Shakespeare in Hollywood
A few weeks ago we were talking about Mary Stewart. So I reread one of my favorite’s This Rough Magic which takes place on the isle of Corfu, the alleged locale for Shakespeare’s The Tempest. When I finished the book I hauled out my Shakespeare and sat down to reread The Tempest.
It’s been a while and I confess at first I had trouble remembering who was who. I figured it would be easier in production with actors dressed as their character.
I was out of Shakespeare shape. And I was struck by how styles change. It has been several centuries. I suppose it’s amazing that his work is still produced.
I mean what if William Shakespeare was a Hollywood screenwriter?
And then I got a little silly and imagined this scene.
Will goes to see his producer (agent, whatever.)
Will, baby. Come in. Have a seat. Love the storm, gets em right in the *****(Hand gesture). Really gripping stuff.
But wha’s with the old dude and his daughter? You’re killing me here. Backstory, backstory, yadda yadda, it’s a snooze. Gotta keep the action coming.
But not to worry. I got Chris Marlowe to do the rewrite. He’s good with this kind of stuff.
And you got way too many characters coming on at the same time. Hell, I don’t know who’s the Duke and who’s the King, is there a king? And what’s a boatswain?
I say we focus on whats-her-name and the son. Turn up the steam, ya know?
Brilliant that paranormal thing you have going with that Caliban dude. Maybe we can turn him into a sequel at the end of Act V. Which reminds me, I been meaning to talk to you about that. We only have three acts here in Hollywood. But I think if you cut some of the backstory and all that business with the clowns, you can make it fit.
And the Ariel creature. He waggles his hand. Not sure about her. Him? I’ll see what Chris thinks about it. Maybe he can spice it up a bit. Send it over to the fx guys.
Stunned Will walks out to the street. The heat is pouring up from the pavement. But he finds the one spot of shade under a eucalyptus tree. Pulls out his iphone. Makes note to self:
‘Tis ten to one this play can never please
All that are here. Some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two
That done he gets up and sees a Starbucks across the street. He waits for a truck to pass then goes inside.