Richard the Second

Here’s the thing: You can cut the first two scenes out of this play entirely.  It should just start with the duel between the Duke of Norfolk and Henry Bolingbroke.  Really, the play needs as much action as it can get, and the major flaw in it is the amount of talking that people do … Continue reading

King John

What a splendid play.  I actually directed King John a few years back when I was in college, using masked live actors and shadow puppets.  It was pretty awesome. But it was great reading this play again, simply because I could rediscover a lot of fun things that I cut out of my edit of … Continue reading

Antony and Cleopatra

Too many times, when somebody talks about doing a Shakespeare play, they use the phrase “it’s really difficult.” And to be fair, Shakespeare is always difficult. You need a lot of skill and dedication to perform any of these plays effectively so a modern audience understands and cares about the story. So I usually think … Continue reading

Julius Caesar

Every time I read Julius Caesar, I find something new to love. Of all the literature I’ve had to read and reread through school years, I think it is actually the play I have read the most. It is also a story that most people are familiar with, regardless of their familiarity with Shakespeare, and … Continue reading

Coriolanus

As it turns out, if Arnold Schwarzenegger ever performed in Shakespeare, he should play Coriolanus (not Hamlet, as previously thought). In scene I.iv, Cauius Marcius enters the gates of Corioli during the enemy’s retreat, and pretty much single-handedly takes the city.  This feat of military bravery is so insane that the Romans start referring to … Continue reading

Henry V

Henry V begins with some of the most famous lines in all of Shakespeare’s work: “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend The brightest heaven of invention -” spoken by a Chorus. Like the Dancer at the end of Henry IV Part II, this character is an actor, a member of the company, … Continue reading

Henry The Fourth Part II

I realize that, since I wrote this up on Valentine’s Day, I probably should have tried to read a romantic comedy this week.  But I didn’t, because I don’t actually care.  There is a whore named Doll Tearsheet, who offers a few elements of romantic comedy to this play, so I suppose that works. So… … Continue reading

Henry the Fourth Part I

What a fantastic play.  You halve the number after Henry, and you more than double the quality.  Stupid fat man.  But let’s not dwell on future Henry.  There are plenty of Henrys here to keep us company in this play. Henry IV Part I is about a Father and his son.  Yes, there’s the whole … Continue reading

King Henry the Eighth

Hey guys. Fuck this play. This is, seriously, the first play out of the batch that I don’t like at all.  There’s a handful of good moments, and I’ll talk about them.  The sort of things that could be done well as a scene in an educational context.  But for the most part, nothing happens.  … Continue reading

Richard the Third

If Henry 666 was about the plight of a purely good man surrounded by evil, Richard III is the inverse: the journey of an evil man surrounded by gullible goodness.  It is the story of an ugly man who desires nothing more than to be the leader of his country, yet distrusts every single person … Continue reading