Monday, March 10, 2008

Mystery Shakespearean Derivatives, Part III

“The Shakespeare Code.” By Gareth Roberts. Perf. David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, and Dean Lennox Kelly. Dir. Charles Palmer. Doctor Who. Season 3, episode 2 (New Series). BBC Wales. 7 April 2007. DVD. BBC Warner, 2007.
The third derivative was a Shakespeare-related episode of Doctor Who (the New Series). I’ll have to divide my comments on it into several different posts.

Briefly, the episode is (in Rothwell’s terminology again) something of a review (The Doctor, in his time-travelling TARDIS, takes us back to London in 1599 to give us something of Shakespeare’s Biography), something of an educational film (I’m sticking to it that anything you can learn from is educational!), and something of a recontextualization (in this case, a recontextualization of Shakespeare’s age rather than of Shakespeare himself--more on that later).

But it’s also a sort of mirror movie! Shakespeare and his company are about to put on a new play: Love’s Labour’s Won! You won’t find that title in modern Shakespeare anthologies—it’s a lost play (unless, as some scholars argue, the title of that play is just an alternate title for an existing play).

The show has always loved playing with lost things throughout history. I vaguely recall an episode where the Doctor interrupts Samuel Taylor Coleridge just as he’s trying to write “Kubla Kahn,” turning that potential epic into the fragment we have today.

This is another instance of that. The Doctor’s machinations in time and space are (partly) responsible for the lostness of that play.

But to tell you about that, I’ll need a new post . . . and a spoiler warning.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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