The image of William Shakespeare at the edge of space appears in a still from the short film Lovers and Madmen.
William Shakespeare’s impact on the world remains constant more than four centuries after the famous playwright began his career.
To celebrate the continuing resonance of the famous playwright’s words 400 years after the publication of the First Pamphlet on November 8, 1623, British director Jack Jewers sent a photo of Shakespeare along with a letter from one of his most famous works to the Verge of space.
About 1,000 copies of the newspaper were originally published as “Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies” was printed seven years after his death. It is over 900 pages in length and included a collection of 36 plays. Without it, 18 plays would have been lost, among them « Macbeth,” according to Reuters.
The image was attached to a weather balloon, with a camera and GPS tracker, and accompanied by a speech from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” into Earth’s upper atmosphere, according to a press release from inVerse Films. A team from the aerospace company Sent Into Space assisted in the space flight.
The scene was filmed for the short film Lovers and Madmen, in which a young woman enters an art competition by trying to send a picture of Shakespeare into the air.
It is narrated by English actor Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who. He performs Shakespeare’s speech “Stranger Than True” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to accompany images of Earth’s skyline leading into outer space, according to the release.
The film is part of a series of six short films by director Jack Jewers, who reimagines six of Shakespeare’s most popular speeches and poems for the 21st century to mark this historic anniversary.
“I had this image in mind: an image of Shakespeare – the universal playwright, whose work I believe truly speaks to everyone – a backdrop in space, with the curvature of the Earth in the background. Could there be a more appropriate way to celebrate the universality of our human experience, and how it has been depicted over 400 years? With these wonderful words, who is that? said the Jews in the release.
The short film Our Revels Now Are Ended draws on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including themes of loneliness and isolation.
In addition to space travel, the films explore the importance of Shakespeare’s words to us in the year 2023, and the impact… Covid-19 pandemicRussia’s war in Ukraine, migration, and the refugee crisis in Europe, according to the inVerse Films website.
“Our Celebrations Are Now Over,” taken from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, deals with loneliness and social isolation during the pandemic, and the feelings of liberation and reunion with loved ones after lockdowns end.
“Everything that has happened to us in the last few years of turmoil — mass disease, fears about immigration, protests, conflict in Europe, the growing desire to challenge authority and speak truth to power — was also happening in 1623 when the first paper was issued,” the Jews said.
He added: “The similarities are uncanny, and Shakespeare’s words are now more modern than ever in their ability to speak powerfully to our contemporary lives.”
The films will be available online on Wednesday after the London premiere.
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