If you caught Graham Norton's show last week you might have heard Star Trek's Jean Luc Picard, better known as Sir Patrick Stewart, mentioning bingo. Could it be that one of the UK's top thespians is a secret fan of the game? He may well be in secret, but no, Bingo is in fact the name of his current play!
Bingo: Scenes of Money and Death is the full title of the play and Stewart is cast as William Shakespeare. The play is set after Shakespeare's glory days in London and focuses on an "overwhelming moral dilemma" regarding power and money.
Find out more about Bingo at The Old Vic. The show runs from 16th February until the 31st March 2012.
The play has nothing to do with bingo, but writer Edward Bond is quoted as saying, in explanation of the titles: "Art has very practical consequences. Most 'cultural appreciation' ignores this and is no more relevant than a game of 'Bingo' and less honest" (Wikipedia).
Bingo and Shakespeare may seem an unlikely pairing, but this isn't the only play which brings the two together. At last year's Edinburgh Fringe you could go to Shakespeare Bingo: Titus. Now the play was all about Titus, but audience members received bingo cards and had to cross off related phrases to get "house". A similar show also ran in 2007 at The Edinburgh Festival. Mind you, the reviews suggest that Shakespeare and bingo perhaps don't work too well together.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there aren't (as yet) any online bingo sites called "Shakespeare Bingo" or "Bard Bingo". However, another historical figure - Robin Hood - has recently popped up in bingo circles. With good bingo names at a premium would someone consider using England's greatest writer as a theme?
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