tempestsarekind: (not supposed to be a heroine)
2017-09-03 10:48 pm

in vain have I struggled, &c

In what is a slightly surprising turn of events, I've found myself avoiding much of the Austen media surrounding the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. Much of the writing about Austen on the internet just winds up irking me and rubbing me the wrong way, and I just haven't felt like dealing with that, this summer. (I did watch Lucy Worsley having fun visiting the places Austen had lived, though. That was cute enough, without doing that "but I'm not like all those other Austen fans" thing that is frequently the cause of my irritation.)

Here, however, is a piece I somehow missed from last year, which I rather liked:

What makes Mr. Darcy desirable? - Talia Schaffer
https://blog.oup.com/2016/06/darcy-desirable/

People often declare pompously that there's no real romance in Austen's novels ("but I'm not like all those other Austen fans!"), because declaring that the matches between characters are solely economic ventures is a way of "saving" Austen from being tarred with the "girly" brush: it's all right to like her, because she's not one of those writers, who care about feelings and whatnot. But that ignores the fact that a marriage to a wealthy man can still be a nightmare; the whole point of the relationships in Austen is that they are good ones, matches of temperament and esteem, not just money. Or as Schaffer puts it here:

Yes, Darcy is rich, but his wealth will do no good if he is a gambler like Wickham. Yes, Darcy is well-born, but his class will do no good if he uses his status to crush his wife rather than raise her. Yes, Darcy may be handsome, but his appearance may cover a vicious temper. Far more important than wealth, birth, and looks is a moral sensibility that can regulate these traits in a way that will benefit the woman who marries him.
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
2017-08-26 02:37 pm

on mutilating mannequins and storing clothes in the freezer

In case you're looking for something else to think about for a bit besides each day's hammer blow of news:

Confessions of a Costume Curator
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/08/confessions-of-a-costume-curator/536961/
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)
2017-08-19 07:38 pm

about suffering they were never wrong, &c

If Manet, Cézanne, and the rest taught their contemporaries to look anew at the world around them, the Pre-Raphaelites did something analogous for the past—teaching people to see beauty in works that had hitherto appeared merely old and strange. The assumption that the present is always superior to what has come before, Prettejohn shrewdly notes, is also a form of blindness.

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/08/07/the-highest-form-of-flattery-prettejohn/


The link goes to a review of Elizabeth Prettejohn's new book, Modern Painters, Old Masters: The Art of Imitation from the Pre-Raphaelites to the First World War. (As an example, one of the prime instances of imitation in the review is the use various painters made of the mirror motif, inspired by Van Eyck.) The book sounds like it's worth a read, and I've found Prettejohn's work on the Pre-Raphaelites useful in the past (a long-ago college research paper on Victorian uses of Arthurian legend).
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
2017-08-18 03:21 pm

no one told me about this, everyone is fired

Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes Will Co-Star in Antony & Cleopatra at the National
http://www.playbill.com/article/sophie-okonedo-and-ralph-fiennes-will-co-star-in-antony-cleopatra-at-the-national

There's some confusion here in the article, which for some reason sends you to the Old Vic website at the bottom - but another article confirms that the production will be at the National Theatre in 2018, on the Olivier stage. I can't imagine, given the success of the NT Live Shakespeare broadcast, that they won't screen this too, but one never knows until it's announced…

(I still have yet to see a production of A&C. I heard good things about the recent RSC production, but no one seems to have screened it around here; maybe one day I'll look into getting the DVD?)
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
2017-08-18 09:59 am

more on Michelle Terry

Michelle Terry: 'I won't be directing while at Shakespeare's Globe'
http://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/michelle-terry-shakespeare-globe-no-directing_44417.html

Instead, she plans to act in productions.

Obligatory comment about Emma Rice / shared lighting:
Terry revealed that it had been written into her job contract that no amplified sound or 'imposed lighting rigs' will be used in theatre productions.

She commented: "I hadn't worked here under Emma [Rice]'s tenure, so what I know is the space: a raw naked space. And for me it's less about what was added on than what was missed when you have that. So what you want to do is reach out and touch the hand of those people."

The article also mentions that one of the plays next year will be about Aemilia (Bassano) Lanyer; I don't know how I feel about that. Given that she is a poet in her own right, it's always irritating that she only gets mentioned (even in novels that purport to be about her) because A.L. Rowse had a theory that she was Shakespeare's "dark lady." What would be awesome if the play just didn't even involve Shakespeare at all - there isn't any actual evidence that they ever even met, as far as I know - because there could be real scope for a play that's actually about her, along the lines of the Globe's recent Nell Gwynn (how forever-sad am I that I couldn't see Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the eponymous role?), or the RSC's current Queen Anne (also forever-sad that I can't see Romola Garai in that play).

But I also just have a deep lack of interest in stories about Shakespearean sexytimes, Shakespeare in Love excepted (I really think of it as a fanciful film about the writing of R&J, and about theater in general, that happens to have romance in it), so...
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
2017-08-17 10:48 pm
Entry tags:

Milton's house

Reading the actual news is making me feel like I can't breathe, so here, have an article on the appeal to raise money to save the house where Milton finished writing Paradise Lost instead:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/17/england-hath-need-of-thee-appeal-to-save-miltons-paradise-lost-cottage
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
2017-08-13 12:31 am

*waaah*

Film investors’ fear of the Bard is burying my Richard II, says James Ivory
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/12/james-ivory-shakespeare-film-fails-to-find-funding

I remember hearing rumors about this a couple of years ago…This is the first time I've read that he had another Richard II film in mind, back in the '90s:

This is not the first time Ivory has tried to get Richard II off the ground. It appears that Kenneth Branagh put the kibosh on a previous production in 1992, around the time Merchant and Ivory were making The Remains of the Day.

“I had another cast. Daniel Day-Lewis as Richard II and Kenneth Branagh as Bolingbroke, or Henry IV as he becomes, and Emma Thompson as the queen,” said Ivory. “And then, unfortunately, Branagh said ‘I couldn’t play Bolingbroke, I’d have to play Richard’.

“We were about to make another movie anyway, so I let it go and we didn’t proceed with it.” (my emphasis)


That would have been something to see… (the Emma Thompson part, I mean; Branagh doesn't really strike me as the Richard II type, though I could perhaps imagine him as Bolingbroke)

(There's a conspicuous absence of any mention of The Hollow Crown in here, unless I just read the article too fast. I wonder why that is?)

There's also another iteration of "if Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be writing screenplays!" at the very end - which always irritates me slightly, as the implication is that there's nothing to draw a writer to the stage these days, even though I think the idea behind the comparison is that movies are analogous to Elizabethan plays. I'm just not totally convinced - in part because cinema is so focused on realism, in a way that I think can actually make it harder to adapt Shakespeare's plays for film (voiceover soliloquies, bane of my existence, I'm looking at you).
tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
2017-08-08 03:49 pm

in news of the totally unnecessary...

*eyeroll*

http://www.radiotimes.com/amp/news/2017-08-07/poldark-producers-to-adapt-pride-and-prejudice-for-itv

(via Austenblog)

Didn't ITV do that wretched Mansfield Park with Billie Piper - the one that went, "oh, who cares if our heroine is nothing like the Fanny Price in the novel, no one today could identify with her anyway"? That does not exactly fill me with confidence. (Also, I had to stop watching Poldark because there wasn't nearly enough narrative tissue between its various happenings - which seems to be this generation's period-drama affliction, not actually devoting enough time to showing why things between characters happen - so that's strike two.)

Mostly, though, I just cannot get worked up over the idea of yet another P&P adaptation. Am bored already.
tempestsarekind: (not supposed to be a heroine)
2017-08-05 06:34 pm

hmm

the Masterpiece adaptation of Little Women is apparently filming in Ireland; this seems wrong
tempestsarekind: (Default)
2017-08-03 09:24 pm

"do you not know I am a woman?"

I haven't the faintest idea why, but this old article on the Cheek By Jowl As You Like It brought me very near to tears:

All you need is love: Adrian Lester and the miraculous all-male As You Like It by Declan Donnellan
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/nov/12/all-male-as-you-like-it-cheek-by-jowl-declan-donnellan-adrian-lester

(…why doesn't Adrian Lester have a tag?)
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
2017-08-02 06:43 pm

uh-oh

Working for the notorious Earl of Oxford in the 1580’s, [John Lyly's] plays were first performed publicly at the indoor theatres of Blackfriars and St Paul’s, then at the great Court festivities of Elizabeth I.
http://blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/163633720708/who-was-john-lyly-this-august-sees-two-plays-by


Well, we know what that means… Guess Oxford wrote those plays too. I mean, "Lyly" is clearly a pseudonym; it is practically the same word as "lie." It's basically lie squared. Totally fake. Unlike de VERE, which is TRUE. Come on, it's an obvious play on the name of the Earl of Oxford! Why will no one see the truth???

(Seriously, though, I wish the Globe would film their Read Not Dead events and put them up on YouTube, or the Globe Player…I would love to see one someday, but don't think I'll ever have the chance.)

(I also wish academia valued editing more highly as a tenure-track activity, so that there might be more editions out there, and the Read Not Dead plays themselves would be more easily accessible to people without an academic library - or, ahem, to people who like taking notes when they read early modern plays - but hey-ho.)
tempestsarekind: (geoffrey (not) at work)
2017-07-30 12:58 pm
Entry tags:

and while I'm making myself sad...

…thinking about Shakespeare characters talking about time, I might as well mention that moment in Hamlet where Hamlet says his father has died "within 's two hours," and Ophelia responds (worriedly?), "Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord" - and then Hamlet still seems to fail to hear her properly; he says, "O heavens, die two months ago, and not forgotten yet?" and not four months - as though he still can't really quite process his father's absence, or believe in it.
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)
2017-07-30 11:30 am
Entry tags:

random R&J post

Wow, I just managed to make myself really sad about the way that both Romeo and Juliet talk explicitly about how little time they've been married before Tybalt's death and Romeo's banishment (Romeo cries out that he is "an hour but married"; Juliet calls herself Romeo's "three-hours' wife") - because that's why it's so important that Romeo has to die in Juliet's tomb, even to the extent of killing Paris to get there; that's where they can be married forever: their timeless end, their dateless bargain, Romeo's everlasting rest. I mean, I already knew this - it's there even in Juliet's early line "my grave is like to be my wedding bed" - but for some reason it just hit me at an odd angle today.

Also, tomorrow is Juliet's birthday - "Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen" - so I also managed to make myself really sad about the fact that at the beginning of the play, we know exactly how many days are left ("a fortnight and odd days") until that fourteenth birthday she will never see.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
2017-07-24 09:38 am

well, that's interesting!

A nice email to receive from Shakespeare's Globe this morning:

We are thrilled to announce that Michelle Terry will be Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe from April 2018.

An Olivier Award-winning actor and writer, Michelle is well-known to the Globe’s stage, having starred as Rosalind in As You Like It (2015), as Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013) and as the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost (2007). She also directed Richard III, King John and As You Like It for The Complete Walk (2016), a series of short films created as part of the Globe’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

http://blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/163360048328/michelle-terry-is-the-new-artistic-director-of


I absolutely loved her as the Princess, and was really disappointed that the Globe didn't film her AYLI, because I really wanted to see her as Rosalind. She was also great as Rosaline in LLL at the RSC, and a lovely Helena in the National Theatre's All's Well, although I had some quibbles with the production. (I loved the idea of the fairy-tale concept, but felt that the fairy-tale aspects were mostly a gloss on the top - a red cloak here, a wolf shadow there - rather than worked fully into the deep structures of the production. Don't ask me how one would do such a thing, though.) I suppose she hasn't done much directing (had Mark Rylance done any, before he was artistic director? I genuinely haven't any idea), but unlike some artistic directors, she does seem to enjoy Shakespeare, so that's a plus… and she's clearly familiar with the space, which can only help.

…Also, being me, this bit at the very bottom made me smile: "The panel formed to recruit the Artistic Director Designate comprised: Neil Constable, Louise Jury, Claire van Kampen, Philip Kirkpatrick, Jamie Parker, Emma Stenning and Jenny Topper." :)
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
2017-07-20 10:39 pm

palm to palm &c.

Ever since watching the R&J episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, I've wondered what Jade Anouka was like as Juliet. Turns out that in creating their new Teach Shakespeare website, Shakespeare's Globe posted a handful of - snowy - clips from their 2013 Playing Shakespeare production. Here you can see the lovers' sonnet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sf-L9hlcRQ

(I'm afraid I don't remember the name of the actor playing opposite her - and the website isn't great on metadata.)

The website, with more videos, is here:
http://teach.shakespearesglobe.com/romeo-and-juliet-videos?previous=/library/category/video-9
tempestsarekind: (brighter than sunflowers)
2017-07-16 02:07 pm

face, meet palm

So way back in series 5, when Amy tells us that her favorite story as a kid was the story of Pandora's box, and I commented that this was clearly the TARDIS (as I said back then, "a box full of monsters and hope")?

How has it only just occurred to me that in "The Eleventh Hour," Amy is repeatedly told not to open the door to the room where Prisoner Zero is hiding - and she does it anyway? And yes, she lets out the monster - but she also opens the door to the thing that will save the planet, because if she hadn't opened that door, and seen Prisoner Zero's true form, she wouldn't have been able to remember it, and use the psychic link (with the Doctor's help) to turn Prisoner Zero into a perfect copy of itself.

Monsters and hope, on day one. How did I miss it?
tempestsarekind: (dido plus books)
2017-07-16 01:25 pm

in other media news

The trailer for Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time film came out yesterday (or at least, I saw it for the first time yesterday):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4U3TeY2wtM

My first, entirely shallow thought was that it needs FAR more Gugu Mbatha-Raw in it. But as I chewed on this shallow thought over the course of the day yesterday, it became a little less shallow - because it touches on the main thing that's not quite sitting right with me about the trailer:

It starts with Chris Pine.

Okay, that's a bit facetious. But it does feel wrong to start with Mr. Murry, and not with Mrs. Murry or Meg. One of the things I really loved about A Wrinkle in Time as a child was how thorny and prickly the beginning of the book is: not just Meg getting in fights at school (although that was Important), but Meg's feeling of not fitting properly into her own skin, in contrast to her beautiful and brilliant mother; her desperate worry about Charles Wallace - and then, the nastiness of the people in their insular little town, who sneer at Mrs. Murry and snicker that her husband must have just run away, who make fun of Meg's beloved baby brother for being different. One of the things I loved about the book is that we don't start with the adventurer, making his scientific discoveries: we start with his family, who don't know what's happened to him, who have to hope and believe that they aren't in the sort of tawdry, shabby story that the snickering neighbors think they're in.

And obviously, this is just the trailer, so who knows what the actual movie will be like, or how it will begin. But it feels a bit as if all of those rough, important edges have been sanded down, and the story has been made smoother and glossier than I'd like. (This extends to the look of the film as well, though I haven't written about it here: I want Mrs. Whatsit to be tramping around in rubber boots and muffled by layers and layers of ill-fitting clothing - utterly unremarkable before becoming utterly magical. I want things to be sort of shabby and ramshackle around the edges. That may be expecting something one is not likely to get from a big Disney film.)
tempestsarekind: (amy and her boys)
2017-07-16 12:20 pm

on the new Doctor

Still not ginger. :)

Otherwise, not very deep thoughts )
tempestsarekind: (Default)
2017-07-14 11:07 am

"at least they know I know where France is"*

Another day, another wish that someone would cast Daveed Diggs as Christopher Marlowe…

*Yes, this is a Massacre at Paris joke. of sorts.

(This is one of the things I don't understand about the continued attempts at making Shakespeare a sexy rebel instead of the guy who kept his head down: Marlowe is RIGHT THERE, being completely extra - as the children say - writing scandalous stuff, actually being the innovator people want Shakespeare to have been.) (I'm thinking of that monstrously stupid moment in Anonymous - which one? you say - where all the other Elizabethan dramatists are gobsmacked that "Shakespeare" wrote AN ENTIRE PLAY in BLANK VERSE, like they hadn't all been doing that. But that's just the most egregious example that sprang to mind - although that moment in the Will trailer where someone gripes at Will, "You can't just make up words!" and he's all, "Well, someone must!" comes pretty close: making up words is what Elizabethan dramatists did; it's not some province exclusive to Shakespeare's genius!)

(yes, yes, I know, Shakespeare has "pre-awareness" or whatever they're calling audience recognition these days. But I find it hard to believe that anyone who's actually thinking about watching something like Will wouldn't watch a similar show about Marlowe instead, if you could just get someone to make it.)
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
2017-07-13 09:19 am

question: am I a masochist?

I ask because the Folger Shakespeare Library dropped a link to this podcast interview with Craig Pierce and Shekhar Kapur, where they talk about creating the new TV show Will, into my inbox this morning:

http://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/tnt-will

Will I listen to it? (Another way of asking the same question as before.)

...I mean, I probably won't, because between the two of them, these men are responsible for three films that I really don't like - the Lurhmann Romeo plus Juliet and Kapur's two Elizabeth films, which lucked out by having Cate Blanchett in them, but are not actually, like, good, or nuanced, or even comprehensible. But if you have a higher tolerance for this whole "Shakespeare is totally punk rock, yo, not all stuffy like the Man says!" thing, here you go.