Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Well, well, thou hast a careful father, child." —Romeo and Juliet

King Lear. Dir. Trevor Nunn and Chris Hunt. Perf. Sir Ian McKellen, Sylvester McCoy, Romola Garai, William Gaunt, Frances Barber, and Monica Dolan. 2008. PBS, 2009.

Several Shakespeare DVDs have been released recently—just in time for Father's Day! Be a careful child to your careful father and choose the perfect gift: Shakespeare.

Of them, the most vital is Ian McKellen's Lear (directed by Trevor Nunn). What better gift could you give (or receive) for Father's Day? Kick back with Dear Old Dad to learn about fatherhood from the master of the English language with a superb actor in the lead role. Doctor Who fans will appreciate the fact that the Fool is played by a former Doctor (Sylvester McCoy).

Edward II was written by Christopher Marlowe—but if you would like to follow the conspiracy theorists and believe that Marlowe (before he became Marlowe) was really Sir Philip Sidney, who did not die fighting in the low countries, but, instead, became a spy for Elizabeth I, changed his name to Kit Marlowe, faked the death of Marlowe in a pub brawl, became both William Shakespeare and Thomas Dekker, and, eventually, successfully disguised himself as King James I, demoting the real monarch to stable boy, third class, then this play becomes more Shakespearean. In any case, a much younger Ian McKellen plays Edward II in the newly-released DVD of the 1970 production.

For the acting father (I mean, the father who acts), try this marvelous (yet expensive) series:

Alternately, try Judy Dench's Titania in this 1968 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream:

I asked our library to by An Age of Kings about two months ago, and I'm looking forward to reviewing it once it gets processed into the system.

Finally, it would be lovely to watch a number of thirty-minute animated version of Shakespeare plays with your dad and / or your children. This is what you need to do that:

Click below to purchase the films from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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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