Hamlet is now done for the second time. I’ve just posted the text. We’re read The Comedy of Errors and we have two films to watch so that text won’t be until next time. Things move slowly sometimes, mainly because, in spite of everything, life happens alongside of Shakespeare, believe it or not.
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- Monty Python’s Flying Circus has a lot of Shakespeare:
- ‘The Poet’s Board’ promotes a poet in every home, and shows Shakespeare in the kitchen
- Beethoven can’t get the first bars of the Fifth Symphony right with his wife nagging about jam spoons etc. He says, ‘Shakespeare never had this problem!’ Shakespeare pops onto the screen and says, ‘You wanna bet? Incidentally, it’s ‘ta-ta-ta-daaaa, ta-ta-ta-daaaam…’ Beethoven: ‘You’re right! Incidentally, why not call him Hamlet?’ Shakespeare: ’Hamlet! I like it much better than David. Michelangelo, you may use Davis. I won’t sue…’ And so on.
- Now in performance: the first underwater version of Measure for Measure.
- Helene Hanff in her England journal The Duchess of Bloomsbury:
- Visits Stratford, and, warned that it has become a commercial tourist trap, is prepared for the Judith Shakespeare Wimpy Hamburger Bar. It bothers her not at all.
- In Stratford she sees Much Ado about Nothing ‘at the shiny modern theatre, very conventional, not very well acted.’
- Ends the book with her thoughts on the plane back to New York: ‘Bits of Prospero run in my head’ and then the ‘Our revels now are ended’ monolog.
- In the novel London Falling by Paul Cornell, about detectives and ghosts and things in London, one of the detectives sees ‘a man dressed like something out of Shakespeare…with his head tucked under his arm.’
- In Jodi Taylor’s second Chronicles of St Mary’s series, A Symphony of Echoes:
- Historian time traveller Max reminds us that last year they found some sonnets and a hitherto unknown play called The Scottish Queen about Mary Queen of Scots becoming Queen of England as well, indicating that something has gone very wrong in history.
- The sonnets had been buried in the past so that Max and her team could find them in the present. Max replants them so the future St Mary’s, which is threatened with bankruptcy, can find them and solve all their monetary woes.
- Then they have to go back to the time of Mary Queen of Scots and fix that, thus nullifying the Shakespeare play…
- On the Swedish TV quiz show Vem vet mest? (Who knows most?) the question is what’s the Latin word for skull. The host says, ‘To be or not to be’ and the answer is cranium.
- In the novel The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron a book dealer, used to scams, tells the young protagonist Daniel that he knew of a man who bought a copy of Hamlet signed by Shakespeare in ballpoint.
- In the novel Half Broken Things by Morag Joss the main character Jean reflects upon memories of her childhood: ‘Men were deceivers, ever. Shakespeare, but I can’t remember where from.’ From Much Ado about Nothing, Jean…
- Peter Ackroyd, in his History of England Volume I Foundation writes of the time before the Roman invasion when there were about fifteen large tribes in England. One of them, the Catuvellauni, was led by Cunobelinus who ‘has since entered English mythology as the Cymbeline of Shakespeare’s play.’
- The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter has reviewed a German production at the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Richard III, calling it ‘raw and uncompromising’ but also super theatrical and a bit of a ‘yawn’. Mixed, in other words.
Further since last time:
- Finished the films and text of: Hamlet
- Read aloud with Hal: The Comedy of Errors
- Branagh’s Hamlet
- Gregory Doran’s Hamlet with the brilliant David Tennant
- We’re now finally watching the David Tennant Dr Who box and have become completely addicted. We’re going through it so quickly that we’ve already reached the Shakespeare Series 3 Episode 3 ‘The Shakespeare Code’. The Doctor and his new companion Martha go back to 1599. They go to the Globe where Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost has just been performed. Martha cries, ‘Author! Author!’ then asks the Doctor, ‘Do they say that in this time?’ When the audience shouts, ‘Author! Author!’ the Doctor says, ‘They do now.’ Shakespeare steps onto the stage and the Doctor says in the deepest respect, ‘The most human human there’s ever been…Beautiful words…’ whereupon Shakespeare says, ‘Ah, shut yer big fat mouths…’ And it goes on from there. Funny, clever, exciting (like all of the episodes) it’s a great homage to Shakespeare from the amazing Shakespearen actor, David Tennant. I’m in awe.
- Posted this month
- ‘The Queen of Denmark – Gertrude in Hamlet’.
- This report