Ophelia's Grave Relations Raccoons

On Tuesday we looked at one of my favorite outdoor Shakespeare performance anecdotes, Squirrel Butt Romeo. Actor and fight director Geoffrey Kent (currently appearing at the American Shakespeare Center as Antony, Antony, and some other guy who is not Antony) has so far been the closest to unseating Squirrel Butt Romeo, with this spectacular trainwreck:

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This is one case in which I feel the comic cannot capture the absurdity of the actual event. Anyways, things apparently got weirder after that:

So… do you have an outdoor Shakespeare anecdote that can beat that?

Stick Figure Iconography: Hamlet

When you're a stick figure artist, the main challenge you run into is how to differentiate various characters, because... well... they're all stick figures. Fortunately, many of Shakespeare's main characters have very distinctive characteristics and props that I can use. For the rest of the month we'll be taking a closer look at some of them, starting with The Big Guy:

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Note that Hamlet is clean-shaven. While he almost certainly would have originally been played with a beard (by the bearded Richard Burbage), in later generations it was customary for him to be clean-shaven, with Alec Guinness's bearded Hamlet in 1951 creating quite a stir and a rather nasty backlash. Nowadays, of course, you get all sorts of Hamlets: bearded, female, non-white, etc. It's a much more exciting playground now.

But they all have that dang skull. (Well, almost all. I'm looking at you, Maxine Peake...)

Crocodile Danedee

The bear in The Winter's Tale gets all the glory, but there are actually many underrated animals in Shakespeare. Three of my favorites are in Hamlet: the beaver, the porpetine, and... the crocodile!

I would love to see a production of Hamlet where Laertes and Hamlet duel with live crocodiles instead of swords. Just putting that out there...

Upcoming Appearances

September 6: Stratford Festival Forum - Willy Shakes: Fanboy

WHO: Me! And also Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery of the Kill Shakespeare comic book series.
WHAT: Panel discussion on Shakespeare in pop culture and graphic novels. Part of the Stratford Festival Forum series of events. 
WHEN: Wednesday, September 6, 10:45am
WHERE: Chalmers Lounge, Avon Theatre, Stratford, Ontario.
WHY: Because they asked me! 
HOW: Buy tickets at the Stratford Festival website

What Tweets That Trump? part 1

Seeing as tomorrow is (alas) Inauguration Day, I thought I would take some of our incoming president's more recent tweets and match them up with Shakespearean characters... with some strategic alterations where necessary.

The first draft of this comic was, like, all history plays. His tweets match up very well with history plays, alarmingly....

Shakespeare's Missing Mothers, part 2

Following up on last Thursday's comic highlighting some of the many mothers missing from Shakespeare's plays, here are some more missing mothers, rightfully restored to their places.

A few thoughts:

  1. From a dramatic standpoint, there's definitely a reason why Shakespeare left these mothers out in favor of mothers like Volumnia and Margaret of Anjou...
  2. King Lear really suffers from a lack of mothers. Mothers would have sorted that whole play out before you even got to the second scene. 
  3. I kind of want to do a series of comics now on how Mrs. Polonius manages to diffuse the entire situation at Elsinore and everyone ends up over at her place talking through their feelings over cups of hot tea and some scones.