Shakespeare himself

Shakespeare (“Shayla” by Blondie)

Date: 2010
Posted by: historyteachers
Cast: Not given
Credits: Not given
Duration: 3.18

History for Music Lovers is a YouTube channel put together by a couple of history teachers from Honolulu with the intention of making the teaching of history of fun. They take historical events and figures, and put them to re-worded versions of pop songs with appropriate vidoe to match. Goodness knows how it is resourced, but the results are great fun indeed: Leonardo Da Vinci and the Beatles’ ‘Dear Prudence’, Roman history told to ‘Mambo no. 5’, the French Revolution to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’, Elizabeth I to The Zombies’ ‘She’s Not There’, and – sure enough – William Shakespeare sung to a version of Blondie’s ‘Shayla’. It’s not one of the best of the series, and it doesn’t tell prospective students much beyond the titles of plays, but what the heck?

Also in the series there’s Marianne Faithfull’s version of ‘As Tears Go By’, rewritten to tell the story of the Battle of Agincourt, with scenes from Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V:

Links:
YouTube page

Hey, Shakespeare!

Date: 2004
Posted by: TheRealDanStrange
Credits: A Daniel Strange filme
Cast: Dan Strange (himself), Evanne Larsonne (‘Shakespeare’)
Duration: 2.14

Just how annoying might it have been, or might it be, to know the real William Shakespeare? Struggling writer Dan Strange finds out when he turns to Shakespeare for advice. “What percentage of the time would you say it was easy for you?” he asks. “I don’t know, like, 98, 99% per cent of the time” comes back the unwelcome reply. Never blotted out a line either.

Daniel Strange has only posted a few such mini-dramas centred on life’s frustrations, and ought to produce a few more. A droll vignette, with some strong language.

Links:
YouTube page

Crank that Shakespeare

Date: 2008
Posted by: zman15601
Credits: composer Jake Lehman, lyrics Bronson Domasky
Cast: Jake Lehman (singer, Hamlet, King Claudius, King Hamlet), Connor Downs (King Hamlet, Hamlet’s Friend, Ophelia, Gertrude, dancer), Jeffrey Moon (Horatio, crying spectator), Clayton Smoker (Shakespeare, Hamlet’s friend, dancer, backup singer)
Duration: 2.10

It is all too easy to sigh at yet another American middle school English project where the class has been encouraged to demonstrate that Shakspeare can be fun by producing a YouTube video. You may sigh even more at the all-too-obvious choice of rap, something whose novelty factor wore out years ago.

And yet, and yet. Look again. This is a terrific video. It displays such enthusiasm for the task in hand, which is to make a rap video out of the story of Hamlet. The lyrics are sharp, the editing is good, the music is strong, and the performances are goofy but dedicated to the cause. Care has been taken to make the individual scenes varied. In common with many such video spoofs, the titles are done in MTV-style, while the subtitles are helpful. Shakespeare himself turns up in the car for the chorus (“Hamlet here with my boy Shakespeare”) – he’s the one with a skull in his hand. It’s a fine English project that brings out such delight in recognising the vitality of the play.

Links
YouTube page

Shakespeare does Sweet Home Alabama

Date: 2007
Posted by: billyharper11
Credits: Created by Billy Harper
Cast: Billy Harper (William Shakespeare)
Duration: 3.05

William Shakespeare, he likes nothing better when he’s relaxing at home with some friends to start singing songs and playing some air guitar. Here he invites us all to join in the party and sing along with Lynryd Skynryd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’.

British comic performer Billy Harper has played Shakespeare in a variety of comedy music modes on YouTube, miming to songs with some skill. There’s Shakespeare rapping to Vanilla Ice’s ‘Ice Ice Baby’, Shakespeare doing his Barry White impression, and Shakespeare as Snoop Dogg. Irresistible stuff.

Links
YouTube page

Shakespeare Biography with Eggs!

Date: 2007
Posted by: HarassedTofu
Credits: Directed, filmed and edited by Kimberley Durkin, for Harassed Tofu Productions
Cast: Eggs (voices by Kimberley Durkin)
Duration: 5.01

Rudimentary (to say the least) animation with eggs, telling us the story of Shakespeare’s Stratford home life, starting from the point where the young Shakespeare is taken to see a play and becomes besotted by the theatre. The film ends poignantly with the death of his son Hamnet (yolk is spilt), commemorated by words from King John (Act 3 Scene 4), ‘If that be true, I shall see my boy again’, while Carmina Buruna plays in the background. Cracking.

Links
YouTube page

William Shakespeare

Date: 2006
Posted by: srowan
Credits: Created by Alex Mueller and Scott Rowan. A Row 1 Production
Cast: Scott Rowan (William Shakespeare), Jenna Johnson (Anne Hathaway), Callie Parks (Francis Bacon, Actress), Griffin Ransdell (Bully no. 1, Messenger), Alex Mueller (Bully no. 2, Actor), Bill Rowan (Papa Shakespeare), Sandy Rowan (School Teacher), random people (extras)
Duration: 11.33

We first encounter William Shakespeare in a modern day American small town setting. He is sitting on a bench, when a quill feather flutters down beside him. He tells his life story to a girl sitting on the next door bench, who initially ignores him. We learn that as a child he loved to read, and learned about his ancestor who fought in the Wars of the Roses (“I don’t know why anyone would want flowers that bad”). Encouraged by his sweetheart Anne Hathaway, William learns to write and write and write. He joins the Lord Chamberlain’s men acting troupe and marries Anne. Then his father dies, and William writes a play inspired by his father, which he will call Hamlet (named after his father’s favourite meal of ham omelettes). The girl on the bench advises him to use some words he had just uttered (“Alas, poor York peppermint…”) in his play. Her name is Francis [sic] Bacon.

This is a remarkably accomplished 11-minute amateur parody of Forest Gump, telling instead the life of William Shakespeare. The music from the film helps, and it’s not a difficult film to parody, but such care has gone into recrafting shots from the original and duplicating its tone. It doesn’t tell us much about Shakespeare, except maybe to hint that his life for us now is, much like Forest Gump’s, little more than a blank onto which we imprint our own expectations of a national figure.

Links
YouTube page