Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday July 14 2014

How did that happen?  My holiday is drawing to an end and this will be the last Shakespeare Monday for awhile because I go back up to full time for a month or so starting next Monday. When I return it will hopefully be to post a text on The Winter’s Tale. Until then, have a good Shakespeare summer.  

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Maria, the one in Love’s Labour’s Lost, was lady-in-waiting to the Princess of France and was wooed by Longueville.
  • The Earl of Marle was one of the French nobles would died at the battle of Agincourt.
  • Marseilles is mentioned in The Taming of the Shrew and All’s Well that Ends Well.
Shakespeare sightings:
  • There was a review in Dagens Nyheter of The Comedy of Errors at the Roma ruins on the island of Gotland (mentioned last time). The reviewer quite liked it, claiming that it is probably close to the way Shakespeare himself had envisioned it. High praise indeed! She goes on to mention “deft farce and snorting despair” (it sounds better in Swedish: “flyhänta farsinslag och frustande förtvivlan”.  Other words: energetic, furious, frustrating, magnificent, comical, melancholy.  The review ends with mentioning the triple anniversary: the Roma Cloister 850 years, Shakespeare 450 years and the Roma Theatre 25 years.  Happy anniversary, everyone!
  • In A History of World Societies by John McKay et al. I’ve reached (and passed) Shakespeare’s time. In a book of over 1300 pages Shakespeare is granted almost half a page, ending with “Hamlet’s sad cry, ‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking make it so,’ expresses the anguish and uncertainty of modern man.”  That’s one way of looking at it. I’ve always seen this quote as an “aha” of enlightenment.  Some two hundred pages later the Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu is compared to Shakespeare “for the richness and complexity of character and plot.”
  • In Beautiful Darkness, the second in the Beautiful series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Olivia utters the quote, “Hollow laughter in marble halls” and Ethan ventures a guess: “Shakespeare?” To which Olivia replies, “Pink Floyd.” Later Ethan compares his mother to “Juliet in some kind of twisted play where Romeo was in Incubus” which in this novel means vampire.                                              
Further since last time:
  • Finished reading aloud with Hal: The Winter’s Tale.
  • Seen on stage in Galärparken with Hal and friends AB and UJ: Much Ado about Nothing with the Stockholm English Speaking Theatre .  It was great fun. The weather was perfect, the company extremely pleasant, the crowd full-sized and enthusiastic and the performance witty, colourful and imaginative.  I failed to get the names of the actors but Benedick was superb as were Beatrice and Hero, with Hero doubling as the hilarious Dogberry in the form of a mad blind nun.  Another successful gender bend was Leonata as Hero’s mother. For those of you living in the Stockholm area they will be performing at Drottningholm and Rosendahls Wärdshus through July. Don’t miss it!

Posted this week:
  • This Monday report.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday July 7 2014

This has been a week of recovery but also of returning to daily routines and finding our way back to daily Shakespeare. It feels good.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Marcus Crassus is another character in Antony and Cleopatra of whom I took no notice so don’t remember in the play but in real life he was a rich member of the first triumvirate and his first major task was to suppress the slave revolt led by Spartacus. Not something I would want to be remembered for.
  • Margaret (1430-1482) we’ve met earlier in this blog.  She was from Anjou and in status and wealth she was not a good match for poor Henry VI.  History and Shakespeare have blamed her for a lot of things, especially pressing Henry into continuing the War of the Roses. She probably wasn’t a very nice person but she was undoubtedly interesting.
Shakespeare sightings:

  • In the novel The People of Forever are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu one of the three main characters Lea says, “I am like Shylock’s daughter, Jessica.  I cannot hear music.” To which her friend Avishag replies, “We are not doing Shakespeare right now, are we?”   There’s more but it’s too much for here, and it gets weird, like much of the novel is.
  • Some fifteen years after studying history at the Stockholm University I’ve started rereading the book we used in the first semester: A History of World Societies by John McKay et al. I haven’t come to Shakespeare’s time yet but he popped up anyway: “India’s greatest poet Kalidasa (ca 380-450), like Shakespeare, wrote plays in verse as well as separate poems.”
  • In another book I haven’t read for a long time -  a much longer time in this case – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, the precocious eleven-year-old Anne says, “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it.”  Several years later her teacher Mr. Phillips “gave Marc Antony’s oration over the dead body of Caesar in the most heart-stirring tones.”
  • In the film The Invisible Woman Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) visits the home of the theatrical Ternan family and notices a playbill on the wall.  He notes that it’s of Mr. Keane playing the Moor to which Mrs. Ternan (Kristin Scott Thomas) replies “Yes, I was Desdemona. My husband was Iago.”
  • The murder of the poor Corpse Bride in the film of the same name is described as “murder most foul”.
  • Dagens Nyheter
    • had a debate article about revenge and forgiveness and though Shakespeare is not mentioned in the article a large photo from a production of Hamlet was used with the caption, “Revenge is one of art’s central motifs, notably in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
    • the actor Andreas Nilsson has turned fifty and though he is playing the twins Antipholus in A Comedy of Errors the performance has been cancelled for that day due to his birthday party.  He points out that he and Shakespeare were born in the same year, though not the same century.  Is that a good excuse for cancelling a Shakespeare performance, I wonder?
  • It’s good to look through one’s book shelves now and then. I did so at work (though I’m on holiday I went to pick up some books) and found Collins English Dictionary. Just paging through the introduction chapter on pronunciation I found the sentence, “A modern Londoner would have little difficulty in understanding the speech used in the plays performed at Shakespeare’s Globe although it would make a somewhat rustic impression on his ear.” Or hers.                                               
Further since last time:
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: The Winter’s Tale.
  • Listened to with Hal (actually before the trip to London but I forgot last week): The CD we bought at the British library last summer Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation which seems to agree with Collins (see above).

Posted this week:
  • This Monday report.