Monday, March 15, 2010

Not My Cup of Tea

Happy Ides of March!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the "Ides of March" is a "mostly-fictional" "day" made "famous" by a "possibly-fictional" playwright writing about a "probably-not" fictional emperor of Rome (or Greece--history was never my strong suit).

I've already made my dislike of the classics known, and Shakespeare is no exception. In high school, I read some play about a crazy king (or queen, maybe) who kept washing his/her hands and then his/her kids jumped off a balcony. Oh, and there was something about a shrew. And witches. I never got into any of his other works or the Young Willy, Playwright Adventurer YA series or the Shakespeare SuperHero comic books or the Big Bad William action heroes complete with moving quills.

I like my reading to be accessible. I want to understand it without hauling out a thesaurus or dictionary every third word (and what's with all the thines, thous, and forsooths? Come on, Will, write in English!).

If I want to read a sentence five times to figure out what it means, I'll re-read my Thermodynamics textbook. At least that's supposed to be tedious.

I realize many people adore Shakespeare. They go to his plays, memorize all the lines from each production, see every movie adaptation, most of which star Cate Blanchett (or is it Kate Winslet?). I think the only movie I'd be interested in would be "Godzilla vs. Shakespeare."

And you know who I'd be rooting for.




Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It's definitely not everybody's cup of tea. :) But there's lots of good murdering going on in those plays....

Mystery Writing is Murder

Elspeth Futcher said...

Shakespeare needs to be SEEN not read - they are plays, after all. Back in university I would hear all the plays I was assigned in the audio library - following along with the text - much easier to grasp what was going on!

Watch any of the Shakespeare movies made by Kenneth Branagh - he's a genius at making it sound like conversation, which, of course, it is.

JournoMich said...

I say Shakespeare. Godzilla would stare and drool and ol' Will recited sonnets.


Anonymous said...

There are half a dozen Shakespeares I've gone and seen x number of times because I like the plots, or I studied them at school so I know them back to front... I ought to get out of my comfort zone, though. One or two of them still make no impression on me because I can't get into the plots (they must have had some obvious residence in Shakespeare's time that we're just not getting now... a bit like watching Avatar when everyone's forgotten there even used to be a war in the Middle East, maybe?)

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

While living in England, I really enjoyed going to see Shakespearean plays. For me they’re easier to understand when acted out than in their written form.

Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - I guess I always fell asleep before the murdering began.

Elspeth - Perhaps you are right. I went to a Shakespeare in the Park production once, and it wasn't hideously awful.

Michele - I certainly hope you're not saying there's something wrong with staring and drooling.

Hampshire - You are a stronger soul than I. I haven't even seen the movie Shakespeare in Love.

Jane - Well, I'm all for "easier to understand," but I think I'd need subtitles. Or maybe a Mystery Science Theater treatment.

Lorel Clayton said...

I agree with everyone who said you have to watch Shakespeare. After about 15 or 20 minutes of listening to it within the context of a scene, your brain switches on, like suddenly becoming fluent in another language. There's so much beauty to be had when you immerse yourself in it like that. "Resolution's hue is sickled o'er with the pale cast of thought" is one of my all time favorite lines from literature (or in this case, drama).