Twelfth Night

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:

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


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)

13th Night: Malvolio’s Revenge

Date: 2007
Posted by: generalg1992
Credits: Created by Michael, filmed by Maggie, Shaina and Mrs Elinson
Cast: Michael (Malvolio), Sam (Toby, Andrew, Sabastion [sic], Maggie (Mariah [sic]), Shaina (Viola)
Duration: 4.12

An excellent title for a 7th Grade sequel to Twelfth Night in which a teenage Malvolio is indeed revenged upon the whole pack of them, as he slaughters the cast of the play one by one, until meeting his comeuppance. Mostly swordfights, but that’s revenge for you.

YouTube page

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Date: 2008
Posted by: vcelloho
Credits: Character models by C. David Claudon. An Intro to Shakespeare and Company Film
Cast: Voices: Mariam Awaisi (Viola), Tommy Benfey (Sebastian), David Goff (Orsino), Carla Oppenheimer (Olivia), Jonathan Ho (Antonio, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew), Marissa Ho (Maria), Liam Hynes (Malvolio)
Duration: 5.45

A reasonably amusing spoof Twelfth Night using cut-out figures in Gilliam-style, but despite some creative touches it doesn’t really do much beyond mocking the play’s familiar highlights (though curiously showing us nothing of Malvolio’s yellow stockings). The drollest touch is to have Viola played by … a viola (disguised by a moustache). Shakespeare’s words are not used.

YouTube page