Archive for the ‘Slide Shows/Photo Galleries’ Category

Shakespeare and the Gay Male Gaze

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment


Disclaimer: The photos used are not mine. 

On April 27 2015, a series of Youtube videos were published by, a gay adult film website. The videos were advertisements for a male oral sex simulator called the Autoblow 2.  Three gay adult film actors from were made to read Shakespearean lines while getting stimulated by the sex toy. The videos, containing no frontal nudity, are shown below. 


A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 3 Scene 2


Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1


Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2


The videos coincide with the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, which is held every 23rd of April. The special day is acknowledged by, as shown in the description bar of the first video. Below is a background on World Book and Copyright Day, taken from the UN website. 
We see how the universal appeal of Shakespeare persists to this day when used the Bard in their ads to capitalize on the popularity of World Book Day. Aside from Shakespeare, the video creators used the popularity of their gay adult film actors to further market the Autoblow 2. There is a voyeuristic quality to how the brawny actors pleasure themselves while reading, and the demographic of gay males appear to be loving it based on the Youtube comments.

Shakespeare in gay adult films is a rare occurence. A recent example of a movie that adequately features Shakespeare would be Eating Out: Drama Camp (2011). The film’s plot revolves around a gay couple in a drama camp that stages a raunchy version of  Taming of the Shrew. Below are some of the film’s promotional materials.




The movie posters alone feature Shakespeare. The second poster shows a line uttered by Katherine while in dialogue with Petruchio in Act 2 of scene 1. Similar to the Autoblow 2 videos, Eating Out: Drama Camp panders to the gay male audience because of the way they feature muscular gay film actors engaging in sexual intimacy. Together, these videos show how Shakespeare continues to reach out to and take root in niche markets or specific audiences. The gay film industry knows that they can rely on Shakespeare in promoting products for consumption by gay male audiences.


By: Clement Fabian Dan D. Español, BA English Studies – Language

University of the Philippines – Diliman


Works Cited:

Eating Out: Drama Camp. Dir. Q. Allan Brocka. Ariztical Entertainment, 2011. Film

“World Book and Copyright Day”. United Nations. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.


Note: the original post was deleted by accident last December. The author tried to retrieve the original post, but was only able to retrieve the comment made by Ms. Shara Escorpizo. Shown below is the said comment.



Philippine Productions of Shakespeare

December 8, 2015 Leave a comment

Disclaimer: none of the photos are mine and they were collected from several sources.


The following stage plays are a testament to how the Filipinos are actively participating in the Shakespeare universe. According to, the fans of Shakespeare in the Philippines hit a little over the 499.5k mark and is growing as time passes. [see: facebook/pages/detail/286588754736563-william-shakespeare?country=philippines]

There is no doubt that the works of William Shakespeare has reached far and wide across the globe and has transcended different mediums. Hence, the existence of this blog. It is then not surprising that the Philippine stage would take a knack at his masterpieces. Without further ado, I’d like to present some interpretations of Shakespeare works by different institutions in the Philippines.


  1. Haring Lear

A first. This play featured Shakespeare’s King Lear in the country’s own language, Filipino. Produced by the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA). The text was translated by Bienvenido Lumbera, a national artist of the Philippines.

Image from

Image from

Image from

Image from

Image from PETA

Image from PETA


2. Hakbang sa Hakbang

An opening production for Dulaang UP’s 39th season. A retelling of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. It features the Filipino adaptation of Ron Capinding. It was presented in Filipino AND English (Measure for Measure). The play was regarded as evidence that “Shakespeare is truly global” [read:]

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Image from Dulaang UP

Image from Dulaang UP


3. Romeo and Juliet

This adaptation transcends not just Time, but also place. Set in 21st century Manila, this version of Shakespeare’s classic star crossed loved story aims to make it closer to the hearts of the Filipino youth. This play was produced by Manila Shakeaspeare Company in early 2015.

Photo from Manila Shakespeare Company

Photo from Manila Shakespeare Company

Photo from

Photo from

Photo from

Photo from

4. Tinarantadong Asintado

For Dulaang UP’s 36th season they offered yet another Shakespeare classic with a twist. Also set in the Philippines, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. It is rumored to be one of the bloodiest plays to set on stage.

Photo from Dulaang UP

Photo from Dulaang UP


If you haven’t seen a Filipino adaptation of Shakespeare classics, you’re missing out. Although productions can be found in the many theatre companies in the Philippines, so it is never too late.

Thou shall reblog thee: Shakespeare in Tumblr

December 5, 2015 Leave a comment

by Shara Mariel B. Escorpizo, BA English Studies: Language

University of the Philippines – Diliman

Disclaimer: All media used in this post are not mine unless otherwise stated.


Growing up to the company of my dolls, being alone has been a habit. I play alone, I watch alone, I do things alone. And in 2009, as a high school Freshman familiarizing myself with the internet, I have been introduced to Tumblr, a micro-blogging site. Since then, I have been more alone than ever.

I first encountered Shakespeare on Tumblr. One regular day of reblogging everything I find aesthetically pleasing, I came across a collection of romantic quotes from Shakespeare’s plays in beautiful typography. Of course, being a young, unattractive teenager, I do not really know how it feels to be wooed by anyone, so romantic quotes was the closest I could get to romance.

Typography using a Shakespeare quote

John Austen’s Illustration of Hamlet

Graphic art of Macbeth from

But of course, other than these love quotes and stuff to help you call yourself “cultured”, I have learned a lot about the world through Shakespeare in Tumblr.

People speculating about Mercutio’s sexuality

This woman thanking the Lord she’s not Juliet


The signs as Shakespeare plays

This woman and her standards

This person asking the important Shakespeare questions

Shakespeare aesthetic

This blog that knows what’s up with pop music


The escalation of the Shakespeare things I saw went from artsy and innocent to half-SFW, half-NSFW. #startedfromthebottomnowwehere

All of these are just a hint of the random things you see in Tumblr. With how Global Shakespeare is, it is impossible not to have Shakespeare in a social media platform like this one.


Works Cited:

“@people Who Think Mercutio Is Straight.” Damn Those Vampires,. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“The Signs as Shakespeare Plays.” Celestial. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“The Only Thing I Want to Be Compared to.” What Am I Doing? Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Was Shakespeare a Grump???” Insert Something Clever Here _______ –. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Bestof-society6.” BEST OF SOCIETY6. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Blue-delusion.” So Maybe I’m the Rosaline and at Least I Don’t… Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Cy-lindric.” The Cylinder’s Den. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Dekehlmark.” Le Prince Lointain. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Empressofperdition.” Internally Screaming. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Nycejonez.” Love Me or Hate Me I Still Win. Something to Think… Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

“Popsonnet.” Pop Sonnets. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


Thee… Thou… Whaaat?: Reading and Understanding Shakespeare

December 1, 2015 3 comments

by: Calisin, Johanna Rose E
University of the Philippines – Diliman

Shakespeare is an icon in English Literature. He is continuously read, studied and adapted into different media. However, a lot of people find it difficult to read and understand Shakespeare’s language. Not too long ago, I was one of them.

I sought ways to help myself understand Shakespeare better and recently found 3 very useful videos by TED-Ed.

    The First video is on Shakespeare’s use of the iambic pentameter which is about how the use of stress and rhythm are useful tools in understanding the bard:

    This next video is on Shakespeare’s language. It talks about how he had invented words that we use nowadays and it also talks about romantic language by him. It translates into modern language some of them.:

    The last video is a helpful guide in the language of insults in Shakespeare’s works. Through it, the viewers can understand what kind of insults were used and why these were insulting in works like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet etc:

    Hopefully, others would find these useful as well.

“Shakespeares” in a Typical Day for a 19-Year-Old Guy Who’s Not into Shakespeare That Much (Yet).

November 22, 2015 Leave a comment

By: Cedrick C. Cabaluna, BA English Studies: Language

University of the Philippines – Diliman

Disclaimer: All photos and videos are not mine.

Growing up, I wasn’t really exposed to Shakespeare’s plays. I was into reading books though. Being the socially introverted person that I was, I’d rather read books in a silent corner than mingle with children of my age. Eventually, even I was also able to make friends albeit of different interests. I wasn’t really sure what my contemporaries were into, but slowly, I began to assimilate a more conventional way of spending one’s time (as a teenage male). I’ve been accustomed to it ever since, but I didn’t lose my earlier passion for literature. Now that I am studying Shakespeare in a more intensive (and extensive) manner, I recollect how I first encountered the works of Shakespeare, endearing them to me. Although I’m still not that into “some old guy who wrote plays once”, here are some transmedial “shakespeares” that I like and are interesting enough to not make this blog post a chore to do or to read (at least for 21st century teenagers who have 10-minute attention spans—at best).

1. Gemini – Sponge Cola (Romeo and Juliet)


Sponge Cola is a Filipino band known for their poetic lyric-scheme. The lyrics are great. I used to listen to this all time when I was in high school; it was great inspiration for me to learn playing the drums. I highly recommend that you listen to it yourself. Although the lyrics are quite vague and doesn’t explicitly refer to Romeo and Juliet, the music video showing Romeo and Juliet is highly complemented by the music. Just remembering this song makes me feel nostalgic.

2. Manga and Anime (Romeo and Juliet)

I know that some of the posts here in this blog have already talked about manga and anime, but these two are integral parts of my daily life that I can’t help but include it here even though it may seem repetitive.

I’ve consumed so many manga and anime that have included a subplot where a play is organized by the main characters. And that play of course is one of Shakepeare’s. The subplot has been so common throughout a large variety of manga and anime that it has already become a trope and one would be hard-pressed to find a slice-of-life genre work without a Shakespeare play.

Here are some of which I’ve just recently encountered.

The World God Only Knows



Koi to Uso





As you can see, mostly Romeo and Juliet. Because clearly all teenagers have raging hormones that they can’t just help but feed off the permutations of the same thing again, and again. . . and again.

3. DOTA and LoL (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet)

Please excuse me as I procrastinate over the completion of this blog post. This blog post, albeit short, was almost two weeks in the making. And the very important reason for this delay is: I was squandering my time watching an international DOTA tournament. If you are unfamiliar with DOTA,  it is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). MOBA is “a subgenre of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre of video games, in which a player controls a single character in one of two teams. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths. Player characters typically have various abilities and advantages that improve over the course of a game and that contribute to a team’s overall strategy.” That’s a mouthful. Thanks Wikipedia. I started playing this game when I was in 2nd grade, and back then it was all just for fun and games. It helped me a lot in making friends throughout high school, and winning was solely for bragging rights. But now as e-games blossom and is now considered as a legitimate sports in many countries, tournaments with large prize pools are becoming common.  The biggest of this e-games events is the annual The International. The International Dota 2 Championships 2015, its 5th annual edition,  was held in KeyArena in Seattle which has a total seating capacity of over 17,000. It features 16 teams fighting for a prize pool of  $18,429,613. Now enough of the intro. How do all of these connect to Shakespeare?  Well, the critical character that was used in two different “The International” finals and won the game is Shakespeare-inspired. A character going by the name of Puck.

The resemblance is uncanny.

Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare’s play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Mischievous and playful, very much like the character Puck in DOTA. Other references include the way Puck speaks; he sports a very Shakespearean vocabulary that you’d need a dictionary to understand everything he’s saying, and one of his responses when he dies include “A midsummer nightmare.”, which is an obvious allusion to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. And as if those weren’t enough, Puck speaks in iambic pentameter which you can listen to in this youtube vid.

Another popular MOBA is League of Legends or LoL. It also has a Shakespeare-inspired character: Yorick. Its namesake, Yorick, is the dead court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1, of the play, Hamlet.

Yorick from LoL has a gravedigger theme.

And that’s all I can impart for this post. Please excuse me as I spend my time doing other useless things a sluggish teenager would do.





Shakespearean Sims

November 20, 2015 4 comments

Disclaimer: I obtained the photos from a variety of sources. I do not claim ownership over any of them.

My very first exposure to Shakespeare was probably around 2005, when I was a clueless 2nd grader who started obsessing over The Sims 2. Back then, I had no idea that the very first family I played with, and the entire neighborhood of Veronaville, was inspired by Shakespeare’s most famous and recognized play.

Looking back at the entire neighborhood now, after almost 10 years, it’s quite surprising to see and realize just how many allusions there are to Shakespeare that I missed or paid no attention to at all despite having played the game for more than half of my life. Here are some of them:

A. The Neighborhood



The fictional neighborhood of Veronaville is one of the three pre-made neighborhoods in The Sims 2 base game. Its name is derived from the City of Verona, where Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers meet, fall in love and eventually perish.  As seen in the photo above, the neighborhood is divided into two areas by a narrow body of water.  These two areas have very distinct looks and architectural styles; the area on the right is the “Italian” side, with Mediterranean-style houses reminiscent of the architecture in Verona while the area on the left is the “English” side, inspired by Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon.





      On the left: A pre-made house in the “English” side of Veronaville; On the right: Stratford-upon-Avon


On the left: A pre-made house in the “Italian” side of Veronaville; On the right: Verona

Even the names of the streets and houses in the neighborhood are references to Shakespeare and his plays. Some examples are: 267 Avon Avenue, 28 Bard Boulevard, 5 Pentameter Parkway and 50 Poet Place.

B. The People

The divide in the neighborhood is fitting of the divide between the two prominent families in Veronaville: The Capps and the Montys.


The Capp Family (left-right): Hermia Capp, Tybalt Capp, Consort Capp and Juliette Capp

The Capp family, representing the Capulets,  has 13 living members who are all inspired by a variety of Shakespearean elements. It is an extended family that is divided into 3 smaller families, the most important being the one pictured above. The family is composed of Hermia (the main character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Tybalt (Juliet’s cousin in Romeo and Juliet), Consort (meaning the spouse of a reigning monarch) and Juliette (Juliet from Romeo and Juliet).

Monty 01

The Monty Family (left-right): Romeo Monty, Mercutio Monty, Patrizio Monty and Isabella Monty.

The rival family of the Capps are the Montys, representing the Montague family. The Monty family, like the Capp family, is an extended family that is slightly smaller than the Capps. They have 8 living members divided into 3 smaller, nuclear families. The one pictured above is composed of Patrizio (a spoof of the Montague patriarch), Isabella (main character from Measure for Measure), Romeo (Romeo from Romeo and Juliet) and Mercutio (Romeo’s friend from Romeo and Juliet).


The Summerdream family (left-right): Oberon Summerdream, Bottom Summerdream, Puck Summerdream and Titania Summerdream.

The third main family in Veronaville is the Summerdream family, whose members are all derived from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The family is composed of Titania (Titania, Queen of Fairies), Oberon (Oberon, King of Fairies), Bottom (Nick Bottom) and Puck (Puck/Robin Goodfellow). The Summerdreams, except for Bottom, are all dressed in outrageous clothing and makeup, perhaps an allusion to the fantastic and comedic elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

C. The Story

As in Romeo and Juliet, the history of Veronaville is rooted in the conflict of the two feuding families. As the player enters the neighborhood, the game presents the following narrative:


“Patrizio Monty never forgot Consort Capp’s broken promise. But now his grandson Romeo has fallen for the Capp heiress. Will the Elders live to see the two families united?”


“Juliette Capp has fallen for Romeo, golden child of the rival Monty clan. Can the Capps set aside their grudge and put Juliette’s happiness first?”

Despite changes in some names, relationships and the addition of characters from Shakespeare’s other works, the conflict that is at the heart of Romeo and Juliet is almost exactly transposed in the game.


“The Capps and Montys have been feuding for years, but that hasn’t stopped the younger generation from crossing boundaries and falling in love. Will their actions lead to ruin or bring the families together?”

I’m a self-proclaimed superfan of The Sims 2. Like I said, It’s a game that I’ve loved for more than half of my life. Despite all the changes I’ve gone through in the past 10 years from when I started playing it, to this day, it’s still my most favorite game of all time.

What most people don’t realize and appreciate about this game is that it’s one of the few games that allows its players to be as creative as possible. It has no predestined ending; the game can literally go on forever. That’s why after taking this class and hearing about the many literary incarnations of Shakespeare, transposing the story of Romeo and Juliet to a game like The Sims 2 is perhaps one of the most inventive transformations of Shakespeare because it frees the players and readers from the finality of a play, novel or movie. It will allow the millions of Romeo and Juliet fans to finally control their narrative; to concoct a happier or perhaps an even more gruesome ending to the star-crossed lovers.


“Capp Family.” The Sims 2 Wiki.  n.p., n.d.  Web. 15 November 2015.

“Monty Family.” The Sims 2 Wiki.  n.p., n.d.  Web. 15 November 2015.

“Summerdream Family.” The Sims 2 Wiki.  n.p., n.d.  Web. 15 November 2015.

“Veronaville.” The Sims 2 Wiki.  n.p., n.d.  Web. 15 November 2015.

I apologize for citing only wikipedia pages but it is the most The Sims 2 Wikia is the comprehensive source when looking for anything Sims related.

There’s Fashion in Death: Vogue Magazine and its Fascination with the Death of Ophelia

November 15, 2015 4 comments

By: Erica Bianca Romero- University of the Philippines Diliman

Disclaimer: No image posted here belongs to me, unless specified otherwise.

One of, if not the most memorable scene associated with Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is her death scene. Interestingly, in this part of the play, readers do not actually hear her death in the voice of Ophelia herself; rather, the tragedy was told by Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, which might have been one of the contributing factors as to why the reason behind her death remains a mystery. The insisting question surrounding her (whether she died of an accident or a suicide) makes the character more enigmatic. Perhaps it is why the death of Ophelia has undeniably been sensationalized, romanticized, and at times fetishized in a number of platforms. This particular image of Ophelia (above or near the water, and her flowers tangled around her) finds its way in movies, paintings, adaptations, and other interpretations.

It is then not surprising that the fashion industry would glamorize Ophelia’s death. Vogue, to be more specific, is a fashion magazine which has utilized this particular image over the years. A quick search would give one more than a handful of this magazine’s published photos of a girl in white floating in water with flowers. Concepts of photo shoots might have been more subtle with their references as the years passed by; nevertheless, a girl in a lying (sometimes provocative) position, the water, and the flowers are images often inseparable in specific shoots. The examples given below are a combination of those that directly reference Ophelia and those that appear under the tag: Ophelia and Vogue- meaning they might not have been explicitly citing Ophelia as inspiration but are simply categorized as such, giving the impression that the fashion industry and/or its enthusiasts have a consciousness of this image as something associated with Shakespeare’s Ophelia.

The following pictures openly cite Ophelia as inspiration:

saoirse ronan in the cult of beauty, photographed by steven meisel vogue us dec

Inspired by John Everett Millais’ 1851 painting of Ophelia, photographer Steven Meisel casted actress Saoirse Ronan for Vogue’s December 2011 issue.

saoirse ronan 2

Saoirse Ronan- Vogue December 2011

fay wray as ophelia vogue 1930 photo by edward steichen

This 1930 picture of actress Fay Wray as Ophelia photographed by Edward Steichen is perhaps the earliest Vogue photoshoot inspired by Shakespeare’s tragic character.

wang ji won 2

This is model Wang Ji-Won in a Vogue Korea photoshoot entitled: “Oh My Ophelia.”

wang ji won oh my ohpelia by oh joong seok vogue girl korea

It appeared in Vogue Korea’s April 2007 issue.

“Oh, My Ophelia”: Wang Ji-Won by Oh Joong Seok for Vogue Girl Korea is said to be a take on Millais’ painting of Ophelia.

This is a later photoshoot, also from Vogue Korea called

This is a later photoshoot, also from Vogue Korea called “Amore Ophelia.”

“Amore Ophelia”, Hyea-Won Kang for Vogue Korea July 2013

“Amore Ophelia”, Hyea-Won Kang for Vogue Korea July 2013

The pictures that follow, although not directly referencing Ophelia, are still viewed as Ophelia-inspired by reviewers and fashion writers; this is a testament to how this image has an existing presence in the world-renowned magazine:

Vogue UK December 2012 issue for Dolce and Gabbana

Model Lara Stone in Vogue UK’s December 2012 issue for Dolce and Gabbana is described by as a modern day Ophelia

Alana Zimmer in Vogue China's 2014 issue

Alana Zimmer in Vogue China’s 2014 issue

Photograph by Ben Hassett

Photograph by Ben Hassett

Eniko Mihalik in the 2012 issue of Vogue Italia

Eniko Mihalik in the 2012 issue of Vogue Italia

Actress Rooney Mara in Vogue US' 2011 issue

Actress Rooney Mara in Vogue US’ 2011 issue

Photo taken by Mert Alan and Marcus Piggott

Photo taken by Mert Alan and Marcus Piggott

In addition to these, there is an online gallery of Ophelia-inspired pictures collected by Alessia Glaviano, Senior Photo Editor of Vogue Italia and it can be found in Vogue Italia’s official site:


Amore Ophelia. Digital Image. Pinterest. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Borrelli-Persson, Laird. “The Return of Romance, Ophelia-Style.” Vogue. 18 Sept. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Glaviano, Alessia. “Ophelia from Photo Vogue.” Vogue. 23 Jan. 2012. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Hassett, Ben. Hidden Guardian. Digital Image. Pinterest. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Meisel, Steven. The Cult of Beauty. Digital Image. Partnoveau. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Mert & Marcus. Playing With Fire. Digital Image. Fashiononerogue. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Mcginley Ryan. Bloom. Digital Image. Swide. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Oh, Joong Seok. Oh My Ophelia. Digital Image. Pinterest. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Steichen, Edward. Ophelia. Digital Image. Pinterest. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

Von Unwert, Ellen. So Full of Dreams. Digital Image. Fashionising. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.