Ferretbrain Presents: The Complete Works of Shakespeare Episode 9 - As You Like It

by Wardog

Whatever happens in the forest of Arden stays in the forest of Arden.
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The usual crew and a SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL GUEST STAR discuss Shakespeare's gayest romcom.
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Comments (go to latest)
Ibmiller at 06:57 on 2012-12-17
I forgot to ask when recording - what was the thought behind the theme song choice?
Shim at 09:10 on 2012-12-17
Mid-listen: technically there were lions in Britain, but cave lions went extinct about, what, 8000BC? So unless they'd been introduced for hunting or escaped, no lions for Shakespeare. On the other hand, bears are well-established in Greece, in fact they're "Least Concern" for extinction. Maybe the lion was a metaphor for... something?
Dan H at 13:08 on 2012-12-18
I forgot to ask when recording - what was the thought behind the theme song choice?


Yeah, now you come to mention it, that's probably a bit opaque to an outside observer...

Back when we did the TeXt Factor we decided, as a joke, to give it epic, bombastic theme music, and so we went with Carmina Burana.

Then when we started on the Bardathon, and we realised how much of a psychotically enormous investment of time and effort it was going to be, we realized we needed something even more ludicrous and over the top, hence Imperial March.

Basically I think the idea is that there's something quite daunting about the whole project - and arguably about Shakespeare in general - and we wanted to capture that.

I think we also thought that having "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" for both the opening and the closing credits would be just a little bit too easy.
Ibmiller at 22:15 on 2012-12-18
My thoughts about it were that it was likely the second - but the first makes a lot of sense too.

Also: Lion=metaphor for all the dudes who aren't drippy? Which is, like, one (the evil Duke).
Jamie Johnston at 23:14 on 2012-12-18
This is one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies (out of the, er, two or three Shakespeare comedies I've actually seen). It's just really playful and winky. Also it was I think probably the first Shakespeare play I ever saw — I was about ten years old and Adrian Lester played Rosalind.

Actually now that I think about it, if you're going to be ten years old at a Shakespeare play, As you like it is probably a good one to be ten years old at.
Jamie Johnston at 23:21 on 2012-12-18
(Also I do think it's a strong possibility that the 'lion attack' story is something Orlando and Oliver cook up between them to impress / worry Rosalind. What with Oliver having until very recently been all eeevil and scheming, and Orlando being plainly too wet to rescue anyone from a lion. Though that theory doesn't explain why Oliver stops being eeevil, so I dunno.)
Sonia Mitchell at 14:26 on 2012-12-19
Mid-listen: technically there were lions in Britain, but cave lions went extinct about, what, 8000BC? So unless they'd been introduced for hunting or escaped, no lions for Shakespeare


Pretty tangentially, there would have been lions in the Tower of London in Shakespeare's time. Given that they're pretty loud, a fair chunk of that area of London would have known what they sounded like and probably had that as their default beast sound.

Although I also agree that the lion story in the play sounds like a fib.
Shim at 16:59 on 2012-12-19
Sorry, I was lazy. What I should have wrote was: "Unless lions had been introduced for hunting or escaped to set up feral populations, or the specific lions in question are escapees, Shakespeare can't authentically use lions in stories set in Britain in historical time".
Ibmiller at 22:32 on 2012-12-19
Or maybe, like Robin Hood, the lions are just hanging out, bothering mice and nomming on evil older brothers?
Sonia Mitchell at 11:07 on 2012-12-20
Sorry, I was lazy.


No, you were clear. I just find it interesting that - with the wind in the right direction - you'd probably have heard the lions from the vicinity of the Globe.
Shim at 21:29 on 2012-12-20
It is pretty cool. I'm basically picturing a keep full of lions in little red uniforms, but I'm guessing the Tower of London is a bit more complicated than I tend to imagine it.
Arthur B at 11:31 on 2012-12-21
Robinson L at 10:30 on 2013-01-24
(Late to the party as per usual ...)

Congratulations Ibmiller on your special guest appearance here.

Re: Imperial March
I figured it must be something like that, though I thought of it more in terms of commenting on how Shakespeare the phenomenon has so pervasively taken over Western artistic culture. I also concur that "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" probably would have worn out its welcome well before the end of the series if you'd used it for both intro and outro.

Re: the Lion
I mentioned in a previous comment reading a book called Shakespearian Whodunnits when I was younger, from which I draw much of my knowledge of the plays. I recall a scene from the "As You Like It" crime story (many of them aren't really mysteries), in which Orlando tells his brother to make up a story about him being attacked by a lion to reassure his girlfriend about something or other (I'm pretty fuzzy on the details). Oliver objects that they're in Europe, and lions are from Africa, to which Orlando rejoins "guess you shouldn't've screwed me out of my education then," "Touche," and in the end Oliver tells her a rambling story about a lion or some sort of feral beast attack, and this manages to pass muster.

In hindsight, it seems obvious to me even from not having read the play that this is the author of the short story lampshading and attempting to correct a gaffe in the original by moving the blame of ignorance from the playwright to one of the characters. Not sure what I think of this solution, other than that it's stuck with me as few other details of that particular story have.
Arthur B at 11:23 on 2013-01-24
Not 100% sure whether it's really Shakespeare being ignorant there or Shakespeare being deliberately silly (especially since deliberate silliness seems to be the main point of AYLI, to the extent that it has any point at all).
Robinson L at 22:00 on 2013-01-24
Excellent point, Arthur.

It's been years since I read the short story in question, and my impression was probably colored by a more recent experience reading an annotated collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, where the annotator pointed out a similar discrepancy (I think the misplaced animal in question may even have been a lion). From what I do remember of that story, it didn't seem like the author was going for silliness at all - if I remember right, I guess it's either a case of the author going for a darker reinterpretation of "As You Like It" (in this version, the Duke's brother doesn't reform - he's shot dead by Rosalind), or failing to get the joke.

Maybe I should stop talking about a vaguely remembered short story I read once a long time ago based on a play I've never read or seen at all.
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