Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

So here it is. My first official day of leave. For the coming fifteen Mondays I will not go to work but stay at home and work on my Shakespeare blog. It feels great!

This will be a rather long report, not because it's the first one but because it has been an unusually active Shakespeare week.

  • I happened upon a novel of interest – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, borrowed from the library. I held the book in my hands for awhile, wondering if I should bother. It's about dogs and I'm not fond of dogs. But it got rave reviews, including one by Stephen King, who I sort of like, and it takes place in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I've actually been. My father lived there for awhile. And it used the word Shakespearean in the blurb. How Shakespearean it actually was I didn't discover until about halfway through when the teenage boy's dead father came to him as a ghost and told him to investigate uncle Claude...ending with the words, ”Remember me.” Hmmm, that sounds familiar. And the mother's name is Trudy? And so it goes. Suddenly the book is a Hamlet book with a trace or two of Macbeth and The Tempest. That's OK, Shakespeare stole from everybody so it's fine to steal from Shakespeare. And the novel was kind of interesting. Exciting at times. It's not a must-buy-for-my-Shakespeare-collection but it's readable.
  • Preparing to hang on doors in the apartment – freebie poster of the life and works of Shakespeare included in the T-shirt (”Will Power”) bought in Stratford at the Shakespeare gift shop and poster of the entire (!) Hamlet received from dear friends after their trip to New York.
  • New DVDs acquired with the help of above mentioned dear friends: ”Richard III” with Ian McKellen, ”Hamlet” with Ethan Hawke, ”O” and ”The Good-bye Girl” (about an actor plating RIII).
  • Looked, once again, and admired once again, our photos from our trip to England (returned two weeks ago today) – especially those from Shakespeare's birthplace and grave.
  • TV production of the sonnets! Written by Rufus Wainwright! His ”When in disgrace...” is one of the top tracks of all time so Hal and I were eager to see whatever this was. What can I say? It was great. A bit confusing hearing Shakespeare in German with Swedish subtitles (it was the Berlin Ensemble) but we got the idea. We aren't familiar enough with the sonnets to immediately recognize the Swedish translations but we caught the drift, and once in awhile they were even in English. The production itself was visually very exciting with a lot of dramatic lighting and minimalist sets. It was roughly about various characters including Shakespeare himself and Queen Elizabeth I and II reciting/miming/singing some the sonnets in roughly chronological order. Whimsical, tragic, dramatic, dreamlike. Gender crossing, mixed ages, puzzling side stories – it certainly is a production to be seen again and again. There's just too much happening to take it in all at once. Highly reommended for those who understand German and/or Swedish. Why doesn't somebody do something like this in English? Or maybe somebody has?? Some of this one can be seen until September 18 on and parts can also be seen on YouTube. Don't miss it!
  • Just discovered today, less than an hour ago while searching on IMDb for the credits to the Taming movies – Coriolanus! Release date December. With Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave. Wow!
  • Used for the first times our Shakespeare mugs (two with portraits, one with insult quotes and one with love quotes) bought in Stratford.
  • Now reading: Frank Kermode's Shakespeare's Language.
  • Now reading aloud with Hal: Richard III.
  • Posted today: “The Breaking of Katherine's Spirit”


  1. I've been postponing reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle". After all- with all them dogs in it... Who knows what could happen?! I might give it a try, or maybe I'll just revisit Hamlet!

  2. Well, if the choice is between dogs and the real thing, there's no contest. Hamlet wins, paws down (sorry, I couldn't resist that). Seriously, you're right, AnneliT, don't waste your time reading odd rewrites, read Shakespeare!