Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday March 11 2013

It almost seemed like a calm week – no Hamlet!  But of course there is always Hamlet, as you will see in the sightings below.  And contrary to expectations, we hardly waited a day before going on to the next play, which should have been Twelfth Night but in our case is Troilus and Cressida. I can’t help it – it’s not Hamlet. But it is surprisingly interesting for being one of Shakespeare’s more obscure plays.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • Ajax is shown by Shakespeare in Troilus and Cressida as a brutal stupid warrior which seems to be in agreement with this Greek soldier’s general reputation.
  • Aleppo, about which we hear daily in tragic reports on the news these days, was mentioned in  Othello and Macbeth. It is also mentioned in Ben Jonson’s Every Man in His Humour in which Shakespeare acted.
  • Andromache is the wife of Hector and she appears in Troilus and Cressida. The dictionary: “Her sorrows are generally symbolic of the sorrows of all women caught up in war. In Shakespeare she tries to talk Hector out of fighting Achilles…”

Shakespeare sightings:
  • While paging through Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, which I do on a regular basis, I came across the movie Free Enterprise from 1999 with William Shatner playing himself and wanting to play the lead in Julius Caesar. And running into two sci fi filmmakers who idolize him.
  • Just now while checking that out on IMDB I see that there is a new version of Much Ado About Nothing taking place in modern times with a cast totally unknown to me, except for Reed Diamond from Homicide Life on the Street.  Here’s the trailer:
  • In Big Bang Theory, season four, Raj’s sister Priya is visiting again and romancing Leonard, to Penny’s dismay, especially when Priya talks about  The Taming of a Shrew and says she was in the play and Leonard exclaims that he had written a paper about it and they spend a few minutes quoting it at each other.
  • In the novel The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson as war descends upon Europe in the late 1930’s: “sparrows everywhere continued to fall.”
  • In Kate Atkinson’s novel Human Croquet we find Shakespeare here and there:
    • In a tiny illustration on the cover, inspiring expectations for him to appear in a major way (hasn’t so far but in a lot of good small ways):
    • “Some say that Shakespeare himself spent time” in the manor house in which the characters live
    • In discussing people’s weirdness the main character says to her brother Charles, “’If anyone came from another planet it was Shakespeare.’”  She goes on in her thoughts, “Imagine meeting Shakespeare! But then what would you say to him? What would you do with him? You could hardly take him around to the shops. (Or maybe you could.) ‘Have sex,’ Carmen says…’Sex?’ I query doubtfully.  ‘Well, you may as well,’ she shrugs, if you’re going to go to all the bother of time-travel.’”
    • Carmen, it is later pointed out, is a beast-with-two-backs kind of girl.
    • In considering that her world might not be what it seems to be Isobel tells herself, “…no,no,no, this way utter madness lies.”
    • In describing an amateur performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream Isobel says, “The play’s the thing but in this case a very bad thing…”
    • Debbie, Isobel’s step-mother, playing one of the characters (she never remembers which one) had gotten lost while doing the play and Debbie says, “I think she’s been too much in the sun.”
    • In trying to convince Isobel and Charles’ mother that they should have more children father Gordon says, “…you never know what they might turn out to be – Shakespeares and Leonardo da Vincis.”
    • Considering the essence of molecules Isobel ponders that in the “great void of space…there are more things than are dreamt of in our philosophy.”
  • In Dagens Nyheter’s article about the Swedish final of the European Song Contest one of the contestant’s songs was described as boring and the fact that it had gone directly into the final was because the other songs in his part of the contest were even more boring but now it was clear – and here comes the Shakespeare sighting – “i eftertankens kranka blekhet…” – with the pale cast of thought – we’re led to believe that this song doesn’t have a chance. And it didn’t. It came in last place even though it got quite a lot of votes from the European juries.

Further, since the last report:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Troilus and Cressida.
  • Seen at Stockholm’s Stadsteater: West Side Story.
  • Received from Martin Coyle, editor of Hamlet, Contemporary Critical Essays: an email in reply to mine in which I asked him if there were any more recent collections of essays.  Nice email but sadly, he could not give me any information other than about various editions of the complete works. But it was kind of him to answer.

Posted this week:
  • This Monday report

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