tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
This Trailer for the Present-Day Midsummer Night's Dream Movie Includes a Man With a Literal Buttface:
http://io9.gizmodo.com/this-trailer-for-the-present-day-midsummer-nights-dream-1796019683

That's it, culture, you win. I give up. Your Shakespeare is clearly not my Shakespeare, and you're bigger than I am, so - you just win. Okay.
tempestsarekind: (world in peril? have some tea)
Actual text from A Midsummer Night's Dream:


And I have found Demetrius like a jewel,
Mine own, and not mine own.


No Fear version:

I won Demetrius so easily, as if he were a precious diamond I just found lying around. It’s mine because I found it, but I feel like someone else could easily come and claim it was hers.

…what. These lines are about wonder, about something glimmering and awestruck, and to translate them like that…the mind just boggles.
tempestsarekind: (facepalm)
This post no longer exists on the Shakespeare's Globe blog, so I don't know whether that means something in it was misreported, but here is the casting for Emma Rice's Midsummer this summer:
http://shakespeaker.tumblr.com/post/140818931303/shakespearesglobeblog-a-midsummer-nights

Assuming that this is accurate, when you get to the bottom of the original post, you see that one of the actors is playing Helenus. So…she took a strong female part and changed it to a male part, great job (as opposed to making either Demetrius or Lysander female; female Lysander might even make some sense, since Egeus is opposed to the marriage at the beginning of the play. It makes no less sense, anyway, than male Helena). But in doing that, she also took the character who is most obsessed with gender roles and made all of that nonsensical. I mean, I assume they'll just have to cut a third of Helena's part, since she's always talking about how men and women are supposed to behave, and very firmly casting herself on the side of female: no "Your wrongs do set a scandal on my sex"; no "The story shall be changed; / Apollo flies and Daphne holds the chase"; no "If you were men, as men you are in show, / You would not use a gentle lady so." You'd have to cut her whole speech to Hermia about their school days, since that whole thing is heavily gendered ("And will you rend our ancient love asunder / To join with men in scorning your poor friend?", "Our sex as well as I may chide you for it"). Even aside from that, the point of the speech is that the two of them are so similar as to be two cherries on a single stem; that makes far less sense if Helena becomes Helenus.

I mean, I don't want to have to create a "why Emma Rice why" tag, but this just continues the fact that everything I've heard about her thus far suggests someone who is tone-deaf about Shakespeare - which is a big problem at a place called Shakespeare's Globe. She just doesn't strike me - and again, I acknowledge that I have only a partial view of her at best so far - as someone who sees the Shakespearean text as having any value in itself, only in how you can "shake it up" and probably upset some purists or whatever. (Here I'm drawing on that comment she made about people who have devoted their lives to the preservation of Shakespeare, and how they hated her production of Cymbeline - the implication being that they hated it because they were hidebound conservatives who don't appreciate life and modernity and fun, as opposed to because they just really didn't like what she did with the play.) She doesn't seem to want to work with the texts instead of against them, I guess, which just makes it really weird that she wanted the job in the first place.
tempestsarekind: (berowne [david tennant 2008])
An article from the Guardian with some potentially interesting quotes from Emma Rice (newly appointed artistic director at the Globe):

'One audience member tried to punch an actor': the battle to shake up Shakespeare
http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/sep/28/experimental-shakespeare-improbable-theatre-tempest-improv

For Kneehigh’s Emma Rice, soon to take over at the Globe, it’s all about storytelling. When she staged Cymbeline – “an impenetrable text” – they changed the script freely. Imogen’s alter-ego became Ian, not Fidele. “It’s not the text that’s leading,” says artistic director Emma Rice, “but it is the story.”

The response was, at times, vitriolic. Critics pooh-poohed it. They weren’t alone. “Late in the run, one audience member tried to punch an actor.” There is, she believes, a level of protectionism. (Witness, too, the recent fuss over moving “To be or not to be” in Hamlet at the Barbican.) “It’s guarded by the few people that have dedicated their lives to understanding it’s [sic] richness, but 99% of people who come and watch a play have not made that pact. If we’re to keep telling stories, we have to change them.”


As one of those people who has dedicated her life to understanding Shakespeare, I suppose (that sounds so silly), I don't think I'm protective of Shakespeare, as such - but it's sort of like historical drama about real people: most of the "innovations" made in the guise of "freshening up" the story are not as interesting or dramatically satisfying as the original, and often feel like they've just been pasted on top and don't spring naturally from the material. (grumble mutter Tilbury speech in Elizabeth: The Golden Age mutter grumble.)

(Just as an aside: haven't directors been moving "To be or not to be" around for ages? Did they put it someplace really weird at the Barbican? Like in a shoe or something?)

...Also, is the name "Fidele" particularly impenetrable? (I recognize that this is only a small example, and probably not one that Emma Rice actually gave.) I mean, I don't know what the name "Ian" means, either, but if you tell me that's a character's name, I will accept it and move on. I also don't know anyone named Posthumus Leonatus, either, so… At a certain point, Shakespeare is just not our contemporary - and that's okay, I think. It's okay that parts of Shakespeare are strange to us, as long as the company putting on the play creates a world for us in which they make sense. (This is actually why I think a lot of modernized Shakespeare doesn't quite work, even though there might be a lot of good things about the production; the director hasn't really given us a reason that cellphones and duels over honor exist in the same place - even though there's no reason that they couldn't; but you have to make it feel natural somehow.)

Then there's this bit:
It’s telling that these alternative companies are often shunted towards Shakespeare’s lighter, fanciful fare: the Tempest’s magic, Comedy of Errors’s anarchy, Cymbeline’s fairytale. It’s mostly a case of matchmaking – suit the play to the players – but it’s problematic too, a case of pigeonholing artists.

Why are Hamlet and Othello the preserve of big-name actors and mainstream directors? What might an alternative approach to the Histories look like? It’s almost patronising. Do what you will with Twelfth Night, but keep your hands off Titus Andronicus.

“Nick Hytner asked us to do A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the National,” remembers Simon McBurney. “I thought ‘Fuck that.’ Everybody wants to see Complicite’s fairies. I decided to take a really political play instead.” He ended up directing Measure for Measure and, shortly after 9/11, putting Paul Rhys’s Claudio into a high-security prison in an orange jumpsuit.


Shunted. Shakespeare's lighter, fanciful fare. Because comedies are just for lesser artists and chumps, of course. (Also, oooooh, an orange jumpsuit! Bring me my smelling salts!) And I would say this, but Twelfth Night is actually really hard to get right. I have seen a lot of dismal productions of this play, precisely because everyone thinks it's just an easy lark, and forgets that it's a play about a miracle. /the same Twelfth Night rant that I give all the time

(I have still never seen a live professional production of Midsummer, because my life makes no sense, but I think it has the same problems, based on the filmed versions I've seen: people think it's easy because it's got fairies and kids perform in it or get taken to see it, and they completely forget that it needs to have an actual heart to work properly. Playing all the lovers as actually interchangeable ciphers, or not letting us sympathize with what is for Hermia and Helena real pain, or playing Titania in love with Bottom so broadly that her love doesn't resemble any real emotion, just kills the play for me; I can't laugh at it when I don't care about it. I think people think that it should be the opposite - if the emotions are real, then they won't be funny - but for me, at least, comedy doesn't work when there aren't people involved. /shoddily disguised dissertation rant )

what even

Jan. 30th, 2015 09:11 pm
tempestsarekind: (wtf?)
What kind of stupidheaded line is "A Midsummer Night's Dream may be a comedy, but it is a cleverly constructed one"?

It may be a comedy - but don't worry guys, we can still take it seriously! It's okay, don't be scared!

Ugh.

In less ranty remarks - seeing these Globe clips makes me sad that I didn't like this production, because I thought it started well… (Though I'm pretty sure I just don't like Pearce Quigley - who played Bottom; he's been in a couple of Globe productions, and he just says all of his lines in pretty much the exact same almost-monotone in an attempt to be funny.)

--Just out of curiosity, are there any "fairy experts" who are not Diane Purkiss? (I just remember being so disappointed in her book At the Bottom of the Garden…so much of it seemed to be about Scottish witch trials, in ways that weren't especially helpful.)

--Wait, did Hugh Bonneville just say that Shakespeare's father was the mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon? That is not even a thing that is TRUE. How hard is it to fact-check?

--At least Julie Taymor takes Helena seriously; that is sadly rare in this poor world.

--what's this? Is Hugh Bonneville talking about verse forms and rhyme??? Actual discussion of language? Wonders never cease.
tempestsarekind: (fairy wings [ever after])
All day long, I've had "She never had so sweet a changeling" running through my head at random times. Like a little marching song.

Actually unrelated to the above, but I keep meaning to read The Burning of Bridget Cleary. Or maybe it's the other one? I have this vague memory that two books on this came out at about the same time, and I read a double review that praised one of the books more than the other, but now I'm not entirely convinced that wasn't just a weird dream I had, like the time I dreamed I was reading Hamlet criticism.

ETA: Nope, there is another one: The Cooper's Wife is Missing. I don't remember which was more highly recommended, though.
tempestsarekind: (fairy wings [ever after])
All day long, I've had "She never had so sweet a changeling" running through my head at random times. Like a little marching song.

Actually unrelated to the above, but I keep meaning to read The Burning of Bridget Cleary. Or maybe it's the other one? I have this vague memory that two books on this came out at about the same time, and I read a double review that praised one of the books more than the other, but now I'm not entirely convinced that wasn't just a weird dream I had, like the time I dreamed I was reading Hamlet criticism.

ETA: Nope, there is another one: The Cooper's Wife is Missing. I don't remember which was more highly recommended, though.
tempestsarekind: (fairy wings [ever after])
Were the World Mine arrived yesterday, unexpectedly, from Netflix. (I'd been watching the Playing Shakespeare series for quite a while, since it's four discs--verdict: pretty much awesome--so I'd completely lost track of what was at the top of the queue after those.) I was only going to watch the first scene--you know, just to see--and somehow wound up watching the whole movie.

I feel like I should have something clever or insightful to say about the way the movie uses A Midsummer Night's Dream, particularly the way the songs "remix" lines from the text to interesting effect...but really, the movie had me at choreographed dodgeball.
tempestsarekind: (fairy wings [ever after])
Were the World Mine arrived yesterday, unexpectedly, from Netflix. (I'd been watching the Playing Shakespeare series for quite a while, since it's four discs--verdict: pretty much awesome--so I'd completely lost track of what was at the top of the queue after those.) I was only going to watch the first scene--you know, just to see--and somehow wound up watching the whole movie.

I feel like I should have something clever or insightful to say about the way the movie uses A Midsummer Night's Dream, particularly the way the songs "remix" lines from the text to interesting effect...but really, the movie had me at choreographed dodgeball.
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
I forgot I had this question the last time I saw this episode of Bones: a silken hanging rope from England comes up in the episode, and Hodgins comments that back in the day (the year 1650 comes up, but I can't remember whether the rope is from that period, or if it came up for some other reason), nobles would often choose to be hanged with a silk rope rather than a hempen one. Aside from my amusement at the use of the word "hempen," which isn't used nearly enough for my liking, I thought nobles during the period were executed by axe, not by hanging? Hence Anne Boleyn and the French swordsman?

So: is this a mistake in the episode? Or did procedures change, and if so, when? (And did they change in favor of hanging for everyone, rather than in favor of the blade?)
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
I forgot I had this question the last time I saw this episode of Bones: a silken hanging rope from England comes up in the episode, and Hodgins comments that back in the day (the year 1650 comes up, but I can't remember whether the rope is from that period, or if it came up for some other reason), nobles would often choose to be hanged with a silk rope rather than a hempen one. Aside from my amusement at the use of the word "hempen," which isn't used nearly enough for my liking, I thought nobles during the period were executed by axe, not by hanging? Hence Anne Boleyn and the French swordsman?

So: is this a mistake in the episode? Or did procedures change, and if so, when? (And did they change in favor of hanging for everyone, rather than in favor of the blade?)
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
An interview with Greg Doran on the three productions he's directing this summer has been posted to david-tennant.com:

http://www.david-tennant.com/

I don't know why I keep reading these things. It's like prodding a bruise.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
An interview with Greg Doran on the three productions he's directing this summer has been posted to david-tennant.com:

http://www.david-tennant.com/

I don't know why I keep reading these things. It's like prodding a bruise.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
1. David Tennant being in talks to play Hamlet for the RSC next summer. Which, while I think he would be good (and he can certainly do antic disposition), would apparently be the final nail in the coffin for his being the Doctor in series 5, since it would be filming at the same time. So then I would have no David Tennant at all, and wouldn't get to see him in Hamlet anyway since I don't live in England. And yet I can't help feeling like this should happen. Bother.

2. Returned papers to my summer school students this week. I've decided that there are at least two topics high-school students should not be allowed to write about: the use of the word "dream" in A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Romeo and Juliet, full stop. Because the first winds up as "you so can't tell the dream from reality!" and the second winds up either as "their love is OMG awesome!" or "their love is OMG stupid and reckless!"

3. My students were decidedly less than pleased with either Richard II (which they declared to be the most boring of all the plays we'd read so far, and thought Richard "should just stop whining"; I resisted the urge to yell "He was DEPOSED!" at them) or Henry V. Plus, discussions didn't go very well this week. I'm not sure why you'd sign up for a summer Shakespeare class unless you, you know, wanted to talk about Shakespeare, but whatever. At least I am being paid. And I now have two sections instead of one, so I'll be grateful for the extra money when it's over.

Off to try to write the second batch of paper topics...
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
1. David Tennant being in talks to play Hamlet for the RSC next summer. Which, while I think he would be good (and he can certainly do antic disposition), would apparently be the final nail in the coffin for his being the Doctor in series 5, since it would be filming at the same time. So then I would have no David Tennant at all, and wouldn't get to see him in Hamlet anyway since I don't live in England. And yet I can't help feeling like this should happen. Bother.

2. Returned papers to my summer school students this week. I've decided that there are at least two topics high-school students should not be allowed to write about: the use of the word "dream" in A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Romeo and Juliet, full stop. Because the first winds up as "you so can't tell the dream from reality!" and the second winds up either as "their love is OMG awesome!" or "their love is OMG stupid and reckless!"

3. My students were decidedly less than pleased with either Richard II (which they declared to be the most boring of all the plays we'd read so far, and thought Richard "should just stop whining"; I resisted the urge to yell "He was DEPOSED!" at them) or Henry V. Plus, discussions didn't go very well this week. I'm not sure why you'd sign up for a summer Shakespeare class unless you, you know, wanted to talk about Shakespeare, but whatever. At least I am being paid. And I now have two sections instead of one, so I'll be grateful for the extra money when it's over.

Off to try to write the second batch of paper topics...

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