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Discussion Creator / WilliamShakespeare

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Jul 14th 2013 at 3:36:32 PM •••

So what is it with Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet?

Joss Whedon makes a cool adaptation of Much Ado and states that the only other Shakespeare play he is interested in is Hamlet.

David Tennant stars in Hamlet in the Title Role and then as Benedick in Much Ado.

Kenneth Branagh's most successful Shakespeare adaptations is his early Much Ado About Nothing -romp and his later 4 hour long Hamlet epic.

Is this the rule? For serious Shakespeare go to Hamlet and nothing else; For fun easygoing Shakespeare go to Much Ado About Nothing and nothing else.

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Jul 17th 2013 at 11:47:54 AM •••

Well, for starters, you're eliding significant parts of Tennant's and Branaugh's careers. David Tennant, in addition to Hamlet and Benedick, has also played Touchstone in "As You Like It", Berowne in "Love's Labours Lost", Romeo in "Romeo & Juliet", and Antipholus of Syracuse in "The Comedy of Errors"—all of those at the RSC alone—and Kenneth Branaugh's breakout hit was not "Much Ado" but "Henry V".

Secondly, there are pretty sound reasons underlying your rule, even if we restate it to "Why are Hamlet and Much Ado so popular relative to the rest of Shakespeare's plays?" These are two extremely popular plays that have been popular for 400 years now. Both have plots that everyone knows, which helps make them accessible to non-Shakespeare scholars—Much Ado is even structured like a familiar rom-com. So sure, you can make a film of, say, "Coriolanus", as Ralph Fiennes did a couple-three years back, but who the heck is going to brave it when they didn't study "Coriolanus" in school and don't know what it's about?

Thirdly, these things go in waves. "King Lear" was adapted twice in the Eighties (as "Ran" and "A Thousand Acres")—if you'd written this twenty years ago, you might have been wondering why there were so many "Lear" adaptations. And, then as now, there's no real reason; it was, for whatever reason, popular, whereas no one's doing "Lear" today. I seem to remember a spate of teen comedies (plus one tragedy: "Othello", redone as "O") adapted from Shakespeare around the turn of the millennium: Ten Things I Hate About You ("The Taming of the Shrew"), She's The Man ("Twelfth Night"), Get Over It ("A Midsummer Night's Dream"). Again, there's no real *reason* why taking Shakespeare and setting it in a high school should have been popular just then (influence from "Clueless"?), but it was. No one's done a Shakespeare play as a teen comedy since.

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Oct 26th 2011 at 10:52:45 PM •••

Can we have "Billy Wigglestick" as an alt title? I've heard it enough times for it not to be out of the blue, and it would be a fun thing to have on the page. Just an odd request.

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Aug 16th 2013 at 2:51:15 PM •••

Oh wait: William = Will = Bill; Shakespeare= Shake Spear = Shake = Wiggle, Spear = Stick... A Spear is not the same as a Stick.

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Jun 23rd 2010 at 4:47:08 PM •••

So...Taming of the Shrew... I see "10 things I hate about you" but not "kiss me kate", which while it is a both is and includes the Shrew.

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