Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday 5: favourite Shakespeare plays

I've been in Stratford-upon-Avon all evening, and I'm now very very sleepy, so I hope you'll forgive me for just bashing out a quick, easy, and Shakespeare-related Friday 5 this week.

You can basically split Shakespeare's plays into five categories - Comedy, Tragedy, History, Romance, and Problem. (Sometimes I'm half-convinced there's a sub-category called What The Hell is Troilus and Cressida Anyway? but that could just be me.) So if you ever wondered what my favourite play of each type is, click for more!

Comedy - Love's Labour's Lost
I greatly enjoy Love's Labour's Lost. It's a pleasantly witty comedy that can lack depth if you don't do it properly but can be absolutely stunning if you do it well. I even like the bits where the characters pun in three languages at once - finally a use for my French and Latin GCSEs!
Runners-up: Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It

Tragedy - Othello
I love Othello. The domestic nature of the tragedy and the psychological machinations of Iago hit far closer to home for me than the woes of ambitious kings or star-crossed lovers ever could. I find the villain genuinely scary, the tragedy genuinely upsetting, and I could happily read it for days.
Runners-up: King Lear, Hamlet

History - Henry V
The Histories are my absolute favourite.They strike a brilliant balance between the hilarity and romance of the Comedies and the death and devastation of the Tragedies, and end up far more realistic and fascinating. Henry V is my favourite History primarily for the simple reason that it was the first time I ever truly enjoyed seeing a Shakespeare play. I guess it also helps that I enjoy war drama a whole bunch.
Runners-up: Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Richard II (yeah, I'm a Second Tet kinda girl)

Romance - The Winter's Tale
It's an odd play, I'll give you that, but I rather enjoy the mood whiplash from the high Tragedy of the first half to the pastoral Comedy of the second half. I'm absurdly fond of a lot of the characters, and I'm always ridiculously moved by the play. Plus it has a BEAR in it!
Runners-up: n/a (I don't really like The Tempest and don't yet know the others)

Problem - Measure for Measure
Again, it's an odd play! But there's such scope for doing all sorts of different things with it, not to mention how much you could really play with various character interpretations. I'd love to direct this one day, as long as I can find a talented bunch of actors who'd happily work through exploring it with me.
Runners-up: n/a (I don't really like All's Well That Ends Well and don't yet know the others)

1 comment:

  1. Some good choices but (and this isn't your fault) I hate the accepted categorisation. I swerve away from this kind of reductionist thinking about any aspect of the arts. It's like Theatre by Powerpoint. Re the Shakespeares - to me, they're all plays.