The Tempest

I’m starting off 2012 with this classic fantasy story, which actually holds a special place in my heart besides being an objective masterpiece of drama.  It’s the first play that I ever acted in (excluding, you know, school Christmas Pageants and the lot), playing one of the magical “people of the island” that the sorcerer Prospero commands … Continue reading

The Winter’s Tale

Prince Mamillus says early in the first Act of this play: “A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one Of sprites and goblins.”  Shortly afterwards, he falls ill and dies of shock when his mother, Queen Hermoine, is falsely accused of infidelity by King Leontes.  So begins this beautiful story of jealousy and forgiveness, with its famously unconventional structure.  … Continue reading

Two Noble Kinsmen

It is fairly accepted among scholars that Shakespeare collaborated with John Fletcher on two plays: King Henry VIII,  and Two Noble Kinsmen.  Considering that the former play was one of the worst plays  have ever read, ever, I did not have high hopes for 2NK (as I like to call it).  It was not included in the … Continue reading

Cymbeline

If you ask me what my favorite Shakespeare play is, I usually say Cymbeline.  Until recently, I sort of forgot why.  But then I read the thing again just now, and oh dear Christ it’s a wonderful play.  Really, really wonderful, with one of the era’s greatest female protagonists, opportunity for a spectacular battle sequence, … Continue reading

Twelfth Night

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done this.  I took a bit off from this Act-of-Shakespeare-a-Day Project to focus on Blunt Objects Theatre’s Halloween production, Joan the Witch, and now there’s only a few weeks left in the year.  Oh well.  Might as well jump right back into things: the play is basically a … Continue reading

The Merchant of Venice

So, remember when Two Gentlemen of Verona had a fairly nonchalant stance on rape?  Well, Merchant of Venice has a similar problem with anti-Semetism.  However, Merchant has two incredibly fascinating and therefore redeeming characters: Shylock, the Jewish villain of the play, and Portia, one of Shakespeare’s best female characters ever.  Yeah, she’s racist, which is … Continue reading

Midsummer Night’s Dream

I have a confession to make: I’ve never been a huge fan of this play.  It’s a classic, it’s cute, but I’ve never thought that the romantic confusion was incredibly hilarious – even before I read all of Shakespeare’s other comedies.  The funniest part in any production that I’ve seen is always the play-within-a-play at … Continue reading

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Well, I’m not sure what I was expecting from the title, but this play is really sad… Really, lovely, but really also sad.  Technically speaking, it’s not even a comedy, since comedies are expected to end in a wedding.  But it certainly isn’t a tragedy, either.  There is a category of “Problem Plays” that scholars … Continue reading

Two Gentlemen of Verona

Okay kids.  Today, I’m going to talk to you about rape.  Not in a humorous, belittling way, mind you.  But in an honestly disturbed, “the ending of this play is really fucking weird” sort of way. Proteus tries to rape Silvia, though Valentine leaps out to stop it.  The problem is really what happens next: Proteus makes … Continue reading

Comedy of Errors

The same way that I felt Coriolanus was a weaker version of Timon of Athens, I feel like this play is a weaker version of Merry Wives of Windsor. I can’t bring myself to call it bad, but it has a great hollowness to it. It’s funny, and clever, but there aren’t any truly heartfelt … Continue reading