‘World’s-a-stage’ Shakespeare cycles

Date: 2010
Posted by: boytoynorth
Cast: Brian McCugan
Credits: Created by Brian McCugan. Music courtesy of http://www.jayles.com
Duration: 2.11

With the addition of BardBox’s second cycling video (see the exceptional Cymbeline for the first) I think we have the makings of genre. Here Canadian actor Brian McCugan sticks a video camera to the front of his bicycle and sets off along the seawall at Vancouver, reciting the ‘Seven Ages of Man’ speech from As You Like It. This is the sort of Shakespearean production that YouTube is there to encourage. It could not have been imagined before the time when cheap, portable video cameras became available to all (and both picture and sound quality here are lousy), before broadband, before video hosting sites, all of which have encouraged the sharing of the personal and the compulsion to self-expression. It’s an actorly performance – and a good enough one at that – whose reasons for existence are a seizing of the moment, and a capturing in video form the kind the rumination that cycling along a seawall might very well encourage. Now could we have a remake, with a slightly better camera?

YouTube page
Brian McCugan’s personal site


Date: 2007
Posted by: lostfoxx
Credits: Created by lostfoxx
Cast: Dominic Kelly (Posthumus)
Duration: 4.12

This is a particularly strong Shakespeare video. Actor Dominic Kelly has produced this rendition of Posthumus’ bitter speech, “Is there no way for men to be but women / Must be half-workers? We are all bastards” from Cymbeline (Act 2 Scene 5) as a showcase for his talents, but he has made a proper film of it. Kelly/Posthumus is cycling through London streets, addressing the camera, which cuts between speech, shots of the bicycle and shots of the street (strictly speaking, when Posthumus speaks he is pushing his bicycle; when pedalling he is silent). The speech is therefore broken up by the mundanity of the urban scene, while the speech comes out as ragged mental notes that occur to Posthumus as he proceeds, an effect accentuated by close shots taken either side of him, and his repetition of the vices in man that woman causes: ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain, nice longing, slanders, mutability – as though he were arguing with himself.

As much care has gone into the creativity of the filming as the performance (which is good enough in itself). The actor works with the camera, which frames and ironically counterparts the character’s thoughts. The editing is sharp (with just a touch of the jump-cut Godard of A bout de souffle), and the city itself provides the background ‘music’. A fine piece of work.

YouTube page
Dominic Kelly’s personal site