British Isles Friday logoWelcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!

Last week, I reviewed Prudence by Gail Carriger, set in an alternate history version of London and India. Jackie continued her recap of her trips to the British Isles with Ireland photos from 1991 (and some comparisons from 2005) — check out the bit about W. B. Yeats. Sim had another close encounter with Colin Firth, this time in the V&A. Becky read a book filled with quotes by the eminently quotable Winston Churchill.  Jean reviewed the book Home Fires — I hadn’t realized that the series was rooted in a book.

On the eve of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we saw a Shakespeare play. Kind of. We attended a Shake 38 presentation in conjunction with the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis. Shake 38: 38 plays, 38 performances, 38 places is described as:

A free, five-day community festival with just one rule: Make Shakespeare’s 38 plays happen any way you see fit.

Power: A King John Story

Power: A King John Story presented by because why not? theatre company (logo artwork by Nancy Nigh)

My sister-in-law’s tiny theater company (because why not? theatre company) was assigned King John. Did you know that Shakespeare wrote a play called King John? Not one of the better known of his 38 plays. If you’ve seen The Lion in Winter, John is one of the sons of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. This is also the same King John who gets cast in a villainous role in the Robin Hood tales. And, it was King John who signed the Magna Carta.

Shannon Geier (my sister-in-law) and the because why not? theatre company re-interpreted King John as a mafia story and it worked! The family in-fighting, the power struggles between families, and the loyalties and betrayals all fit right in — whether it’s the medieval British royalty or the American Mob.

Did you participate in any 400th anniversary events to honor Shakespeare?


Shakespeare, 400 years on #BriFri — 8 Comments

  1. There is a Shakespeare festival in downtown Tallahassee Florida every year. Students from FSU provide the acting chops and it’s always excellent. I had been taking my son Tristan since he was 9 years old. It’s always a good time.

    I like what your sister-in-law did, sounds entertaining,

  2. I kind of hate Shakespeare. That said I was in NYC and saw the musical, ‘Something Rotten’ which I loved. It was funny and poked fun or the Bard. I am sure in a year or less it will be a road show.

    • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade last year had a performance by the Something Rotten cast and I laughed all the way through. I’d love to see that one!

  3. I once read King John because it’s the one nobody ever reads. There’s kind of a good reason for that. (Still haven’t read Timon of Athens or Two Gentlemen of Verona…hm, maybe I should do a reading project titled “Shakespeare plays nobody likes.”)

    This week I only have a beginning to contribute–I’m participating in a readalong of Spenser’s Faerie Queene. I’m almost done with Book I and will post about progress every Monday.

    • Looking forward to your Faerie Queen project. And, your unloved Shakespeare plays project would be fun, too!

  4. I shared this assemblage of awesome British talents sharing their skills on the ‘to be or not to be’ monologue from Hamlet. Pretty hilarious! My son’s old high school drama teacher used to adapt Shakespeare for their fall play every year.
    They did the Taming of the Shrew as a western, The Merry Wives of Windsor in the swinging 60’s (I worked on costumes which was a total blast!) Julius Caesar was done as a Chicago mobster tale with my boyo playing Brutus.

    Here’s my Shakespeare 400 postt

  5. Pingback: Trash Macbeth #BriFri | Joy's Book Blog

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