We’ve finished reading Lear and have started the movies. I had thought I had decided what to write about but after watching the BBC version I’m in doubt again. I probably won’t start writing for a week or so, there’s too much other stuff going on and this will take concentration. In other words, not much will be happening on Shakespeare Calling for a couple of weeks. But here’s what this week has to offer:
From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary.
- The devil was more of a presence in Shakespeare’s day, I suppose, but he made surprisingly few appearances in the plays. Listed in D&F are Henry VI Part One and Measure for Measure.
- Doomsday, even more sinister than the devil, being that it signifies the end of history, is mentioned in Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV Part One, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Antony and Cleopatra.
- Inget är i sig själv varken ont eller gott, det är tanken som bestämmer vilket det är. This was the quote of the week last week in my teacher’s calendar. For those of you who haven’t brushed up on your Swedish the original is: “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so” and if you know who says it to whom and why and in which play, well, we haven’t had a contest for awhile. Write a comment here (not on Face Book please) and win…
- In Dagens Nyheter last Monday (I missed it because I read the morning paper at dinner) was the report which I actually saw refuted on The Globe’s Face Book, that Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes simplified the text of Romeo and Juliet because not everybody has enough education to understand Shakespeare. Fiona Banks at the Globe answered: the actors are capable of making the story understandable and engaging. Thank you, Fiona (I liked this on FB). Silly Julian, I didn’t think you were such a snob…
- Dagens Nyheter again: Anthony Hopkins has written to the star of the series Breaking Bad (which I haven’t seen) Bryan Cranston, praising the series as similar to a drama from James I’s time, a Shakespearian or Greek drama. Hmmm, maybe I should see it.
- One of the members of our local English book circle talked about the New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh, known for her detective novels and, according to the blurb on the book RL had with her to the circle, a renowned Shakespearean director who was instrumental in bringing Shakespeare to modern New Zealand.
- On Swedish TV there was an interview with the popular song writer Lasse Holm who said that he likes Verdi’s version of Macbeth.
- Our dear friend NM managed to get a ticket to one of the last performances of Mats Ek’s Julia & Romeo and was lyrical about it. “Soooooooo good!” said NM.
- Ali Smith has done it again, written a wonderful novel, this time Hotel World in which a homeless woman thinks of Shakespeare, a dead girl has a poster for Romeo and Juliet on her wall and the child actor Solomon Pavy, who died at the age of thirteen, haunts the Globe. The ghost telling this informs us that Shakespeare had written The Comedy of Errors before Solomon was born, Julius Caesar while he was alive and acting and Antony and Cleopatra after his death.
Further this week:
- Finished reading aloud with Hal: King Lear and the introduction to the Norton edition.
- Watched: the BBC version of play.
- Premiered: the Kung Lear we’re going to see at Stadsteatern with Sven Wolter next Saturday. So far the play has gotten mixed reviews but Wolter has evoked positive responses. A colleague, TG, who saw part of the dress rehearsal, says it’s really good but the show was cancelled before the second half because someone slipped in all the rain on stage and hurt themselves. Not Wolter though! Lots of water and blood, TG reports. More next week when we’ve seen it!
Posted this week:
- Only this Monday report.