Love’s Labor’s Lost was pretty fun to read. I particularly liked how clever the women were. Here’s just a little background about the plot: So the king of Navarre and three of his friends have all pledged to abstain from pleasure, essentially — women, food, booze — for three years while they concentrate on their studies. But a French princess and three of her friends have come to Navarre on diplomatic business.
The king’s decree says that no woman can come to his court during that time, so… what to do? Well, the princess and her ladies have to set up camp in a field. I love her response when he welcomes her:
Ferdinand. Fair princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.
Princess of France. “Fair” I give you back again; and “welcome” I have not yet: the roof of this court is too high to be yours; and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.
So you can see how these women aren’t gonna take any guff from those men. And they don’t.
Of course, hilarity ensues when the king and his men fall for the princess and her ladies… when they’ve sworn off women.
I watched two performances of the play: one a BBC production that’s very true to the play and quite entertaining. The other, a 2000 film by (and starring) Kenneth Branaugh, set in the 1930s… and… it’s a musical. Brannaugh does take other artistic liberties with the play, but they don’t detract from the original plot. It’s a fun one to watch for a laugh, for sure.
So sometimes it’s “Labor’s” (in The Riverside Shakespeare) and sometimes it’s “Labour’s” (the Brannaugh film, and many online references). I get that — the American spelling vs. the British… but what I don’t get is why the apostrophe? I should ask Patrick.
UPDATE 09 Jun 2013: After thinking about it some more last night and saying it out loud to Patrick, I realized it’s “Love’s Labor Is Lost.” Now that makes sense.