Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.HA! Take THAT terrifying and impossible prospect of naming my all time favorite books of any larger category than the 36 plays of Shakespeare! As you might have guessed, The Broke and the Bookish really threw down the gauntlet this week requesting, nay demanding, that we pick our all time 10 favorites of X genre:
Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre (I know, I know. Picking all time faves. I'm MEAN. But I like knowing people's definitive faves). Can also break it down into sub-genre if that helps?It's hard not to panic and just run away. So I'm going to do what any sensible person would do. I'm gonna kind of cheat and pick a really small pool. I do actually really love Shakespeare and his plays quite a lot so it doesn't feel like too much of a cheat. To make it harder on me I'm going to try and order it from my tenth most favorite to my first. Anyway, here it is:
I love the whole "Prince Hal" trilogy of histories that starts with Henry IV part 1 and ending with Henry V. The charm of these two plays is of course Falstaff and the, at times heartbreaking, evolution of Prince Hal to King Henry.
I know that the pervading wisdom is that Shakespeare's tragedies are his finest masterpieces but this is the only one to make my top ten. I much prefer his histories and comedies. Hamlet gets the nod because of all the family drama and SO MUCH death.
This play is hilarious but it can be a little problematic. However I have seen a couple of productions of it that play the problematic parts very tongue in cheek and it's a brilliant interpretation.
6) Richard III
This version of Richard III is probably complete propaganda but he's so deliciously evil and this play lends itself so well to so many creative productions. I saw Sir Ian McKellen in a production set in the World War II era. It was as badass as it sounds. And when I just went to look for photos it is also apparently a movie but I swear I saw it live in Washington D.C.!
5) Henry V
I love the Branagh film of this play - it's so good. I love this history for its continuation of the Henry IVs plays, the romance and the stirring St. Crispin's Day speech.
4) The Tempest
Magic! I love when Shakespeare gets all fantastical! And I'm a big fan of shipwrecks as you will see lower down on the list as well.
Two words. Beatrice and Benedick. Best. Couple. Ever. I actually really struggled with the top three on this list and how to arrange them. I might've arranged them differently tomorrow.
There is so much going on in this play and it is definitely Shakepeares's most magical and comedic.
A shipwreck, a cross-dressing lady with a fraternal twin brother, mistaken identities and mistaken amorous attentions plus Malvolio and his yellow stockings cross-gartered - no way this wasn't going to be number one. The picture above is hanging in my living room and is a keepsake of the most amazing production of Twelfth Night I saw by The Royal Shakespeare Company in London!
There you have it. My semi-definitive list of my favorite ten Shakespeare plays. How about you? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? Do you prefer his Comedies, Dramas or Histories?