Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday November 4 2013

The big event this week was supposed to be seeing Hamlet at Stadsteatern in Uppsala. But we had just made the hour long drive north with our friends and sat down to a late lunch when YW’s cell beeped to signal a text.  The performance had been cancelled due to illness. What?? Not possible!  Don’t they have understudies??  Apparently not. When we went to the theater after our meal to get the refund the nice young woman with blue hair said, “No theater can afford that these days.” Hm.  But can they afford to lose the income from several hundred ticket buyers? Guess so. Anyway, no Hamlet. We were very disappointed but that’s life.
Remaining to deal with is Lear and progress is being made.  See below. But first:

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Duncan, who we will be meeting shortly when we launch into the upcoming Macbeth, had no more claim to the throne historically than Macbeth did and Macbeth didn’t murder him.  Oh Shakespeare, can’t you stick to the facts? Lucky he didn’t!
  • Edward is the name of an awful lot of people. The most interesting Shakespeare Edward is the IV who usurped the throne from poor old Henry VI and who fathered the hapless princes mean brother Richard is supposed to have murdered in the Tower. Historically Edward has been portrayed as “indolent, irresolute, avaricious, self-indulgent, and much more incline to drift than lead.”  But that’s the Tudors writing history.  Shakespeare, according to D&F, “treated him kindly” to make his villain Richard III look bad. Modern historians think Edward VI was probably an OK king.

Shakespeare sightings:
  • Dagens Nyheter tells us that the Swedish 19th century poet Gustaf Geijer after his trip to England in 1809-1810 printed the first translation of Shakespeare into Swedish. It was Macbeth. Two years later Shakespeare was first performed on stage in Swedish in Stockholm. The Swedish Shakespeare Society (of which I am a proud member) is reissuing this first work together with the Geijer Society.
  • Angels in America was shown on TV some time ago and it was good the first time.  It seems almost better now that we’re watching it again.  In the first episode the old rabbi (played by Meryl Streep) quotes Lear to a young man estranged from his family, first in Hebrew and then in English: “How sharper than a serpent’s tongue it is to have an ungrateful child.”

Further this week:
  • Bought actually last Monday but I forgot to list it here: tickets for Rickard III with Jonas Karlsson in March
  • Watched: Nunn’s film of Lear.
  • Tried to attend Hamlet (see above).

Posted this week:

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