Much Ado About Nothing Trailer


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0100  Tuesday, 12 March 2013


From:        Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 10, 2013 2:37:17 PM EDT

Subject:     Much Ado About Nothing Trailer 


[Editor’s Note: Thanks to Mike Jensen for calling my attention to this article and trailer. –Hardy]


From The Week <http://theweek.com>




The first trailer for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing


By Scott Meslow


The Avengers director gathers some of his favorite actors for a decidedly small-scale adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy


The trailer: After the bluster and bombast of 2012’s superhero mashup The Avengers — it was the highest-grossing movie of the year, and is the third-highest grossing movie of all time — director Joss Whedon took a break from blockbusters by directing a film that couldn’t possibly be more different: A small-scale, black-and-white adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. The movie, which debuts in the U.S. on June 7, was filmed in just 12 days at Whedon’s personal residence in Santa Monica, Calif. Much Ado About Nothing boasts a cast almost entirely comprised of fan-favorite actors from Whedon’s past projects, including Alex Denisof as Benedick and Amy Acker as Beatrice — both alums of the TV show Angel — Nathan Fillion, of Fox’s shortlived series Firefly, as Dogberry, and Clark Gregg (The Avengers) as Leonato. Has Whedon done the Bard justice with Much Ado About Nothing, or will the film be put to death by the wagging tongues of critics? 


The reaction: Though this is the first Much Ado About Nothing trailer released for a general audience, a few select critics have seen the film during early screenings at film festivals — and fortunately, the reaction has largely been positive. “It’s rather joyous to see a name director pursue a true passion project and realize it with simplicity, elegance, and emotional directness,” says Hannah McGill at The List. “Whedon and Shakespeare are truly a match made in heaven,” agrees Tom Clift at Moviedex. And the cast lives up to the material, says Linda Holmes at NPR: “A project this simple would be nowhere without the actors, and Whedon gets fine work out of just about everybody.”


A New Variorum Edition Notice


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0099  Tuesday, 12 March 2013


From:        Paul Werstine <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 11, 2013 10:47:30 AM EDT

Subject:     A New Variorum Edition Notice


A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare


The series is seeking an editor to bring to completion the volume on The Two Gentlemen of Verona that was begun by the late Trevor Howard-Hill.


The publisher of this series is the Modern Language Association of America. Title pages and prefaces scrupulously record the contributions of all who work on the volumes. Editorial principles are available at www.mla.org/shakespeare_varpdf.  Please contact Paul Werstine, co-general editor, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The latest published volumes in the series are The Winter’s Tale, edited by Robert Kean Turner and Virginia Westling Haas (2005), and The Comedy of Errors, edited by Standish Henning (2011). King Lear, edited by Richard Knowles, is at press. 


Michael Neill’s Lear in Auckland


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0097  Friday, 8 March 2013


From:        Adrian Kiernander <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 7, 2013 10:22:06 PM EST

Subject:     Michael Neill’s Lear in Auckland


People in Auckland currently have the good fortune to see a Shakespeare event that is probably unprecedented—a full-scale outdoor production of King Lear directed by a first-time director starring a septuagenarian scholar who hasn’t appeared on stage since about 1969. And it is very good.


It helps that the first-time director is Lisa Harrow, who has an illustrious international career as an actor at the RSC and elsewhere; and Michael Hurst (who also plays Lear’s exasperated Fool) had a hand in the direction. 


Lear himself is played by the eminent Shakespeare scholar Michael Neill whose work is widely known and admired, and who is now an emeritus professor at Auckland University. Anyone who has heard him deliver lectures or conference papers will have seen and heard snippets of his ability to speak the speech with a combination of intelligence and emotion—but quoting a few lines is a far cry from delivering an entire performance in a season that will last for a month. (I saw a preview on the night of 1 March.) 


The last two acts are especially moving, when Lear finally acknowledges that he has no power to command (or know) what he wants—and indeed, even when he was a king, never really had.


I was at the beginning of my second year at Auckland University when I first saw Michael perform in Richard II. (I was a very lightweight and unconvincing 18-year-old Willoughby.) He played York and even then I recognised that he had a kind of gravitas as an actor that I couldn’t account for. The words he spoke seemed somehow to be forced out under great pressure, giving them a weight and significance that I had never encountered before. It made the less experienced among us—or me at any rate—feel as if we were just talking.


This performance is supported by a strong cast (including SHAKSPER member Tom Bishop). Several people I spoke to were, above all, impressed by the clarity of the text. The production was lightly miked, but probably didn’t need to be.


But ultimately the night was Neill’s, and he made the most of it. 


For more information about the production, see http://www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz


Adrian Kiernander

Professor of Theatre Studies

School of Arts

University of New England 


Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Publication and Webinar


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0098  Tuesday, 12 March 2013

From:        Paul Edmondson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Sunday, March 10, 2013 12:58 PM

Subject:     Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Publication and Webinar


[Editor’s Note: I have adapted the information below from various e-mails I have received from Paul Edmondson. –Hardy]


The Cambridge University Press will launch Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at this year’s celebration of Shakespeare’s Birthday in Stratford and at The Shakespeare Centre.



The book will also form the basis of an event at this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival, a webinar towards the end of April sponsored by C.U.P. (and hosted by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), and a podcast to be made with the University of Warwick in time for Shakespeare’s Birthday. 


You might like to let your colleagues, students, friends, and contacts know about a webinar, ‘Proving Shakespeare’, we’re hosting about Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy on Friday 26 April at 6.30 pm (British Time). You can register for it free of charge via this link:


I’ll be chairing a discussion for an hour with Stanley Wells and we are delighted to be joined by our special guest, Ros Barber, author of The Marlowe Papers: A Novel in Verse. If you sign up you’ll be able to listen to webinar live and submit questions during the discussion. You can sign up by clicking here.




Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy

Paperback (ISBN-13: 9781107603288)

Hardback (ISBN:9781107017597)


Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, and why should we care? 

  • A collection of essays by major authorities in the field discuss the authorship debate surrounding Shakespeare’s work 
  • Provides a wide range of discussions of all significant aspects of the topic in a readable and engaging style 
  • Offers a comprehensive and grounded scholarly exploration of this hotly debated field

Shakespeare Beyond Doubt: Evidence, Argument, Controversy is organized in three sections. The first is ‘Sceptics’. There you will find essays on the most popular alternative nominees for the authorship, namely Sir Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, and Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. These have been produced by world experts on those three subjects (Alan Stewart, Charles Nicholl, and Alan Nelson), all of whom set out authoritatively to demonstrate how none of those nominees could have written, or indeed were capable of having written, the works of Shakespeare. The ‘unreadable’ work of Delia Bacon is re-appraised by Graham Holderness and Matt Kubus has contributed a piece about the many other ‘unusual suspects’ who have been nominated over the years.


Section two, ‘Shakespeare as Author’, presents the evidence for Shakespeare and includes an essay which considers how we construct early modern biographies by Andrew Hadfield and an overview of all the allusions to Shakespeare up to 1642 by Stanley Wells. John Jowett shows how we know Shakespeare collaborated (thereby making a nonsense of any ‘cover-up’ story), and Mac Jackson shows what we can learn from stylometric tests for different authorial hands. James Mardock and Eric Rasmussen look at what the textual evidence of the printed works tells us about their author, and Dave Kathman finds Warwickshire writ large across Shakespeare’s work. Carol Rutter demonstrates that the whole of Shakespeare was written by someone who attended grammar school but who did not need to have attended university, and Barbara Everett shows how absurd it is to read the works as truthful windows onto Shakespeare’s own life.


The third and final section, ‘A Cultural Phenomenon: Did Shakespeare Write Shakespeare?’, includes articles by Kate McLuskie on conspiracy theories, by Andrew Murphy on the clash between professional academics and amateurs with regard to Delia Bacon, and by Paul Franssen on how the authorship discussion has been treated in works of fiction. Stuart Hampton-Reeves critiques the anti-Shakespearian ‘Declaration of Reasonable Doubt’ and Douglas Lanier critiques the film Anonymous. My contribution is a piece about the so-called ‘Shakespeare Establishment’ and the authorship discussion. 


The volume closes with an ‘Afterword’ by James Shapiro and ‘A Selected Reading List’ by Hardy Cook.


Folger’s New Online Texts Go Up Against Moby Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0096  Friday, 8 March 2013

From:        Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 8, 2013 12:46:37 AM EST

Subject:     Folger’s New Online Texts Go Up Against Moby Shakespeare


I don’t recall anyone mentioning the Folger Digital Texts initiative (http://www.folgerdigitaltexts.org/). These modern-spelling texts derive from the Folger Shakespeare Library editions, a series completed by Barbara Mowat and Paul Werstine in 2010 and published by Simon & Schuster.  The first dozen texts online in mid-January are, naturally, the most popular plays.


One can guess the orientation of the project toward classroom use, as the format uses the same page and line numbers as the printed editions, and glosses and emendations are in progress.  But there can be more serious uses.  For example, all the texts are coded in TEI5 and can be downloaded.  And while the reader may notice line numbering every five lines, a discreet column to the left has through line numbering, and line-keyed notes are planned.


The editorial introduction (in the right sidebar at http://www.folgerdigitaltexts.org/?chapter=4) indicates an ambition to replace the so-called Moby Shakespeare, the basic but widely available texts based on the Clark and Wright Globe edition of 1864.  (Folger puts a “TM” indicating trademark after “Moby,” though its creator, Grady Ward, put the texts in public domain in the 1990s.)  The series editors write (in part):


Until now, with the release of the Folger Digital Texts, readers in search of a free online text of Shakespeare’s plays had to be content primarily with using the Moby™ Text, which reproduces a late-nineteenth century version of the plays . . . 


When the Moby™ Text was created [sic; in 1864], for example, it was deemed “improper” and “indecent” for Miranda to chastise Caliban for having attempted to rape her. (See The Tempest, 1.2: “Abhorred slave, / Which any print of goodness wilt not take, / Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee . . . ”). All Shakespeare editors at the time took the speech away from her and gave it to her father, Prospero.


The editors of the text that became the Moby™ Shakespeare produced their text long before scholars fully understood the proper grounds on which to make the thousands of decisions that Shakespeare editors face. The Folger Library Shakespeare Editions, on which the Folger Digital Texts depend, make this editorial process as nearly transparent as is possible, in contrast to older texts, like the Moby™, which hide editorial interventions. 


Eric Johnson, developer of Open Source Shakespeare, wrote about the history of the Globe/Moby texts in his master’s thesis: http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/info/paper_toc.php His Shakespeare texts too are based on the 1864 Globe edition.


Meanwhile, the complete Moby texts, with Grady Ward’s databases and wordlists, at http://icon.shef.ac.uk/Moby/



Al Magary

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.