Ferretbrain Presents: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Episode 1 - Pericles

by Wardog

Pirates! Brothels! Zombies!
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(MP3, 44:41, 128 kbps, 39.91 MB)
We begin our Bard-a-thon with Pericles Prince of Tyre. Confusion abounds.

Contains spoilers.
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Comments (go to latest)
Andy G at 22:29 on 2012-07-07
Coincidentally and appropriately, a guy called Pericles apparently directed a zombie flick called Redneck Zombies.
Bjoern at 19:37 on 2012-07-08
If you're like me and want to watch along before listening to the podcasts but are still unsure whether to invest in the box, at least some of the BBC plays can be viewed on YouTube.

Here's the link for tyred prince Pericles.
Ibmiller at 14:12 on 2012-07-09
That was awesome.

And sadly, Keeping Up Appearances did air here in the US. I say "sadly" because my least favorite professor decided to lecture on that instead of the philosophy of history when I was an undergrad...
Tamara at 19:25 on 2012-07-10
Yes! Fantastic! You guys are a veritable public service. I've never seen nor read a Shakespeare play (I think I saw the Dicaprio Romeo & Juliet, but I don't remember a thing, and might actually just have seen Titanic twice) but he so permeates English language stuff I feel vaguely guilty about since I read so much English. He's constantly reference and riffed off of and whatever, and I sort of recognize that, oh, something to do with Shakespear is being done here but I have no idea what. I'm pretty sure i've seen/read more stuff featuring Shakespeare as a character than I have any Shakespeare. I didn't even know half those quotes were from Shakespeare, but of course, I recognized them anyway. Unfortunately, it's always sounded rather dull and chorelike to actually go read Shakespeare, so, er, now i'll just listen to you instead.
Alice at 20:18 on 2012-07-11
So I actually read the play before watching it (thanks for the link, Bjoern!), which was probably the wrong move, since the I suspect the WTF-ness is less in-your-face (and thus less hilarious) when reading vs. seeing the play. Also, because I knew what was going to happen, the screen version felt quite slow-moving.

Definitely agreed that a looser/more fun/sillier staging would have improved the experience, I mean: Incest! Pirates! Brothels! Zombies! - you really can't take it at all seriously. Apart from anything else because it really, really is one of those "these people have zero common sense and are clearly acting solely to create a plot" stories. HAVE YOU PEOPLE NEVER HEARD OF SEARCH PARTIES? OR LETTERS? etc.

re: Dr FrankenMiracleMax, I really liked him! (And, since I haven't seen Keeping Up Appearances, didn't recognise the actor from anywhere else, which probably helped.) As for the bizarre hand-and-foot-rubbing method of bringing her back to life, wasn't that what they used to do when people had fainted? So I could sort of see the logic of it, even if it looked a bit odd in execution. (I may have been yelling: "just hit her in the chest! what about smelling salts?!" at this point.)

Looking forward to the next play (with Helen Mirren, yay!), even if Samuel Johnson did apparently refer to Cymbeline as "unresisting imbecility". :)
Wardog at 10:29 on 2012-07-19
@Andy
That's ... significant. Somehow :P

@Ibmiller
Wait, what? You got lectures about Keeping Up Appearance?

@Tamara
*laughs* Thank you! Watching obscure Shakespeare so you don't have to :P

I think R&J has basically the same plot as Titanic and Dicaprio plays basically the same character so, y'know, either works ;)

I definitely agree with you that reading Shakespeare is a chore. I was supposed to have read them all as part of my undergrad but as you can see I really took lots away from the experience :P I've forgotten nearly everything, including the fact that Shakespeare had written Henry VIII so... yeah. I'm not exactly a shining representative of the importance of Shakespeare!

But I am really enjoying seeing them. And it feels like a genuinely pleasurable and valuable exercise not because of Great Literature Genius Culture blah but because they're fun and intriguing and plays exist in performance not on pages.

@Alice
OMG you read it?! Talk about above and beyond the call of duty.

One of the things I'm really appreciating about the whole project, actually, is being able to come to Shakespeare plays as ... I don't know ... real experiences, if that makes sense. The problem with Shakespeare, at least the better known plays, is that you go into them already knowing everything there is to know about them and that allows for comparison across performances but there's something really refreshing about being genuinely surprised and intrigued by the basic happenings in the play. For Pericles this was mainly "what the shit zombies ... pirates ... what?!" but For All's Well That Ends Well we were on the edge of our seats.

Dr FrankenMiracleMax was excellent. Although he'd clearly been shipped in from a Hammer Horror movie... I mean apparently genial old man with verbose philosophies resurrects dead women for fun? Come on. He is clearly evil.

And in my fantasy casting is played by Christopher Lee.
Ibmiller at 11:49 on 2012-07-21
I wish - we got lectures on our professor watching them (and also a squirrel in her organ and her mother's health problems), in between snippets of rather dreadful philosophy.
Andy G at 22:43 on 2012-07-21
I came across this retrospective on the BBC TV Shakespeare project as a whole. If you google "Clive James bardathon", you can find a few snippets of his reviews too.
Andy G at 22:43 on 2012-07-21
I came across this retrospective on the BBC TV Shakespeare project as a whole. If you google "Clive James bardathon", you can find a few snippets of his reviews too.
Wardog at 11:50 on 2012-07-23
Oh that's excellent :)

"So, right, no setting the plays in the future, or in space, or on trapezes, or in modern day Lebanon, or in the mind of a mentally challenged eight year old homeless girl on the Fall’s Road. We want spears, we want castles, we want codpieces. And we want them Tuesday."

That is SO RIGHT.

Also: "Number of appearances by Brian Blessed: zero. What giveth?"

INDEEDE YES! WHAT GIVETH!
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