Month: April 2009

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116: Eleanor

Date: 2006
Posted by: shakespearecowboy
Credits: Filmed by shakespearecowboy
Cast: Eleanor
Duration: 1.38

This is an example from the 116 Project, in which ‘Shakespeare Cowboy’ (possibly not his real name) films ordinary Americans and gets them to read Shakespeare 116th sonnet (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments”). It’s a delightful idea, and the several videos on his YouTube channel each charm through the freshness of their (mostly) untutored readings and the everyday settings. Here the sweetness of Eleanor’s rendition is enriched by the homely setting, the dog and the cat. As the videos’ creator says, “Shakespeare shows us people and people show us Shakespeare”.

YouTube page
The 116 Project channel

Shakespeare Writes a New Play

Date: 2008
Posted by: meetwillshakespeare
Credits: Conceived and produced by Connor Ratliff and Jeff Falzone
Cast: Connor Ratliff (William Shakespeare)
Duration: 6.21

BardBox has already Chris Rozzi and Billy Harper as comedians who post videos in the guise of William Shakespeare. Now we have Connor Ratliff exhibiting similar intimations of grandeur. Ratliff produces the Meet William Shakespeare channel, in which he plays a William Shakespeare facing up to the modern world, while being smugly proud of his reputation. Here we are privileged to witness Shakespeare writing a new play. Act One sounds like the Bard has resorted to soap opera, but Act Four promises to be quite exciting. Then we get the off-screen interviewer asking Shakespeare if this change in his style isn’t going to upset his traditional fan base, to which Shakespeare sturdily replies that “Shakespeare is like a shark – he has to keep moving forward”. Those old plays, they took forever to write – now he produces seven a day. My hat is off to thou.

Links: YouTube page
Meet William Shakespeare channel
Connor Ratliff’s As They Go site

Straight Outta Denmark

Date: 2004
Posted by: soonest2turn
Credits: Not given
Cast: Not given
Duration: 2.58

School project Shakespeare raps are scattered all over YouTube, and most are lame and annoying. This Grade 12 English project video from Canada stands out from the crowd by some realistic venom amid the goofy performance, and its strong language (a broadminded English teacher was involved, clearly). The lyrics show a strong engagement with the play, more than vindicating the exercise:

Straight Outta Denmark a crazy m———r named Hamlet
I’m a bad ass hero that’s tragic
Thoughts are pending, time’s not mending
Tragic means I die in the ending.

The full text is given on the YouTube page. Just a shame about the half-hearted lip-synching.

YouTube page


Date: 2007
Posted by: christy gordon
Credits: Created by Christy Gordon. Background song, ‘These Days’ by Nico
Cast: Members of BYU Young Company Shakespeare Troupe, Christy Gordon (Sir Andrew Aguecheek)
Duration: 3.01

This unusual video has its origins in a BYU (Brigham Young University) Young Company Shakespeare Troupe’s one-hour production of Twelfth Night, which was taken to elementary schools in the USA. A succession of young people (in present-day dress) are interviewed in the familiar TV style of short statements tightly edited together, about what they thought of the late Sir Andrew Aguecheek. It does have the air of an in-joke among the cast that no one else can quite share in (part of the joke is that the filmmaker herself played Aguecheek, seen only in a photo at the end). However, the video is well made and has real charm. As a Shakespeare video, it is one on its own.

Vimeo page
Christy sings (video showing Gordon as Aguecheek)