Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing is currently my favorite Shakespeare play. A fun story of joy, guilt, love, quarrels, forgiveness, sorrow, and redemption. But at the same time a masterful and timeless combination of low and high humor.

And the 1993 rendition by Kenneth Branagh is phenomenal. Watch it.

I have watched this closing scene a couple dozen times and it still draws a giant grin on my face every time:
*Sorry, for some reasons YouTube requires you to watch this clip on their site

If you were paying close attention you would have spotted 3 of the 4 quotes that Mumford and Sons use in the title track of their album Sigh No More.

Did you spot them all?

"For man is a giddy thing" (~3:14) and "Live unbruised..." (~3:41) are the easy ones. But there's another one hidden in there.

 It's in the lyrics of Patrick Doyle's "Strike up Pipers"1

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;
Men were deceivers ever;
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never;
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,
For dumps so dull and heavy;
The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey, nonny, nonny.

While it's obvious Mumford and Sons are making an allusion to the play in Sigh No More, more and more I'm convinced they must have been watching this exact scene in the movie when they penned the lines for the finale in the album, After The Storm.
"With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."
With the full context of the play, and understanding the full context of the album; the celebration that begins at 4:50 in the clip, and that line of the song represent one in the same things to me. Together they stir one of the most uplifting emotions I have ever experienced.

1 Those lyrics are a direct quote from earlier in the play, a song that Balthazar sings in Act II Scene III (~line 34). This is my favorite soundtrack by Patrick Doyle. He even played Balthazar in the movie.

Interesting to note that Patrick also scored Sense and Sensibility and Henry V. All 3 of these movies starring Emma Thompson, with Kenneth Branagh also starring in Henry V.

If you love following the spiderweb of how talent collaborates across many projects, you really should be using (if you don't already) the powerful "common search" feature on IMDB.