Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 8 - Love's Labour's Lost

Oh, man, guys. I'm excited to write about this one because I get to tell you about the first time I saw the Kenneth Branagh film adaptation. I hadn't read it then, so when I sat down to watch it I expected to have to pay close attention to the language to ensure I grasped the nuances of the action. I figured good old traditional Branagh would give a pretty standard rendering. Watch this:

Yeah, when I sat down to watch this, I had no idea that the whole thing was half Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost and half Cole Porter musical numbers. Why is it like that? Who knows. It kind of works. It is also kind of ridiculous.

The premise of the play is that four men decide to take up a three year academic study during which time they will not have any social intercourse with marriage. Unfortunately, as soon as they're done making their pledges, a Princess shows up with her entourage to settle some business with the King (titles are capitalized because that's how the characters are named in the text). Naturally, each of the four men falls in love with one of the four women. Somehow no one doubles up and no one gets left unloved, which is not how life has taught me that works at all.

The play is clever and funny, particularly in its wordplay and back-and-forth dialog. The characters are not especially fleshed out, which I would have enjoyed, and the plot is extremely simple (for once), but it's a fun read. I particularly enjoy that the women are noticeably savvier and wittier than their male counterparts. If you'd like to see a full (non-Cole Porter) version, here's a production from the Globe. I haven't watched it yet, but I'm going to so just shut up and stop judging me.

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