Posts Tagged Shakespeare

book review: The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet:

Title: The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
Author: Myrlin A. Hermes
ISBN: 978-0061805196
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 26, 2010)
Category: historical/literary fiction
Review source: publisher
Rating: 4/5

Watching the scene played, I realized what I had not while writing it: that I had conjured up a portrait of my own deepest desires. I was in love with Hamlet– not as I told myself, merely as devoted friend, not faithful servant, but ardently, passionately.

Hamlet is certainly my favorite Shakespeare play but I’m not a Shakespeare scholar by any means. Author Myrlin Hermes has really delved into Hamlet [and perhaps borrowed some elements from a Midsummer’s Night Dream] and crafted a witty romp of a tale that has a plethora of elements: love, mystery, intrigue, bi-sexuality, cross-dressing, deceit, broken hearts and despair. The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet also addresses that age old question of “Did Shakespeare really write all those plays?” There’s a love triangle between Hamlet, Horatio and the dark woman [here a Baronness] who inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets. Hermes cleverly weaves in phrases and alusions to Hamlet [the play] as often as possible. I took a Shakespeare class at Simmons College but The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet certainly expands far beyond my base of Shakespeare knowledge. I know I missed many of the hidden messages and Hamlet references that Hermes deftly includes in her prose. It’s such an original concept and Hermes carries it out well. Particularly for fans of Shakespeare, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is a winning read that turns Shakespeare “topsy-turvy.”

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10 Things I Hate About You: 10th Anniversary edition DVD review

10 Things I Still Love About 10 Things I Hate About You

1. The central character Kat (Julia Stiles) is a smart, independent, outspoken feminist. She knows what she wants and is not bothered by public opinion. Kat is not a freak even if the 18-year-old may read The Bell Jar for fun [I spent a few summer days in college on my deck reading The Bell Jar] and hanging out in lesbian nightclubs. She possesses a self-confidence and quick wit that boys may find threatening. [Most likely due to the female co-writing team.]

2. The intelligent script is co-authored by two women, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith. There’s little superfluous banter. Instead, these savvy kids would make Shakespeare proud.

3. The Bard receives the utmost deference. Kat’s best friend, Mandella (Susan May Pratt) keeps a photo of William in her locker and tells someone she is “deeply involved” with Shakespeare. In an English class, the teacher raps one of his sonnets. Plus Shakespearean dialogue is scattered throughout the film that is based on Taming of the Shrew.

4. The only featured sport in this high school atmosphere is……women’s soccer!

5. Boston favorites Letters to Cleo, featuring Kay Hanley, perform three songs.

6. It’s nice to see Heath Ledger healthy in one of his early roles.

7. The cast consisted of mostly new faces at the time and not just a bunch of the usual teen flick subjects. The exception was Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Third Rock from the Sun) who turns in a charming performance as the patient suitor of Kat’s sister Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). Also Oleynik and Stiles were both in high school at the time, thus playing their own age.

8. The popular girl, Bianca, is not vapid. In fact she sees right through the school stud (Andrew Keegan) in a reasonable amount of time for a sophomore.

9. Kat does not give up everything for the boy. Patrick Verona (the late, talented Heath Ledger). Kat’s big plan is to head to Sarah Lawrence College in the fall. She never changes but finds someone who accepts her as she is.

10. Julia Stiles and Health Ledger both had Shakespeare connections. Stiles soon after appeared in O, a retelling of Othello with Mikhi Pfeiffer and Josh Hartnett. Ledger was a member of the Globe Shakespeare Company.

Extras include: cast interviews, audition tapes, and interviews with the director and the co-writers


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