‘Much Ado About Something That Can Be Fixed’

Autumn is almost here now and soon “is the winter of our discontent”. And during these cold, cold months, I find it is always nice to have a good book to comfort you- A Winter’s Tale one might say.

And yet, so many people are totally put off by the idea of reading something written a long time ago because of the challenging language it is written in. Shakespeare is a good example of this. Some people will refuse point blank to ever pick up another play by him again after they’ve finished  at school as he was “boring” and at times ‘incomprehensible’.

Now an indifferent, young chap might say to them, “As You Like It, it’s your decision” but in my opinion, these people are making Much Ado About Nothing!

Or perhaps, in my opinion, more accurately: ‘Much Ado About Something That Can Be Fixed’.

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When you are approaching Shakespeare’s work for the first time, the language can be difficult/Lear-impossible to understand and may seem inaccessible.
I have read and studied a number of Shakespeare’s plays but can only really get to grips with the language in front of me after I’ve read bits of it a few times over.

However, there is a way of getting to grips with it quite quickly!

Film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays have ranged from the traditional to the near bizarre but I find that if you’re lucky enough to be looking at a play that Kenneth Branagh has starred in, his versions are great ways to kick start your understanding and enjoyment!

Branagh has an innate ability to transform the original texts, written hundreds of years ago, into something thoroughly relatable and importantly, clear to an audience. Both his acting skill, particularly admired by myself, and his directing ability have given rise to these classic adaptations:

  • Henry V- (eponymous)
  • Much Ado About Nothing- Benedick
  • Othello- Iago
  • Hamlet- (eponymous)
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost- Berowne
  • As You Like It- (only directed)

Measure for Measure, I think all of the above film versions are very good at bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life, but I particularly like this clip from Othello, where Branagh marvellously plays the villain Iago. Here he is convincing Othello that Othello’s wife is being unfaithful with Cassio which just so happens to come after Iago finding out that he has lost a promotion to Cassio.

Coincidence?
You’ll have to read it and find out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrIc3eINXT4

“Tell me where fancy is bred; in the heart or in the head”- William Shakespeare

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