Thursday, November 2, 2017

Shakespeare References in Premiere, May 1999 Issue

I’ve been going through a lot of old Star Wars magazines that I collected (and am now parting with), and found that the May 1999 issue of Premiere contains a few Shakespeare references. Even before the magazine’s table of contents, there is a Shakespeare reference. There is a two-page advertisement for Max Factor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Collection. At the time, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was in the movie theaters, and on the upper left corner of the first page it says, “Experience the film, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream only in theaters” (p. 6). And the film’s poster is shown. Below that it says, “A dream you never want to end.” On the second page, the collection is shown, and mostly the items are named after the fairies: Pease Blossom lipstick, Cob Web nail polish, Mustard Seed nail polish, Mustard Seed lipstick. Ad copy reads, “A collection inspired by the movie, and designed by the movie make-up artist Ronnie Specter” (p. 7).

Then there is a little blurb about the movie in the Previews section. It reads, in part: “Fairies, lovers, and fools (if that’s not redundant) take up residence in a quasi-19th-century Tuscany, in this fifth cinematic adaptation of the Bard’s mirthful play” (p. 24).

There is also a reference to King Lear in a short piece on Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories: “Over the next few years the undoubtedly gun-shy Allen generated such undemanding and self-exonerating fluff as Broadway Danny Rose and The Purple Rose Of Cairo, casting himself or Mia Farrow as the likable schlemiel – more sinned against than sinning – and didn’t recover his artistic footing until Crimes And Misdemeanors, in 1989” (p. 60). The phrase “more sinned against than sinning” is from a speech that King Lear delivers in the third act.

Then one of the articles on Star Wars is titled “Brave New Worlds,” a play on Miranda’s line from The Tempest: “O brave new world,/That has such people in ‘t.” There is also an article on actor Liam Neeson, who played Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I. “‘Nobody’s interested if you played the greatest Hamlet in Christendom,’ says Neeson, who played Oscar Wilde on Broadway last year” (p. 90).

And there may be more references than the ones I’ve listed. I didn’t read every single word in the magazine.

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