Print Story How is it possible to screw up Shakespeare?
Religion & Philosophy
By Rogerborg (Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 06:54:40 AM EST) (all tags)
Answer: it's not easy, but with the right amount of determination and license payers' money, you can do it.

Inside: Sarah-Jane Honeywell content level: On Demand.



I refer to the BBC's... adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing featuring everyones'[1] favourite frippet, Ms Billie Piper, who again to my slightly lessened surprise turned out to be the best actor in the production.

You can see the thinking:

  1. Keep the basic story but drop the witty but archaic language.
  2. ...
  3. Viewing figures!
Ooh, ooh, I know what 2 is: add your own witty modern language.

Contrast:

BENEDICK
    What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

BEATRICE
    Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
    such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?

with

BENNY DICK
    What, are you still here?

BEATRICE
    Yeah [or something equally 'witty'].

Wow, pretty brave stuff.  Even better, let's change:

BENEDICK
    [...] I will be horribly in love with her.

to

BENT DICK
    I am horribly in love with her.

Why?  Why?  Is your wife/mistress cock blocking you to the extent that you feel the need to make such a trivial and yet fundamental change to a line?

Also, "A meeting of true minds" doesn't work sans context if the meaning of "true" has changed from "honest and faithful" to "real".  Which it has.  Cretins.

Bit of a raw nerve, this one.  The whole exercise seems utterly pointless when there's already a definitive and faithful version that's about a zillion times as much fun to watch, and if you're going to 'adapt' Shakespeare, then it is possible to do it in a fresh and engaging way that contains whole new witticisms.

Personally I think that the bard would have been just fine with lines like:

MS. PERKY
    So, I hear you've been terrorizing Mr. Morgan's class... again.

KAT STRATFORD
    Expressing my opinion is not a terrorist action.

MS. PERKY:
    The way you expressed your opinion to Bobby Ridgeway? By the way, his testicle retrieval operation went quite well, in case you're interested.

KAT STRATFORD
    I still maintain that he kicked himself in the balls.

See?  See?

However... all that said, I find that I have to forgive the BBC, for one reason and one reason only.  Telewest have finally gotten around to providing the long threatened TV on demand, and the BBC have ponied up a splurge of content including... heheh... Tikkabilla Series 2.

The future of TV is here today, and it's perky and comes with both rewind and pause.

[1] Queers and tarts excluded from this set.

< There's a saying. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
How is it possible to screw up Shakespeare? | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)
While I'm on a roll by Rogerborg (4.00 / 3) #1 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:07:31 AM EST
Did I completely spazz out, or did last week's FarGate feature... a 'side quest'. 

SICILIAN GUY FROM PRINCESS BRIDE BUT HE'S TEH WIZARD OR SOMETHING HERE
   Seek ye the magic necklace.

Run-run-fight-fight-jump-fight-win.

SPACE HOOKER
    I have brought unto you the magic necklace.

WIZARD
   I thank you for the magic necklace.  Gain one level and four skill points.

SPACE HOOKER
    Sweet! I choose Outfit Specialisation: Chafe-Free Leather Brassiere.

The fuck?

-
Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

Side quest by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:23:39 AM EST
Idiomatic use of a classic time waster filler device.

Still, at least TEH WIZARD didn't ask SPACE HOOKER to go talk to someone who was in the same room. Or pick upo a book from a shelf or something.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

[ Parent ]
So, you meet at the Green Dragon Inn... by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:46:05 AM EST
He could have asked her to bend over and pick something up though.  A little lower.  Lowwwer.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Damn I'm hungry. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:26:06 AM EST
I read Brassiere as brasserie. Mmmm, food.

[ Parent ]
Shakespeare by TPD (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:09:28 AM EST
had a bloke dressed up in a wig, the BBC has Billie Piper - tell me again which is better?

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM
You make an eloquent argument by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:13:59 AM EST
However, I must note that Hero has no decent lines anyway, so why not keep the witticisms and add a frippet?  Why must we forever be settling for one or the other?

Case in point, Kate Beckinsale ~= Billie Piper, so my claim of inferiority and redundancy stands.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

[ Parent ]
And why did RB watch it all if it was so bad? by Dr H0ffm4n (4.00 / 2) #16 Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 01:47:44 AM EST
a) So that his critique was complete and not based on the first 5 minutes
b) Billie Piper


[ Parent ]
Dear Rougerbourg by DesiredUsername (4.00 / 2) #6 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:36:59 AM EST
I read and re-read this diary, but all I can find is non-ironic whinging about the fidelity of a Shakespearean production. May I suggest that you should have created a separate account specifically targetted towards literary snobbery so as not to pollute your image?

Yours in Christ

---
Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline

You should say one of my images by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:49:10 AM EST
For I have several.

That's just a little shout-out fo' my home-girl.

-
Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

[ Parent ]
You make some valid points. However: by DullTrev (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:40:20 AM EST

Point: The script was a travesty, which any right thinking Englishman knows.
Counterpoint: Billie Piper.
Point: Gingas were involved.
Counterpoint: Billie Piper.

Oh, alright. It was dire. I'm not looking forward to head chef Joe Macbeth next week.

But, on the other hand, Billie Piper.


--
DFJ?
Counter-counterpoint: Kate Beckinsale by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:49:30 AM EST
Farmgirl suggested that we give up and just slap on the Branagh version to cleanse our souls, and I would have acquiesced, except that I'm not a surrender-monkey.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
TV on demand. by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 07:55:04 AM EST
It sounds like the only thing they're missing is an "email current frame as high-res screen capture" button.

+1 encourage by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 09:15:35 AM EST
Due to a furniture re-arrangement (you know how these things go), the decoder is just yay much too far away to cable into my video capture card, but I feel that's a situation that must be remedied.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
The BBC said today they're going to do HDTV. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 09:59:48 AM EST
But only in London for now. Will you be moving there to get the best possible quality of image?

[ Parent ]
IAWTD by Herring (4.00 / 2) #14 Tue Nov 08, 2005 at 05:53:41 PM EST
Admittedly, I only watched a couple of minutes of the programme. Enough to confirm that it was, in fact, toss.

I know Much Ado a little 'cos I did the lighting for an am-dram production when I was younger (which means, like, following the script and that). It's one of the funnier of Bill's efforts. Hero is though a crap character.

I liked 10 Things - much to my surprise. It has the key phrases that means it ought to be shit: "High School", "Teen comedy" and "Based on".

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Why are you surprised by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed Nov 09, 2005 at 12:41:14 AM EST
that Billie Piper is a good actor? Because she's a girl?

--------
It's political correctness gone mad!

How is it possible to screw up Shakespeare? | 16 comments (16 topical, 0 hidden)