Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer School Shakespeare Fun!

A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing are two of my favorite Shakespeares. This year in summer school I opted for some comedy rather than the typical Macbeth, I usually teach. Though I've seen both of these before I was as entertained as the kids. Kevin Kline's performance in A Midsummer Night's Dream is terrific and I have new love for fair Hermia, since I now know Anna Friel from the TV series Pushing Daisies. This is a most excellent version of the play on all counts.

Kenneth Branaugh and Emma Thompson really shine as Beatrice and Benedick, a pair of marriage-scorning rivals in Much Ado About Nothing. This 1993 film, showcases an all-star cast with Kate Beckinsale as Hero and Robert Sean Leonard as Claudio; Denzel Washington as Don Pedro and Keanu Reeves as his bastard brother Don John. Another show stealer is Michael Keaton in the role of Dogberry.

Keaton is a former Batman star, as is Christian Bale in Midsummer Night's Dream--while two Batmen are among the cast, so is a former Catwoman-- Michelle Pfeiffer. I just found this to be an irrelevant, sure, but somewhat amusing bit of trivia.

There is little I can say to recommend these films other than to say the settings are divine, the acting superb, Shakespeare's play's withstood the test of time and the director does a great job in bringing it to life. Rent them both when you are in the mood for a bit of good Shakespeare fun.

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