Shakespeare Saturday: Timon of Athens: or, “Sorry, Never Heard of It…”

Hey hey, readers! Welcome to the next installment of this week’s Shakespeare-a-palooza series. Hopefully, you’ve been following us, and already know that this week we’re covering Timon of Athens. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone. But, if you’ve been following along like good little Shakespeare nerds, you’ll know that just because it’s not super famous doesn’t mean it’s not good. If I am not much mistaken, this is the first show we’re scheduled to see when we hit Stratford at the end of August, which will be a great way to start off seeing as I’ve never even been afforded the chance to see it; nobody produces it, you guys…

So, today it falls to me to set you up with a list of adaptations you can check out. Unfortunately, there’s really not much you’ll be able to get your hands on. It turns out that Timon actually received its first film adaptation this year – a picture entitled I, Timon, which premiered at the Hoboken International Film Festival. Good luck finding a theater in which to watch it, however… It’s an Australian indie flick and if it gets a release in the US it’ll probably only be on a handful of screens.

The BBC put up a TV version in 1981 starring  Jonathan Pryce (you’ll recognize him as Governor Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean) in the lead role of Timon. While this version seems to have received positive reactions, I can’t find a reliable way to watch it. Le sigh. But it is out there, if you so choose to search for yourself.

Now, the most interesting adaptation of Timon of Athens – imho is actually one that was presented during the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s tenth season in 1963. Whaaaaat? But, but, there are no video recordings of plays that far back in Stratford’s history! I know. Trust me, I know. But we do have a record of the incidental music utilized in that production. Music that was commissioned to be written by the great Duke Ellington. Again, whaaaaat? I know! It’s so unexpected and cool and trivia-y! And what an interesting take on Timon that must have been, right? Though we may not be able to watch that production, we CAN listen to a recording of the music Ellington composed, here.

Enjoy!

I’ll see you back here on Monday!

-A

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