Naomi Watts: Ophelia’ makes Hamlet accessible

The story of Hamlet is well known, but a new film starring Naomi Watts and Daisy Ridley reimagines Shakespeare’s story from the viewpoint of his love Ophelia, which Watts says makes the story more accessible. (June 25)

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2 Guys From Brooklyn Went To Syria To Fight ISIS. Now They’re Back (HBO)

Christopher is a former bike racer and photographer currently working as a metalworker in Brooklyn. His roommate, Chris, works as a theatre director. It’s a big change from a year ago, when both of them were in Syria, fighting the Islamic State as part of a Kurdish militia.

One year ago the U.S.-backed Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), finished a four month campaign to push ISIS out of its Syrian capital, Raqqa. Official American involvement in Raqqa was limited to airstrikes and small teams of elite special forces troops. But the YPG, a socialist Kurdish militia, didn’t have the same limitations, drawing hundreds of foreign, less-than-experienced fighters to its ranks.

Signing up was easy — both men found applications on Google. That’s also how they met, while fighting for the YPG, and they were there on the day Raqqa officially changed hands. (After hearing rumors that ISIS had placed a bounty on the heads of foreign fighters, Chris and Christopher requested to be identified only by their first names or Kurdish noms de guerre.)

“Most of the time it was super boring,” said Christopher. Chris says he read the “whole cannon” of Shakespeare during his time in Syria.

And like many foreign fighters, Chris decided to hide his involvement in the Syrian war, avoiding social media, and only telling close friends and family where he was. Christopher, on the other hand, took a slightly different approach, building a small Instagram following, where he posted updates from the battle in Raqqa and propagandized in support of Kurdish revolutionaries.

VICE News Tonight met Christopher and Chris in New York to ask what exactly compelled them to run off to Syria to fight for the Kurdish cause.

This segment originally aired October 17, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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‘Macbeth’ stars celebrate the joys of rehearsal

Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack – who are starring in a new stage version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in Stratford-upon-Avon, England – agree that “rehearsal is the wine of life.” (April 20)

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Ade Edmondson: Living with Shakespeare

“Pretending to be a teenager”: “Twelfth Night” stars Adrian Edmondson and Kara Tointon discuss living opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. (Feb. 6)

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Naomi Watts tackles Shakespeare

Naomi Watts premieres female-focused Shakespeare riff “Ophelia” at Sundance Film Festival. (Jan. 23)

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Et tu Brute? Sponsors kill theatre backing over Trump-ish ‘Julius Ceasar’ role

In New York, a play featuring the stabbing of a president Trump look-alike has come under fire – for allegedly inciting violence. It’s a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar… and the main character is styled to look like the US president. Several sponsors of the theatre – Delta Airlines and Bank of America among them – pulled their financial support…

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London Attack & Border Patrol Power: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)

Watch the full episode of VICE News Tonight on HBO from March 22, 2017.

We examine Trump’s plan to hire 15,000 immigration and border patrol agents. Seb Walker reports from Molenbeek, the Brussels neighborhood some call Europe’s “jihad capital,” to see what has changed since the Paris attacks.

Plus, The Royal Shakespeare Company produced a unique adaption of The Tempest in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we speak to some of the people that brought the performance to life.

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