So yesterday, I talked a little about seeing Something Rotten! Thursday in LA. Well, one more thing before I put that musical comedy behind us…
I’m in the final handful of classes in my Masters program. And I’m starting to think about possible theses for the capstone. I’ve been pondering things like nuclear families in Shakespeare, the audience as a character in Shakespeare and something along the lines of exploring there has been such fascination in The Tempest with artists.
But watching Something Rotten!, an idea started to creep in. It’s not fully formed yet. I’m I thinking about the artistic curiosity with Shakespeare, not the plays but the man. In the last two decades, there have been multiple examinations of the playwright himself. From Shakespeare in Love the film in 1998, through the recent plays of that film and the musical comedy Something Rotten! to the television series Will (in the US) and Upstart Crow (in the UK)…not to mention the episode “The Shakespeare Code” from the UK series Doctor Who. In each of these, most of the same Shakespearean works get touched upon–the major works of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night. It seems to me that in these last two decades, contemporaneously with a decline in Shakespeare requirements in scholarly curricula and canons, there has been a commodification of Shakespeare in the arts. I’m wondering if there isn’t more than just a touch of cynicism that points to a audience that wants to think they’re “sophisticated” knowing their Shakespeare, but without having to–well, you know–having to actually read it.
I don’t know…I’m thinking there may be something there.