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Poking idiots in the eye since 2002
...it's mocktacular!
Shakespeare is spinning in his grave. 
17th-Jan-2008 08:54 pm
In my drama class, we broke up into groups to write plays while our teacher is on maternaty leave. My group decided--or rather, I and two of my group mates decided--our play would be a parody of Hamlet. One of the girls in our group had never read or seen Hamlet, but she was currently reading Romeo and Juliet in her English class. She asked me if Romeo was in Hamlet, too. I died a little on the inside.

A couple days later, she told me she had rented the Mel Gibbson Hamlet movie. She told me that she had told this to one of her friends, who had then asked her if Shakespeare was in it. She asked if a man four-hundred years dead was in a Mel Gibbson movie.
18th-Jan-2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
Well, Stephen King regularly inserts himself into movie adaptations of his books, so... uh... I have no idea.
31st-Jan-2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
Heh, my first thought about the Romeo part was "Yes, Shakespeare plays are just like Stephen King books, where they all take place inside the same universe and characters cross over like crazy."

Even the plays that take place in different time periods and different countries.
18th-Jan-2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
Maybe...and I'm reaching here...she meant "that guy who played Shakespeare"? Like Joseph Fiennes?

No, it's not likely.
18th-Jan-2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
My college English class had an odd M W Th class schedule. Monday assignment: Read Act 1 of Hamlet (maybe act 2 as well??? not sure I remember, but it was about 10 pages). This took me 4 hours. Wednesday assignment: Read the REST for Thursday (another 50 pages). I simply could not do this at my reading rate.

After class I went straight to the video store and Mel "Sugar Tits" Gibbson saved my ass. Thursday, I think the teacher thought I was the only one that read the whole play. I was well aware there were huge chunks missing -- but it was better for class discussion purposes than only having read 1/3rd of the play.

All of that drama stuff they make you read totally turned me off, fortunately a bunch of friends dragged me to see Midsummer Night's Dream. Laughed my ass off and went back 3 times. Since then I just avoid the lame drama stuff (even written by Shakespeare, it's still just people behaving stupidly -- they just use pretty language to justify it instead of "I'm gonna git dat ho.").
18th-Jan-2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
The problem with assigning acts of plays to read in English class is that they're meant to be spoken, performed, pranced around on a stage. I used to think Shakespeare was boring and irrelevant until I saw the Branaugh version of Much Ado About Nothing.

The best English class experiences I had were with a teacher who understood this. He didn't make us read the plays on our own time; we read them aloud, with different students doing different parts, and the rest of the class read along. When we got to tricky bits of dialogue or interesting tricks with language, the teacher would stop us to make us translate into modern terms. If we couldn't, he'd set it up for us.

The most amusing was the time he compared a speech by Othello to a football players' intimidation attempts. It was the first time I saw the little light go on inside that football player's head.

(He wasn't STUPID; he was just so used to cruising through his classes without listening that this teacher's attempts to engage him left him thrown for a loop.)
18th-Jan-2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
I remember the Mel-Hamlet. We watched it my Senior English class. Hamlet dry-humped his mother.
19th-Jan-2008 01:16 am (UTC)
Yeah. The same girl got to that part of the movie, came to class the next day asking why Hamlet raped his mother. I told her that wasn't really part of the play, and it certainly wasn't part of the script I was writing of it. She was much relieved.
18th-Jan-2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
We watched the Kenneth Branagh Hamlet in English class. The time period was screwed up, but at least the play was intact.

My favourite overall is the Derek Jacobi Hamlet, which was a BBC made-for-TV thing from the '70s.
19th-Jan-2008 01:44 am (UTC)
I saw the Branaugh Hamlet in a theater-- man, that was a whopper, even after two pints of Guinness and with the intermission for butt-resting.

I'm not opposed to long movies, but there's a reason that directors often cut a few of the scenes here and there. Branaugh not only left everything in, he made himself (Branaugh, I mean, not the Hamlet he was playing) the center of the movie, to say nothing of the visual references between Hamlet and Jesus.

Branaugh is an actor of unqualified talent, but he sure is in love with himself. And possibly Helena Bonham Carter, but that's totally understandable.
(Deleted comment)
18th-Jan-2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
*smirk* Wow.
18th-Jan-2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
I have never seen a production of Hamlet (though I have seen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, but just once several years ago).

I have never read Hamlet.

I'm currently working on a Ph.D. in Literature.

I do have a pretty fair idea of the plot from hearing it referred to all the time. Sometimes there is just so much out there that you can't get to all of it, even if you try. Of course, that doesn't excuse the idiocy you experienced...
18th-Jan-2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
I've both seen and read Hamlet (although I didn't really like it much until I saw it performed live at the Utah Shakepearean Festival, starring Brian Vaughn , who's the guy in my icon. That's when I fell in love), but I have managed to make it through a BA and an MA in English without ever having to read Moby Dick.

I count myself extremely fortunate.

Edited at 2008-01-18 11:19 pm (UTC)
18th-Jan-2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
This only makes me think of the Thursday Next books, as Hamlet himself chose the Mel Gibson version as his favorite...
19th-Jan-2008 01:44 am (UTC)
That's just about what I was thinking :)
18th-Jan-2008 11:52 pm (UTC)
oi. That hurts my soul.
19th-Jan-2008 12:22 am (UTC)
OK. I'll say it. MaternIty.
19th-Jan-2008 09:48 am (UTC)
And "Gibson". :)
19th-Jan-2008 01:10 am (UTC)
I believe the phrase you are alluding to is "rolling in the grave," a la Yorick, I believe.
19th-Jan-2008 01:12 am (UTC)
Maybe he was in the movie, but since he is dead he is invisible! Or something.
19th-Jan-2008 01:20 am (UTC)
So what your saying is the ghost of Shakespeare decided to haunt the set of the version of Hamlet staring Mel Gibbson? Or is it the sets of all versions of Hamlet? ...or is he haunting Mel Gibbson?

I wouldn't mind it if the ghost of Shakespeare were haunting me. Now Zombie Shakespeare, that I'd have a problem with.
19th-Jan-2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Mel Gibson. One b.
19th-Jan-2008 02:41 am (UTC)
Well, when the movie "A Knight's Tale" came out, one of my friends was under the impression that Geoffrey Chaucer (who'd been dead about 600 years) had played himself. Later she claimed that what she actually thought was that the character of Geoffrey Chaucer was played by a completely different, modern actor who just happened to be named Geoffrey Chaucer as well. Nice cover-up, but it's still not true.
19th-Jan-2008 03:29 am (UTC)
he was in that movie
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