Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shakespeare and sharks

When I saw the ads for Sharknado 2, I found myself wondering if Shakespeare ever used the word "shark." (After all, he knew about tigers, and there are no tigers in England while there are most definitely sharks in the waters around the island.) Turns out he used it twice, once as a noun and once as a verb. In Macbeth, shark parts are listed as ingredients of the witches' potion: Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf, Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark. In Hamlet, Horatio uses the verb in reference to Fortinbras: Now, sir, young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there Shark’d up a list of lawless resolutes and of course, in the Broadway musical West Side Story, inspired by Romeo & Juliet
, one of the street gangs is called "the Sharks."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Plague on Both Your Houses

In Romeo & Juliet, the doomed Mercutio curses the Montagues and the Capulets as he dies, victim of the long-running feud that will soon claim two more victims. The idea of "plague" was not a theoretical concept in Shakespeare's time. Most scholars believe R&J was written between 1591 and 1495. By the 14th century, Black Plague had reduced the population of western Europe by as much as 100 million. Less than a decade after the debut of Romeo & Juliet, in 1603, London was hit with a plague that killed 38,000. The Great Longon Plague of 1665-1666 was the last major outbreak of Plague in England, which is a good thing because it killed 100,000 people, or bout 15% of London's population. Wishing a plague on a family is a terrible, terrible curse.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

More casting Shakespeare and a Separated at Birth

Two of the actors I'd most like to see in a Shakespeare play are Frank Langella and Benedict Cumberbatch. I saw Langella in the stage version of Dracula years ago and I saw the film of the Danny Boyle Frankenstein he did alternating the title role with Jonny Lee Miller. (Who rocked, by the way.)and I realized that Langella and Cumberbatch share a certain flair. What do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Casting Shakespeare...Macbeth

There's a moment at the end of Mystic River, a nonverbal moment between Laura Linney and Sean Penn, two of my favorite actors, that made me realize just how amazing they'd be in a production of Macbeth. And just recently I saw a photograph of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and thought--wouldn't they be great as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth? I admire Angelina. I remember the wild stuff before she settled down to become the world's most beautiful UN rep and healthcare advocate, and I'd love to see her sink her teeth into one of the juciest roles ever created. In the play, Macbeth describes her as having a tiger's heart, wrapped in woman's hide and that feels appropriate.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Shakespeare Snark

No Sweat Shakespeare has put together a list of 7 amusing shakespeare memes. Bonus points for kitten cuteness.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Otherllo at San Diego's Globe Theater

I've seen some powerful productions of Othello. It's a play that's as incendiary today as when it was written all those years ago. This production from this year's Globe Summer Festival stars Blair Underwood in the title role and Richard Thomas as Iago. The last thing I saw down there was Neil Patrick Harris and Emmy Rossum in Romeo & Juliet, and I'm way overdue for a return trip. This production tempts me to take the drive.