Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm Henry V I am!

Shakespeare Reading Challenge

First let me thank Elena at   for hosting this reading adventure.  I enjoyed reading and watching the plays . Let's see how I did.  This was the reading challenge and rules.
1. Puck: Read 4 plays over the year, 1 of which may be replaced by a performance
2. Desdemona: Read 6 plays, 2 of which may be replaced by a performance
3. Henry V: Read 12 plays, 3 of which may be replaced by a performance
Now, the Rules:
1. All plays must be read between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Anything begun before that cannot be included.
2. Audio versions are also acceptable but all plays must be unabridged.
3. You don't need to list your plays ahead of time but you may, if you'd like.
4. Review pages for each month will be created but are optional.

I read:

Two  Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Noble Kinsmen

King John

Measure for Measure

Timon of Athens

Pericles Prince of Tyre

The Life of Henry VIII

King Richard II

The Tragedy of Coriolanus

And viewed;

King Henry  as an online you tube video mash–up of available clips from the Branagh and Olivier films. I liked the Branagh film for its rousing score and its realistic  battle  scenes.  I liked the Olivier film for the historical portrayal of the Elizabethan stage at the start of the film.

Romeo and Juliet at Adams State College,  Alamosa, Colorado

The Merchant of Venice at Theatreworks, Colorado Springs, Colorado

That is 12 works--I am a Henry V and a  member of a band of brothers and sisters that joined with me in this merry challenge. I enjoyed all the reading but I truly think I get the most from seeing a play or movie.  The conceit that I take from  these plays  are  that they were written for all seasons  This is why when  Adams State’s performance  of Romeo and Juliet has the actors in modern street dress--riding skateboards and fighting with chains and knives-- the contemporary set design works because the story of young forbidden love is truly a timeless tale.  In the history plays you see kings fall because of taxes and in Coriolanus we see the Occupy Movement in the Roman citizens taking it to the streets. And in Measure for Measure we see a corrupted government telling people how to live their private lives.

We see sitcoms in Two Noble Kinsmen and Two Gentlemen of Verona and in  Pericles we have a latter-day action hero. I believe that Shakespeare is the beginning of modern writing and that his works will always exist throughout all time.

Congratulations to all those who met their Shakespeare Reading Challenge goal.