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

Shakespeare Shortz

Date: 2009
Posted by: citizenstheatre
Cast: Staff of the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Credits: not given
Duration: 2.56

Shakespeare Shortz was a competition launched by the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, in 2009, inviting anyone to contribute a video of them reciting their favourite lines from Shakespeare in under two minutes. The winners won tickets to the theatre’s production of Othello. The video above illustrates what they were looking for, with various staff members of the theatre delivering their lines with affection, like a deeply-held passion at last brought forth. The competition is over now, though submissions are still invited just for fun, and in a way it’s similar to what BardBox is aiming to do – documenting, storing and redistributing a new form of Shakespearean production whose strength lies in its community.

The sixteen responses to the video can be found on YouTube here or on the Citizens Theatre’s own site, here. The two winners were Max Does Shakespeare by yobkulcha (yet another example of children reciting words beyond their understanding):

and Calum MacAskill Porter by SkinheadNinja, a particularly clever piece of elementary animation, which merits far more YouTube views than it has received so far:

All in all, this was a good idea that should have had far wider distribution. If only the RSC or the National had come up with it – then Shakespeare and online video might have started to gain the attention it undoubtedly deserves.

Links:
YouTube page
Responses to the competition on YouTube
Citizens Theatre Shakespeare Shortz site

Incarnadine

Date: 2009
Posted by: Cedric Vilim
Cast: Not given
Credits: Shot and edited by Cedric Vilim, music ‘Squarepusher’ by The Exploding Psychology
Duration: 1.43

A peculiar intepretation of Macbeth’s lines, “What hands are here? Hah! They pluck out mine eyes. / Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red.” (Act 2 Scene 2). On one level, it’s a man in a bath with apples, intercut with shots of cuts of meat, overlaid by electro dance music. On another level … who can say? But it’s certainly unexpected. And uncategorisable.

Links:
Vimeo page

Shakespeare Shakedown

Date: 2007
Posted by: justjill
Cast: Not given
Credits: Produced by Patrik Fleming and Jill Blum
Duration: 6.63

An enjoyable skit from a Shakespeare class at the University of Baltimore, in which Gladys and Lorraine gossip about Ophelia and Gertude, the Macbeths’ marital disharmony and the three witches’ skin care problems, and King Lear, interspersed with advertisements for the King Lear Guide to Retirement Planning and Rid-a-Kin, the ideal poison for troublesome relatives. Some audio problems along the way, but bitchy fun.

Links:
YouTube page
Internet Archive page

M 1.7

Date: 2009
Posted by: deathpunkscum
Credits: Giordano Travera (Script and treatment), Michele Socci (Photography), Gabriel Spada (Post-production)
Cast: Not given
Duration: 3.48

A stylish visualization of Macbeth, akin to pop video. A haunted male figure stares at himself in mirror then wanders down Italian railway stations, interccut with striking symbolic images (a hypodermic needle, a burning playing card, buildings in bright sunlight contrasted with dank passageways) overlaid by electronica and a whispered, threatening monologue paraphrasing Macbeth’s soliloquy from Act 1 Scene 7 (“If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly”). This is thinking in images, inspired by word-images, showing how well the soliloquies lend themselves to this sort of impressionistic treatment.

Links
Vimeo page

The Play’s the Thing… That I Hate

Date: 2008
Posted by: TheLionHaired
Credits: Filmed by Derek
Cast: Derek
Duration: 3.57

TheLionHaired (handsome title, but his real name’s Derek) hates Shakespeare. He hates Chaucer too, but particularly he hates Shakespeare. Why do the characters take so long to say so little? Just look at Hamlet. Why to the characters do dumb stuff which just isn’t plausible, much like characters in horror movies? Romeo and Juliet were just idiots. All they had to do was run away to Mantua. And in Macbeth, what was the point of murdering Banquo? And Brutus killing Julius Caesar, that’s just wrong. Titus is OK, but he just held back too much. “If Lavinia had been my daughter – and what happened to her – I would have been a little more active”. In general he hates Shakespeare. Or maybe it’s just the plays. Because he quite likes the poetry…

Sorry, Derek, but I don’t believe you. This diatribe shows too much eloquence, just a little too much knowledge of the plays. I can hardly think of a better example of a video to stimulate a class discussion than what is on display here. I think Shakespeare’s has got to you more than you may know, as yet.

Links:
YouTube page

Geto Boys/Macbeth Mashup

Date: 2007
Posted by: Scartol
Credits: Created by Scartol
Cast: Jon Finch (Macbeth), Francesca Annis (Lady Macbeth)
Duration: 5.13

A logical fusion of Macbeth with Gangsta rap, in this neatly-edited mashup of shots from Roman Polanski’s 1971 Macbeth (in widescreen), with Jon Finch as Macbeth and Francesca Annis as Lady Macbeth, to the music of the Geto Boys’ ‘Mind Playin’ Tricks On Me’. There are numerous adroit matches between lyrics and action; note, for example, the timing of the lines (from the song) of ‘my hands are all bloody’.

Links
YouTube page

My name is Macbeth

Date: 2006
Posted by: SupaComix
Credits: Directed and animated by Nick Browne, music by Mitch Benn
Cast: Lego
Duration: 4.27

A Lego animation, marrying the story of Macbeth to a rap accompaniment not so far away from Eminem. The animation is rudimentary by some brickfilm standards, but it makes a virtue of its roughness, and serves as a witty comment on the play. The obligatory expletives have been deleted. The assorted Lego figures include characters from Star Wars as the three witches. The film was directed and animated by Nick Browne, who manages the Supa Comix website, which is dedicated to the worlds of online media and comic books. This is an output of one of the site’s projects, ‘We 3 Men’. Music is by Mitch Benn (with a burst of Green Day over the credits).

Links
YouTube page