Monday, October 3, 2016

October 2016

The Comedy of Errors time. We’ve watched the films, I’ve written the text. We’ve chosen the next play to read but haven’t started yet. Instead we’re taking a detour back to the Henrys (and a Richard) since the second series of The Hollow Crown has been released (see below).

So Shakespeare goes on. And as always I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

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Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the novel High Dive by Jonathan Lee
    • The Irish resistance coordinator Dawson likes ‘a bit of Shakespeare.’
    • Dawson tries to encourage his supporter Dan to read Shakespeare.
    • Hotel manager Moose tells his colleague Marina whose husband had lacked ambition, ‘Well, you don’t want a Macbeth in your head.’
    • Later Marina tells Moose’s daughter, ‘I’ve been seeing a Shakespearean,’ but she’s broken off the relationship because his toenails scratched her in bed and he was too pleased with himself.
  • In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere:
    • Super villain Mr Croup says to his evil partner Mr Vandermar, ‘If you cut us, do we not bleed?’
    • Hero Richard says to the (probably) villainous abbot, ‘Well, lead on, Macduff.’ When Richard has been swept away, not likely to survive the ordeal, the Abbot says to Brother Fuliginous, ‘It’s ‘lay on, Macduff’ but I didn’t have the heart to correct him.’
    • Old Bailey, who pops up now and then, has just brought the Marquis back from the dead again and says, ‘After all I done to bring you back from that dread bourn from which there is no returning. Well, usually no returning.’
  • Peter Ackroyd, in his History of England Volume I Foundation, continues to refer regularly to Shakespeare:
    • The craft guilds were responsible for many miracle or mystery plays, ‘the most important aspect of English drama in the age before Shakespeare.’
    • King John has been considered a rival to Richard III as an evil king. Ackroyd points out that neither were any eviller than most kings but that Shakespeare ‘defined the image of John to posterity.’
    • The line in The Tempest ‘wheat, rye, barley, fetches, oats and peas’ is a paraphrase of a medieval folk song about ‘oats, peas, beans and barley.’
    • As we get to the period in history in which the history plays took place Shakespeare is mentioned in connection with each of the kings, Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Richard III and Henry VII.
  • In the novel The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters, Caroline says on the subject of selling old manor houses, ‘They say you can get an American to buy any old bit of black timber, just by telling him it comes from the Forest of Arden, or was sneezed on by Shakespeare, or something.’ Later she says about having a party in her own run-down manor house that her brother thinks ‘throwing a party with the house the state it’s in now will be like Sarah Bernhardt playing Juliet with one leg.’
  • The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter
    • Had an advert for Özz Nüjen as Richard III at Riksteatern in Stockholm.
    • Had a long article about Macbeth at the Maximteatern with Swedish bad-boy actor Mikael Persbrandt in the title role.
    • Had a review of the wonderful Sven Wollter and Evabritt Strandberg playing the aged Romeo and Juliet. Unfortunately, the reviewer didn’t like it, saying that Shakespeare’s play disappears.
    • Had a review of Othello at Orionteatern in Stockholm. The critic liked the gender-bending acting in this dark production in which ‘reality is altogether too close.’
    • Had a review of another Othello at Teater Påfågeln in Stockholm which was described as ‘scaled down without magic.’
  • In John O’Farrell’s novel The Best a Man Can Get the narrator, the rather unpleasant Michael Adams, watches a TV program about pregnant women shouting Shakespeare quotes at their unborn children to get them started early. He later tells how he as a fifteen-year-old had screwed up a school outing to see Hamlet, managing to ruin everything so they didn’t get to see it.
  • In Doctor Who with David Tennant (you know, Hamlet), the 10th doctor:
    • The Doctor and his new companion Martha, having recently visited Shakespeare’s London, are now in New York in the 1930’s helping dance girl Tallulah defeat the monsters. When Tallulah says to Martha, ‘C’mon, have you ever been back stage before?’ Martha replies archly, ‘Oh, you know, a little Shakespeare.’ Tallulah: ‘How dull is that! C’mon!’
    • In a later episode when the Master is planning to take over the Universe, Martha, who is going to save the world, tells her guide that she’s been in space. He’s impressed. ‘Anything else?’ Martha: ‘I’ve met Shakespeare.’
  • On Monty Python we see in a hospital for overacting a ward for Richard III actors. Eric Idle says sweetly (as only he can),’A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.’
  • The film The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone opens with the aging and mediocre Mrs Stone trying to do Juliet. It is a flop.
  • In Deborah Moggach’s novel In the Dark Alwyne, blinded in World War I, quotes Hamlet’s lines about Gertrude’s sensuality to young Ralph who is upset because his widowed mother has remarried. 

Further since last time: 
  • Finished the text of: The Comedy of Errors
  • Watched:
    • The BBC production of The Comedy of Errors
    • The Globe production of The Comedy of Errors
    • The Hollow Crown Henry VI Part One 

Posted this month
  • ‘The bad brother, the not so bad brother and the quite nice brothers, in The Comedy of Errors
  • This report

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