Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday October 27 2014

Another quiet Shakespeare week. I’m pacing things so that it all comes out right at the end of November when this phase of Shakespeare Calling itself comes to an end.  We’re reading analyses of The Tempest, have watched a film (three left) but I haven’t actually started writing a text yet.  But that will come.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
  • Persia doesn’t make a big splash in Shakespeare, appearing only in A Comedy of Errors, but the many wars between the Shi’ite and Sunni factions were well known in Shakespeare’s time and D+F tell us that “there were many in Europe who were grateful that the Persians distracted the  Turks from their ambitions in Christendom.”
  • Phillida was a shepherdess in A Midsummer Night’s Dream who had a fling with Oberon. The name comes from “Phyllis” which means “foliage” and in myth she was turned into a tree after dying of love.
Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the text about the film Dark Shadows, in Steven Daly’s book Johnny Depp – A Retrospective Depp’s performance is compared to “William Shatner doing Shakespeare.”  Whatever that’s supposed to mean.
  • My colleague, friend and fellow history teacher EG is always on the lookout for interesting things and found an old magazine from 1924 Vecko-Journalen (Weekly Journal) with the very well known Swedish actor Anders de Wahl as Othello on the cover.  Thanks, EG!
  • In a trailer for some unidentified animated film on a DVD of The Lone Ranger one of the characters said, “Some are born to greatness...”
  • In the novel Dead Famous by Ben Elton (recommended by friends AT and CP) about a reality show in which one of the participants is murdered on camera but for reasons explained in the novel the murdered cannot be identified, both the police and one of the participants refer to Shakespeare:
    • David the actor: “Everybody here is acting...This house is a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
    • David has a tattoo of the “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy around his ankle and explains that he put it there after a depression in which he was contemplating suicide but didn’t because he reread Hamlet. (Unfortunately, David is a real prat so everything he says just sounds ridiculous and pretentious).
    • Inspector Coleridge is an amateur actor and longs to play Macbeth but gets the role of Macduff.
    • David again: “There are more things in heaven and earth than you could ever dream of.”
    • David longs to make it big and hates all the members of his class at RADA who have gone on to play Shakespeare while he is a secret porn star.
    • When Coleridge, who is bit of an old stick, chides his younger colleague Hooper for using slang and telling him to speak clearly, Hooper says, “What about Shakespeare then? What about ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.’ Perhaps he should have just said, ‘I fancy you.’” To which Coleridge replies, “Shakespeare was not a policeman embarking on a murder inquiry.”
    • While ruminating on the murder Coleridge thinks that there was nothing like a murder of a young person to remind one that “life truly was a walking shadow.”
    • And clever Coleridge uses Banquo’s ghost to catch the murderer. And gets the part of Macbeth after all.
Further since last time:
  • Watched with Hal: The Derek Jarman version of The Tempest
  • Continued reading: Peter Ackroyd’s Shakespeare the Biography.
  • Continued watching Season One of the Canadian series Slings and Arrows, received from friends KJG and JG, about a theatre troupe putting on Shakespeare plays. It just gets better and better.
Posted this week:
  • This Monday report
  • Report on
    • Assassinating Shakespeare – Confessions of a Bard in the Bush by Thomas Goltz
    • My Father Had a Daughter by Grace Tiffany

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