Category Archives: william shakespeare

True Blood: 9 Crimes

Perhaps my not-so-like (I won’t call it dislike, because I really do like this show) of this season’s “True Blood” comes from the lack of use of the original cast and the sudden overuse of the new characters.

Sookie, Bill, Sam, Eric, Tara and even Sookie’s idiot brother Jason all have lots more to tell us and have explored, yet the bulk of the screen time this season, especially the exciting screen time, seems to be given to the likes of Alcide, Lorena, Franklin, Sam’s family, the King of Mississippi, Kitch, etc. Granted, I like all the new additions, but the reason I started watching the show, and the reason I remain, is the main, original, cast. One has to ask, do the original characters still have power for the writers? And if not, why not?

All that said, this episode was a slight improvement over the first few. Maybe like many of the other HBO series, it takes some time to get rolling, and perhaps “True Blood” was just lucky the first two seasons and immune from HBO-itis.

The give and take between Sookie and Bill and Sookie and Alcide feels like either an ironic or sarcastic, but definitely deliberate parody of what’s going on in theatres with Twilight right now. Amusing it may be, I would still rather not have that parallel so painfully paraded. Let’s put it this way – with this comparison so evident, it’s almost impossible to get new folks interested in the series because of the negative connotation Twilight has with older audiences. It might be an inside joke that tickling the heck out of a small handful of folks, but it’s detrimental to the growth of “True Blood” in the long run I think.

Some observations about “9 Crimes”… it was nice to see inside Kenya’s brain if only for a few seconds. I hope we see more of it. The conversation between Bill and King Russell Edgington was fascinating. Nice to see how our world is affecting vampire society instead of the other way around. No one escapes the IRS. The Postmortum, a brief police interrogation video, does this as well, giving a sweet glimpse inside the vampire civilization. This is also something I’d like to see more of.

Other tidbits I liked included the Goody Osburn reference, props to the writers on that one. I loved Sookie’s imitation of the evil Sandy at the end of Grease. And is it just my imagination or does the “True Blood” casting department have a preference for redheads? Not that I mind of course. I also liked how the closing song, “9 Crimes” by Damien Rice, plays so well with the themes of the episode. It’s this kind of attention to music that sets this show apart.

That’s quite a cliffhanger this week, eh? Dogpile on the Sookie, can’t wait to see what happens next. So, until next time, ponder this, why would William Shakespeare steal spoons?

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Super Heroes Who Are Super

A week ago I saw simply the coolest show a comic geek could hope to see live. Presented by Plays & Players this was just amazing fun. Here’s how they describe it:

Super heroes brought to life before your very eyes! Word-for-word staged readings of classic comic books featuring some of Philadelphia’s finest actors. Will Spider-Man save the day? Will the Hulk smash? Will this description get you to come to our performances? Find out! With a relaxed atmosphere that includes drinks being served from the neighboring Quig’s Pub, audiences get an opportunity to interact with the artists and embrace their inner (or outer) comic book geek.

The show we saw featured a live reading in costume of Green Lantern #13, “Duel of the Super-Heroes,” guest-starring the Flash. Patrons were mostly dressed in comic book related t-shirts and were talking in the lobby and the bar about the previous night’s “Smallville” and the Wonder Twins – a real geek audience, but still quirky cool. There were also an equal amount of folks talking about “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead,” another Plays & Players show from earlier in the year. Word of mouth must have been mighty though as there was only single seats and standing room only.

The words were played straight for the most part with hand gestures and facial expressions doing the rest via puns, camp and innuendo. Much like the 1960s “Batman” TV series this was a wonderful experience on more than one level. The narrator was a melodramatic marvel and the telepathic aliens almost made me wet myself. I loved this, and will be back. The next show is December 12th.

The previous month’s shows featured Spider-Man, the Punisher and Wonder Woman, and who knows who will appear next, but we’ll find out as the show is scheduled through to June. For more details, click here.

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William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead

To celebrate the end of Zombiedelphia Month we went to see the Plays & Players production of William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead.

Detailing the zombie invasion of 1599, where notables of the time take refuge in the newly built Globe Theater while London is under undead siege, this is actually a well-researched, smart and clever little play. Seriously, zombies aside, somebody really knows their Shakespeare. The controversy of who really wrote what and how much ‘borrowing’ the bard did from experience and people he knew and work he saw and read is center stage here, with just a bit of living dead horror thrown in just for kicks.

I really loved this. The midnight show featured free drinks for those who dressed as zombies, and to be sure, the audience would have made George Romero proud. Like a Rocky Horror experience, the production was interactive with zombies in the audience and blood (Karo, peanut butter and chocolate syrup) being spilled and spurted from the stage. Luckily for the squeamish, plastic sheets were provided for folks in the first couple rows – the splatter zone.

Cast standouts include Ryan Walter as the boisterously entertaining Will Kemp, Molly Casey as Kate Braithwaite, and special props to Jacqueline Halloway who choreographed the fight and dance scenes. yes, there was a bit of zombie-fighting but the prize of the show was the finale to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” After all, what better way to end any undead production than “Thriller.” Dazzling!