Monday, November 7, 2016

November 2016

Life has generally been filled with things other than Shakespeare this month but we have read As You Like It and enjoyed it as much as ever. We’ve watched two of the four films we have of it and will watch the others next weekend.

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Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Bernadette Robinson’s teaching memoirs Please Miss she comments on the poetry of one of her very young students: ‘Not Shakespeare, maybe, but a start for a budding actor.’ Which he went on to become, and sometimes played in Shakespeare’s plays which, according to Robinson, he did ‘with aplomb’.
  • In an extra feature about the making of Doctor Who an observation was made that there wasn’t much nuance in the voice of a Dalek. You wouldn’t see a Dalek playing Hamlet. It couldn’t be (in a mechanical Dalek voice): ‘…or…not…to…be…’ Hmm, don’t be too sure. They did it in Klingon…
  • Peter Ackroyd, in his History of England Volume II Tudors
    • Describes the background to the friendship between Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer and notes, ‘It has all the makings of a stage play which, from the pen of Shakespeare, it eventually became.’
    • In the later conflict between Queen Mary’s Catholicism and the Protestants, many fled England and Ackroyd tells us, ‘The religious refugees left a more enduring legacy with their Geneva Bible, the text for which Shakespeare had an abiding affection.’
  • Monty Python carries on. Eric Idle is a man who garbles everything he says: ‘Ta the mnemot I’, working on The Mating of the Wersh by Malliwi Rapesheake, Two Nettlemeg of Verona, Twelfth Thing, The Chamrent of Venice, and he quotes, ‘Thamel: Be o tot bot net ot, that is the noestqui,’ and ‘A shroe! A shroe! My dingkom for a shroe!’ There has also been an episode called ‘Hamlet’ which starts with Hamlet on a psychiatrist’s couch. He pops up now and again throughout the episode and there are a few scattered quotes.
  • In the novel Still Life by Louise Penny CI Gamache is talking to psychologist and bookshop owner Myrna and replies to her comment that people can only save themselves: ‘The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.’
  • In the mini-series Unforgotten the ex-alcoholic, ex-racist Lizzie had in her new life taken her prodigy Curtis to see Hamlet
  • In Doctor Who season 1 with Christopher Eccleston Charles Dickens says, ‘What the Shakespeare is going on?’ Good one, I’ll have to remember to use that! Later the young maid reprimands the Doctor with the words, ‘There are more things in heaven and in earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Doctor.’
  • In Branagh’s Cinderella the evil stepsister sings a dreadfully out of tune version of ‘It was a lover and his lass…’

 Further since last time:
  • Read aloud with Hal: As You Like It
  • Watched:
    • The Globe production from 2009. A mixed pleasure. Orlando and Celia were very good, the others less so.
    • The BBC production from 1978. Enjoyable with an appropriately melancholy Jaques and a young Helen Mirren.
  • Read: the very strange fantasy novel Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah A Hoyt in which the recently married Will, a schoolteacher in Stratford, has to rescue his wife and daughter from the kidnapping fairies…I cannot in honesty recommend it. 
Posted this month
  • This report

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