Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by Crimson_Scribe, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. Crimson_Scribe Thespian Registered Senior Member

    All right, so I just got back from Macbeth at Theatre Calgary. The director decided that his concept for the play was in the WWII era. Given that we’re all creative people here, what are some good concepts for Shakespeare plays? Here are some I’ve actually done:

    Coriolanus – Post Apocalyptic World
    Much Ado About Nothing – Western / 1890’s
    Cymbeline – Pirates

    Anyone got some good ideas? (or seen any good ones?)
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  3. CounslerCoffee Registered Senior Member

    Actually, Romeo and Juliet should be set within a drug ward. They should be played by two fourteen year olds who want to do nothing but fuck and snort cocaine.

    And my favorite Shakespeare play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, should be set in a business type setting. Like Enron or something.

    Yep. Drinking heavily tonight.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I've seen Julius Caesar done with a business/corporation theme, with Caesar as CEO. It worked ok.
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  7. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    there've been dozens of versions- especially if you include adaptations like West Side Story, Ran or Forbidden Planet- set in just about any period. A few notable ones: Macbeth as African military dictator; Richard III as a fascist in the 1930s; Coriolanus and Julius Caesar have also been done as plays about fascism; Troilus and Cressida in WWI; The Tempest as a dream; Henry V was recently done as a contemporary play [with a black Henry]; the recent fashion for the comedies and tragedies was to use Victorian and Edwardian settings.
  8. the most hilarious movie I ever saw was "Shakespeare in Love", the idea that the Bard needed a muse to get his ideas, was too much.

    when I read Shakespeare, I'm usually the one who gets inspired & I think that might be the case for others

    & it didn't hurt that Gwyneth was the muse, she is so cute
  9. yuri_sakazaki iLikeMyWomenLikeMyBaldMen ;Bald Registered Senior Member

    Why not all Shakespeare plays in Elizabethan times? How he wrote them? Nah, too crazy.
  10. Sebastian B. Registered Senior Member

    My personal favorite was Othello. It was done in a modern setting, no props, no scenes just two pianos on the stage. A black one on top of a white one. It was excellently played, but entirely dependent on dialog (like most theater pieces i guess).
  11. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    When he wrote the plays they were done in what was contemporary dress, but toi be completely logical you'd have to adapt Elizabethan pronunciation of English. Get boys to play the women; issue the audience with free plague-infested fleas to make it more Elizabethan...
  12. Dr Lou Natic Unnecessary Surgeon Registered Senior Member

    There's nothing I despise more than "modern adaptations" of shakespeare.
    It's just got that annoying "lol, look it still works now, get it? get it?!!!" feel to it.
    Like jazz musicians with their little in-joke about playing the wrong notes.
    Yeah we get it fuckhead, now just do it properly.
    I thought the world was largely over this irritating little phase.
  13. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Most of Shakespeare's work was a modern adaptation of someone else's work.
  14. nbachris2788 Registered Senior Member

    I thought Julie Taymor's Titus (with Anthony Hopkins) was really interesting in how that they kept some of the old stuff (Roman dress) but fused with modernity (the pope-mobile, shotguns, etc.) I loved that movie.

    Are they, because if so, shouldn't Julius Caesar involve the English monarchy instead of Roman politicians?
  15. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    Titus is a pretty good analogy [[as well as a very good film]. He adapted the story and the names from Plutarch, but all of the characters dressed and spoke in what was then contemporary dress. The reason Shakespeare didn't write about contemporary politicians was that you could end up suffering for it: Jonson and Dekker ended up gaoled for The Isle of Dogs, other writers were mutilated for what they wrote. Even if you cArefully set plays in the past you could still have problems: Essex used Richard II to justify his attempt to overthrow Elizabeth- "Know you not that I am Richard?" she said. All of Shakespeare's history [English history that is] plays are early- before that- excpt Henry VIII which he only part-wrote and which was written under Jamie I and VI- ]erhaps he got scared off.
  16. Xev Registered Senior Member

    Thank you, you just broke the retard-scale with that lovely response.
    Shakespeare relies heavily on Holinshed, less so on Plutarch and Livy, and of course on various Greek and Norse myths. 'Hamlet' is liberally adapted from an old Norse history, 'Rape of Lucrece' and 'Venus and Adonis' from Ovid, 'The Tempest' is liberally adapted from traveller's stories and a shipwreck that happened around that time, so on and so forth.

    Shakespeare himself is adapted - Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" is basically "King Lear" set in Medieval Japan.

    That said, I dislike modern 'adaptations' of Shakespeare. The periodic teenybopper reworkings of 'Romeo and Juliet' or 'Taming of the Shrew' really, really ought to result in bloodshed.

    Although....I can definitely see 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' or 'The Tempest' being set amidst a group of shrooming youngsters.
  17. Thersites Registered Senior Member

    There's a lot of possibilities: you can play Shakespeare in contemporary dress, you can update, you can use Shakespeare as a source the way he used other writers- if we didn't know, would we think Ran was inspired by King Lear? That we might, but- again with Kurosawa- who could tell The Bad Sleep Well came from Hamlet if we hadn't been told?
  18. Xev Registered Senior Member

    Oh, it's not the idea of adapting Shakespeare that annoys me, it's the finished product.

    If someone did a brilliantly acted, well filmed revision of Midsummer Night's Dream set in an isolated hippy-type commune, I would see it. But Shakespeare "adaptations" are almost always complete crap that would never have seen the light of day if there was anything resembling risk-taking in Hollywood.

    I can see the logic behind them.

    "Well, we need to put out a new movie...hmm....Shakespeare always works but we need a gimmick to attract people"
    "Yeah...something original"
    "How about Hamlet...only Hamlet is an android...and it's set in space....and instead of avenging his father, it's the guy who assembled him whom he's avenging...oh yeah and lose the suicides, that's too depressing, and instead of Fotinbras there's an alien invasion...."
  19. -Bob- Insipid Fool Registered Senior Member

    Adaptations of Shakespeare are sort of like.... electronica versions of Pachalbel Canon.

    Dispensing with Shakespeare's dialogue is usually enough to kill an adaptation, because the replacement always pales in comparison. That's half the art, really. And if you don't write new dialogue it just sounds weird if it's in some modern setting.
  20. Xev Registered Senior Member


    Thank you.

    Not to sound like a prude, but this thread makes me want to pull a sokel and film a version of 'Twelfth Night' with my kitchen utensils.

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