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Happy New Year, Bardophiles!

"If I be served such another trick, I'll have my brains ta'en out and buttered, and give them to a dog for a New Year's gift."
     Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor (3.5).
Recent posts

Adam West's Batman Was a Bardophile

A bust of Shakespeare in Bruce Wayne's library played a crucial role on every episode of the 1960s Batman TV show, with the now deceased Adam West.

After getting a call for help from Commissioner Gordon, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne would tell his young ward Dick Grayson, "To the batpoles!" Wayne or Grayson would pull back Shakespeare's bust and flip the switch that made a bookcase slide away, revealing the batpoles. They would then jump on the poles and slide to the batcave, changing their outfits en route.

You Might Have an Atom of Shakespeare Inside You

Washington Post reader recently asked science writer Sara Kaplan if he might have an atom of Shakespeare inside him. Kaplan provided this answer with help from chemist Suzanne Bell. A carbon atom that started out inside a star might, in 1616, end up in a carrot in Stratford-upon-Avon:
The carrot got eaten by an ailing William Shakespeare. When Shakespeare died shortly afterward, the carbon was buried beneath Holy Trinity Church along with the man’s body. It continued to move through the carbon cycle — air, plant, animal, earth, air again — and yes, maybe, it then drifted across the Atlantic, got bound up in a plant and was eventually eaten by [a Washington Post reader in 2016].  Hamlet speculates in a similar manner when he tells Claudius that a king may make a royal tour of beggar's guts since the beggar "may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm."

Design for a Post-Apocalyptic Shakespeare Theater

In the post-apocalyptic world of Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven, a Shakespeare troupe wanders around Lake Michigan. If they were wandering northern California instead, they could stop in Oakland and use shipping containers to set up a permanent theater.

Here's a video about the perfect design, by Angus Vail:

For a description of the project, click here. For a TED talk by Vail, click here.

Argentine Director Riffs on A Midsummer Night's Dream

In his 2012 Viola, Argentine director Matías Piñeiro played games with Twelfth Night. In his new film, Hermia and Helena, he riffs on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Here's a review from Variety and a clip that gives some sense of the film. Camila/Helena (Agustina Muñoz) drives a truck while Carmen/Hermia (Maria Villa) makes out with her boyfriend Leo/Lysander (Julian Larquier).

Claudius's Flow Chart for the Duel in Hamlet

After his plan to have the English king execute Hamlet fails, Claudius might, if he were a businessman, make a flow chart for his new plan—to have Hamlet killed during a duel with Laertes. Here's Claudius's flowchart, with his plan in blue and unexpected events in red. Click on it for a better view.

Let Slip the War Dogs

Shakespeare fans know that the title of the new Jonah Hill / Miles Teller movie War Dogs comes from a line in Julius Caesar, when Mark Antony crouches over Caesar's butchered body and predicts that Caesar's spirit will "Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war." (In a previous post, I talked about why Shakespeare used bearbaiting for the line's imagery.)

The movie has a Shakespearean title, but the book on which it's based has a Shavian/Virgilian one. The title of Guy Lawson's Arms and the Dudes echoes George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man, which echoes the opening lines of Virgil's Aeneid: "Arma virumque cano"—"Of arms and the man I sing."