Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Marriage of Science Fiction and Shakespeare

When I think of my favourite actors I notice there is a strange parallel with the roles they tend to play.  Take Patrick Stewart for example: He played the role of Captain Picard of the Enterprise in Star Trek for years, Charles Xavier with many X-men movies AND he also played a wonderful King Claudius in Hamlet many times. David Tennant is another example:  He was one of the best Doctors in Dr. Who creating an iconic character, but he also played a stirring Hamlet and Bennedic is As You Like It with flying colours.  So why?  And how can I as a viewer enjoy both far flung space odysseys as well as Elizabethan prose and poetry?
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
The best mash up ever!

Fact: Shakespeare is timeless.  Many of the plots, archetypes, and tropes of Shakespeare have been re-done, re-invented and re-designed because their universal truths of human nature and dilemma can be felt through all time, past, present, future. James Macavoy said: Shakespeare's stories are still very strong. He structured fantastic stories about things that were fundamental to the human being and psyche.

Fact: Even in the vastness of space and time, we will always return to our inner conscience for guidance.  Conflict no matter how great, can only be solved within ourselves.  Shakespeare knew this. Patrick Stewart said:  All of those years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, all those years of playing kings and princes and speaking black verse, and bestriding the landscape of England was nothing but a preparation for sitting in the captain's chair of the Enterprise.

Fact: Deep thinking is attainable only by a man of deep feeling. - Samuel Coleridge. The magical, the eloquent and the mythical components of Shakespeare inspire us to branch out, explore our imaginations and speculate on our future.He said himself: Show me someone who doesn't dream about the future and I'll show you someone who doesn't know where they are going. and There are more things in Heaven and Earth... than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Graduating from the fine to the fantastic: David Tennant said:  If you can sell that you're the King of Scotland, or Henry V on a tiny stage in a studio theater somewhere, then you can probably sell that you're a starship captain or a time traveler.

For further reference check and