Thursday, January 21, 2010

Love's Labour Lost by William Shakespeare

Often called one of Shakespeare's most intellectual plays, Love's Labour Lost is a witty comedy full of wordplay. The King of Navarre and his three companions swear an oath to live an austere life of academic study for three years, most notably swearing to give up the company of women. No sooner is the oath sworn than the Princess of France visits Navarre's court as an emissary from her father. She has with her three ladies in waiting. Unsurprisingly, the King and his three companions fall in love with the French women and high jinks ensue.

I did not originally intend to read this play for the Much Ado About Shakespeare Challenge but I happened to record Kenneth Branagh's 2000 film of it. So, before attempting to watch the film, I read the play, which is a good read, but not as spectacular as Hamlet or King Lear. The film, on the other hand, is atrocious. Branagh adapted the play into a musical. Now, I have nothing against musicals per se, but Branagh's adaptation reminded me of Cop Rock, a very short lived television show which could have been called Law & Order: The Musical. Both the television show and Branagh's film had singing in all the wrong places. I didn't watch more than the first ten minutes.

If you really dig Shakespeare, give Love's Labour Lost a read. It is one of eminent critic Harold Bloom's favorites. But, if you are just looking for a taste of Shakespeare, you would be better served sticking to some of his more acclaimed plays.


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