Friday, March 29, 2013

Simon Callow in Being Shakespeare

Being Shakespeare. Dir. John Wyver. Perf. Simon Callow. By Jonathan Bate. 2011. DVD. Illuminations, 2012.

In something of a biographical survey and something of a revue, Simon Callow takes us through the Seven Ages detailed by Jaques in As You Like It, providing quotations from Shakespeare's plays that fit the ages he describes. This DVD is a film version of a stage performance; it runs about an hour and a half.

The script appears to be by Jonathan Bate, the great Shakespeare scholar—but that doesn't appear to prevent some out-of-date or questionable biographical material from appearing. The story is, in this case, given greater weight than the scholarly debates about the elements of the story.

The DVD has not yet been released in the United States; readers in Europe will be pleased that they have access to something we (generally) don't.

I'm fond of Simon Callow's other roles, and I like this performance mainly for that reason. The acting and the story are conservative (and sometimes—as when he performs Juliet—a bit silly), but it's still an enjoyable experience. Here, to give you a bit of the flavor (or flavour, since this has been released in the UK but not in the US), is the opening sequence:

Links: The Film at IMDB.


New Curtain Theatre said...

Do you know where one might obtain the script for BENG SHAKESPEARE for the stage,

kj said...

I don't think the script is publicly available at this point. The show seems to be making a New York run at present. You can see more at the show's official web site:



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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