This fall the Bard is busting out all over, on stages and screens.
In local theaters: ArtsWest is opening its 2013-14 season in early October with “The Taming,” a musical with a political spin, based on the tough-love Shakespeare comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew.”
Later in October, Seattle Shakespeare Company ushers in a new season with another romantic-combat romp, “Much Ado About Nothing.” (If you want to contrast and compare, check out the forthcoming DVD/Blu-Ray of Joss Whedon’s beguiling modern-dress version of that work.)
“Viola,” a movie from Argentina inspired by a third comedy by Will, “Twelfth Night,” comes to the Northwest Film Forum in November.
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And then there are the star-studded British productions of Shakespeare to be screened in film and live-streaming, tape-delay renditions, on television and in movie houses.
This weekend, the “Great Performances” series on PBS begins airing “The Hollow Crown.” The miniseries fuses a quartet of Shakespeare’s history plays — “Richard II,” “Henry IV, Parts I & II” and “Henry V” — into a single chronological narrative. The episodes were shot at historical locations, and the cast features the crème de la crème of English stars — including Jeremy Irons, David Suchet (“Poirot”), Ben Whishaw (“The Hour”), Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”) and Patrick Stewart. (Check local TV listings for times and dates.)
The stage-recorded “National Theatre Live” series also spotlights the best of the Brits, in an acclaimed “Othello,” featuring Adrian Lester (who starred here in Peter Brooks’ “Hamlet”) in the title role, and the terrific Rory Kinnear as Iago. It will be shown at SIFF Cinema Uptown in October. Also in the “Best of NT Live” series at the Uptown this fall: Kenneth Branagh in “Macbeth,” and a repeat showing of “Hamlet” with Kinnear in the title role.
Not enough Bard yet? The Royal Shakespeare Company supplies more, in a new series, “Live From Stratford-upon-Avon.” First up: another “Richard II” starring the charismatic David Tennant (“Dr. Who,” “Broadchurch”) as the unfortunate monarch. On tape delay, it will run in December at SIFF Cinema Uptown. (Note: George Mount heads the cast in a Seattle Shakespeare staging of “Richard II,” opening next January.)
If you head to New York you’ll find much more Elizabethan largesse, including live mountings of “Twelfth Night” and “Richard III” (in rep, starring British stage titan Mark Rylance); “Macbeth” featuring Ethan Hawke; and “ Romeo and Juliet” with Orlando Bloom.
Thank heaven Shakespeare was such a grand scribe. It allows us to sincerely say, play on!
Misha Berson: email@example.com