― Tom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
From the plays, it's gotta be 'Antony'n'Cleopatra' - the slow dazzle
of mid-life sexiness;'Macbeth' - mental, bloody, hilarious; and
'Richard III' for dr demento statesmanship.
Destroy: Timon of Bleeding Athens. All the plays with Henry in the
title (take your Falstaff and shove him, Harold Bloom). Romeo and
― stevie t, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
The Bard is the cultural thing most likely to make me act reactionarily to overpraise and canon-enforcing talk. I've enjoyed what few of his plays I've seen performed, but I don't like reading them.
I should probably try reading them again now that I'm different as a reader (and actually finding it enjoyable to read plays at all), but until then my reaction stands.
I don't tend to like poetry from before about, oh, 1900, but I've been meaning to read the sonnets because of the contrast they'll give to John Berryman's Dream Songs. But I don't want to read them from my Complete Billy Shakes - would rather write them down separately, like on cards or a piece of paper, and savor them one-by-one. Just haven't gotten around to that yet though. Maybe I'll copy one down tonight.
― Josh, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Can we go back to talking about fan fiction and Dr. Who now?
― masonic boom, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― mark s, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Tracer Hand, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Kris, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― DG, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Search the Tempest. Shakespeare knew he was dying, and wrote about
his bookishness at last.
Destroy the Tempest. I have never seen a production which doesn't
drag the singing out to the most tedious degree.
― Magnus, Monday, 18 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― mark s, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Richard Tunnicliffe, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Granted, the main reason I like Romeo and Juliet
is the film version from 1968 where Olivia Hussey flashes the camera
rushing to the window. I'm glad my 9th grade English teacher didn't
preview that tape before showing it...
― Dan Perry, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― -- Mike Hanley, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Joe, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
If I was writing my A-Level English exam again I would possibly
remark that Keanu Reeves casting is a masterpiece. Don Pedro the
character he plays is after all the villain. This is a Shakespeare
comedy and as such the villain is written in a laughable pantomime
way but also written clumsily: (Witness the line "Any cross, any bar,
any impediment" - which would have worked so much better if it
was "Any impediment, any cross, any bar"). The reason is that - this
being a comedy - everyone gets off scot free. If Don Pedro was
successful in being an evil character the ending would appear to lack
justice. Hence by writing him like a fool, and having him played by
an idiot, such a situation does not occur.
Sir Ian's Richard III is overblown but worth it merely for the shot
of St Pancras as the Houses of Parliment. My Richard III was better
("Baran as King Richard possesses the comic touch of a young John
Sessions": Borehamwood Times. I've not acted since.) And Antony &
Cleopatra kicks ass - though I've never seen it performed
― Pete, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Otis Wheeler, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Search: The film of Macbeth which features none other than (I'm not
making this up) child actor Keith Chegwin playing the little
boy/minstrel. This lightened up my GCSE English class considerably, I
seem to remember. (The gratuitous lopping off of heads helped as
― Bill, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Search: Robert Lindsay as Benedick in the BBC production of Much Ado
About Nothing, Robert Lindsay as Richard III (RSC), Robert Lindsay as
Citizen Smith. Also search my GCSE exam paper on Macbeth which I
wrote with zero revision and without even having read the thing.
Wish I could get my hands on it - must be hilarious.
― Madchen, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
If you mean I've got to be joking about liking it, then, no, I did
quite like it, but not hugely. I had heard that they had changed it
between inception and the performance I saw, and I think the reviews
were, ahem, mixed. Nice plot, though.
If you mean I've got to be joking about the awol snake, I am
delighted and astonished to offer this proof:
― Magnus, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Search: Hamlet. It actually IS his best. By a margin so big it ain't
funny. Brannagh's film is also great *despite* Brannagh RUINING so
much of the text with his mannered reading - especially where his
voice goes all squeaky. God, I hate that. - and the 'What a piece of
work is a man?' speech is totally thrown away as Ken climbs some
stairs and distractedly blurts it out. GRRRR! How *could* he?
The film is saved, however, by three brilliant performances by Derek
Jacobi, Julie Christie and Kate Winslet - her Ophelia is still, apart
from her Sue in Jude, her best work. And her singing is genuinely
Oh yeah, also Destroy Stratford, *especially* the RSC theatre - an
ugly, squat, charmless 70's-nightmare building.
― DavidM, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Troilus And Cressida is excellent, or was the one time I saw it.
Thersites is one of his best characters, and the play as a whole is
remarkably clear-sighted (read: immensely cynical) in its approach to
romance. Yes, there are a billion characters though, and I had a kind
of advantage from knowing who they all are anyway.
Measure For Measure is another underrated one - a nasty judicial
thriller nestling inside a comedy.
The jealousy scenes in Winter's Tale are nerve-rackingly horrible (in
a good way). The hippie scenes in same are pretty awful though.
I used to know one of the sonnets off by heart. Cant even remember
what number it was now.
All round greatness award to Lear, I think.
― Tom, Tuesday, 19 June 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
Subsequent school trips, I was always hoping
for maximum floor-wave action, but got none.
I also saw Twelfth Night there (Judi Dench
as the twin sister?): I was perhaps somewhat
stirred by all the girls-as-boys cross-
dressing (to be honest I can't remember, so
perhaps not) but afterwards baffled my
English teacher when he asked which
character we liked best: the Sea Captain, I
piped up. Why? I knew not how to answer,
and just mumbled: actual ans = because (all
hulking and dressed in dark grey leather
and fabby black thigh-boots) he totally Had
Pash on redhead Sebastian, which is why he
promises to wait for him at the seaside. I
didn't understand analytically why I so took
to him: but def.intuited in blurry yet strong
way the whatever of this bearish smitten
Daddy so doting on his slender boyish-
girlish charge (charge who was in fact IN
charge: rowr). The sea captain I still
remember. All the comedy stuff with
Malvolio and Sir Toby Belch: gone, pretty
Saw Lear open-air at Ludlow in mid-teens.
Fell in love with Cordelia of course (Hopey
Glass for Jacobeans), considered Edmund the
Bastard v.hard done by, and delighted that —
when [who? Kent?] has eyes pulled out, the
puller threw actual meaty blobs INTO THE
AUDIENCE!! (No, maybe only onto the stage:
but this was still First-Class
The part I actually always liked best on
these school trips was chicken-in-a-basket,
a type of food that now seems as medieval as
Search: Hamlet; King Lear; Measure For Measure ('underrated', Tom?
Not among Shakespeareans); Richard II; Henry IV (both, but especially
Part I); Henry VI Part II (now THAT's underrated: intriguing comical
representation of peasants' rebellion, c. 1450).
I'm not particularly keen on (The Rape Of) Lucrece, Othello, Macbeth,
or even everyone else's fave Antony & Cleopatra. Henry V has moments
but is quite bad as a whole. I can't stand Richard III, either.
Interesting: The Merchant Of Venice.
Search also: Stephen Dedalus on Shakespeare, though not for clarity
― the pinefox, Thursday, 12 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― anthony, Thursday, 12 July 2001 00:00 (twenty-one years ago) link
― Ryan Omalley, Tuesday, 23 April 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link
― jel --, Tuesday, 23 April 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link
― the pinefox, Sunday, 20 April 2003 15:18 (nineteen years ago) link
― jewelly (jewelly), Sunday, 20 April 2003 15:25 (nineteen years ago) link
My favourites: I love loads of the sonnets, plus Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, Tempest, Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello.
― Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 20 April 2003 15:40 (nineteen years ago) link
I'm working on a paper on how Falstaff gradually takes over the plays and how supposed hero Hal becomes gradually less sympathetic, so I'd like to hear any insights you might have into that.
Have you ever seen Orson Welles's film of both Henrys (plus some of the others), Chimes at Midnight?
― Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 21 April 2003 07:12 (nineteen years ago) link
― Fred Nerk, Monday, 21 April 2003 07:30 (nineteen years ago) link
― Matt (Matt), Monday, 21 April 2003 08:10 (nineteen years ago) link
What is the nature of this paper you're working on?
I might have more thoughts later. (In fact - I already do.)
Reading HIV1+2 again is strongly reminding me of both Blair *and* Bush, in their different ways. Issues of politics, strategy, presentation (Blair), and of ways to secure the appearance of legitimacy when it has initially been doubted (Bush). Such 'presentism' sounds crass and insensitive. But in this case... it isn't.
― the pinefox, Monday, 21 April 2003 08:58 (nineteen years ago) link
You might get along better with Graham Holderness on the histories, if you don't already know his work.
For all their qualities, the Henry plays are dispiriting.
― the pinefox, Monday, 21 April 2003 11:03 (nineteen years ago) link
The Bush/Hal parallels are eerily obvious:
"Be it thy course to busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels, that action, hence borne out, may waste the memory of the former days."
― Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 21 April 2003 11:21 (nineteen years ago) link
Or perhaps I mean: how can we reconcile Shakespeare's 'support for war' in HV with those lines at the end of HIV2?
They really are the Smoking Gun; or perhaps the Discharg'd Pistol.
Other major issues:
1) does HIV as a whole seem to legitimate the Henries as Kings? If it wants to do so, why insist so often on their illegitimacy, as usurpers? (Empson said that usurpation was the secret theme of the Henriad.)
2) How facile is it that HIV tells HV: "I was never seen as legitimate, cos I was a usurper; but you'll inherit from me, so you'll be seen as legitimate"? (This is what gets me thinking of Bush: not the father-son succession, but the way Bush will find later ratifications of his initially bogus legitimacy.)
3) How about the trickery and treachery of the royal forces in HIV2, Act IV? Unbelievable! The King's party is Machiavellian through and through.
4) Note the utter callousness, with a strong class edge, of Hal in HIV1. Not so much the famous soliloquy in which he dissociates himself from Falstaff et al (bad enough), but the dreadful scene in which he 'humiliates' the Drawer Francis ('Anon, anon!'), then has the cheek to mock Francis's lack of verbal range! It is insupportable to read of this character being endorsed as 'mirror of English kings', 'ideal form of the monarch' (see the astoundingly bad finale to Maynard Mack's intro to Signet HIV1).
― the pinefox, Monday, 21 April 2003 11:35 (nineteen years ago) link
Although Henry V is commonly portrayed as a hero-king (see Olivier's film) I don't think many people in any audience feel that way by the end of HIV Part 2.
What do you make of the epilogue to that play? It seems baffling to me: I can't think of another play Shakespeare felt the need to apologize to the audience for. It also seems odd that he promises to bring Falstaff back in the next play, and doesn't (not that he could have had any place in it, without ruining the patriotic bombast).
― Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 21 April 2003 12:06 (nineteen years ago) link
Very strange. Empson again (Kenyon Review, Spring 1953): Falstaff's 'food for powder' speech says to HIV: "that is all you Norman lords want, in your squabbles between cousins over your loot, which you make an excuse to murder the English people".
― the pinefox, Monday, 21 April 2003 15:25 (nineteen years ago) link
C.L. Barber, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy (1959) on folk tradition and carnival (and cf also Bakhtin, Rabelais And His World)
Robert Ornstein, A Kingdom For A Stage (1972), on history and Shakespeare's aesthetic play with it in the histories
Derek Cohen, Shakespearean Motives (1988), on rituals of violence
Graham Holderness, Shakespeare's History (1985), on politics of Shakespeare's epic drama
― the pinefox, Monday, 21 April 2003 20:46 (nineteen years ago) link
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 18:42 (nineteen years ago) link
question for debate: who was the Hal/Henry V of Orwell's day?
― Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:33 (nineteen years ago) link
― N. (nickdastoor), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:34 (nineteen years ago) link
― anthony easton (anthony), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:43 (nineteen years ago) link
― DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:55 (nineteen years ago) link
― N. (nickdastoor), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:56 (nineteen years ago) link
one day I will change this.
― DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:57 (nineteen years ago) link
― Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:58 (nineteen years ago) link
― N. (nickdastoor), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:59 (nineteen years ago) link
did Edward Bond do Early Morning, the one about Queen Victoria having an affair with Florence Nightingale, and her heir being half of a pair of siamese twins?
― DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:11 (nineteen years ago) link
― Dada, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:25 (nineteen years ago) link
Surely, in its way, Angels In America fits this criterion.
― Chris P (Chris P), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 23:04 (nineteen years ago) link
just watching this again
as a result of reading this http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/apr/03/ian-mckellen-10-best-shakespeare-roles-on-film?CMP=fb_gu
― piscesx, Sunday, 3 April 2016 17:29 (six years ago) link
― Psmith, Pharmacist (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 11 February 2018 20:54 (four years ago) link
Released On: 21 Apr 2020
Khalid Abdalla, Matthew Needham and Cassie Layton star in Shakespeare's tragedy. This version is staged in an imagined near future, in which a power-hungry Turkish president attempts an attack on Cyprus. The western forces rush to Cyprus' defence, under the command of the fearless General Othello. But can an Arab-born, Christian convert ever be truly accepted by the people he serves?
― Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 21 April 2020 11:09 (two years ago) link
Shakespeare our contemporary. pic.twitter.com/fxFi5WijMy— Stephen Unwin (@RoseUnwin) January 25, 2023
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 09:58 (one week ago) link