Portia Placino

Repository of my thoughts and images of art, literature, travel, and life.

Portia’s Casket (Oddities) | Voices News for the Week of August 24

A repost of my weekly column for The Shakespeare Standard, Wednesday Voices. See the original post here.

Much oddities to Shakespeare’s voice today…

Choices. Remember the Choose your own Adventure books? Well, now we have choose your own ending. Imagine if Romeo decides to go back to Rosaline instead of going after Juliet, will he have a happy ending then?  Which will you choose, a powerful but tragic ending with Juliet, or a simple, happy and contented marriage with Rosaline? Though the re-interpretation received mixed reviews, it may be interesting to wonder the “what ifs” of the Bard.

What ifs. What if you experience Twelfth Night steampunk style? Ironically sponsored by Bronxville Women’s Club, Pipe Dream marries the conflicting industrial and Victorian styles, even adding a touch of western air.  Carla Young says that “Actors performed on a sparse set, which included only a couple of chairs and a small table, and were illuminated by subdued decorative lights wrapped around a number of trees in the courtyard of the Women’s Club. The evening’s biggest round of laughter was awarded to ‘Malvolio,’ who despite the despair caused to him by fake love notes purported to be from Olivia, was an audience favorite throughout the show.”

Rap, hip hop and soul. Shakespeare as the original rapper? PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association, “noted that just like today’s rap hits, Shakespeare’s works are based on beats, rhythm and rhyme. ” The play, “William features 10 original rap songs composed by Jeff Hernandez which are a mix of various genres such as rock, soul, funk, RnB and hip-hop. It also utilizes FlipTop, a form of rap that is becoming more popular among today’s Filipino youth.”

Naked Bard. The oddities continue. If Shakespeare is deemed boring by some, imagine if his play are recited by girls. Beautiful, sexy and naked girls. New York’s Greenwich Village houses the Naked Girls Reading group. In an intimate, boudoir-type room, wine is sipped, literature is read and a “full frontal literature” is delivered. Sapphire Jones, a member of the cast, prompted strong emotions upon dedicating a Shakespearean text to her grandmother. The burlesque-inspired literary performance also reads from Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Ibsen’s A Doll House

ClassesSurprising, or oddly enough, lot of students are still interested in Shakespeare today (despite the lack of naked girls). Sometimes, they are inspired by a brilliant mentor. Professor Dennis Huston’s Shakespeare on Film, is only offered once every two years and is very popular among the student. He practices Socratic-style discussions as well as delivers powerful lectures. This is enough to inspire student to enroll in a 7:30 am class and discuss about Shakespeare. The end of the term also results in the class’ own Shakespearean performance.

Oddities. There are a lot of oddities in the Shakespearean world. Its not always the straight, formal, Elizabethan theme that pervades the ordinary imagination. It is for all people, of various shapes and sizes, in every way possible, even in the oddest of the odd voices. Let’s admit it, sometimes, its even more interesting that way, the odd way.

What other odd voices have you seen or heard of the bard today? 

Are you interested in joining The Standard’s volunteer staff? Check out our current staffing needs. If one of our roles sounds perfect for you, email our Managing Editor today!

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This entry was posted on September 1, 2011 by in Shakespeare and tagged , , , , , , , .

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