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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 13, 1990
In response to "Computer Reads Shakespeare, Dismisses Authorship Candidate" (Metro, Oct. 29): The tiresome arguments from the Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, proponents about the authorship of Shakespeare's works can be summarized in one word: snobbery. By their own admission, they just can't stand it that the "son of an illiterate glover," an actor who didn't attend either Oxford or Cambridge, might have had the natural genius to produce the most glorious works in the English language.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 23, 2014 | David Ng
William Shakespeare, whose 450th birthday is being celebrated around the world Wednesday, never seems to go out of vogue for movie directors eager to put their own spin on his classic texts.  Most of Shakespeare's plays have been adapted for the big screen multiple times over, ranging from faithful (Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet") to wildly unconventional (Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet"). Because Shakespeare's plays exist in the public domain, adapting them for the movies is an economical way of co-opting some literary prestige.
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OPINION
January 13, 2014 | By Barbara Garson
If Chris Christie's insistence that he didn't order his aides to snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge sounds familiar, it should. Think Shakespeare. More specifically, think "Richard II. " Reading the emails sent by Christie's aides and appointees, I couldn't help but think about the scene in which Sir Pierce of Exton has a conversation with an unnamed servant. They've both heard King Henry IV express what sounds like a wish to have the imprisoned former king, Richard, executed.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 23, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
If you're looking for a way to commemorate William Shakespeare's birthday -  he was born 450 years ago today, on April 23, 1564 - the most interesting party may take place at UCLA's William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in West Adams. From 4-7 Wednesday evening, the library will celebrate not Shakespeare's writing so much as his reading , with an event called “Shakespeare's Bookshelf.” This is compelling for a variety of reasons, not least that Shakespeare was a voracious reader, said (in much the same way as John Milton)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 1, 2012 | By David Ng
The Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada -- one of the premiere repertory theater companies in the world -- is undergoing a name change by removing the "Shakespeare" from its title. The company, which will be known simply as the Stratford Festival, announced the change Thursday and said its new name takes effect immediately. Earlier this year, the festival named Antoni Cimolino as its new artistic director, taking over from Des McAnuff. Cimolino, who had served as general director of the company since 2006, assumed his new role Thursday.
NEWS
December 19, 2013 | By Gina McIntyre
Tom Hiddleston is currently starring on the London stage in Shakespeare's political tragedy “Coriolanus,” and reviews of the production, which opened Dec. 17, have been glowing. Critics have praised Hiddleston's performance -- the Telegraph's Charles Spencer called him “compelling and persuasive” -- as the military commander brought low by his own arrogance and intractability in the play, directed by Josie Rourke, at the Donmar Warehouse. Earlier this year, Hiddleston was promoting a starring turn of a very different kind in “Thor: The Dark World,” the Marvel superhero sequel in which he reprised his role as the raven-haired villain Loki from “Thor” and “The Avengers.” The 32-year-old actor talked about his interest in the role -- "Coriolanus" is generally considered one of the Bard's less accessible works -- and his personal relationship to the Donmar.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 24, 2012 | By Julie Makinen
Director Joss Whedon is following up his mega-hit "The Avengers" not with another superhero movie but with a Shakespeare film. And it has landed a spot at the Toronto International Film Festival, which starts Sept. 6. Whedon's take on the Bard's "Much Ado About Nothing" is billed as "contemporary," yet it apparently uses the original text (and was shot in just 12 days). The film stars Amy Acker (who appeared in Whedon's "The Cabin in the Woods") and Alexis Denisof as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick, and Toronto Fest programmers say it "offers a dark, sexy and occasionally absurd view of the intricate game that is love.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 5, 2013 | By Philip Brandes
Very little about Shakespeare's blood-soaked earliest tragedy lends itself to reimagining the play as an old-time variety show, and lacking the ingenuity to make the concept work Stella Adler Theatre Lab's “Titus Andronicus: A Vaudeville” is an overreach so ill-advised it seems to have been guided by some planet in retrograde. How else to explain a conceit that grafts clown makeup, kazoos, inept juggling and other carnivalesque imagery onto Shakespeare's relentlessly brutal text?
ENTERTAINMENT
March 21, 2013 | By Margaret Gray
If the title of Donald Freed's new play, now at the Skylight Theatre, doesn't prompt you to quote Macbeth (“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…”), you are probably not its intended demographic. The heart of “Tomorrow” is three actors discussing and rehearsing scenes from the Shakespeare tragedy. And, yes, it sounds dry and cerebral, like something only a dramaturge would be into. As I actually have a degree in dramaturgy, you might roll your eyes when I say I was on the edge of my seat as I watched the characters hunt Lady Macbeth's psychology through the text, history and their own pasts.
OPINION
April 19, 2010 | By John Orloff
As the screenwriter of "Anonymous," the Roland Emmerich film about the Shakespeare authorship question now in production, I read with great interest James Shapiro's April 11 Times Op-Ed article, "Alas, poor Shakespeare." I was particularly fascinated by Shapiro's claim that U.S. Supreme Court Justices William J. Brennan Jr., Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens ruled "unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford" in a 1987 moot court case. Shapiro has, at best, oversimplified the facts.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 23, 2014 | By Mike Boehm
William Shakespeare's 450th birthday falls on Wednesday, per historians' best reckoning in the absence of ironclad documentation. It's time to remember that “in delay there lies no plenty,” as the Bard told us in “Twelfth Night,” and thus make the most of the opportunity to celebrate the milestone that's at hand. If it's stars you want for the birthday festivities, then the “Evening of Shakespeare, Music and Love” on Friday at the Moss Theater at New Roads School in Santa Monica is your $100 ticket.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 10, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
LAS VEGAS - Telling friends that you're heading to Las Vegas for some Shakespeare is a bit like claiming you read Playboy for the interviews. Well, I did indeed head to Vegas last weekend to see "The Tempest," and I can guarantee that I was the only person on my morning flight reading Harold C. Goddard's classic "The Meaning of Shakespeare. " Just a few pages from the chapter on "The Tempest," mind you. The guys downing pre-lunch wine and cocktails around me were whooping it up "Hangover"-style.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 2, 2014 | By David Ng
Shakespeare's "Henry V" begins with a narrator called the Chorus bemoaning the theater as "an unworthy scaffold. " The description turns out to be an accurate one for the Pacific Resident Theatre production, which takes place in a cramped, 34-seat space where actors and audience can practically touch hands without much strain. The tiny theater turns out to be a major asset in this production, which has been earning critical praise since opening last month, and has extended its run to May 11. Featuring minimal sets and actors clad in contemporary clothes, this fast-paced staging was the brainchild of Guillermo Cienfuegos, a veteran L.A. theater director who has worked numerous times with the Venice-based PRT. PHOTOS: Shakespeare 2.0 The bard on the screen Cienfuegos is actually actor Alex Fernandez, who pulls double duty in this "Henry V" by playing the Chorus.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 2014
"Beware the Ides of March!" the soothsayer warns in William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar. " When the day comes around, Caesar is stabbed by his enemies and friends, prompting him to ask, "Et tu, Brute?" before dying. Both quotes have made it into our general lexicon, popping up regularly in places like " The Simpsons " and " Community . " Shakespeare's works have generated other commonly used phrases too --- can you spot them? Take our Did Shakespeare write that? Quiz. 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ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
If you can't beat him, join him. This seems to be the strategy the Wooster Group has adopted in tackling Shakespeare again. In 2008 the trailblazing New York troupe brought its production of "Hamlet" to REDCAT and had many people admiring the ghostly video footage of Richard Burton's melancholy Dane and wondering why they weren't getting the benefit of such a commanding lead performance. Now the company is back at REDCAT with "Cry, Trojans! (Troilus & Cressida)," a work that began as a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has subsequently evolved into an unthinkable Wooster Group proposition: a production in which the play is decidedly the thing.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
SAN DIEGO - The difficulty of staging "The Winter's Tale" is legendary. Characters are at the mercy of a crazy plot that wildly mixes genres and tones, there is a leap of 16 years between the third and fourth acts and one stage direction (perhaps the most famous in all of Shakespeare) reads "Exit pursued by a bear. " In making his directing debut at the Old Globe with this late romance of Shakespeare's, artistic director Barry Edelstein clearly isn't playing it safe. But he knows the play intimately, having staged it off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company, and in this new production he has enlisted a core group of actors who bring refreshing clarity to what is undeniably a tricky text.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 1999
"Professor's Suit Says Using Bard Got Him Fired" (Jan. 19), about former Arizona State University faculty member Jared Sakren, was quite disturbing to us. Most surprising was the blanket acceptance of false statements about ASU's commitment to Shakespeare and the classics. ASU, through its English and theater departments, offers four to six courses per semester in which Shakespeare is either the sole or a primary focus of study. The works of Shakespeare and other classical playwrights are taught routinely, with both traditional and nontraditional interpretations.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 29, 1991
Re: "Grove's Shylock Faces Many Judges" by Jess Bravin (Calendar, June 22): According to Hirsch Goldberg in "Just Because They're Jewish," Shakespeare borrowed the "Merchant of Venice" story line (of the young lovers persecuted by an evil moneylender) from an ancient Roman text. In the original version, the young lovers were pagan, and Shylock was--you guessed it--a Christian. Updating the play for his Christian audiences, Shakespeare naturally "did the right thing" and turned the lovers into Christians and made Shylock a Jew--probably because there weren't any Jews around to complain about defamation of character, having been expelled from England in the 13th Century.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
SAN DIEGO - A fascinating experiment is underway at San Diego's flagship theater, the Old Globe. Now under the leadership of Barry Edelstein, the theater is seeking a return to the form of its Tony-winning heyday under Jack O'Brien. Can the Globe's outdoor Summer Shakespeare Festival be reshaped into a national center for the very best in American Shakespeare? That might seem like an overreaching quest, but in appointing Edelstein artistic director, the board of directors has chosen a bona fide Shakespeare expert to lead the charge.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2014 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
If you've ever said to yourself after being wowed by an actor of Christopher Plummer's caliber, "They sure don't make 'em like that anymore," then you won't want to miss Plummer's one-man show, "A Word or Two," at the Ahmanson Theatre. He more or less explains why. This 80-minute star vehicle, directed with elegant finesse by Des McAnuff, is less an autobiographical tour of an illustrious thespian's career than an anatomy of a sensibility. It is a love letter to reading and the written word, the building blocks of a classical actor's talent.
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