Monday, November 1, 2021

November 2021

 "Thou shalt be free as mountain winds…’ It’s very windy today in Stockholm on this, the first day of November. A beautiful autumn day. I hope the weather is favouring you wherever you are, and that the month ahead is good to you.

Now, as always, this promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself always need support, even now when book signings and lectures can again be scheduled. Only on the Internet can I reach people like you, who are interested in Shakespeare would like to have the blog in book form, as well as support the Shakespeare Calling project. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

I would be thrilled to get an email from you if you bought the book. rubyjandshakespearecalling@gmail.com 

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • In the novel Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, a dress is described as more for A Midsummer Night’s Dream than Gone with the Wind.
  • A review in Dagens Nyheter of Benjamin Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream mostly tells the story but seems to like the production.
  • A review in Dagens Nyheter of The Tempest, at Stadsteatern in Gothenburg, is enthusiastic over the multimedial production with video, music, dance, Internet, TV, 3D art and a noodle bar.
  • Swedish actor Lil Terselius has died. She is known for her many roles, including Gertrude from Hamlet.

 

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/ 

  • Stand By Me – River Phoenix is in My Own Private Idaho which is a spin-off of Henry IV. Richard Dreyfuss is in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a spin-off of Hamlet, and The Good-bye Girl, a spin-off of Richard III.
  • The Awakening - Rebecca Hall’s father founded the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dominic West is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III.  Imelda Staunton is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream Re-Told, Shakespeare in Love, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing.
  • Chumscrubber – Glenn Close is in Hamlet. Ralph Fiennes is in Coriolanus. John Heard is in O. Allison Janney is in 10 Things I Hate about You, a spinoff of The Taming of the Shrew.
  • The Turn of the Screw - Michelle Dockery is in The Hollow Crown.
  • Stigmata - Gabriel Byrne is in Prince of Jutland. Jonathan Pryce was in The Merchant of Venice, which we saw at the Globe in London, and Timon of Athens

 

 

Further since last time:

  • Started reading: Women of Will by Tina Packer.

 

Posted this month:

  • This report

 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by http://shakespearesallskapet.se/

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

October 2021

 If you’re in London in October, you can see Romeo and Juliet at the Globe. Oh, I wish!

As always, this promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself always need support, even now when book signings and lectures can again be scheduled. Only on the Internet can I reach people like you, who are interested in Shakespeare would like to have the blog in book form, as well as support the Shakespeare Calling project. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

I would be thrilled to get an email from you if you bought the book. rubyjandshakespearecalling@gmail.com 

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • Pericles is going to be performed in Gävle, a small town in Sweden, this season,  The Tempest in Gothenburg
  • Shakespeare was quoted in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

 

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/

  •  
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – Edmond O’Brien is in Julius Caesar
  • Bend It Like Beckham - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in Titus.
  • Midnight Express - John Hurt was in The Hollow Crown, King Lear
  • X-Men Origins Wolverine: Liev Schreiber is in Hamlet and Lynn Collins is in The Merchant of Venice.
  • The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne - Maggie Smith is in Richard III, Bob Hoskins is in Othello, Wendy Hiller is in A Comedy of Errors, Richard II. Marie Keane is in Macbeth. Prunella Scales in in The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • A Street Cat Named Bob - Luke Treadaway is in The Hollow Crown
  • Second Nature: Pip Torrens is in The Hollow Crown.
  • Rope: Cedric Hardwick is in Richard III

 

Further since last time:

  • Nothing special. It’s been another quiet Shakespeare month.

 

Posted this month:

  • This report

 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by http://shakespearesallskapet.se/

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

 

 

 

 

Monday, September 6, 2021

September 2021

 ‘The teeming Autumn big with rich increase…’ Where did the summer go? And now we head into September. As we in the northern hemisphere move indoors again, we musn’t forget our face masks and social distancing. Even though we’ve been vaccinated! Stay safe, everybody, the world needs all the Shakespeare lovers it can get!

As always, this promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself need support more than ever when we cannot arrange book signings and lectures. Therefore, sales are down drastically. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

I would be thrilled to get an email from you if you bought the book. rubyjandshakespearecalling@gmail.com 

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • Gifty tries to take part in the conversation of the boyfriend’s intellectual friends by explaining her research on addiction but it’s too scientific for them and they start talking about King Lear. Gifty hasn’t read Shakespeare since high school and falls silent. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi.
  • In the modern ghost/witch story Witch Hunt by Syd Moore Dan, who hovers between madness and psychic powers, quotes from The Tempest.
  • In Haruki Murakami’s novel Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage Tsukuru’s friend Haida likes to read Shakespeare. Hmmm, it would be fun to hear Shakespeare in Japanese, wouldn’t it?


Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/

 

  • Jaws – Richard Dreyfuss is in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and The Good-bye Girl, in which he plays an actor doing Richard III.
  • Wonderstruck - Michelle Williams is in A Thousand Acres, a spinoff of King Lear
  • The Omen - David Warner is in Star Trek the Undiscovered Country, a loose spinoff of various Shakespeare plays, and Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • Waterworld - Kevin Costner is in Postman about a wandering actor doing Shakespeare productions in a dystopian future.
  • Warm Bodies: The whole film, although I didn’t figure that out until the balcony scene.

 

 Further since last time:

  • Nothing special. It’s been a quiet Shakespeare month.

 

Posted this month:

  • This report

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by http://shakespearesallskapet.se/

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

 

Monday, August 2, 2021

August 2021

 ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ This quote has nothing special to do with August, but we have been watching film versions of Hamlet and it is one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes, so there it is. Happy August, everyone. Stay safe, don’t stop being careful.

As always, this promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself need support more than ever when we cannot arrange book signings and lectures. Therefore, sales are down drastically. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

I would be thrilled to get an email from you if you bought the book. rubyjandshakespearecalling@gmail.com 

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • As we know Buffy’s friends are well educated and on one occasion as Buffy half-heartedly assembles the troop to go after some demons, Giles reflects, ‘Not exactly a St Crispin’s speech. We few, we happy few…’ To which Spike mutters, ‘We band of buggers.’
  • In Magnus Västerbro’s bok Svälten: Hungeråren som formade Sverige (Famine: the years that formed Sweden) he mentions the malignant rumour that Shakespeare bought up grain and hoarded it, refusing to sell or donate it to starving neighbours. Västerbro takes the stand that Shakespeare wasn’t hoarding, he was merely putting aside enough to keep his own family fed, as any father would do. Thank you, Magnus. I think you’re right.

 

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/

 

  • Atomic Blonde – James McAvoy is in Macbeth Re-Told
  • Kong Skull Island - Tom Hiddleston is in The Hollow Crown as Hal then Henry V. Brilliant.
  • House of D: Anton Telchin is in Cymbeline and Robin Williams is in Dead Poets Society, which has a lot of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in it, and in Hamlet.
  • Tenet: Clémence Poésy is in The Hollow Crown. Kenneth Branagh has been known to have Shakespeare connections once or twice.

 

Further since last time:

  • Watched: Three versions of Hamlet, by Brook (Adrian Lester), Doran (David Tennant) and Branagh (Branaugh.
  • Wrote: my text on Hamlet, the character of Ophelia and how she is portrayed.

 

Posted this month:

 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by http://shakespearesallskapet.se/

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on:

 

The Many Several Ophelias in Hamlet

 

The many several Ophelias

in

Hamlet

 

     Consider Ophelia. In her few scenes she is told sternly by her brother and father to stay away from Hamlet, she is upset and scared by Hamlet’s odd behaviour, confused and heart-broken over Hamlet’s declaration that he loved her once but never loved her, uncomfortable with Hamlet’s raunchy cheerfulness at the play, driven mad by her father’s death (or perhaps the loss of and betrayal by Hamlet) and finally, offstage her death, possibly suicide. Does this progression make her a whinging wimp? A deeply sensitive person? A rebellious young woman, beaten down by repression and betrayal? A strong young woman clever enough to escape an unbearable life?

     In this essay I will not answer these questions, but I will study the portrayals of Ophelia in four different film versions, played by four different actors.

 

1990

Director: Kevin Kline

Hamlet: Kevin Kline

Ophelia: Diane Venora

    

     In Ophelia’s first appearance Venora plays her as just a bit resentful towards her brother’s advice. She talks back but affectionately. She speaks of Hamlet happily to Laertes, then firmly and earnestly to her father. She only agrees doubtfully to obey her father’s orders to avoid Hamlet.

     In Ophelia’s next scene, Venora describes Hamlet’s odd behaviour emotionally and convincingly, but afterward she exits flittingly and girlishly which sadly gives a shallow impression of the character she had been developing.

     She makes up for it in the confrontation with Hamlet. It’s very strongly done, and Verona already reveals Ophelia’s approaching madness. The scene with Hamlet at the theatre is unremarkable but her final scenes are superb. Verona plays mad Ophelia with heartrending passion, grief, confusion – is she grieving the loss of her father only, or of Hamlet as well? Her performance brought tears to my eyes.

 

2001

Director: Peter Brook

Hamlet: Adrian Lester

Ophelia: Shantala Shivaligappa

 

     This version of Hamlet is truly excellent, and Adrian Lester is one of the top three Hamlets I’ve seen. Sadly, Shivaligappa is not given the same chance to shine. Her whole first scene with Laertes and Polonius is cut, thereby eliminating an opportunity to develop Ophelia’s character.  The monolog about Hamlet’s upsetting behaviour is well done by Shivaligappa but the nunnery dialog with Hamlet is low-key and Ophelia’s ensuing monolog is shortened, once again robbing Shivaligappa of a chance to fill out her role. In the madness scenes she is very subdued and hardly seems mad at all.

     And maybe that’s the whole point. Now that I think about it, that could be exactly what Brook was aiming for. In that case, Shivaligappa does an admirable job and I think I just decided that she is one of the best Ophelias.

 

2009

Director: Gregor Doran

Hamlet: David Tennant

Ophelia: Mariah Gale

 

Almost a perfect film production of Hamlet; there is only one slight jarring aspect. I just can’t quite accept Mariah Gale as Ophelia. Why? I don’t know. I like her teen-age clothing in her first scene with Laertes and Polonius. She doesn’t take her brother so seriously and answers him like a teasing little sister. Towards her father she’s quiet and faintly resentful. Good. Well done. But when she reports about Hamlet’s strange behaviour, she becomes weepy and breathless. In the ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ scene she is not only weepy but casts her eyes to the heavens. The theatre scene is hard to do, and I have no objection to Gale’s interpretation. She does the madness scenes well, although again she’s weepy. I feel very petty in objecting to Gale here, she’s a good actor. But sadly, for me she gives the weakest performance of these four.

 

1996

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Hamlet: Kenneth Branagh

Ophelia: Kate Winslet

 

     After seeing Kate Winslet in Titanic, I was almost allergic to her, and I was not happy when I learnt that Branagh had chosen her to play Ophelia. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my prejudice was unfair and have since come to admire her acting greatly. However, I still can’t quite see her as Ophelia.

     The extra scenes Branagh has added, about which Shakespeare has other characters describe or vaguely refer to, do not help Winslet portray Ophelia credibly. Yes, they convince us that she and Hamlet did have loving sex, but Shakespeare lets us assume that. Indeed, Branagh steers Winslet’s performance throughout by presenting her in her madness in a straightjacket and helmet in a padded cell and has her revert to childhood by singing in a a little girl voice. While watching, it is very strong, and Winslet does indeed perform convincingly. However, like other actors in the role she is weepy when she could have been angry.

     This version of the play has affected me so strongly every time I’ve seen it that I’m scarcely capable of analysing Winslet or anything else. As a whole it’s just too good and its strengths are so enormous that I feel mean even pointing out what I see as weaknesses.

 

     Ophelia. From lovesick teen-ager, lovingly (perhaps) oppressed by brother and father, to observer of Hamlet’s madness, to madness herself. Shakespeare offers strong material to interpret with plenty of room for interpretation.  As yet, I have not seen a flawless interpretation but these four, despite my pernickety approach, have done a splendid job.

 

    

    

    

Shakespeare calling – the book available here and other sites:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543817692&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand

 

Monday, July 5, 2021

July 2021

 

Fear no more the heat o' the sun…’ Although, sadly, we do, as climate change becomes more and more evident. As the Covid 19 pandemic retreats slowly (don’t stop being careful, people!) the raging heat in various parts of the world are urgent reminders that we must all act now. If climate change causes civilisation to collapse, Shakespeare too is in danger of being lost.

Still, I allow myself to include this promo for the book Shakespeare calling – the book. Indie authors like myself need support more than ever when we cannot arrange book signings and lectures. Therefore, sales are down drastically. I do so hope you will help me by ordering the book online. Thank you.

The book is available for those of you in Great Britain and parts of Europe on this site:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/9163782626/ref=tmm_hrd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1514378301&sr=8-1

 

Also available on http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Calling-book-Ruby-Jand/dp/9163782626/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436073737&sr=1-1&keywords=Ruby+Jand+shakespeare+calling

Or in Sweden

http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789163782626/shakespeare-calling-the-book/

or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

 

I would be thrilled to get an email from you if you bought the book. rubyjandshakespearecalling@gmail.com  

 

Shakespeare sightings:

  • In the rather daft book The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, the club enjoys Titus Andronicus for its gruesome violence.
  • In Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent novel, The Ministry for the Future in which the world finally unites to solve the climate and poverty crisis, Mary, while watching over a dying friend, reflects on Shakespeare’s ability to describe sleep as well as friendship. She remembers a production at the Abbey Theatre in which Falstaff and Hal spent a whole hour in a battle of wits in which their deep friendship was at stake. Mary wonders if she and her dying friend should have battled more to deepen their friendship.
  • As we know Buffy has many talents aside from her vampire-slaying skills. In one episode she was cursed with being able to read people’s minds and in the beginning, before it drove her mad, she was able to read the teacher’s mind when the class was discussing Othello. The teacher was amazed at Buffy’s analysis, so like her own!

 

Films with a Shakespeare connection seen this month - see reviews on https://rubyjandsfilmblog.blogspot.com/

 

  • Moby Dick – Orson Welles made and was in Chimes at Midnight and many other Shakespeare films which, however, I haven’t seen.
  • Logan - Patrick Stewart is in The Hollow Crown Richard II, Hamlet x 2. Richard E Grant is in Twelfth Night.
  • The Snowman - Shakespeare connections: Michael Fassbender is in Macbeth. We’ve seen Jonas Karlsson on stage as Caliban and Richard III (brilliant in both!) Adrian Dunbar is in The Hollow Crown and Richard III.
  • The Trouble with Harry - The doctor was quoting a Shakespeare sonnet as he stumbled around the corpse.
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon - Dakota Johnson is in Cymbeline. Bruce Darn is in The Glass House, a spin-off of Hamlet
  • Hamlet (Kevin Kline update) - Further Shakespeare connections: Kevin Kline is in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It. Diane Venora is in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (Almereyda).

 

Further since last time:

  • Finished reading aloud to Hal: Hamnet
  • Read aloud to Hal: Hamlet for the 5th or 6th time
  • Watched: Kevin Kline’s filmed version of same
  • Considered: the subject for my text on Hamlet, the character of Ophelia and how she is portrayed, hopefully to be posted next time.

Posted this month:

  • This report

 

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by

 

Read more about my alter ego’s books, in one of which Shakespeare appears live and in person, on: