Shakespeare leaps into life with brilliant TV animation
By MARGARET CHAN
WE are all familiar with Shakespeare, in one form or another. Those of us who have studied English Literature might have read a play or two of his, and learnt something about his life - that the great English poet and dramatist was born in the 16th century, in a quiet country place called Stratford-upon-Avon, and spent most of his life as an actor and playwright in London. And that he has left us a legacy of some of the world's most treasured literature.
Many of us would also have seen his famous plays presented on the stage by local or international theatre groups, or as movies.
Well, now we have Shakespeare in a completely new form - as puppet and animation films for TV.
The entertaining educational programme Shakespeare, the Animated Tales is a series of six episodes. The films are made by Hit Communication, a well-known TV production company in England.
The films can be enjoyed by viewers young and old. For the children, the series can be an exciting introduction to the works of Shakespeare.
Those studying English Literature can enjoy the films as a novel visual interpetation of Shakespeare's best-known plays.
''Not everyone finds Shakespeare approachable,'' said Ms Veronica Chiu Kit-ying, Pearl publicity manager. ''But these animation films have a popular appeal, and will give audiences an interesting way to get familiar with his plays.'' The 30-minute episodes will be broadcast on Fridays at 6 pm on TVB Pearl. The first episode, the comedy Twelfth Night , appeared last week. The series ends on October 29.
Tomorrow we see A Midsummer Night's Dream , the story of a night of madness in a haunted wood.
Four young lovers, trying to resolve their passions, and six workmen trying to rehearse a play, stumble about in the moonlight, while the spirits of the wood play havoc with their hearts and minds.
Next week we have Hamlet. Hamlet is Everyman, who questions the very reason for his own existence: ''To be or not to be . . . ''. This is a tale of revenge: Prince Hamlet is called upon, by the ghost of his royal father, to avenge his father's murder at the hands of his uncle, who is now the King.
The fourth episode, The Tempest , on October 15, is a story filled with monsters, spirits, clowns, lovers and villains. The strange play begins with a magical tempest and ends with a magical calm.
The last two episodes, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet , will be broadcast on October 22 and 29 respectively.