Recently, many of my performing arts friends have been passing around a list on Facebook, discussing and ranking their favorite (and least favorite) shows. It’s reminded me of shows I haven’t thought about in ages, given me some new ones to check out, and inspired a few laughs at some of the unexpected opinions.
There are multiple variations focusing on musical theatre, plays, or strictly Shakespeare, so I thought it would be fun to devote a couple of posts here to my take on each.
Up for discussion this week? The Bard himself!
To be perfectly honest, I have limited experience with Shakespeare. I’ve read a lot, I’ve seen several, and I’ve performed some select scenes, but I’ve only actually participated in one complete performance.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I LOVE: Much Ado About Nothing
Love might be a bit of a stretch when it comes to my feelings toward Shakespeare as a whole, but I do love the Beatrice and Benedick storyline. And I do really like the Joss Whedon adaptation of this play.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I HATE: A Comedy of Errors
Like love, hate might be a strong word regarding my feelings, but I did see a particularly bad performance of this show once that pretty well removed any interest I might have had in reading it or seeing it again.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I THINK IS OVERRATED: Romeo and Juliet
We pretty much owe the entire star-crossed lovers trope to this play, but that doesn’t mean Romeo and Juliet are the most sympathetic of star-crossed lovers. They make some pretty overhasty and foolish decisions that otherwise might have spared them a lot of grief.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I THINK IS UNDERRATED: Troilus and Cressida
One of Shakespeare’s “problem plays,” Troilus and Cressida often gets passed over because of its rather abrupt ending and shifting tone, but I think it provides an interesting counterpoint to Romeo and Juliet. Cressida and Juliet face similar obstacles, but their reactions are very different (and therefore my reaction to them). Would Juliet have bowed to her family’s pressure like Cressida if she and Romeo hadn’t been married by the friar? Or is Cressida’s love weaker, more akin to Romeo’s first infatuation with Rosaline?
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I COULD SEE AGAIN AND AGAIN: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
If I’m going to see Shakespeare repeatedly, I’d rather it be a comedy than a tragedy because I find banter more engaging than soliloquies, and I’ve seen and read Midsummer enough times already to know I wouldn’t mind seeing it again and again.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I’D STILL WANT TO DO: Twelfth Night
I first learned about this play after thoroughly enjoying its modern adaptation She’s the Man starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, and while some of the hijinks are a little different in the Shakespearean setting, the original is still pretty funny.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY THAT MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH SHAKESPEARE: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Again, love might be slightly overstating my feelings toward Shakespeare, but Midsummer was the play that first showed me I could enjoy Shakespeare.
- GUILTY PLEASURE: Romeo and Juliet
I know I said it was overrated before. That’s why it’s a guilty pleasure. And even if Romeo and Juliet are just two rash teens, a well-done production can still make you root for them. Plus, it has sword fights.
- SHAKESPEARE PLAY I SHOULD HAVE SEEN BY NOW BUT HAVE NOT: Richard III
I would really like to see this one.
How about you? What are some Shakespeare plays you love and loathe? Any you wish you could perform in? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Coming up next week in Part 3: Plays (Non-Shakespeare)