I just finished our last show here in Ashland–Much Ado About Nothing.

This might be the first Shakespeare I read, back as a freshman in high school.

Seeing it was very fun, though I had a problem with their artistic choice to set the play in 1945 Italy. My problem was that it seemed lazy. Any choice to move the play has to take into account the culture it's moving to and whether it squares with the context of the plot. In this case, I'm not sure it did. Claudio cruelly shames his bride-to-be at the altar–does that square with the setting? Would her maidenhood really have been so important to a soldier who had just been through WWII? It didn't work for me.

Still a very good production. But all through the final half of the play, I kept being distracted by the choice.

It was, however, my 11th Shakespeare production! Certainly not through the canon yet. But on my way!

For my own records as much as anyone else's, here's what I've seen (with a few notes added):

As You Like It (1997, Bellarmine Prep–of course, I didn't see the whole, since I was actually in it)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1998, Ashland; then again in 2006 at UPS)
Julius Caesar (1999, The Guthrie, Minneapolis)
Macbeth (1999, The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis–this was awful)
A Comedy of Errors (2000, Stratford)
Hamlet (twice, both in 2000 in London–one was great, one very much less so)
Romeo and Juliet (2000, London–with Chewitel Ejiofor as Romeo)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (2001, Carleton–possibly my favorite production of all of these. Also the first time I saw a Shakespearean play I hadn't read ahead of time, which convinced me thoroughly that this is the best way to do it)
Othello (2003, Vancouver BC)
Henry VIII (2009, Ashland)
Much Ado About Nothing (2009, Ashland)

Read But Not Seen
Measure For Measure
King Lear
Twelfth Night
A Winters Tale

Of course, there's plenty of Shakespearean movies in there too. Mel Gibson's Hamlet. Brannaugh's Love's Labor's Lost (don't know why I watched that). Plus a whole bunch of movie versions of Lear, including an interesting old Russian version which I had to watch because I was writing a paper on Lear's production history. Ah, the tasks of an English major …