From Becky’s Book Reviews. Feel free to hop on board.
What was your first introduction to William Shakespeare? Was it love or hate?
Dream version: I adored this tiny, blue-cloth, complete set at the public library, and brought home The Tempest at age 14, not understanding much but loving the taste of the words. "This rough magic ..." *sigh*
Reality: (I think.) I imposed Romeo and Juliet on myself as a Freshman, picking it apart with the aid of some old English papers found in a discarded binder.
Trouble is, I can't remember which story actually came first. I like the Tempest version best.
Which Shakespeare plays have you been required to read?
Romeo and Juliet, as noted above, and then … Macbeth, Hamlet (gasp! I never finished Hamlet! I just realized that! I had about ten pages left! But I’ve seen the play.) Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V and Richard III. Of course, I’ve seen/read a lot more than I’ve studied.
Do you think Shakespeare is important? Do you feel you are a “better” person for having read the bard?
Given. A better person? Morally? Intellectually? No. But I’ve enjoyed life through his plays—reading them, watching them, staging them; their absence would leave a gaping wound, as with any of my favorite stories. Francis Bacon: "Reading maketh a full man..."
Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Three-way tie: Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Tempest (though I have to admit, of the three, The Tempest is a little lower than the angels).
How do you feel about contemporary takes on Shakespeare? Adaptations of Shakespeare's works with a more modern feel? (For example, the new line of Manga Shakespeare graphic novels, or novels like Something Rotten, Something Wicked, Enter Three Witches, Ophelia, etc.) Do you have a favorite you'd recommend?
I love spins. I love how Shakespeare transcends time and tide.
I very much enjoyed Something Rotten. In fact, I believe every Freshman English teacher should chuck Romeo out the window, hand students a copy of Something Rotten, take them to see Hamlet, and then read and discuss the script.
I also like stories that are centered around the plays, like Ngio Marsh’s Light Thickens, or include performances, like Midsummer Night in D.E. Stevenson’s Celia’s House.
Movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s the Man are fun, too.
What's your favorite movie version of a Shakespeare play?
Oh, without a doubt, the 1996 Twelfth Night with Imogen Stubbs. Quite possibly my favorite film of all time. Please rent it, gentle reader. Please rent it.