Monday, July 3, 2017

July 2017

Antony and Cleopatra – ah, what a play. Maybe if somebody would do a really good production of it I would learn to like it. Any takers out there? Now A Midsummer Night’s Dream – that’s a play to read and read again and enjoy it more each time. This time we started reading it a couple of days before Midsummer and we’re now in the last act. We have several films to watch, including one of the Globe production from 2013. Sadly we did not see it when we were in London in 2013, it hadn’t started yet. Now we are looking forward to seeing the filmed version. I’m hoping there will be a text next time I’m on the blog, but for now you will have to make do with the text on Antony and Cleopatra. And for that, many thanks to AA for the inspiration!

And now, 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:
  • Dagens Nyheter
    • Asks if the Trump family is by Shakespeare or Aaron Spelling (producer of, among many other things, Dynasty). The journalist Malin Ullgren hopes for an HBO series about Trump. ‘It could be brilliant’. Reality outdoes fiction, once again…
    • Reports that New York’s Public Theatre has upset some with its interpretation of Julius Caesar because Julius Caesar bears a resemblance to Donald Trump and the play is said to promote the assassination of a despot.
  • On the TV program Vem vet mest? (Who knows the most?) the question was: In what country was Shakespeare born? Again, it was kids, and the answering kid got it right.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Killer
    • Season One - the teacher reads the ‘If you prick us do we not bleed’ quote and asks for comments. The awful Cordelia (! – how significant is that choice of name?) says, ‘Shylock is so self-centred! Whine, whine, whine!’ Teacher: ‘Interesting. It’s nice to know some students do their reading.’ Well, as an English and history teacher, I would certainly have responded differently.
    • Season Two - Giles heaves a huge sigh of relief when Buffy turns off the music (which he calls ‘noise’) to which she has been doing her calisthenics and says contentedly, ‘The rest is silence.’
  • In the novel The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon, Daniel tries to convince his scientific girl friend of the value of poetry by quoting ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.’
  • In the fourth St. Mary’s novel by Jodi Taylor, A Trail Through Time, Max denies that she’s a sound sleeper: ‘I’m the world’s lightest sleeper. On a bad day, I can make Lady Macbeth look like a raging narcoleptic.’
  • On TVs Kulturnyheter (Culture News) there was a report on the production of A Winter’s Tale on the island of Gotland at Romateatern, old church ruins used as a theatre since 1989. The director is Maria Åberg who has worked with the RSC. She focusses on the women, who provide the strength and humour. The stringent tragedy of the beginning moved the critic deeply. The theatre is magical, she says, but advises playgoers to take a jacket – it’s cold!
  • In the novel The Muse, by Jessie Burton, Odelle Bastien, who moved from Trinidad to London five years ago, is dismayed that she has yet to meet anyone who can name three of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • In How to Be a Tudor by Ruth Goodman we are told about Shakespeare’s infamous will in which he left his wife Anne the second-best bed.  This has been interpreted by many, including my hero Stephen Greenblatt in the book mentioned below, to mean that he had no love for his wife, that it was almost an insult to leave her their second-best bed.  Goodman writes that this was actually probably a sign of great devotion since a good bed was a highly sought-after luxury in their day.

Further since last time:
  • Read for the second time: Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt. A wonderful book!
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Ordered and received from the Royal Shakespeare Society:
    • A Comedy of Errors with Judi Dench
    • Hamlet with Paapa Essiedu
    • Shakespeare Live! Broadcast in BBC last year on the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death
    • A 2018 calendar
    • Various pens, pencils and erasures
  • Watched: the above-mention Shakespeare Live! What a pleasure to see it again. Since the first time we have seen David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Doctor Who and have bought, as mentioned above, the Hamlet with Paapa Essiedu, so we had a new appreciation of the To Be or Not to Be sketch, which was as hilarious as the first time. 

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