…Beyond that heav’nly light I shall fly far!”
Luke (ACT I, Scene 7), William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.
One of the things on my bucket list is to see all of Shakespeare’s plays, live on stage. (I’ve made a decent dent – about a dozen different plays live, plus another 10 plays recorded live on stage, or movies)
So needless to say, when M4P friend Amy sent me Ian Doescher’s, marvelous 3 book boxed set William Shakespeare’s Star Wars for Christmas last year. I squealed with surprise and delight! It’s like they were written just for me!!!
Luckily for you guys they weren’t, and they do make GREAT Christmas gifts – especially for people who actually like Star Wars, but are too afraid to admit it because they don’t want to seem geeky (though of course there is NOTHING wrong with geeky – and as you all know geeky, is after all, the new sexy!).
First, the books look GREAT! The illustrations are fabulous – just the right mix of old-fashioned woodcut and ironic humor.
Second, the language is fun! It is Shakespeare-ish. If you have read the bard, you will recognize many’a phrase and saying, which have been repurposed for the Star Wars stories. The rest is written in what I would call mock-Shakespeare, and it is an absolute blast to read.
What I enjoyed the most though, are the soliloquies. Like Iago or Macbeth, we now get to hear the characters’ (often fatally flawed) internal dialogue and reasoning. The soliloquies add foreshadowing and a sense of doom. Yet at the same time they add unexpected humor – I often chuckled out loud as I was thinking “NOO, you should have a REALLY bad feeling about this!”
Other times they give voices to characters that aren’t human. Just listen to R2-D2:
This golden droid has been a friend, ’tis true,
And yet I wish to still his prating tongue!
An imp, he calleth me? I’ll be reveng’d,
And merry pranks aplenty I shall play
Upon this pompous droid C-3PO!
Yet not in language shall my pranks be done:
Around both humans and droids I must
Be seen to make such errant beeps and squeaks
That they shall think me simple. Truly, though,
Although with sounds obilque I speak to them,
I clearly see how I shall play my part,
And how a vast rebellion shall succeed
by wit and wisdom of a simple droid.
R2-D2 (ACT I, Scene 2), William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
The prequels are available as well at this point, but I think I will wait for them to come out in a boxed set before I buy them.
AND in case you are curious here are my favorite real Shakespeare plays:
Best Live Performance: Much Ado About Nothing at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Canada 1991
Best Movie: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead are dead by Tom Stoppard
(Which I know technical is not by Shakespeare, but the “players”, in a marvelous Meta-performance, tell the best Hamlet I have ever seen. )
Best Interpretation: Othello, as retold by Verdi
(though the (Lego) Brick Shakespeare book comes close. I think I need to get me one of those)
- William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, by Ian Doescher
- (Lego) Brick Shakespeare
- R2-D2 Nightgown is from Target, but it does seem to be available online, so check your local store
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
- Verdi, Othello on Stage
(Note! Most past large productions of Verdi’s Othello were usually with a white singer in black face, as Othello. Fortunately recent productions have stopped that terrible habit. And as much as I hate not recommending Placido Domingo’s musically wonderful version, it is just so hard to watch. Maybe get the CD version instead.)