scene individable, or POLL unlimited: works of william shakespeare

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just gonna leave this here a couple months

dates are a little arbitrary of me but within range. he really churned it out, huh

Poll Results

King Lear (1605) 11
The Tempest (1611) 7
Macbeth (1606) 6
Hamlet (1602) 6
Cymbeline (1610) 4
Twelfth Night (1601) 3
Julius Caesar (1599) 2
Much Ado about Nothing (1598) 2
Othello (1603) 2
Titus Andronicus (1592) 2
Measure for Measure (1603) 1
Hate this guy 1
Henry V (1599) 1
The Winter's Tale (1609) 1
Henry IV, Part 2 (1598) 1
The Comedy of Errors (1594) 1
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595) 1
Henry IV, Part 1 (1597) 0
Antony and Cleopatra (1606) 0
Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1607) 0
Coriolanus (1608) 0
Henry VI, Part 1 (1592) 0
Henry VI, Part 3 (1591) 0
Henry VI, Part 2 (1591) 0
Henry VIII (1612) 0
The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613) 0
I like the sonnets 0
The Taming of the Shrew (1592) 0
All's Well That Ends Well (1605) 0
Richard III (1593) 0
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597) 0
The Merchant of Venice (1596) 0
King John (1596) 0
Romeo and Juliet (1595) 0
As You Like It (1600) 0
Richard II (1595) 0
Troilus and Cressida (1601) 0
Love's Labour's Lost (+ lost sequel Love's Labour's Won) (1595) 0
Edward III (1593) 0
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1590 or before) 0

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:19 (four years ago) link

Hamlet (1602)
Measure for Measure (1603)
Othello (1603)
King Lear (1605)
All's Well That Ends Well (1605)
Macbeth (1606)
Antony and Cleopatra (1606)

look fuck off

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:20 (four years ago) link

Richard II (1595)
Romeo and Juliet (1595)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595)

v lyrical stretch here. trying new things

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:24 (four years ago) link

Henry VI, Part 1 (1592)
The Taming of the Shrew (1592)
Titus Andronicus (1592)

hilariously hacky year: a prequel, a meanspirited sex comedy, and gorn

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:28 (four years ago) link

then coming off that: richard iii. about how it plays imo.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:30 (four years ago) link

if henry iv were one play i might vote for it over whichever of that absolutely absurd 1602-06 sequence of tragedies i end up at. as it is, dark horses include midsummer's (presages hamlet's trippiness), julius caesar (protip for your modern production: less vulgar winking about trump, more theater of cruelty-- cinna the poet should make them carry out the sobbing toddlers they shouldn't have brought), okay 2 henry iv still (i like not such grinning honour as sir walter hath) and uh lol romeo and juliet actually (sexy potboiler for teenagers lowkey about death and time). i have v 8th-grade taste in shakespeare. if you are more sophisticated, consider richard ii or something.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:07 (four years ago) link

King Lear, every day of the week

Twelfth Night in the comedy subdivision

The Bridge of Ban Louis J (silby), Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:14 (four years ago) link

yeah voted lear w/o much debate

Clay, Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:19 (four years ago) link

hamlet-othello-lear is an amazing crescendo and poss even a dialectic (psychedelic deconstruction of human experience ---> okay again, BUT EVIL ---> BOTH AT ONCE??? idk) but sometimes i think (fear?) the only point to any of it is to pass thru it so as to report from the nihilistic horizon of macbeth. to return would be as tedious as to go o'er.

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:29 (four years ago) link

(but you get to return anyway, to tony+cleo the hangover movie: lush, languorous, camp, full of sex talk and slapstick, in the end wholly commandeered by as alive an egomaniac as hamlet or iago and carried away into death to leave us to live with bureaucracy. love's like an astronaut: it comes back but it's never the same)

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:48 (four years ago) link

(and antony, enthroned in the marketplace, did sit alone, whistling to the air, which, but for vacancy, had gone to gaze on cleopatra too, and made a gap in nature)

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 20 January 2018 05:56 (four years ago) link

A & C is generally underrated, but not quite at the top o' the heap. Lear nips in ahead, as does Hamlet. Midsummer Night's Dream in the comedy subdivision. Richard II among the English history plays.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 20 January 2018 06:06 (four years ago) link

this reminds me i need to watch the 1935 version of Midsummer Night's Dream. i've only really read Macbeth and R&O and that was back in high school. at any rate i still need to read most of these.

fwiw i actually spent last in a wikipedia hole reading about one of the texts that influenced King Lear, A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures

this lead me to read about what "popish" mean, leading me to read about the Popish Conspiracy, etc., etc., on and on and suddenly it's 2am lol

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:39 (four years ago) link

Lear or Tempest, probably the latter cos everybody loves Lear

will maintain for the rest of my life that Hamlet is a deliberate spoof on revenge tragedies

hell is auteur people (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:51 (four years ago) link

Macbeth for me I'm a simple man of simple terrors

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:52 (four years ago) link

i have to think on it but i think macbeth maybe for me too

Mordy, Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:57 (four years ago) link

My Shakespeare prof at college made a really good observation (he may have been quoting someone else) that had Shakespeare's plays had not been easy for him to write they would have been impossible. The rate he cranked them out, the difficulty of revision, the consistency and quality, writing with quill, by candlelight ...

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:02 (four years ago) link

I read Titus Andronicus and watched the Anthony Hopkins film recently and actually loved it. Something intense about the sheer hate and brutality. Answer is probably Hamlet rn.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:30 (four years ago) link

Torn between, oh, 11 or 12 of these.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:33 (four years ago) link

Lear is the best but also the hardest to go back to, especially as I and mine get older

for repeat entertainment value, Macbeth (murder, horror, tight running time) just edges Hamlet (murder, horror, smartmouth emo lead, but tl;dr)

Brad C., Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:42 (four years ago) link

Is this a dragger etc

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:54 (four years ago) link

Tempest has the best words I don't know what else matters

hell is auteur people (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:06 (four years ago) link

I'm pretty sick of Hamlet atm. Seen too many in the last few years.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:07 (four years ago) link

Hamlet 2 was pretty dope tho

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:11 (four years ago) link

I didn’t care for Polonius: A Hamlet Story

The Bridge of Ban Louis J (silby), Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:14 (four years ago) link

Voted for Lear. Macbeth and Tempest, though!

Cherish, Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:00 (four years ago) link

King Lear (Peter Brook, 1971)

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:05 (four years ago) link

I also liked Joss Whedon's film of Much Ado About Nothing as well. Those are my two fave Shakeys on film.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:07 (four years ago) link

Throne of Blood might be my fav Macbeth

The Bridge of Ban Louis J (silby), Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:29 (four years ago) link

Always feeling it:

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:33 (four years ago) link


I mean..

piscesx, Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:15 (four years ago) link

for repeat entertainment value, Macbeth (murder, horror, tight running time) just edges Hamlet (murder, horror, smartmouth emo lead, but tl;dr)

For repeat entertainment value, little beats Richard III. For depth and wisdom, maybe Lear, or in some ways, maybe The Tempest, which is his most self aware and a fine sendoff.

Someone should poll all the different radical "Richard III in space" or whatever adaptations of Shakespeare.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:15 (four years ago) link

The Tempest is easily the strangest of his great works. It works fantastically as an insubstantial pageant, but the allegorical elements are insufficiently meshed together to withstand scrutiny, which weakens it.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:22 (four years ago) link

I've heard it described as sort of a Shakespeare's greatest hits: magic and mix-ups, romantic entanglements, father and daughter stuff ... missing the history, I guess. And Prospero's final monologue is like the Bard taking a bow.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:25 (four years ago) link

t/s reading vs watching/listening

read a lot of the plays through school / undergrad but i'm not sure i really began to love Shakespeare (or even that i necessarily "got it" to any great extent) until i found torrents with the complete sets of BBC tv performances and Arkangel audio versions (god bless these latter-day Robin Hoods, whoever they are). the BBC performances are a particular treat cause they're full of performers who were all over Radio 4 in the 70s and 80s so you'll be sitting there watching e.g. Julius Caesar and you'll suddenly realise that the bloke playing Cassius was also the voice of Legolas in the Brian Sibley radio adaptation of LOTR and it's like unexpectedly meeting an old and cherished friend and i just love it

the answer to the poll is probably Lear but i'm going to throw a vote to Julius Caesar because it's in my head now and i get quite sentimental when i think of Brutus

Windsor Davies, Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:02 (four years ago) link

Got my bedtime reading for the next couple of months sorted then!

cajunsunday, Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:03 (four years ago) link

Every time I reread Anthony and Cleopatra I'm gobsmacked by the number of speaking roles -- is it his largest cast of characters? I mean, fuckin' Taurus gets a line.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:41 (four years ago) link

I bet one of the biggest casts is one of the Henry plays.

I know most words is Hamlet (the character) by some fair amount.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 21:35 (four years ago) link

i have only been exposed to half the work (if that), so i would probably yield a very predictable top 5.

also best not to mention how much i like Taming of the Shrew

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:24 (four years ago) link

post completely in character: i like hamlet the best

#TeamHailing (imago), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:31 (four years ago) link

Ophelia is such a lovely name, it's a shame it's tough to name someone after her. Same with Desdemona, to a slightly lesser extent.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:33 (four years ago) link

trying to imagine all the theatre criticks paying heed to his each new play like idk kendrick lamar albums or something nowadays

like, he drops a midsummer night's dream and everyone looks at each other - the 'richard iii guy' is legit, fucking legit

#TeamHailing (imago), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:33 (four years ago) link

Anthony & Cleopatra is the one that I've read the most and feel like I know the best. But I love The Tempest and Midsummer Night's Dream.

jmm, Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:36 (four years ago) link

I've only seen Hamlet staged twice, well over 25 years ago, but guess who played the lead both times?

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:48 (four years ago) link


#TeamHailing (imago), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:50 (four years ago) link

Not to mention pre-Niles Crane as Laertes in the first one.

I've never seen a live Lear, but James Earl Jones as Othello is the greatest Shakespeare performance I've seen (1982, with Christopher Plummer as Iago).

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:51 (four years ago) link

caught antony sher as iago as a schoolboy - really quite something

#TeamHailing (imago), Saturday, 20 January 2018 23:59 (four years ago) link

Sher is bringing his Lear to New York in the spring.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 21 January 2018 00:05 (four years ago) link


flappy bird, Sunday, 21 January 2018 00:13 (four years ago) link

Iago as schoolboy sounds interesting

remember the lmao (darraghmac), Sunday, 21 January 2018 00:41 (four years ago) link

surprised to see the tempest so high and the dream so low

i think i voted hamlet, corny but that's where my head's at rn. v happy with the hamlet/macbeth tie, a deadlock

wish i'd thrown tony+cleo a vote tho jeez

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 15 March 2018 23:02 (four years ago) link

No shame in Hamlet stanning.

My favorites are probably Measure for Measure, Winter's Tale, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, Hamlet.

I had a friend in college who lit into me about preferring Ham to Lear, saying "Hamlet is the 19th century man's play. Look to Lear. The problems of Lear are the problems we're concerned with in the 20th century."

It was 1990 then, so the play of the 21st century had yet to be determined.

Starlight Express, maybe?

I leprecan't even. (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 15 March 2018 23:09 (four years ago) link

hamlet again

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 15 March 2018 23:17 (four years ago) link

(nah it's macbeth obv.)

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 15 March 2018 23:18 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Is Rosalind the most alluring woman in literature? Fine. She is.

― morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, January 21, 2018 5:14 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

otm: she is a chameleonic demiurge of the kind shakes usually reserved for tragedies and AYLI was robbed here. harold bloom iirc likes to imagine falstaff escaping history to arden; likewise i wouldn't turn down rosalind/hamlet slash, fraught as it'd get.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:15 (three years ago) link

exhilarating to see such a character go undoomed. even iago ends in silence.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:18 (three years ago) link

jaques, tho, is my boy

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:19 (three years ago) link

I'd want to see this there -

― Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:04 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I'm not certain what my favorite is, but probably would have voted for As You Like It on the correct assumption it would get relatively little attention from others

― Moo Vaughn, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:08 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Whoa @ 4 whole Cymbeline voters!

― MarmiteGrrrl (Leee), Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:18 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

that play is trash xp

― YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:29 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

manahatta I mean

― YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:30 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:22 (three years ago) link

Currently teaching Macbeth again. I should probably whisper it but this is the first time it's felt, I don't know, a bit two dimensional. Maybe it's me.

feel u, but macbeth's two-dimensionality seems both deliberate and aggressive after the swelling tesseracts of AYLI/hamlet/lear

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:30 (three years ago) link

in the end it's one-dimensional: a collapsed point

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:32 (three years ago) link

yeah Macbeth knows where it’s going and doesn’t really make any bones about it and to me that’s one of its strengths

Clay, Thursday, 14 March 2019 07:45 (three years ago) link

Apparently Manahatta is good now

YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Thursday, 14 March 2019 11:18 (three years ago) link

The sheer tragic focus of Macbeth, the dark hand of fate and all that, is pretty ruthless. Just utterly doom-laden.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 14 March 2019 12:04 (three years ago) link

I saw a National Theatre production of Macbeth recently. It was pretty ordinary, partly through some weird casting choices (Malcolm was as camp as a row of pink tents - to the point where it almost seemed pantomimic; Macbeth was lacklustre, at best), but mostly because of the vague 'post apocalyptic' setting, which really lacked any sense of focus.

I really like that idea that Macbeth is actually single-minded and bone sharp as opposed to two dimensional. I'm teaching it again at the moment and it's Act V and the pathos of Macbeth's weariness at his mistakes that's really hitting me.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Thursday, 14 March 2019 12:09 (three years ago) link

the vague 'post apocalyptic' setting, which really lacked any sense of focus.

ha before posting last night i was having a weird vision of a postapocalyptic as you like it-- fleeing a tyrant-run city to an improvised community in a forest everyone conveniently keeps calling a "desert". pastoral doesn't have to mean lush imo. postapocalyptic macbeth is of course a lil on the nose.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 14 March 2019 22:13 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

saw As You Like It for the first legitimate time last night, my previous exposure being to a version performed by middle schoolers when I was like 10 and which I remembered nothing of. All superlatives about Rosalind are probably correct. Lots of emotional juice wrung out of the surprisingly-briefly-appearing and superficially ridiculous Jacques. All the comedic episodes of the Forest are gentle delights. Production I saw set lots of poetical interludes to music which was great, music in Shakespeare is great.

don't mock my smock or i'll clean your clock (silby), Friday, 10 May 2019 16:27 (three years ago) link

The songs are in the original -- well, their lyrics, anyway.

adam the (abanana), Friday, 10 May 2019 16:59 (three years ago) link

Most of Shakespeare really needs a lutenist along with the actors. Few productions can afford the extra expense.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 10 May 2019 17:53 (three years ago) link

his contemporaries, who knew Shakespeare, who socialized and worked with him, had no trouble believing he wrote the works attributed to him. they never seem to have questioned his authorship. there are no sly hints, no furtive winks, no challenges, no puzzled doubts in evidence.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 10 May 2019 21:50 (three years ago) link

also worth noting how much Elizabethan authors, because they were officially heavily censored, loved to bury clues in their writing, using puns, acrostics, double meanings, and other kinds of wordplay. I didn't read the article in full, but to be convinced, I'd expect at least several instances of Emilia Bassano inserting puns or hidden clues to her authorship into the plays or poems.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 10 May 2019 22:08 (three years ago) link

i support this. we need a couple hundred years of assuming shakespeare is a woman so that the jobbing journalists of the future can pitch "reviewing the plays, i was shocked to find that othello is written with incredible, even subversive empathy for male experience-- perhaps shakespeare was a man?" pieces. also maybe people will get into shakespeare

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:33 (three years ago) link

i'm playing hamlet this summer lol

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 01:33 (three years ago) link

Don't rush your lines! Speak them feelingly.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 11 May 2019 02:01 (three years ago) link

you should see me saw the air w my hand

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 03:26 (three years ago) link

vanity unexpectedly demanding this post: (not really)

difficult listening hour, Saturday, 11 May 2019 03:35 (three years ago) link

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 22 May 2019 18:52 (three years ago) link

Branagh's new film is a hit job from a man who loathes Shakespeare.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 22 May 2019 19:06 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

1. recommendation for an edition of WS's complete works ? i'm in USA and it seems as if THE NORTON SHAKESPEARE is a safe bet ?

2. any thoughts on isaac asimov's two volumes on shakespeare ? i've never thought much of asimov, rightly or wrongly, but peeking at a .pdf that's available online, seems like it might be fun ? i haven't read much shakespeare crticism / commentary outside the BIG THREE (empson, hazlitt, and dr. johnson)

budo jeru, Tuesday, 11 August 2020 00:57 (two years ago) link

I bought the newest Oxford edition like a year ago, seems pretty rad (lots of additional online content) except that there's two additional weighty volumes of commentary I didn't buy and now I feel like I'm missing out on something (or will be when I start digging in).

Ask yoreself: are you're standards too high? (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 11 August 2020 01:01 (two years ago) link

tbc that's the 2005 second ed. yeah ?

budo jeru, Tuesday, 11 August 2020 01:10 (two years ago) link

It's the New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition (2018).

I have/had a copy of the Riverside Shakespeare (edited by my old Shakesbeard prof) which was solid but which has apparently evaporated into mist or something since my undergrad days.

Ask yoreself: are you're standards too high? (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 11 August 2020 01:46 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

I've been watching this series of John Barton masterclasses. There's something kinda fusty about them (like Barton's cardigans) but I've found them captivating tbh. For all his obvious learning, Barton keeps things relatively simple. And what a line-up of actors: David Suchet, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart etc.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 7 April 2022 19:47 (four months ago) link

yeah i luv these too. lol in that one @ suchet's "naturalistic" salerio.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 7 April 2022 21:35 (four months ago) link

This looks cool, thanks for the hint.

Came Here to Roll the Microscope (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 7 April 2022 22:48 (four months ago) link

directing ilx's second-favorite shakespeare play this summer. had previously always been nonplussed by its inert single-agent surface but as usual preproduction immersion has given me more than enough to get obsessed with. the drama is there. ("mine would, sir. were i human.") outrageously difficult to edit tho: so gnarled, impacted, dense; so intricately enjambed. i cut romeo & juliet down by a third last year and it was like disassembling lego in comparison.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 7 April 2022 23:09 (four months ago) link

There’s a strange lack of drama to Timon of Athens

I've been fascinated by it since I saw the BBC version as a kid. Everything said upthread is true; Timon himself is too shallow to be tragic, and once he throws his revenge party, he sits in his cave until the play ends, like he's looking forward to Beckett.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 8 April 2022 11:14 (four months ago) link

I've tried to imagine what it might be like to play Lear every night for weeks on end and have concluded that it would kill a superhuman to give it its full due that often. Yikes!

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 8 April 2022 18:22 (four months ago) link

I've been watching this series of John Barton masterclasses.

Obviously a lot of talent there, but Ian McKellen easily outshines the rest. Even reading snippets he always presents an integrated performance that incorporates facial expression and gesture with an apt tone, pace and emphasis. Damn, he's an actor down to his very bones.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 8 April 2022 18:56 (four months ago) link

three months pass...

directing ilx's second-favorite shakespeare play this summer.

still not my second-favorite but wouldn't have wanted the summer without it

(i played the bosun.)

been reading henry vi. the scope! the violence!

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 26 July 2022 12:01 (three weeks ago) link

I find the Tempest both unbearably moving and irritating (language former, intrigue/mistaken identity latter)! This looks like a good production. I'm going to ask a banal but genuine question: what's directing a Shakespearean play like?

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 26 July 2022 14:42 (three weeks ago) link

I've recently read Antony Sher's book about playing Richard and Harriet Walter's about playing Lady Macbeth and now want to read as many actors' accounts as I possibly can. Anyone got any recommendations? (I'd love to have a go at a Shakespearean acting class but can't help but feel that ship has sailed.)

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 26 July 2022 14:44 (three weeks ago) link

i have a book called "shakespeare on stage" of julian curry interviews w (mostly) rsc types about specific roles-- likely glossier than what yr looking for, also hit and miss in terms of actor/role pairings. (don't even dislike him so feel bad for how funny the phrase "jude law on hamlet" reads to me.) more or less recommend tho. anyway acting in shakespeare is always good for you imo!

fine with mistaken identity stuff in tempest as it's just ariel fucking w stefano & trinculo and their gullibility is proportionate to ariel's superpowers (+ stef/trinc's drunken and traumatized state)-- plus the specific phrase "thou liest", as a kind of spell that reveals+widens the chasm of atomized despair underneath these two frightened castaways' surface camaraderie/bravado, is a deep choice-- but i did cut an iteration or two yeah lol.

i came around to loving the play of course and even think its Themes are Urgent And Contemporary but it still seems to me an extremely difficult one with more exposition than plot dominated by an unusually unpleasant protagonist speaking some of shakes' densest+freest verse so i'm surprised it's such a crowd fave-- tho it is def a trip so maybe that's why.

what's directing a Shakespearean play like?

i have only directed shakes actually so i don't rly know. i set aside a few weeks at the start for text work-- just sitting in a circle reading+talking-- normal for professional productions but fairly prolonged for mid-sized-town community theater-- think this paid off as partway thru production i felt a distinct shift where after having started out doing a lot of detailed discussion (caliban week 2: "this is like an english class"-- main difference being it's an english class where you actually settle on the answers to questions) i stopped having to do much except approve/adjust things people were trying. in the end all my fave business was cast-developed but early on i spent a lot of time talking about who they were.

technically things were a little harder lol-- after sticking v cautiously to a detailed+modest plan directing romeo+juliet last year i got cocky and decided to be more "exploratory" w this and it predictably turned into apocalypse tempest. ariel's costume alone a months-long series of spectacular battery-powered dead ends that ended up in plain minimalism. producer on-and-off furious with me. i got covid and had to direct over zoom for two weeks. everyone in a good mood now tho.

work at a theater so early on i herded the cast+crew into private latenite big-screenings of forbidden planet (sure) and jurassic park (magic island, storm, control-freak wizard who discovers source of supernatural power locked inside tree + must renounce it, artist-figure's speech at end simultaneously apologetic and defensive). the former influenced our music (original compositions for droning keyboard) and the latter our ambient jungle noises (maybe excessive). ferdinand and miranda started irl dating and he calls her "alta". rip morbs.

we ran for three weeks on our colossal temporary parking-lot stage-- if it's raining or you're distancing you park in front of it and tune into the show via radio-- then packed up the set and drove it ~50mi up the coast to plonk it down (no longer elevated) in a football field about as big as the town it's in. (no ambient jungle noises necessary here.) had been dreading this final roadshow weekend because every parks dept official i talked to about it, except the one whose idea it was, looked at me like it was the dumbest and vainest project they'd ever heard of, and i feared audiences of actual zero. but we forgot that there was nothing else going on for dozens of miles in every direction, because our three nights there went from 50 to 65 to 90 people sitting on bleachers getting high and watching the tempest, surrounded by pitch and cloudless black, while we city slickers staggered around backstage gawping at the stars. after having to give multiple performances, back in town, across the street from an active construction site full of beeping backhoes and crashing steel (at like 8pm????), to audiences sitting silently inside rows of SUVs, in a plague-ravaged and dying civilization, in the rain, "site B" turned out a utopian coda. we looked like we'd landed in a cheap spaceship:

just amateur stuff obv, but healthy.

henry 6 report: parts 3 and (especially) 2 full of good stuff if structurally a lot sloppier not just than the henriad but also than richard 3. part 1 struck me as pretty dumb, especially the part where a frenchwoman decides to lure talbot to her house; lures him to her house; says "aha! i have lured you to my house!"; he says "aha! my army is outside"; she is like damn you crafty english!! you are the best. nevertheless some semi-interesting unresolved ambiguity around its heroes+villains i guess-- also worth mentioning there are a lot of good female parts in the first history tetralogy, more than anywhere else outside the comedies: margaret, elizabeth, anne, joan of arc. (also tamora in titus, written amidst these and set in a sealed hobbesian hothouse world that seems v closely linked to the civil-war anxiety worked thru w increasing existential despair in the tetralogy.)

difficult listening hour, Wednesday, 3 August 2022 06:42 (one week ago) link

wavered on whether or not to include the "apocryphal" edward 3 in current survey but was glad i did. wondered if i'd be able to tell which passages are suspected of being shakespeare's-- but not only does the density and refractivity of metaphor tip you off in the first five lines of a scene, if you wait another five lines you'll prob get a reference to philomela+tereus. (or to dido.) he seems to have been brought in partly to punch up the love stuff: a long scene where edward dictates a love letter to the countess philippa, goes back over it, changes it, winces at some lines, congratulates himself on others-- couldn't believe how gratuitously meta it was.

more interesting because afaict this is the debut of shakespeare seriously on (if not in) love. in two gentlemen of verona it's a plot device; taming of the shrew is too satirical to let itself get mushy undistanced; the most convincing "love" moment in the first history tetralogy is richard coming on to anne, a terrific scene but not exactly the balcony. instead, if anything, there's a preoccupation with rape-- especially when (as in the histories+titus) characters are also instantiations of, or contenders for, the state. (in 2H6 jack cade excoriates a quailing mob of followers for accepting ius primae noctis from the enclosing crown, about thirty lines after announcing every london woman's sexual availability is now his to cybernetically redistribute.) but edward, rhapsodizing inside a much shallower and less cynical play, is free to be merely earnest-- which maybe is part of why you suddenly see shakes blushing+revising in front of your eyes.

and after the edward 3 punchups he publishes venus+adonis and the rape of lucrece (each dedicated to patron/beautiful-boy the earl of southampton)-- both again about sexual assault (and one again about the state) but both also preoccupied in much more detail than heretofore with desire-as-such: place in nature, disproportionate and ironic motive force, function as mask (or glover's-kid shakespeare would say dress) for death. the violence of the civil wars is here inside the feelings themselves. not long now till romeo+juliet, in which love+hate are different valves thru which human life gradually discharges the same finite pressure. someone (venus, juliet) will always make a mystical+crystalline case for infinitude-- the more i give to thee, the more i have-- then lose everything. it's maybe not until rosalind that a character has the reach to peacefully close the circuit between the free mind and the constrained body, or the imagined world and the real, or the self and the other, or life and death, or whatever it is that's going on here.

difficult listening hour, Friday, 5 August 2022 21:41 (one week ago) link

just a bit of fun

seo layer (Noodle Vague), Friday, 5 August 2022 22:29 (one week ago) link

likewise i wouldn't turn down rosalind/hamlet slash, fraught as it'd get.

― difficult listening hour, Wednesday, March 13, 2019 9:15 PM bookmarkflaglink

like romeo i am left so unsatisfied

pressing on. comedy of errors: lynchian farce, much richer/stranger than advertised. the mounting anguish of the antipholi as their identities implode points forward to the high trags but also made me think of after hours. the last few lines-- where the identical servants are left alone onstage to argue over who takes precedence and then give up: "and now let's go hand in hand"-- instantly a favorite shakespeare ending. seems like it'd be unusually fun to do.

love's labor's lost: lmaoooo what the fuck is this. i'm not smart enough. but after three urban-bourgeois comedies (verona/shrew/errors) increasingly vivid in their physical+cultural details ("give her this key, and tell her in the desk / that's covered o'er with turkish tapestry / there is a purse of ducats. let her send it"-- this in errors took my breath away, not sure why-- something about the sight of this elizabethan manufacturer's credenza being projected simultaneously back to greece and forward to me) i do admire the hard shift to fake aristos in a featureless and artificial play-space all talking in the most impacted possible hypershakespeare and wearing buttons reading Hi I Am Constituted Entirely Of Language. someone should set it on a message board.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 8 August 2022 08:41 (one week ago) link

How's King John? I may read it finally this week. Popular in the 19th century, no? Faulconbridge gets the good notices.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 August 2022 09:30 (one week ago) link

i haven't read it either but in the full chronological survey i'm currently doing like shakes were tribe albums or star wars it is coming up! just some v familiar territory (richard 2, r&j, midsummers) to recross first.

Richard II (1595)
Romeo and Juliet (1595)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595)

v lyrical stretch here. trying new things

― difficult listening hour, Friday, January 19, 2018 6:24 PM bookmarkflaglink

hadn't realized here that these directly follow LLL, which shares the formality i was partly trying to get at here-- all very cleanly+artificially structured (R2 is an X; R&J a solar arc; midsummers has two versions of everything) and the verse is v regular (+frequently rhymed)-- but actually in that sense these plays are pulling back a lil from the extreme formality of LLL, where people (sometimes groups of people) keep breaking out in sonnet. i don't know that he's ever again this loyal to form.

at the very same time tho it's also where genre starts to crack-- the most tragic history, the most comic tragedy. characters start talking a lot about dreaming. the flawless verse structure cannot be shored up against a weird psychedelic rot blooming inside their heads. LLL takes place in a playground and ends w a messenger announcing that the king is dead and everyone has to grow up. one of the leads' speech prefixes immediately changes from PRINCESS to QUEEN.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 00:52 (one week ago) link

never been a biographical criticism guy (one of the attractions of shakespeare) but hamnet dies around here of course.

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 00:57 (one week ago) link

Thanks for your replies about your production of the Tempest, difficult listening hour. Looks fascinating and a total headache to organise - fair play to you. Was it recorded? Would certainly take a look if it's online anywhere.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Monday, 15 August 2022 21:11 (yesterday) link

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