Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Martha Speaketh Shakespeare!

"Thou Callest Me a Dog." By Peter K. Hirsch. Perf. J. T. Turner, Christina Crivici, and Tabitha St. Germain. Dir. Todd Demong.   Martha Speaks. Season 6, episode 7. PBS. 16 June 2014.

I've enjoyed the "Martha Speaks" books by Susan Meddaugh ever since LeVar Burton told me about the first one—Martha Speaks—on Reading Rainbow.

But it's relatively new news to me that PBS has a Martha Speaks show for children.

And for Shakespeare aficionados! In a recent show, Martha accidentally eats a copy of Hamlet (the actor had left a sandwich on it), and she starts speaking in Convenstional Shakespeare-Style Olde Englyssishe (CSSOE)—viz., a great prevalence of thee, thou, thy, doth, and -est endings of both nouns and verbs.

But she also quotes from the plays (notably Hamlet), and ends up being cast as Hamlet in a production. And the production is clever enough to use a title from Merchant of Venice and a few other interesting inside jokes (e.g., the solipsistic actor's name is "Armin Burbage").

I offer a few samples below, but you can watch the entire episode on-line.  Just click here, and then click on the "Thou Callest Me a Dog" episode.

In this first clip, Martha's language malady is diagnosed:

The second clip shows her being offered the lead role in Hamlet.

The most famous six words in Shakespeare make up the entirety of the third clip:

Links: The Show at IMDB. The Episode on-line.

Click below to purchase a Martha Speaks DVD 
(not the one from which this episode comes)
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).

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