Let's be honest, there's some problems with some of the comedies when you judge them by today's standards. Taming of the Shrew isn't exactly a feminist masterpiece whether Katharina winks at the end or not. And there will never be a production of Merchant of Venice that doesn't come with a protest.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Thursday, July 28, 2016
But good news for me! The Globe on Screen series - featuring Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice and Richard II - is scheduled to come to my neighborhood this fall. I actually park in the movie theatre parking lot every day when I go to work (and no, I don't work at a movie theatre - we just happen to have reserve space in the garage). So it looks like going to see all of these productions - none of which are on my "seen it" list - is going to be a easy as taking a quick detour of about 50 yards instead of walking to my car that night. Awesome!
at 3:00 PM
I loved the Deadpool movie.
I hated Star Wars : Shakespeare by Ian Doescher.
So how then should I feel about the upcoming special Deadpool Shakespeare issue this fall, written by Mr. Doescher?
I'm cautiously optimistic. Well, that's not the right word, that implies that I'm leaning toward "it'll be good." I don't think there's any reason to put any real effort into it. I think there's a pattern here where you take a pop culture phenomenon like Star Wars or Deadpool, and you make it do vaguely Shakespearean things like putting the main character in a ruff, or maybe some puffy sleeves or pantaloons, maybe have him talk to a skull. Then force all the dialogue painfully into iambic pentameter. You ever try to read iambic pentameter for any length of time where it's clear the author is doing it just to prove that he can? It's like someone telling you that they're awesome at haiku, that they've written hundreds of them,
but when you begin
you see that they're just
There's much more to it
than just the simplistic math
of five seven five.
I also fear that they're going to take a cue from Kill Shakespeare, another project that I very much did not love. Saying that something has Shakespeare content needs to be more than just naming your characters the same.
Yeah, optimistic clearly isn't the word. Is there a single word for "wishful thinking"? I'm that. I wish that it's going to be something I like.
at 1:00 PM
at 9:30 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
The play opens with the king and three of his followers deciding to swear off women for the next three years. They're going to do nothing but study, no women in sight. So, of course, four attractive single ladies immediately show up on the scene and you can imagine that antics that follow. Each of the guys falls in love with one of the girls and goes about trying to woo her, without letting his fellows know that he is breaking the oath that they all took. Love notes are written and secretly passed, the messenger gives the wrong note to the wrong girl, and silliness follows. It all gets straightened out at we end with the promise of a wedding, as all the comedies do.It's not one of Shakespeare's greatest, which is probably obvious given that nobody's heard of it. If it's famous for anything it is for the complicated word games all throughout it where Shakespeare was showing off exactly what he could do, including an appearance by the word "honorificabilitudinitatibus." So it can be hard to follow, and productions will rely on over the top physical comedy to keep the audience interested and laughing.Kenneth Branagh made a movie version, but it didn't do so well. I couldn't tell you whether that's because it wasn't a good version, or it just reinforces the fact that nobody recognizes this play. I didn't see it.
I thought the scenery was excellent this year. Most years they go with some sort of "decorated scaffold" sort of thing where it's obvious that there's a center exit, and some sort of upper level. I don't even know what they were trying to go for here - is it a castle? a forest? A wall? All the above? It looks a bit like the Emerald City. But I like it!
at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
You don't need to have seen the megahit musical Hamilton to have at least a pretty good idea of the plot. The soundtrack is practically the script. Plus, nobody can stop talking and writing about it from every conceivable angle. I suppose if you don't count yourself familiar with the play, this post has some spoilers, so be warned.
I've been wondering about how it stands up as a tragedy. We know from the very beginning "See this guy, our hero? Yeah, he dies." Just like Romeo and Juliet. I don't mean that like, "We're all supposed to know the real story, like Julius Caesar," I mean, "He says it right in the prologue, like Romeo and Juliet." In the opening number, Aaron Burr says "I'm the damned fool that shot him."
So if we're going to treat it like a tragedy, the next question is what Hamilton's tragic flaw might be? I think we could discuss this all day. His honesty? His failure to play the political games (something that, from the beginning, people more experienced have warned will get him killed)? His workaholism? (Is that a word?) His fear that he was going to "run out of time"?
If I dust off my high school memories of A.C. Bradley, isn't there something about the tragic flaw directly leading to a decision that sets events in motion that ultimately lead to the death of the tragic hero?
Can we pinpoint the event in Hamilton? I wonder if it's his decision to go off with Maria Reynolds (which sets about the Reynolds Pamphlet, his marriage troubles, his son's demise, etc...) but (a) I'm not sure what "tragic flaw" of his led to that decision, and (b) I'm not sure what it has to do with Aaron Burr.
Working backwards, I think Burr is ultimately pushed over the edge by Hamilton's endorsement of Jefferson, a man who he acknowledges he's in complete disagreement with politically. So then is he more of a reverse Brutus character? Focused solely on what's right for the people and the big picture, and missing the machinations of those forces surrounding him? Rather than "I generally like you but I've become convinced you're bad for the people so you've got to go" we've got "I don't particularly like you but I think you'd be a better choice than the other guy"?
Mostly I just wanted something to talk about, and Hamilton's more interesting than Pokemon Go :). If you've got any other Shakespeare comparisons you want to make, feel free in the comments!
at 11:37 AM