shakespeare

jenks

thread death
i dont think theres such a thing as a good shakespeare performance. just read them.
I disagree with the idea that the only good version is the one you construct in your head. In particular, i think the comedies do come to life off the page and on the stage - I saw the Midsummer Night's Dream that has just finished at the Lyric in Hammersmith and spent most of it laughing - not in that, i know there's a joke coming kind of 'knowing ho ho ho' way but in genuine surprise.

I think reverence is the death of Shakespeare on the stage and i think the braver you are with the editing the better.

Obviously do read them but they are not novels instead they are road maps for
performance. The very best understanding i have ever got of a play is by seeing it well played.

However, my very worst experiences of Shakespeare have also been in the theatre - I hated Macbeth at The Globe the other year and could have walked away from As You Like it at Stratford if it hadn't been for a very attractive actress playing a very minor role.

Looking forward to What Country... set of plays (Tempest/12th Night/Comedy of Errors) with same cast at the Roundhouse in June. http://www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/themes/what-country-friends-is-this.aspx
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I saw this production and I was surprised by how good it was. I fancied all of the actresses, which helped, but it also avoided all Branagh/Olivier/Brian Blessed bombast or affectation. It was genuinely funny, snappy, lovely to look at; the recital and interaction was contemporary and fresh, which made it easy to follow and as gorgeous as it is on the page and amusing (which it never is on the page). It was a revelation, in fact, like the Peter Brook/Paul Scofield Lear is when you first watch it.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
ive fallen asleep last couple of times ive seen shakespeare performed. i dont think theres such a thing as a good shakespeare performance. just read them.
I agree with this, actually...

Or at least, there's no such thing as a PERFECT Shakespeare performance - one actor will nail it and the other will go wildly astray

e.g. I've DLd an audiobook of The Tempest and Ian McKellen does Prospero well but Ariel is annoying as fuck
 

jenks

thread death
I agree with this, actually...

Or at least, there's no such thing as a PERFECT Shakespeare performance - one actor will nail it and the other will go wildly astray

e.g. I've DLd an audiobook of The Tempest and Ian McKellen does Prospero well but Ariel is annoying as fuck
I am not so sure about that - I just think that's more a case of getting used to theatre itself - they are more than just the speeches. The RSC and NT do live screenings at cinemas now and I've seen some amazing productions in the last few years - Simon Russell Beale's Lear for example was brilliant and the Julius Caesar with the all black cast - phenomenal.
 

CORP$EY

no mickey mouse ting
read a little bit of 'twelfth night' on my lunchbreak, very enjoyable

MARIA
[Sir Andrew Aguecheek's] a very fool and a prodigal.

SIR TOBY BELCH
Fie, that you’ll say so! He plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages word for word without book, and hath all the good gifts of nature.

MARIA
He hath indeed, almost natural, for besides that he’s a fool, he’s a great quarreler, and but that he hath the gift of a coward to allay the gust he hath in quarreling, ’tis thought among the prudent he would quickly have the gift of a grave.
 

CORP$EY

no mickey mouse ting
This line from Sir Toby Belch too

'What a plague means my niece to take the death of her brother thus? I'm sure care's an enemy to life.'
 

CORP$EY

no mickey mouse ting
twelfth night if it was dissensus

OLIVIA - corpsey
FESTE - Sadmanbarty
SIR TOBY BELCH - martin
SIR ANDREW AGUECHEEK - craner
MALVOLIO - ?
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I was being provocative/I've only read about ten pages of the thing

You're actually the Duke
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Got stoned last night and read the first few scenes of 'The Taming of the Shrew'.

As I predicted, I enjoyed it a lot more than I did when I was sober. Probably in part because being stoned puts you in a silly, irreverant mood - and it's a silly, irreverant play.

I was instantly able (imbued with my new superpowers) to see how in Shakespeare (unlike in, say, Milton) you have all these different SORTS of language colliding - from proley slang to high-falutin classical references. In the opening scene, e.g., Sly is a clear percursor to Falstaff, and speaks in the same unruly, ramshackle, witty prose. Then along comes Lord Snooty to jape him right up, and immediately you're in the world of measured, lofty blank verse - which becomes almost self-parodic when they begin flattering and gulling Sly, to make him believe HE is an aristocrat.

I marked this as 'the first beautiful lines' - who knows if they're first but they are beautiful:

'Thy hounds shall make the welkin answer them
And fetch shrill echoes from the hollow earth.'

Noticing here, too, already, the imagery of the earth being commanded, ministering to aristocratic command, that you get in the Tempest.

As in the Tempest, too, the concern with the magical or comical assumption of identities, the mixing up of identities (and - comical staple, this - of the meaning of words), the flaunting of theatricality. It's all there, and in one of his first plays.

Another thing I re-noticed: how the love-struck lapse into rhyming couplets. This sort of irreverance towards poetry that - I REPEAT - you don't find in Milton or (aside from Byron) the Romantics.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Perhaps one of the things that makes Shakespeare great is that he didn't take his plays half as seriously as critics have (the Bardolatry of Bloom, e.g.). Hence him chucking it all in and his friends having to publish his plays posthumously.

The opening of ToTShrew reminding me of the tavern scenes in Henry IV - again, the collision of high and low culture, the wit, the japery, the theatricality
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
also to state the obvious - his grasp of the manners of human psychology is so clearly and unpretentiously displayed, and is centuries ahead of its time...
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Falstaff embodies something of Shakespeare's spirit in that he's a spectacle of the inventiveness of amorality. 'Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world.' (And of course Henry represents the flipside of that coin, the order that needs to be in place to reign in inventiveness and create art - the magic circle that Luka's referred to on here before.)

Compare Iago's comparatively arid amorality vs. Othello's naive granduer.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Shakespeare is also the patron saint of puns.

If he was writing today he'd be drawing inspiration from The Sun and Buzzfeed.

I've read somewhere that Shakey mixed latin and saxon in a quite innovative way. Where did I read that? I can't remember.

Wherever I read it, they used this speech from Macbeth to exemplify it:

'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.'

The bathetic fall from the third line to the fourth.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood,
Stop up th’access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry ‘Hold, hold!’

:fire::fire::fire:
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
"The best actors in the world, either for Tragedy, Comedy, History, Pastoral, Pastoral-Comical, Historical-Pastoral: Tragical-Historical: Tragical-Comical-Historical-Pastoral: Scene individable, or Poem unlimited."
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Watched a few of the BBC's Hollow Crowns recently and it confirmed me in my love of Henry IV Part 1.

The scene in which FALSTAFF plays HAL's father and then visa versa (and all that takes place before it and after it) is about as good as anything gets - the writing, I mean, though I really like both performances.

Then later on, Falstaff excuses his cowardly behaviour (playing dead) with sheer force of wit:

FALSTAFF
... The better part of
valour is discretion; in the which better part I
have saved my life.
 
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Corpsey

call me big papa
Everything and Nothing by Jorge Luis Borges


There was no one inside him, nothing but a trace of chill, a dream dreamt by no one else behind the face that looks like no other face (even in the bad paintings of the period) and the abundant, whimsical, impassioned words. He started out assuming that everyone was just like him; the puzzlement of a friend to whom he had confided a little of his emptiness revealed his error and left him with the lasting impression that the individual should not diverge from the species. At one time he thought he could find a cure for his ailment in books and accordingly learned the "small Latin and less Greek" to which a contemporary later referred. He next decided that what he was looking for might be found in the practice of one of humanity's more elemental rituals: he allowed Anne Hathaway to initiate him over the course of a long June afternoon. In his twenties he went to London. He had become instinctively adept at pretending to be somebody, so that no one would suspect he was in fact nobody. In London he discovered the profession for which he was destined, that of the actor who stands on a stage and pretends to be someone else in front of a group of people who pretend to take him for that other person. Theatrical work brought him rare happiness, possibly the first he had ever known–but when the last line had been applauded and the last corpse removed from the stage, the odious shadow of unreality fell over him again: he ceased being Ferrex or Tamburlaine and went back to being nobody. Hard pressed, he took to making up other heroes, other tragic tales. While his body fulfilled its bodily destiny in the taverns and brothels of London, the soul inside it belonged to Caesar who paid no heed to the oracle's warnings adn Juliet who hated skylarks and Macbeth in conversation, on the heath, with witches who were also the Fates. No one was as many men as this man: like the Egyptian Proteus, he used up the forms of all creatures. Every now and then he would tuck a confession into some hidden corner of his work, certain that no one would spot it. Richard states that he plays many roles in one, and Iago makes the odd claim: "I am not what I am." The fundamental identity of existing, dreaming, and acting inspired him to write famous lines.

For twenty years he kept up this controlled delirium. Then one morning he was overcome by the tedium and horror of being all those kings who died by the sword and all those thwarted lovers who came together and broke apart and melodiously suffered. That very day he decided to sell his troupe. Before the week was out he had returned to his hometown: there he reclaimed the trees and the river of his youth without tying them to the other selves that his muse had sung, decked out in mythological allusion and latinate words. He had to be somebody, and so he became a retired impresario who dabbled in money-lending, lawsuits, and petty usury. It was as this character that he wrote the rather dry last will and testament with which we are familiar, having purposefully expunged from it every trace of emotion and every literary flourish. When friends visited him from London, he went back to playing the role of poet for their benefit.

The story goes that shortly before or after his death, when he found himself in the presence of God, he said: "I who have been so many men in vain want to be one man only, myself." The voice of God answered him out of a whirlwind: "Neither am I what I am. I dreamed the world the way you dreamt your plays, dear Shakespeare. You are one of the shapes of my dreams: like me, you are everything and nothing."
 
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