this play, but I think it enhances the viewer’s appreciation.

Recommended.

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review 2016-10-03 19:58
The Merchant of Venice / William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare

I attended a filmed version of this play, performed in the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London.  The costuming was wonderful, plus the music was excellent!  Jonathan Price was a convincing Shylock and his real-life daughter Phoebe played the role of Shylock’s daughter Jessica.  Between the two of them, they managed to make Antonio & the other Christians look like the monsters of the piece.

 

Of course I knew about the whole “pound of flesh” issue, but I didn’t know many other details of this play, which is controversial enough that it is not regularly performed.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the humour in the scenes which included Portia and her suitors and in the final scene where the disposal of rings becomes an issue.  It also made me smile as Portia and her maid Nerissa disguised themselves as men, in good Shakespearean tradition.  The role of Lancelot Gobbo was charmingly played by Stefan Adegbola, who brought to members of the audience to the stage to assist with his decisions to change masters.

 

A worthwhile play to attend, it is a thought-provoking piece and a must for every Shakespeare fan.

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