Monday, June 6, 2016

June 2016

Now that the 400th anniversary month is over things have been a little calmer but there is still a lot of Shakespeare out there.  Richard III has dominated this month for us but there have been other activities and sightings of interest. As always, though, I will start with a reminder that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase and I appreciate all your support.

Please help promote the book by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you.

or Adlibris, CDON or Bibliotekstjänsten

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • The only entry under ‘X’ is Xantippe who was married to Socrates and reported to be a real shrew. She is only mentioned in The Taming of the Shrew and I suspect that her shrewishness was akin to Katharine’s – a survival strategy. 

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel Lifeless by Mark Billingham the detectives are bemoaning the fact that the complete works of Shakespeare can be computerised on a keyring, but the various computer systems of the Scotland Yard aren’t compatible and cross references can’t be made.
  • In the old series from the 70’s Rock Follies, Anna, one of the members of the new rock group, once played Ophelia.
  • In the as yet untitled novel by my new friend JS, the main characters talk about Romeo and Juliet and several other Shakespeare plays. Poor Aislin is from a parallel universe so she doesn’t know so much about Shakespeare yet.
  • In The X Files, season 6, an author imagines all kinds of terrible things, for example the death of Scully, and says, ‘That’s what authors do, like Shakespeare.’ Later in Season 7, the smoking man says, in regard to something, I didn’t note down what, ‘When in disgrace in fortune and men’s eyes.’ Later he tells Mulder, ‘You’re not Prince Hamlet.’
  • In the film Stardust Robert DeNiro plays Captain Shakespeare.
  • In the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, which supposedly the film Philomena is based on, though Philomena herself is scarcely mentioned, Shakespeare makes a couple of appearances: Mike and Charlotte were studying Romeo and Juliet in high school and later Mike’s boyfriend talked about a production of Hamlet he had seen.
  • In the novel South Riding by Winifred Holtby
    • Lydia Holly, the girl from the shacks, has her love for reading awakened when she is given the complete works of Shakespeare and later discovers when studying Shakespeare in school that it ‘had not been a lie, then, that ecstasy which visited her when she read A Midsummer Night’s Dream on top of the railway coach last summer. It had meant something. She had understood something. She was drunk with an intoxicating wine of gladness.’
    • Unfortunately, her classmates do not agree, showing a ‘lamentable lack of enthusiasm for Shakespeare’s descriptive powers’.
    • Poor socialist Astell is offended by Shakespeare’s humorous depiction of the working class.
    • And quotes are peppered throughout.
  • Dagens Nyheter
    • Reports on a new play called Gertrude’s Hen Party, a feminist spin off of Hamlet starring the great Finnish Swedish singer Arja Saijonmaa.
    • Writes that there has been much ado about the birthday boy and gives a list of some of the ways in which the 400th anniversary has been commemorated.
    • Has a long article about how little we know about Shakespeare’s own opinions and claims that today’s fixation with theoretical theatre is putting a stop to the art of acting. Hmmm.
  • In the film Arthur the butler John Gielgud is dying. Arthur asks, ‘Do you want me to read some Shakespeare? Hamlet was in trouble when we left off.’ The butler says, ‘No.’ It must have hurt the great Shakespearean actor to say that!
  • In the film The Kid there is a poster for Julius Caesar on the classroom wall and the teacher is trying to get the kids interested in King Lear.
  • In the book The House on the Thames by Gillian Tindall, which goes through the history of that wonderful narrow house near the Globe that we have walked by so many times, and so far Shakespeare has been mentioned four times:
    • We like to think that there was a tavern there which Shakespeare would have visited.
    • Sir John Fastolf, upon whom Falstaff is said to be based, bought the house in the early 15th century.
    • Because of Shakespeare’s connection to the area, Bankside’s theatrical history has loomed larger than it really should have because both the theatres and Shakespeare himself were there for such a short time.
    • In spite of diligent research, it has not yet been proven that Shakespeare ever lived in the area. 

Further since last time:

Posted this month
  • ‘The Method Actor’ in Richard III 
  • This report

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