So, get this, As You Like It is a comedy, and Shakespeare is *good* at comedies. Don’t believe me? Maybe you think that something that was written in the late 16th century can’t possibly be funny to present day audiences. Well, let’s think about all the adaptations that have been done in recent years. Kenneth Brannagh remade As You Like It in 2006 and set the whole thing in feudal Japan. And it was nominated for a Golden Globe. That’s not the only remake of As You Like It. Remember Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed? Yup, you guessed it, the movie was based on Shakespeare's play. As You Like It is so popular there's even a manga version! And then we’ve got Romeo + Juliet, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. And don’t forget O, based on Othello, and 10 Things I Hate About You based on The Taming of the Shrew. And coming back around to plays, Lyric Arts will be doing All Shook Up this summer, a musical adaptation of Twelfth Night.
So here I am, thinking Shakespeare and I will never get along, that I’ll always find him a snoozer. But wait, I actually liked all of these movies. Hrm, maybe I missed something here. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “It’s the language! How’re we supposed to ever understand it?” Just think back to Romeo + Juliet. Sure we’re all familiar with the story, and I’m betting most of us had to read it in high school. But think back to the movie. It kept all the original dialogue, and you got it, you understood everything that was going on. And I’m willing bet, even laughed in parts. Remember the last entry where I said Shakespeare really does need to be performed to be understood? See, it’s true.
Now, of course you could just rent those movies, but then you’d still be missing it. I sat in on one of the rehearsals last week and even that performance broken out scene by scene was better than the movies. Now, I really am not one to subscribe to tired old sayings, but it really is a meant to be seen live. And, if these guys can make me laugh just during rehearsals, wait till we get to see the whole performance!
And don’t forget about those Shakespeare or Lyric Arts questions that have no doubt been pestering you. Drop them on down in the comment box, because I’ll be back on Friday with all the answers you could ever hope for.