Friday 23 November 2012

I'm going to need a considerably bigger bucket...

(Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn)

Liz, a good friend of mine from University, told me recently she'd started a bucket list. This alarmed me as we're the same age - surely not old enough to be contemplating all we'd like to achieve before we expire? Always well organised and practical (much more so than me), she pointed out that if you leave it too late you might not be in a position to get round to the things you most want to.

So I started thinking about what would feature on my own bucket list. Apart from the usual adventures travelling around South America and studying for that degree in English Literature I didn't take, I decided I'd like to see performed every play ever written by William Shakespeare - preferably live, but if that's not possible then at least in a film version.

Now, I know I've missed a huge opportunity in not taking advantage of all the works just staged during the World Shakespeare Festival, where even some of those rarely performed got an airing, but I'm not going to let that put me off.

Thumbnail for version as of 22:53, 26 April 2012

Like many of us, I studied Shakespeare at school but understood little at the time. Hours spent poring over unfathomable text in the classroom left me cold. Since those squandered days, I've gradually begun to realise what all the fuss is about and now I'm a convert. So, I thought over the years I'd seen a good number of Shakespeare's plays - the names are familiar, after all, like old friends your parents talk about all the time but you rarely get to meet. Turns out though, now I stop to consider, I've actually seen a few of his plays lots of times, but most of them (including some of the most frequently performed) not at all. So, here's the breakdown...

It is believed that Shakespeare wrote 38 plays between 1590 and 1612. Out of these until recently I'd seen
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Richard II
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • Twelfth Night
  • Hamlet
  • Measure for Measure
Not even a quarter of his canon - a shameful achievement for a supposed lover of literature! However, by applying myself to the task, I have managed to increase my total with some notable additions recently
  •  Julius Caesar at the RSC  - set in a contemporary African dictatorship, an inspiring version of one of Shakespeare's more challenging plays
  • The Tempest at Theatre Royal Bath, very inventive staging with Tim Piggott-Smith as Prospero
  • Timon of Athens, the National Theatre production screened live at my local Picturehouse Cinema (the wonderful Little Theatre Cinema in Bath) as I couldn't get to the actual performance
Still a poor showing, especially having seen only one of the history plays and nothing yet at the Globe (another bullet point on my bucket list...)

Here's what I still have to see
  • Henry VI Part II
  • Henry VI Part III 
  • Henry VI Part I 
  • Richard III
  • Titus Andronicus 
  • The Taming of the Shrew 
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • King John 
  • The Merchant of Venice 
  • Henry IV Part I
  • Henry IV Part II
  • Henry V
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor 
  • Troilus and Cressida 
  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • Othello
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus 
  • Pericles 
  • Cymbeline
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • Henry VIII
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen
Just as well I like a challenge! Liz has a point though and I need to get a move on. So, I've already done some online searching and booked tickets for
  • The Winter's Tale at the RSC in Stratford-on-Avon in February 2013
  •  A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Bristol Old Vic. I know this doesn't really count as I've seen it once already - at school though! - but it's produced by the team behind War Horse (Tom Morris and Cape Town's Handspring Puppet Company) and sounds intriguing.
Only another twenty-five to go - recommendations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Do you have a bucket list? Let me know what's on yours...

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