Friday, January 30, 2004

What's a Mos Def?

Mutterings continued.

And why has he been cast as Ford Prefect? And who is Zooey Deschanel? Why do I have a sinking feeling about the HHGTTG movie or am I just being premature?

Empire Magazine has announced its nominations for the Empire Award. No real surprises, except perhaps that they've nominated Sean Astin and Viggo Mortensen for Best Actor gongs. They've also nominated the wonderful Mackenzie Crook (Gareth in The Office) for a Best Newcomer for his performance in Pirates. The 2002 awards night had a running gag about Ian McKellen fancying Ewan McGregor - 'I've never worked with a more encouraging, helpful and agreeable actor, he was absolutely wonderful. Even if he does fancy Ewan McGregor.' Christopher Lee on co-star Ian McKellen

Grant, on his blog, pointed us in the direction of the online Hamlet game. Here's a review from the Official London Theatre Guide - "Shakespeare: The Computer Game: In the minds of many theatregoers, computer games are essentially devil spawn, which keep our goggle-eyed youngsters glued to their screens and out of the auditorium. However, in a move which showcases the notorious cunning of the theatrical community, steps are afoot to introduce our youth to the joys of theatre even while they are jabbing their thumbs and waggling their joysticks at the screen.

Some theatre-inspired computer games were doomed to fail: the Waiting For Godot game for the X-Box consisted solely of the player looking at a blank screen which flashed “game loading, please wait”. The equally unsuccessful Harold Pinter game for the Gameboy Advanced, due perhaps to a bug in the programme, would randomly pause for vast periods of time.

As is so often the case with anything theatre related, William ‘The Bard’ Shakespeare provided the solution. Will’s plays, packed as they are with action, intrigue, murder and magic are ideal computer game fodder and make it possible for children (and adults) to learn about the most important plays in history without even knowing about it. It has always been something of an embarrassment to me that, despite my exulted position in the thespian community, I had never seen, read or even heard of the play Hamlet before I started the research for this column, so now seemed a perfect time to see what the exciting Hamlet Online Adventure could teach me about what is apparently quite a good play…

Well, I have to say that I had a whale of a time playing the game; I played the part of Hamlet and after fraternising with Horatio and Ophelia (who complained rather a lot) I finally got to kill my uncle before, annoyingly, I got killed myself (I hope I haven’t spoiled the ending for anyone). The game seems to preserve Shakespeare's dialogue ("How'th my wovewy boyfwiend Hamwetty-Wamwetty?" croons Ophelia) but some of my more cynical colleagues claimed that this Hamlet computer game altered the plot. However I truly feel that I have fallen in love with the play thanks to this game and I especially love with the part where Othello and Juliet run away together and start a new life in Lilliput. "


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