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Time for some fun.  Do you have a favorite scene from Shakespeare?  Here's a couple of mine.  Sound off below if you have one of your own.  

Generally I don't much like Julius Caesar, but the last scene is excellent.  In this scene, the army of Brutus and the other conspirators against Caesar has been defeated, and Brutus has just killed himself.  Strato, the servant of Brutus, is one of the last of the conspirator's army, and is captured by their opponents, chiefly Octavian and Antony, together with a turncoat to Brutus, Messala.  They encounter the still-loyal Strato.  Some excerpts:

Alarum. Retreat. Enter OCTAVIUS, ANTONY, MESSALA, LUCILIUS, and the army


    What man is that?


    My master's man. Strato, where is thy master?


    Free from the bondage you are in, Messala:
    The conquerors can but make a fire of him;
    For Brutus only overcame himself,
    And no man else hath honour by his death.

* * *


    How died my master, Strato?


    I held the sword, and he did run on it.


    Octavius, then take him to follow thee,
    That did the latest service to my master.


    This was the noblest Roman of them all:
    All the conspirators save only he
    Did that they did in envy of great Caesar;
    He only, in a general honest thought
    And common good to all, made one of them.
    His life was gentle, and the elements
    So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
    And say to all the world 'This was a man!'

Richard II has always been one of my favorites, there are many great lines, including John of Gaunt's famous "this England" speech.  But in Act 3, Scene II comes an especially beautiful passage, which Shakespeare gives to Richard to express, upon learning that his cousin Bolingbroke has seized power, and that the greater part of his followers have been taken prisoner, executed, or deserted:

Where is the duke my father with his power?

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let's choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?

Here's the same scene read by Richard Burton, who always seemed to get crappy parts that weren't really worthy of him. Not so here, although I think he delivers at too rapid a tempo for the material.  But you can still hear his great voice, and his power as an actor comes through even with the voice alone:

Now, here is the same scene, imagined in quite a different way, and played at least in part for humor.  I don't know if I quite agree with the interpretation, but it is skillfully done and bold:

Originally posted to Plan 9 from Oregon on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:58 PM PST.

Also republished by Readers and Book Lovers and DKOMA.


Should Shakespeare be played in modern dress?

58%17 votes
34%10 votes
6%2 votes

| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:58:54 PM PST

  •  I like his comedies best. Give me the casket scene (9+ / 0-)

    in Merchant of Venice any time. "A pound of flesh" can be such a great victory.

  •  The wooing scene from Taming of the Shrew (9+ / 0-)

    EXCEPT when performed by John Cleese--the only time iIve seen the scene or Cleese be unfunny.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:09:06 PM PST

    •  Well, Jonathan Miller failed to understand (0+ / 0-)

      that comedies are supposed to be funny.

      Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

      by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 07:58:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Crispin Crispinian (14+ / 0-)

    Henry V  IV.iv

    We few, we band of brothers...

    How do you convince your army, outnumbered 4 to 1, face the French, who have the homefield advantage?

    Like that...

    •  Plus longbows. 13th century artillery. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      x, Limelite, ferg, JekyllnHyde, la urracca, Portlaw

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:23:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The arrow storms of Agincourt (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, ferg, Portlaw

        A longbowman could fire several times a minute, using bodkin points that could penetrate leather or cheap plate, and cause severe bruising if they struck someone in chain.  Add in that a war bow's pull is over 100 pounds, and you're talking the medieval equivalent of a machine gun.

    •  Yep, That's the One (12+ / 0-)

      And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
      From this day to the ending of the world,
      But we in it shall be remembered-
      We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
      For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
      Shall be my brother

      William Shakespeare's HENRY V, St. Crispen's Day Speech

      So many to choose from, though.

      On Quoting Shakespeare

      If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me," you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is farther to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise -- why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then -- to give the devil his due -- if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness' sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.

      Bernard Levin.  From The Story of English.  Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil.

      48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam - A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

      by JekyllnHyde on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:33:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That Henry V speech is just about the same as any (4+ / 0-)

      effective pre-game pep talk by the coach or team captain when going out to play the championship game.

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:40:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, "and gentlemen in England still abed ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Portlaw, Cartoon Peril

      ... will think themselves accursed they were not here."

      One of the all-time great inspirational speeches. Too bad it glorifies war so much. But its spell is still hard to resist. Just the cadences of the language make this almost hypnotic. It's like Shakespeare has the words marching off to a cause beyond that of mere petty politics. Henry V's speech is the first one to convince me that demagogues do have a talent for telling pretty lies.

      •  Before the Charge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, Cartoon Peril

        I remember seeing TV docudrama many years ago about the life of Theodore Roosevelt.  Among the characters where a group of friends, privilaged Ivy Leaguers, fresh out of college who enlist to fight in the Spanish-American War because they think it will be a grand adventure.  In a scene before the Battle of San Juan Hill, we see the three friends, eager for battle, reciting the St. Crispin's Day speech together.  It was an oddly moving; you could feel their excitement and enthusiasm, even as you wondered if any of them would survive the charge.

        "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

        by quarkstomper on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:26:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  one of the best renditions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwires, Portlaw, Cartoon Peril

      of that I've seen is Kenneth Branaugh's in his movie version of Henry V. But I like all the Henry plays.

      The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. -- Abraham Lincoln

      by Mnemosyne on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:33:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I adore that movie (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, Portlaw, Cartoon Peril

        Especially the scene where the King, Falstaff's Boy slung over his shoulder, walks across the battlefield as "Non Nobis" plays in the background.  Most of it is filmed in one long shot, and seeing the carnage, and the grieving camp followers, and Mountjoy the herald in his stained white cloak holding back a screaming woman, drives home the cost of Henry's brilliant victory.  

        And then, when Henry gently lays the Boy down on the dead cart, and kisses him on the forehead, I start to cry.  Every time.

  •  A Midsummer Night's Dream... (8+ / 0-)

    Scene II, where Oberon calls out Puck and says:

    What have you done?

    Perhaps it was because of the style of the presentation at the Ashland (Orygun) Shakespeare Festival back a few years ago, or perhaps it was the magic of the night.  In any case, this particular line addressing Puck's painting the "love juice" on the wrong eyelids was presented in such a delightful way that it has endured as the most memorable line I have heard in my time attending over a dozen plays at that Shakespeare festival...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:19:53 PM PST

  •  just one? *lmao* (11+ / 0-)

    the scene in hamlet where hamlet thinks of attacking claudius but holds off because claudius is praying.  & that beautiful ironic line from claudius:  my words fly up, my thoughts remain below /  words without thoughts never to heaven go.

    also that one scene in macbeth when macbeth finds out that his wife has killed herself & he realizes that he himself is that poor player whose life was filled with sound & fury & in the end signified nothing.

    i also love that last speech by puck in midsummer's night dream:  if we shadows have offended

    pretty much the whole of the tempest.  that's one play that i have a difficult time picking just one line out of.  i will note that part of the reason this is one of my favorite plays is that it's i think the only one in which shakespeare follows the classical unities of time, place, & action but renders them meaningless by the actual content & matter of the play.

    & twelfth night & that whole cross gartered & having greatness thrust upon thee thing.  

    heh.  i'll stop now.  ;-)

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:22:06 PM PST

    •  as far as dress goes (8+ / 0-)

      the most powerful version of hamlet i ever saw was done by classical theatre company out of dallas.  the stage was bare.  the costumes were stark &, ophelia & gertrude apart, everyone wore black turtlenecks & black pants & boots.  but that captured i think the spirit & power of the play better than any other version of hamlet or any other shakespearean play i've ever seen.

      i'd actually watched was it mel gibson's version of hamlet earlier in the day to kinda get into that renaissance mode & none of the costumes or the scenery or whatever in that movie got anywhere close to the ctc version i saw that night.  s.

      the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

      by synth on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most of Shakespeares plays are for bare stage (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril, Chitown Kev

        One of the most  amazing things about them. It was done this way so traveling theater companies could perform than in tthe country

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 04:27:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  A couple of summers ago, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, Cartoon Peril

        I saw the Globe touring company perform Midsummer Night's Dream in Scotland. Outdoors, daytime, in '20s dress with Puck in black leather hotpants and suspenders, a la Liza Minelli in Cabaret.

        Brilliantly done, with excellent use of the aisles through the audience for entrances and exits, selective acknowledgement of the fourth wall.

        All the more impressive because those kids did a couple of performances there, then packed up and went on to the next venue of their 3 or 4 month tour all over the UK and Europe.

        The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. -- Abraham Lincoln

        by Mnemosyne on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:37:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Witches, Cauldron, Brew (11+ / 0-)

    Late.  G'night.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:32:19 PM PST

  •  Thou art a villain - well YOU are a SENATOR! (10+ / 0-)

    Favorite Shakespearean comeback, from Othello.

  •  Most Any Marx Brothers Movie (4+ / 0-)

    Shameless ripoff artists of his formula.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 09:39:09 PM PST

  •  Opening scene of Richard III: (6+ / 0-)


    Perhaps because I just saw this play--twice.  

    •  You Said It! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, Brecht, Cartoon Peril

      I love getting inside that character's mind like no other.  MacBeth snivels; Hamlet whines; Titus is too bloody.

      A good villain like R. III trumps even the glorious H. V.

      I'm also inordinately fond of Falstaff and his crew, and what they have to say. Truthful stuff.

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 06:57:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too bad R3 pretends to be "true history" :-) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Limelite, Cartoon Peril

        It's a damn good treatise on How Not To Be A King, and a wonderful role for any actor with a penchant for playing villains and a juicy streak of ham. But it's got about as much to do with historical fact as, well, any of Shakespeare's great tragedies that don't pretend to be "Histories".

        As for Falstaff, he created, defined and immortalized a type, all by himself, and his literary and media clones are numerous.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 03:53:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So many...hmmm...mad Margaret, from Henry VI, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Brecht, Limelite

    part three.
    A great soliloquy..I used to use it as an audition piece:
    ( great resource! I was able to find it right away)

    If it is well done, I always laugh at the rustics and Bottom doing the play...

    Crispin, of course...

    Much of the reparteé in the comedies is a joy to the heart...

     So much to love....

    •  Those lines are some of my faves ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      la urracca, Limelite, Mnemosyne, Brecht

      Shakespeare picks the dramatic moment as the House of Lancaster is at bay at Tewkesbury and Margaret and her young son Edward, Prince of Wales, walk among the soldiers before the battle.  A classic scene, with some great lines, that recall the long-decline of Lancaster and the hope for its renewal:

      Oxford: Women and children of so high a courage,
      And warriors faint! why, 'twere perpetual shame
      O brave young prince! thy famous grandfather
      Doth live again in thee: long mayst thou live
      To bear his image and renew his glories!

      The Henry VI plays are generally thought to be the weakest, I think the problem is they try to cover too much, but there are certainly some wonderful passages.

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:13:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hated that part of Midsummer Night's Dream (7+ / 0-)

      until I saw the British version with Judi Dench and Ian Richardson as Titania and Oberon.  The scene of the rustics doing the play is one of the funniest things I have ever seen on film.

      My favourite scene is when Claudius confronts Hamlet after the slaying of Polonius.  Derek Jacobi roars marvelously in the BBC audio version:  

      At supper.

      At supper?

      Not where he eats, but where he is eaten.  A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him.  

      (forgive me if I have a few words off -- that is from memory)

      And I do love Julius Caesar (written at about the same period in Shakespeare's career as was Hamlet).  Those two are so full of amazing scenes and set pieces.  The riot in Rome, the speech wherein Hamlet tells Horatio "The readiness is all."

      Marvelous things.
      There is a quote from Hamlet (a different one) each day that is relevant.  It is the greatest of the plays, I think.

    •  "But Babe, If I'm the Bottom, You're the Top!" (5+ / 0-)

      I have a fondess for the mechanicals in Midsummer Night's Dream.  I played Snug the Joiner in a production back in college.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 06:38:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scene three- Henry the V (7+ / 0-)

      My divorce attorney years ago had been a professor in a previous life at a university on the high plains of Texas.
       He was also ex-Air Force and it all came together when he pulled a copy of plays down from the shelf in his office and offered this scene as a description of his "plan" to "win" the divorce. His intensity was contagious.
    If anyone does win; we did and I never forgot this moment of Art of War style explanation.  

    No better friend; no worse enemy.

    by Thousandwatts on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:07:12 PM PST

  •  Where's the fourth option in your poll? (6+ / 0-)

    Shakespeare should only be dressed up in new clothes by directors who can show us hidden riches already implicit in the text; directors who dress Shakespeare anew to be cute or clever, at the expense of sense, should just leave him alone.

    Favorite scene? Hard to say.

    Favorite play? King Lear.

    I had a lot of fun playing the Tempest scene where I come in with a bottle, singing badly, and after I give Caliban a swig he decides I'm a god.

    On the last night, our director (Mike) put real wine in the bottle.  The man who ran our ensemble (Larry) started to tell Mike that the scene went very well.  Mike said "You know there was wine in the bottle tonight?"
    Larry: "I can't believe you did that. It completely ruined the scene."

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:32:54 PM PST

    •  Agree times three (5+ / 0-)

      Scene? tough.  Play? Lear.
      And costumes? As they make sense.
      I saw a Julius Caesar with costumes from mid 60's (kinda reached a few years forward or backwards, but averaged out 65-66).
      Riot police and DFH protesters filled the theater space at one point.   A lifeless leader' body was obscured by men in black and a woman in a pillbox hat.   At the end, when Antony's speech is delivered as if to the press, things clicked in my high school brain.  Understanding was heightened.  Memories burned.

      It was over two decades ago.

      Also, for summer Shakespeare, I dig The Tempest.  

      "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars" --Casey Kasem

      by netop on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 04:54:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's what I'm talking about: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barbwires, Portlaw, Cartoon Peril

        "At the end, when Antony's speech is delivered as if to the press, things clicked in my high school brain.  Understanding was heightened.  Memories burned."

        It sounds like the director knew what he was doing.  Caesar's pretty frequently modernized.  It certainly speaks to our times.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:57:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  oh, something else (10+ / 0-)

    have any of y'all seen rosencrantz & guildenstern are dead?  based off of hamlet. the movie version with tim roth & gary oldman is actually really well done & definitely worth a watch if you're a shakespeare fan.  

    also, it was directed by tom stoppard who wrote the play originally.  s.

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 10:56:57 PM PST

    •  Wonderful movie! Highly recommended... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, Limelite, Brecht

      especially  ( only?)if you know the original material.

    •  Tom Stoppard, the playwrite, is a genius, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril, Mnemosyne, barbwires

      and you probably know some of his other work

       1964: A Walk on the Water
       1965: The Gamblers, based on the novel The Gambler by Dostoevsky
       1966: Tango, adapted from Sławomir Mrożek's play and Nicholas Bethell translation, premiered at the Aldwych Theatre
       1966: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
       1968: Enter a Free Man . Developed from A Walk on the Water. First performed 28 March 1968.
       1968: The Real Inspector Hound
       1969: Albert's Bridge premiered at St. Mary's Hall in Edinburgh
       1969: If You're Glad I'll Be Frank premiered at St. Mary's Hall in Edinburgh
       1970: After Magritte frequently performed as a companion piece to The Real Inspector Hound
       1971: Dogg's Our Pet premiered at Almost Free Theatre
       1972: Jumpers
       1972: Artist Descending a Staircase[27]
       1974: Travesties
       1976: Dirty Linen and New-Found-Land first performed on 6 April 1976
       1977: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour was written at the request of André Previn. The play calls for full orchestra
       1978: Night and Day
       1979: Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth – two plays written to be performed together.
       1979: 15-Minute Hamlet
       1979: Undiscovered Country – an adaptation of Das Weite Land by the Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler
       1981: On the Razzle based on Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johann Nestroy
       1982: The Real Thing
       1983: English libretto for The Love for Three Oranges. Original opera by Sergei Prokofiev.
       1984: Rough Crossing based on Play at the Castle by Ferenc Molnár
       1986: Dalliance An adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's Liebelei
       1987: Largo Desolato, translation of a play by Václav Havel
       1988: Hapgood
       1993: Arcadia
       1995: Indian Ink – based on Stoppard's radio play In The Native State
       1997: The Invention of Love
       1997: The Seagull – translation of the play by Anton Chekhov
       2002: The Coast of Utopia is a trilogy of plays: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage
       2004: Enrico IV (Henry IV) – translation of the Italian play by Luigi Pirandello[28] First presented at the Donmar Theatre, London, in April 2004
       2006: Rock 'n' Roll — first public performance 3 June 2006 preview at the Royal Court Theatre.
       2010: The Laws of War — contributor to a collaborative piece for one-night benefit performance in support of Human Rights Watch.[29]

      Film and television adaptation of plays
       1975: Three Men in a Boat adaptation of Jerome K. Jerome's novel for BBC Television
       1975: The Boundary co-authored by Clive Exton, for the BBC
       1977: Professional Foul
       1985: Brazil co-authored with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown, script nominated for an Academy Award
       1987: Empire of the Sun (First draft of the screenplay)
       1990: The Russia House screenplay for the 1990 film of the John Le Carre Novel
       1990: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead – won the Golden Lion
       1997: Bad Day on the Block
       1998: Shakespeare in Love co-authored with Marc Norman, script won an Academy Award
       1998: Poodle Springs teleplay adaptation of the novel by Robert B. Parker and Raymond Chandler
       2001: Enigma film screenplay of the Robert Harris novel
       2005: The Golden Compass a draft screenplay, subsequently rejected

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

      by grover on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 01:25:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  way back in the day (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I managed to see the same Stoppard play in New York and London within perhaps a few months of each other. Travesties, maybe. Side-splittingly funny.

        The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. -- Abraham Lincoln

        by Mnemosyne on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:42:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Practically all my friends at Pepperdine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cartoon Peril

      (the original campus) were drama majors.  I remember the production of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead that was done then.

      The scene that sticks most in my mind is Hamlet, on a ship, spitting into the wind in front of R & G, who were talking to each other at the back of the stage.  One of the main players was also a native Oregonian and now lives in Portland, too.

      I can't for the life of me remember if he played Rosenkrantz or Guildenstern then, but I can vouch for the gorgeous show he does as Abraham Lincoln now.

      Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

      by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:41:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lady Macbeth's madness scene (5+ / 0-)

    and Macbeth's "Tomorrow" soliloquy  where Macbeth states  flatly upon receiving word of his wife's death: "she should have died hereafter..."

    Two powerful individuals in a marriage of equal partnership -- pretty darn revolutionary for its age. But they let their unquenchable lust for power destroy themselves because they actually have consciences and the ability to feel guilt (how rare is that these days?).

    I adore the Macbeths.

    © grover

    So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not.

    by grover on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 01:19:15 AM PST

  •  Antony and Octavius Ceasar meet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Limelite, Brecht

    at the house of Lepidus in Act 2 Scene 2 of Antony and Cleopatra.

    The language so understated. The gestures and the tensions of the scene (if it is properly done) make it one of the most tense scenes in all of Shakespeare.

  •  St. Crispin's Day (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Limelite, barbwires, Brecht

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

  •  One of my favorite self portraits (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril, Limelite, Mnemosyne, Brecht

    A Shakespeare buff finds the Holy Grail
    To solve the eternal mystery of who wrote Shakespeares plays: Shakespeares plays were written by a different man with the same name

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 04:40:17 AM PST

  •  this diary has my thanks (6+ / 0-)

    for stimulating me to break out my complete shakespeare, in one volume of onionskinlike paper, which i bought used at barnes and noble, nyc, way back in the 20th c., for my year of him, as an english major

    imho if one hasn't had exposure to him they aren't really educated

    but those of us who have been so lucky know that it may take some effort at first, but reading shakespeare will give one a way to process life's vicissitudes

  •  Henry V, Act 3, Scene 3, speech at Harfleur (5+ / 0-)

    Kenneth Branagh did an incredible rendition in his movie version of Henry V:

    I don't know if there is a better exposition in literature of the brutality of war.

    There are so many great scenes, but this one touches me most.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 05:45:58 AM PST

  •  Just about anything from Hamlet works for me. (5+ / 0-)

    My mother's high school history teacher wrote in her graduation book(?) the lines that Polonius gave to Leartes.

    "This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

    When she died in 2008 I had it  inscribed on her headstone.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 05:52:24 AM PST

  •  Hamlet: Lethal Dane (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite, Brecht, Cartoon Peril

    (Which is my subtitle for the Mel Gibson version)

    There's a scene in Hamlet that's not exactly my favorite scene, but it one I particularly look for whenever I see that play.  The scene where Hamlet goes to his mother after the scene with Claudius praying in the chapel.  The mood in that scene whiplashes back and forth so often; Hamlet wants to have a heart-to-heart discussion with his mother; then he impusivley kills Polonius; then he tries to re-establish the line of conversation; then the ghost starts yelling at him -- no wonder Gertrude thinks the boy's nuts.  It's such an emotional roller-coaster of a scene, that I alway look to see how the director and the cast are going to pull it off.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 06:39:12 AM PST

  •  The rustics doing Pyramus & Thisbe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Cartoon Peril

    in Midsummer's Night Dream.  I saw it just after I entered the gate the last time I went to a Ren Faire.  It was howlingly funny and totally raunchy.  I was there with a friend - I had to wait till I got home to jump somebody.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:02:50 AM PST

  •  Yikes! This diary could take up a whole day (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mnemosyne, Brecht, Cartoon Peril

    or three. . . . .

    I can't answer the poll because Shakespeare can be so universal that anything beyond the words themselves doesn't matter so much, IMHO. All I hope for is that the actors don't talk too fast.

    For example (thank you, Google and Youtube!):

    My favorite scenes are the dirty ones, with plays on words....maybe. This has subtitles:

    This one has real acting:

    I am also extremely fond of Hamlet's "To Be or Not To Be" as played in the   same-named film by Mel Brooks.

    No, I'm not there yet. . . .I can't pick a favorite scene so quickly..........there are just so many.........I'm leaning towards scenes with an almost Kabuki-like stretching out of the tension.....scenes which mingle agony and ecstasy. Macbeth, drunken porter scene......

    My favorite Shakespeare series was done by the BBC, available on Netflix.

  •  The Fool's death in Lear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Portlaw, LNK, Cartoon Peril

    Or the Fool doing almost anything in Lear.  

    The Witches in Macbeth.

    The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.

    Too many great characters, scenes and lines to think of.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:51:29 AM PST

  •  Out of the comedies I would say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, Cartoon Peril, Dragon5616

    Twelfth Night. Shakespeare does gender-bending better than anyone imho and I love the delightful vulgarity of the sub-plot as well as the fact that so many of those lines have slipped into our language to this day. Of the tragedies, Macbeth. I love Lady Macbeth's character (her 'out out damned spot' scene still makes me all spine-tingly when done right) and the play contains one of my favorite monolgues ever - the 'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day...."

  •  I've always liked the scene in Henry IV, part one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cartoon Peril

    It's the first scene in Act 3 when several of the conspirators against Henry IV, the king of England (who had usurped the throne with their help) are planning their rebellion. One of the is Henry Percy, the son of a Northern English nobleman, called 'hotspur' in the play. Another person is Owen Glendower, a Welshman, who apparently has the stereotypical Welsh superstition. Hotspur is being Hotspur, which is to say, being a dick. He bitches about the share of the land he is going to get if the conspiracy is successful and prior to that deliberately pisses off the suspicious Glendower, who's help will be essential:

            At my nativity the face of heaven was full of fiery shapes of burning cressets (beacons), and at my birth the Frame and huge foundation of the Earth shaked like a coward

            Why, so it would have done at the same season if your mother's cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born

    And so Glendower says, impressively

             "I can call Spirits from the vasty deep.

    To which Hotspur replies

            "Why so can I, or so can any man;
            But will they come when you do call for them?"

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Thu Nov 24, 2011 at 01:32:34 AM PST

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