A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Infinite Monkey Syndrome

Date: 2012
Posted by: James R. Ford
Cast: Not given
Credits: Produced by James R. Ford
Duration: 1.30

A few months ago it was reported that US programmer Jesse Anderson had set up a virtual set of some millions of monkeys (using Hadoop), all of them tying at random on virtual typewriters, and had managed produce something that was 99.99% Shakespeare – the first text to be achieved in this way being ‘A Lover’s Complaint’. Anderson had cut corners however, because every time the random typing came up with words that roughly matched something from the Shakespeare canon then they would be retained, if not then discarded. With this and other constraints, Anderson could achieve his goal. The purely random production of Shakespeare by an infinite number of monkeys remains something for the philosophers and theoretical mathematicians.

Or for a videomaker. This droll piece, made by British artist James R. Ford, is an extract from a 9 minutes 8 second loop (therefore designed in principle to run forever). It shows us a woman in a monkey suit, typing Shakespeare, as the tags to the video tell us, because otherwise we would not know (a photograph of the typewriter on the artist’s website indicates that only gibberish has been produced – so far). Is is a Shakespeare video? I say that it is – and so it is (and just to make the point this post has been tagged with all of the plays and poems). A video to watch, infinitely.

Jesse Anderson explains more about his project on this video:

Links:
Vimeo page
BBC online news item on Jesse Anderson’s project
Jesse Anderson’s Million Monkeys Project
James R. Ford’s personal website

Midsummer Night’s Dream – Act III, Scene 1

Date: 2009
Posted by: Mike Knish
Cast: Zak Engel (Bottom), Mike Knish (everyone else)
Credits: None given
Duration: 9.52

How many ways are there to film the high school assignment to make a Shakespeare video? Not nearly enough, to judge by the evidence. So many lame Hamlet raps, so many juvenile Star Wars parodies, so much poverty of the imagination (poverty of the props we must excuse, of course). Though a few of these videos do demonstrate some filmic skill (as recorded from time to time on BardBox), and through that an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare, it is just a few.

Then we get this production, made by Mike Knish as a school assignment for Music History, it says. To say that it is good or bad is irrelevant – it’s just plain different. Two male students stand side-by-side in front of a large photograph of woodland in sunlight. One draws markings on his face, then other intones wordlessly. They then reads out lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the most wooden manner possible, reading from papers in their hands, making not the slightest effort to impart character or interest. The camera remains static, bar the occasional close-up of a face. They play music from a laptop when music is called for. One reads the part of Bottom, the other all the other characters, clumsily changing costume for each.

And so it goes on, and on, and on, for ten minutes. It is the antithesis of performance, a stoner’s Shakespeare, a Warholian school exercise, an end to pretension. I wouldn’t care to watch too many other videos like it, but I rather like this one. It has knowing ignorance.

And he got an A for the assignment.

Links:
Vimeo page

Oberon v Titania

Date: 2009
Posted by: chrisnatti
Cast: Borts Minorts (Oberon), Ball Ball Minorts (Titania), Bonestein (Titania fairy dancer), Skin Jones (Oberon fairy dancer)
Credits: A Chris Carlone Creation
Duration: 3.03

Now here’s something to stop you in your tracks. Borts Minorts is a New York performance artist/dancer/musician, real name Chris Carlone, who with his like-minded cohorts combines performance art with avant garde music, pantomime and off-the-wall dance to create an exuberant brew of pure artistic energy. Add Shakespeare into the mix and the results are compelling.

And so we have Oberon v Titania, an open-air assault on Shakespeare’s characters with wild dancing amid the trees, done to the accompaniment of a mad mix of tortured guitar and trombone, and intercut with a concert of the same song (there are words, largely indecipherable). Borts Minorts himself is Oberon, dressed in the white ski suit that is his customary costume. Ball Ball Minorts (his sister, apparently) plays Titania. The how and why of it are a little difficult to determine, but it is pure Dada.

Links:
YouTube page
HD YouTube version
Bort Minorts’ MySpace

Mini Monologues: Snippets of Shakespeare and others

Date: 2008
Posted by: CoreyAllenX
Credits: Created by Corey Allen
Cast: Corey Allen
Duration: 8.28

YouTube is awash with audition pieces from hopeful actors showing off their Shakespearean party pieces. This selection of pieces from 2008 has been put together by New York actor Corey Allen, and features selections from Titus Andronicus, Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (plus others, non-Shakespearean), filmed in a cafe complete with background noises. What is compelling about such pieces is not so much the quality or otherwise of the acting, but of the intensity and intimacy of performances delivered in close-up.

Links
YouTube page

The Seasons Alter

Date: 2002
Posted by: Futerra
Credits: Directed by Roger Lunn, produced by Rebekah Gilbertson, Ed Gillespie, Alan Graves and Solitaire Townsend, music by Matt Scott, cinematography by Dave Griffiths, editing by Lucia Zucchetti, production design by Jane Harwood, costumes by Suzanne Barnes, sound by Alison Bown
Cast: Cherie Lunghi (Titania), Mark Owen (Oberon), Keira Knightley (Helena)
Duration: 4.04

The Seasons Alter is a promotional film made by Futerra, an organisation campaigning for climate change. It makes ingenious use of dialogue between Oberon and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 2 Scene 1 to highlight the issues of global warming, human complicity and human responsibility (“Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, Pale in her anger washes all the air, That rheumatic diseases do abound; And thorough this distemperature we see The seasons alter”). Cherie Lunghi plays Titania, Lloyd Owen is Oberon, and Keira Knightley is their ‘daughter’ Helena (of course, they have no daughter in Shakespeare’s play). The film has been widely distributed on assorted free video sites.

Links
YouTube page