Monday, August 4, 2008

Patrick Stewart as Prospero—A Fragment of The Tempest

“Episode 1.6.”  By Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.  Perf. Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen, and Patrick Stewart.  Dir. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.  Extras.  Season 1, episode 6.  BBC / HBO.  25 August 2005.  DVD.  Universal Pictures Video, 2007.

Welcome to what I've arbitrarily decided will be Tempest Week here at Bardfilm!

We'll kick it off with one that's seldom mentioned in Shakespeare and Film circles. I actually can't quite believe that I forgot this existed! If I hadn't been going through a folder looking for something else, I wouldn't have found this image.

It's from Extras, a show about . . . well, extras . . . on movie sets, and it's written by the team that gave us the BBC Office—so it's absolutely brilliant, though (or, perhaps, because) it does make the viewer exceedingly uncomfortable.

[Side Note: The American version of The Office—though my students love it and insist that I must watch every episode right now right this very second here I'll give you a thumb drive with the latest season on it—seems, for the most part, very dull. But (before I get a bunch of angry e-mails) I'll admit that I've only seen a few episodes of the first season—ones that reproduce (rather amateurishly—whoops! That's another batch of angry e-mails I'll get) specific portions of the BBC Office.]

Anyway, Patrick Stewart does a marvelous Prospero—the image above is taken from his "abjuring my art" speech in V.i.33-57—and then Patrick Stewart does a marvelous Patrick Stewart. The PS PS plays is unlike anything we'd imagine the real PS to be, and it's wonderful. Try it out.

Links: The official site for Extras.

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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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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