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Weekend Recs: Shakespeare Adaptations

Happy Friday, Wildcats! Falvey Library is delivering you another semester of Weekend Recs, a blog dedicated to filling you in on what to read, listen to, and watch over the weekend. Annie, a graduate assistant from the Communication department, scours the internet, peruses the news, and digs through book stacks to find new, relevant, and thought-provoking content that will challenge you and prepare you for the upcoming week. A disclaimer that this column is intended for reflection and entertainment (not for academic research, for example), and infuses scholarly content as possible.

It’s Shakespeare Week, a week dedicated to celebrating and engaging with the works of playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Of course,  Shakespeare’s famed works live on as people continue to read, perform, and analyze them over 400 years after his death, but they have also inspired a plethora of adaptations and retellings that have been modernized for new audiences today to enjoy.

Just recently, Much Ado About Nothing received a retelling in the 2023 rom-com Anyone But You, starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell. Even the now iconic The Lion King is an adaptation of Hamlet. So, in celebrating of Shakespeare Week, here are some modern adaptations and retellings (and some might even surprise you).

If you have 5 minutes…and want to test your Shakespeare knowledge, take this quick quiz, released in celebration of the recent 400-year anniversary of the First Folio, a historic collection of Shakespeare’s works that might have otherwise been lost to history.

If you have 19 minutes…and like Youtube video essays, watch this video discussing how the 1990s and 2000s trend of Shakespeare retellings re-popularized Shakespeare among young people.

Bonus: For a more scholarly take, read this ebook on marketing “The Bard” to Hollywood during the same era.

If you have 37 minutes…and like feminist analyses, watch this video essay on how 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s the Man represent feminism and gender.

Bonus: To see an academic’s take on this subject, read this essay from Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation.

Photo by malavika on Unsplash

If you have 1 hour and 37 minutes…and want to feel a little nostalgic, watch 10 Things I Hate About You, available in Falvey’s DVD Collection. This beloved late 90s rom-com starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger is actually a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew.

If you have 1 hour and 45 minutes…and like Shakespeare’s comedies, watch She’s the Man, available to stream for free on Pluto. If you’ve read or seen Twelfth Night, you might not be surprised that She’s the Man is an updated (and somehow even more outlandish) retelling.

Bonus: if you want to watch an adaptation more faithful to the source material, watch 1996’s Twelfth Night, available to stream online through Falvey.

If you have 1 hour and 51 minutes…and prefer Shakespeare’s tragedies, watch Hamlet, the 2000s modernized retelling starring Ethan Hawke set in New York City, available to stream online through Falvey.

If you have 2 hours and 41 minutes…and are a fan of David Tennant, watch him and Catherine Tate star in a filmed production of Much Ado About Nothing, available to stream online through Falvey. It might technically be more of a theatrical production rather than an adaptation, but it stars two recognizable film actors, so I’m including it.

Bonus: If you want to check out any more filmed theatrical productions of works by playwrights like Shakespeare and beyond, browse our Digital Theatre+ subscription library.

If you have 6 hours…and like Shakespeare’s dramedy The Tempest, read Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. Yes, the Margaret Atwood wrote a Shakespeare adaptation in 2016. Not a traditional retelling, Atwood weaves the Shakespeare’s original work into the plot, following actor Felix as he seeks revenge for having his theatrical dreams crushed.

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Peek at the Week: March 18


In Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins wrote, “What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”

Happy Monday, Wildcats! Tomorrow officially marks the first day of spring. Spring is a time of hope and rebirth. It’s a time to come alive again after a bleak winter.

With daylight savings giving us a little more sunshine in our day and the start of spring, things are starting to look a little brighter. I hope you’re all able to enjoy a little more time outside in the sun in the coming weeks—even if the Pennsylvania weather is fickle.


Monday, March 18

Mindfulness Monday | 1-1:30 p.m. | Multifaith Prayer Room, St. Rita’s Hall | Virtual Option | ACS-Approved | Free & Open to Villanova Students, Faculty, & Staff

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Tuesday, March 19

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Wednesday, March 20

But Is It Fair Use? A Copyright Discussion and Q&A (Virtual Workshop) | 12-1 p.m. | Virtual | Free & Open to Villanova Students | Register Here

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 4-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Thursday, March 21

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 12-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free

Sunday, March 24

Center for Speaking and Presentation/The Learners’ Studio | 3-9 p.m. | Room 301 | Free


Photo by Mak on Unsplash

Today, Mar. 18, marks the beginning of Shakespeare Week, a week dedicated to celebrating and examining the famed playwright and author William Shakespeare. With works like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth, if you want to celebrate this week, you can browse Falvey’s collection of Shakespearean works here.

For anyone with a sweet tooth, tomorrow, Mar. 19, is National Chocolate Caramel Day. If you’re a fan of this classic flavor combination, your options to celebrate are practically endless—Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Caramel Squares, Rolos, and Milk Duds, to name just a few.

To all the astrology believers, Astrology Day is this Wednesday, Mar. 20. Personally, while I’m not a steadfast believer, I do think that astrology is sometimes right on the money and overall harmlessly fun. So, whether you like to read your horoscope, look at your friend’s birth charts, or guess people’s sun signs, Wednesday is your excuse to enjoy astrology. You can also browse Falvey’s collection of astrology books, articles, and other resources here.

Fittingly during the first week of spring, Thursday, Mar. 21, is National Flower Day. Although flowers are just starting to bloom, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. If you have a green thumb and some outdoor space, plant your favorite flowers (bonus points if they’re native plants). If you want to share your appreciation to someone special in your life, gift them a bouquet of flowers. If you want to read some floral literature, check out former GA Ethan’s May Flowers blog.

Annie Stockmal is a second-year graduate student in the Communication Department and Graduate Assistant in Falvey Library.

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Last Modified: March 18, 2024

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