It all began with a list after watching Star Trek Beyond, and the ensuing discussion that ended with, ‘oh yeah. Well how do you rank the films?
Here’s my list:
Yeah, that’s right. Nemesis is last. How dare they dispose of Lieutenant Commander Data in that way!
Anyway, my friend Tommy posted this picture while going over my list:
and then replied with:
Cue comments from every trekie, treker, and whatever the new-era trek nerds call themselves, and a whole bunch of eye rolls from those who didn’t spend their youths watching the NCC-1701-D fly through the galaxies.
Ok, so why are you telling me this Daniel?
The ensuing long-winded discussion as to why each of us placed which movie where (Nemesis is the worst? You actually liked the Motion Picture? Stop being a hipster. You’re being the hipster), the question of Shakespeare arose.
Tommy, it seems, did not appreciate the amount of Shakespearean dialogue in the Undiscovered Country, while I thought it was what pushed it ahead of the hipster picks (i.e. The Wrath of Kahn and Search for Spock).
In addition to the ultra-cool post-Cold War allegory, presence of Iman (I mean come on!), and great pace of the movie, the Bard is what gives it some of its finest lines.
Shakespeare has lent his ever-relevant voice to many Shakespeare episodes (some may or may not have grasped the actual context of the play, as Eric Jean will explain to you in gross detail), and it is the bard who infuses some of the joy of certain Star Trek episodes. Captain Picard (I would argue) is the best at dropping bard lines.
It’s kind of unavoidable as Star Trek, like Shakespeare, is interested in the human condition about all else, and it’s what makes both so timeless.
It answers the question, why do we keep watching Shakespeare plays? The same reason we keep watching Star Trek, because we are human. Just ask commander Data.
I end with an anecdote that proves this point.
I was watching S03E15 of TNG recently (Yesterday’s Enterprise), and got choked up. Why? I’ve seen it like 10 times. What is it that keeps me coming back and sitting in suspense as NCC-1701-C tries to make it through the temporal rift? Why does that short conversation between Tasha Yar (Oh Denise, why did you leave in the first place?) and Guinan (Whoopie’s finest hour) evoke such emotion?
If you can answer that for me, feel free to leave a comment.
We also discuss the merits of bottled beer, stubbed-nosed or otherwise, versus tall cans. Special treat: there may also be a nod to the brilliance of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (aka Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek: First Contact.
“Should dying men flatter with those that live?”Act II, scene 1 Speakers: Richard II, John of Gaunt
John of Gaunt’s loaded and near-death. King Richard pays him a visit to his dying uncle in the hopes that the old man will die soon so he can gobble up his lands and cash. However, as his death-bed speech Gaunt tells Richard that he’s the one who in danger of dying because he’s killed his own uncle Gloucester and now surrounds himself with flatterers who are likely to run to henry as soon as he gets back to England.
“Where is the duke my father with his power?”Act III, scene 2 Speakers: Duke of Aumerle, Richard II
Things are looking pretty grim for Richard. None of his so-called friends have shown up to fight on his side. He’s screwed and he knows it. And he wants everybody else around to know that he’s royally screwed and to finally stop feeding him bullshit and telling him what he wants to hear. He knows now that kings rarely make it to retirement and that for all of his kingly privilege, he’s just like everybody else, a nobody.
“Ascend his throne, descending now from him…”Act IV, scene 1 Speakers: Duke of York, Henry Bolingbroke, Bishop of Carlisle
Surrounded by his buddies, Henry Bolingrbroke agrees to take the throne and reign as Henry IV! Except the Bishop of Carlisle have a few issues with that. See, as kings are anointed by God people can’t just decide to replace the king with someone lese. Even if they take his power, Richard II is still the rightful king. Carlisle warns that they’ll be hell to pay if they go through with this.
Henry IV’s not too happy to hear this so he just has him arrested. Problem solved.
“Great king, within this coffin I present”Act 5 V, scene 6 Speakers: Exton, Henry Bolingbroke
It only makes sense that so long as Richard II is still around, there will be a bunch of people who refuse to accept that Henry IV is the new king. Life of course would be so much simpler if Richard would just meet with an unfortunate accident and disappear from The Tower. Seems like henry might have let that slip so Exton took his cue and did the dirty work. He then comes back to court to claim his reward except that henry doesn’t want this shit to reflect poorly on him.
So can you spell scapegoat? Yup, that’s right: E-X-T-O-N.
That’s it for play number ten Brawlers! Stay tuned for our next play in the next week or two and for announcements about the upcoming 3rd volume of ‘Zounds!
Zoey Baldwin returns to the brawl and brings us a lovely reading of Sonnet 56.
And hey! Buy ‘Zounds!You’ll never regret or forget it. Volume II is OUT NOW.