Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cosby Show Presents . . . Macbeth

“Theo and Cockroach.” By Thad Mumford. Perf. Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Carl Anthony Payne, II. Dir. Jay Sandrich. The Cosby Show. Season 2, episode 15. NBC. 30 January 1986. DVD. Urban Works, 2007.

The Cosby Show, a smart and funny (and sometimes sophisticated) family comedy, integrates Shakespeare into its plots twice.  In the second season, Theo and Cockroach try to listen to an LP of Macbeth instead of reading the play.  In the fourth season, they perform a rap version of Mark Anthony's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech—more on that anon.

The clip below shows the expressions on their faces as they try to make sense out of the lines as they hear them.  I've see that expression!  I've worn that expression, come to think of it!  But hearing the plays aloud can be enormously helpful to understanding them.

Of course, here at Bardfilm, we generally advocate the integration of Shakespeare and film—not Shakespeare and the delightfully-retro LP format.  That makes the following clip delightfully-meta-theatrical:  the medium of film is being used to show a completely aural version of what is often staged—or turned into the medium of film itself.

Links: The Show at IMDB.  Brief Previous Post on the Subject.

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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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest