As the blog post about the 400-year anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio mentioned, one of our April Beanstack challenges (running April 1-April 30) will revolve around Shakespeare. While we’re celebrating the First Folio and the way it preserved the play texts, the truth is that most of Shakespeare’s work was meant to be seen, not read. In that spirit, this Beanstack challenge incorporates multiple forms of media. Our recommendations provide various ways to engage with the texts, including watching full performances of the Bard's works or clips of specific scenes, reading a play by one of his contemporaries, reading a retelling of one of his plays, listening to music, and more. Shakespeare has inspired countless artists who came after him but was also inspired by those who were writing at the same time or before him. Our lists take all of this into account and offer a wide range of options, celebrating his influence in a much broader context. Does Channing Tatum make you think of Shakespeare? Does Star Wars? Check out our recommendations to see how the unexpected connects to these classic works.
As usual, you are free to read something that isn’t on our list if it stays on theme. Read another modern retelling, watch another film version, read the original text of one of the plays, and so on. For more recommendations of retellings, check out my blog post for Shakespeare's birthday last year. Since many of the pieces shared are extremely short, for this challenge you will need to complete 4 of the activity badges to earn a prize.
The challenge is for ages 12 and up and will be available through the Beanstack app or website. Once you log in, you’ll be able to join the new challenge beginning April 1 (while you’re in there, make sure to sign up for the Celebrate Earth challenge for April, too). Click on the activity badges within Beanstack for reading and viewing recommendations. Once you’ve read or watched an item in any given badge, enter the title in the text box and move on to the next badge you choose! Upon registration, you can collect a Shakespearean insult button. Those who finish will have a choice between a canvas tote bag or a coffee mug decorated to fit our First Folio theme. Collection of the finisher prizes upon completion will begin April 7 at either the Dundee or Randall Oaks Library and are while supplies last.
A Midsummer Night's Dream- film adaptation set in late 19th C. Italy; Measure for Measure- film adaptation set in the modern day; Kiss Me, Petruchio- documentary on a Shakespeare in the Park production of The Taming of the Shrew; The Two Gentlemen of Verona- performance at Hoftra University; Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese- book reimagining of Much Ado About Nothing; Shakespeare in Love trilogy (featuring Much Ado About Jack) by Christy English- book reimaginings of Shakespeare's comedies (only 1 book of the trilogy required for badge fulfillment); She's the Man- film reimagining of Twelfth Night
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton- book reimagining of Henry IV; The Hollow Crown (The Wars of the Roses)- film trilogy adaptation of Henry VI and Richard III (only 1 film required for badge fulfillment); "The Stranger's Case"- performance of a speech written by Shakespeare for the collaborative play Sir Thomas More; Henry V- film adaptation; King John- solo performance of a speech; Richard II- clip from full length performance; Henry VIII- full cast audio recording
Enter the Body by Joy McCullough- inspired by and featuring characters from various tragedies; Prince of Cats by Ron Wimberly- graphic novel featuring Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet; As I Descended by Robin Talley- book reimagining of Macbeth; Julius Caesar- solo performance of a speech; All for Love by John Dryden- full cast audio recording of play inspired by Antony & Cleopatra; Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry- book reimagining of King Lear; Filming Othello by Orson Welles- documentary on Welles's creation of the film Othello
The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters- book reimagining of Hamlet; Coriolanus- film adaptation; The Revenger's Tragedy by Thomas Middleton- performance of play written by Shakespeare's contemporary; The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd- textual analysis video of play written by Shakespeare's contemporary; The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster- performance of play written by Shakespeare's contemporary; Titus- film adaptation of Titus Andronicus; Hamlet/Horatio- film of Hamlet's events from Horatio's perspective
Philaster or Love Lies A-Bleeding by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher- play text written by Shakespeare's contemporaries; The Faithful Sheperdhess by John Fletcher- play text written by Shakespeare's contemporary; The Tempest- film adaptation; The Winter's Tale- ballet by Christopher Wheeldon (there's also a good intro to the ballet and play here); Pericles: a version by Andrew Hilton and Dominic Power- performance by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston- book reimagining of The Winter's Tale; Cymbeline- performance by Shakespeare by the Sea
No Fear Shakespeare Sonnets- all of the sonnets in the original verse as well as a modern "translation"; "Sonnet 1" read by Sir Patrick Stewart as part of his "A Sonnet a Day" readings; "Sonnet 116" read by Juliet Stevenson; "Sonnet 18" read by Lorna Laidlaw; "Sonnet 20" in song, music written and performed by Rufus Wainwright; Canzoniere by Petrarch- Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnets follow a different structure than Shakespearean (or Elizabethan), but are another example of the form by one of its masters; Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs by Erik Didriksen- modern pop songs reimagined in Shakespearean verse
That Way Madness Lies edited by Dahlia Adler- book with 15 of Shakespeare's works reimagined; Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare- film in which McKellen performs scenes and sonnets, with accompanying scholarly material on the art of performance; Speak the Speech!: Shakespeare's Monologues Illuminated by Rhona Silverbush and Sami Plotkin- guide book to performance for actors; William Shakespeare's Star Wars Trilogy by Ian Doescher- books reimagining the original Star Wars trilogy told in Shakespearean verse (only 1 book of the trilogy required for badge fulfillment); Shakespeare Live! from the RSC- performance recorded at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, an all-star cast pays tribute to Shakespeare's works across artistic media; Playing Shakespeare with John Barton- filmed Masterclass on using verse in both heightened and realistic fashions; Something Rotten! original Broadway cast recording- musical spoof of playwrights competing with Shakespeare