Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1967: Alan Cooke

1973: Nick Havinga (Joseph Papp)

1984: Stuart Burge

1987: Herb Roland (Peter Moss)

1993: Kenneth Branagh

2010: Brandon Arnold

2011: Josie Rourke

2012: Joss Whedon

2012: Robin Lough (Jeremy Herrin)


Adaptations

2005: ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing


Much Ado About Nothing
1973: Nick Havinga (Joseph Papp)

This version, available through the Broadway Theatre Archive, is an interesting piece of history. It's a competently produced version of Much Ado About Nothing, as far as it goes. It's just not to my taste very interesting as a representation of the play itself. It is, moreover, cut somewhat, so that it leaves a great many pieces of the picture unfilled.

The setting is (as was especially common in the 1970s, and still is today) transposed to another unconnected place and time. It's clearly the turn of the twentieth century (roughly) somewhere — it may be in the South. The music is jazz, women are in capacious white dresses, and the men are wearing straw hats and smoking cigars almost non-stop. Some of them (Don Pedro and Don John) are in military uniforms from the period. The point of the transposition eludes me: it doesn't really provide any sense of the universality of the play, nor does it shed any light on fin-de-siecle culture.

The typically most interesting duo in the play are of course Beatrice and Benedick: they're played by Kathleen Widdoes and Sam Waterston, respectively. Their chemistry is not particularly exciting, and I found Widdoes' delivery in some of the more potentially explosive scenes unconvincing (admittedly, “I would eat his heart in the marketplace” is not the easiest line to deliver credibly). Waterston walks through his role with a certain swagger but not much depth.

Altogether I'd recommend this as a view into the diversity and range of options that can be read into Shakespeare, but not a lot else.


Antonio: Arny Freeman

Balthasar: Marshall Efron

Beatrice: Kathleen Widdoes

Benedick: Sam Waterston

Borachio: Frederick Coffin

Claudio: Glenn Walken

Conrade: Jack Gianino

Dogberry: Barnard Hughes

Don John: Jerry Mayer

Don Pedro : Douglass Watson

Ensemble: Nina Jordan

First Watch: George Gugleotti

Friar Francis: Tom McDermott

Hero: April Shawnham

Leonardo: Mark Hammer

Margaret: Jeanne Hepple

Sexton/Messenger: Charles Bartlett

Ursula: Bette Henritze

Verges: Will Mackenzie