tempestsarekind: (hamlet--though you can fret me)
A little look at the history of Yorick's skull in Hamlet, on the eve of Andrew Scott's first performance of the title role at the Almeida:

Alas, poor Yorick! The shocking life of theatre's greatest skull
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/feb/16/andrew-scott-hamlet-skull

And here's a tidbit about David Tennant and Andre Tchaikowsky (the skull who played Yorick for a while, until he was supposedly replaced by a prop):

it wasn’t until David Tennant played Hamlet in 2009 that the skull was finally used in a live performance, which provoked a minor media frenzy. Even though the company claimed that the prop had been replaced by a replica, so as not to “distract” audiences, artistic director Gregory Doran admitted months later that Tchaikowsky had in fact starred alongside Tennant throughout.


I don't know how I missed that last part of the story!
tempestsarekind: (ophelia)
I just idly happened to check what might be going on at my local independent cinema and discovered that they were screening Maxine Peake's Hamlet this Monday, so if you live in the US, you might want to check yours too, as it looks like they are finally doing some US screenings:

http://www.hamletmaxinepeake.com
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
I must have written this the day after I saw the Cumberbatch Hamlet, but then I got distracted by writing a blog post instead, and never came back to finish this. Anyway, I just found it on my computer, so for completeness' sake:

Further thoughts, about Benedict Cumberbatch this time – or at least about his Hamlet. Hamlet thoughts )

mea culpa

Oct. 17th, 2015 12:05 pm
tempestsarekind: (hamlet/horatio OTP)
I take back my frustration with the rewriting of "What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba" in the Cumberbatch Hamlet: "What's Hecuba to him, or he to her" is the variation in the Second Quarto. ("Or he to Hecuba" is the Folio version.) I took issue with it because as far as I can tell, many of the changed lines in that production have been changed in the name of clarity (like "acid dropping into milk" instead of "eager droppings"), and I couldn't imagine how anyone could think that "or he to Hecuba" was unclear. But apparently they were just going with the Second Quarto text.
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
Hamlet, Barbican Theatre
Lyndsey Turner, director; Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet
via NT Live
15 October 2015

Okay, so Hamlet.

I don’t want to say that it went downhill for me from the beginning, but… cut for length and grumpiness )
tempestsarekind: (she runs lunatic)
This is a telling realization, as my "comedy is hard" tag gets frequent use.

Anyway, has anyone else read this article from 2014?

Shakespeare's Bloody Problem: Why the Tragedies Almost Never Work Anymore
http://www.vulture.com/2014/06/shakespeare-has-a-bloody-problem.html

Here's the central argument:

I can’t help noticing, as I watch them through splayed fingers, how all four [plays] are structured. In their first halves, Shakespeare dramatizes the intersection of intimate relations and political power, employing the most imaginative theatrical poetry ever written to knit the complexities together. But having climbed these wonderful stairways of insight, they then take a slide down Bloodbath Mountain. All the marvelous thickness of family intrigue in Lear and Hamlet, all the madness of marital love in Macbeth, all the knottiness of psychopathology in Richard [III] seem to dissipate around the middle of Act Three, replaced by swordplay, death skits, war scenes, howling, eye-gouging, head-­severing, and pageants of frenzied murderousness. It’s almost as if Shakespeare didn’t trust his audience, or the part of it standing in the yard with oranges, to hang around for the second half unless he threw them a bone or ten. Of course, there’s still high-class poetry scattered amid the Grand Guignol for the groundlings, some of it as beautiful as ever. But it now floats free from the binding of story, like marooned islands of fat in a broken mayonnaise.

I'm trying to decide what I think about it: it's true that I've often felt that the second half of a performance of one of the tragedies doesn't live up to the first half, but I feel that way during a lot of performances of the comedies, too. (Intermission is a hard thing to come back from.) I don't know that it's specifically because of the violence - although I do often feel as though the violence is staged to no particular purpose or design; it's often just sort of…there.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
tempestsarekind: (geoffrey)
In class on Wednesday, we were talking about the word "cousin" in Shakespeare, and how it gets used for close familial relationships even if the characters aren't literally cousins. One of my students declared that Hamlet calls Horatio "cousin" at one point; I was skeptical, but she was insistent, and I don't have the play memorized, so I let it go. I just looked this up using Open Source Shakespeare, though, and it turns out that there are only four uses of the word "cousin" in Hamlet - and every one of them is Claudius to Hamlet. I find this fascinating, that attempt to insist on closeness when there are onlookers present. "How fares our cousin Hamlet?"

(…oh no, now I am having feelings about the fact that Romeo calls Tybalt "cousin" in the Capulet vault; he's claiming him out loud as family in a way he couldn't do when Tybalt challenged him, this is the worst and everything is terrible.)

(also, there are apparently only three uses of "cousin" in Othello, and only two of those are terms of address - which makes a lot of sense, because Desdemona gets cut off from her kinsmen by joining Othello in Cyprus, and Othello has no community ties of that sort; they are both terribly isolated and vulnerable.)
tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
A RAGTAG KING

A RAGTAG KING

That is how No Fear Shakespeare 'translates' "A king of shreds and patches." As though anyone uses the word "ragtag" these days for anything other than, say, scrappy underdog sports teams, or motley bands of heroes in lesser fantasy scenarios. Misfits are "ragtag," No Fear Shakespeare!

I accidentally stumbled across this information, and I felt I needed to inflict it on other people, so they could share my pain.

ETA: I looked up "ragtag" in the dictionary, just to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Merriam-Webster gives the definition of "ragtag" as "made up of different people or things and not organized or put together well." Which…no? Under the fuller definition, we have "ragged, unkempt" (which doesn't fit either; I am pretty sure that Hamlet is not actually upset about Claudius' sartorial choices), but definition 2 reads like this:

2: MOTLEY 2 (a ragtag bunch of misfits)

(from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ragtag ).

So I think I was pretty much on target. (The definition also gives a usage example about a ragtag sports team. It really does.)

In conclusion: I hate these No Fear Shakespeare things so much.
tempestsarekind: (hamlet/horatio OTP)
Jamie Parker's Hamlet recording (BBC Radio 4), which I tragically missed when it was available on BBC iPlayer, is now available for purchase on audible.com and iTunes!!!

There are no words for how excited I am to listen to this. Of course, I have to wait until I do all of my quarter grading and comments, but what a lovely reward it will be...
tempestsarekind: (corset pout)
So I guess I missed Jamie Parker's BBC Radio Hamlet, and it's not up on iPlayer?

Is life really worth living, now?
tempestsarekind: (hamlet/horatio OTP)
This has nothing to do with anything except that I just got an email in my inbox about the "Bad Quarto" version of Hamlet, but. A few weeks ago I was trying to describe feminine endings to my students, and the only other line I could come up with on the spot (besides the line in the actual poem, whatever that was) was "To be or not to be, that is the question": it's iambic pentameter, but then it has an extra unstressed syllable at the end. So then, not too long after that, I was thinking about this line, and the Q1 version - "To be or not to be, ay, there's the point" - and how "point" and "question" are such different words, such different ideas...and then I realized: with "point," that extra, uncertain syllable on the end of the line is gone as well. Sound echoing sense: I love it.
tempestsarekind: (Default)
So I spent an hour yesterday squeaking at my television in delight about David Tennant's face, and so cannot possibly evaluate the Hamlet episode objectively. (He geeked out over the Bad Quarto, you guys! How do I resist that?) The Tempest episode mainly made me want to watch the Taymor film, which I have so far not been inclined to do. (I also find the whole 'farewell to the theatre' narrative slightly irritating, and so am not objective about that, either.)


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

eeeeeee.

Dec. 27th, 2012 01:13 am
tempestsarekind: (hamlet/horatio OTP)
http://fyjpshakespeare.tumblr.com/post/38705505916/jamie-parker-is-going-to-play-hamlet-jamie

Of course, my brain just went "Maybe he's actually going to play Marcellus!" because sometimes my brain is a useless smartass, but oh well.

Okay, back to plying myself with herbal tea and stubbornly muttering, "I am NOT getting sick." How do other humans keep from getting sick every time they travel, seriously?
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
You will not, I think, be especially surprised to know that while I was walking to school this morning, wearing new shoes and fretting about whether they would give me blisters, my sub-brain piped up with some ridiculousness about plucking the rose from the forehead of an innocent love and setting a blister there.

*facepalm*
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
You will not, I think, be especially surprised to know that while I was walking to school this morning, wearing new shoes and fretting about whether they would give me blisters, my sub-brain piped up with some ridiculousness about plucking the rose from the forehead of an innocent love and setting a blister there.

*facepalm*
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
Thinking, as one does, about Hamlet. I still haven't had a chance to think through the NT Live broadcast beyond the scribbles I took during intermission and when I got home (and probably won't, now). I thought Rory Kinnear was quite good, but--weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly)--he tended to lose me, just a tiny bit, on the soliloquies. I don't want to be that girl who always goes, "But when David Tennant did it," but it is the most recent other Hamlet that I've seen, and that was one of the things I really loved about Tennant's performance; he made the soliloquies really feel like snatched moments of release, carefully hidden from the outside world. I feel like I can tell a lot about the tone of a Hamlet based on the first soliloquy ("O that this too, too solid flesh would melt"), whether a Hamlet starts off as a rational, furious, ironic observer, or an emotional mess--and for whatever reason, I tend to prefer the latter (though of course, any one note played monotonously is bad, and of course I don't mean that Hamlet should be constantly flinging himself into corners and sobbing; there is awareness and observation mixed in even with that brokenness). So I thought Rory Kinnear, who did the former, was really good, but I'm not sure I loved him, or grieved for him the way I do with more broken Hamlets. (But when David Tennant did it...for example, that helpless little lilt in his voice on the word "awry" during "To be or not to be," ["And enterprises of great pith and moment / With this regard their currents turn awry / And lose the name of action"] breaks my heart every time; he's so trapped, and he's always horribly aware of it, and yet there's nothing he can see his way clear to do about it.)

Also, this production cut out "Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man / As e'er my conversation coped withal..." Boo--my inner Horatio fangirl thinks this is not on.

Things I really liked, though (basically pulled from the aforementioned scribbles):

meet it is I set it down... )
tempestsarekind: (peddlers of bombast)
Thinking, as one does, about Hamlet. I still haven't had a chance to think through the NT Live broadcast beyond the scribbles I took during intermission and when I got home (and probably won't, now). I thought Rory Kinnear was quite good, but--weirdly (or maybe not so weirdly)--he tended to lose me, just a tiny bit, on the soliloquies. I don't want to be that girl who always goes, "But when David Tennant did it," but it is the most recent other Hamlet that I've seen, and that was one of the things I really loved about Tennant's performance; he made the soliloquies really feel like snatched moments of release, carefully hidden from the outside world. I feel like I can tell a lot about the tone of a Hamlet based on the first soliloquy ("O that this too, too solid flesh would melt"), whether a Hamlet starts off as a rational, furious, ironic observer, or an emotional mess--and for whatever reason, I tend to prefer the latter (though of course, any one note played monotonously is bad, and of course I don't mean that Hamlet should be constantly flinging himself into corners and sobbing; there is awareness and observation mixed in even with that brokenness). So I thought Rory Kinnear, who did the former, was really good, but I'm not sure I loved him, or grieved for him the way I do with more broken Hamlets. (But when David Tennant did it...for example, that helpless little lilt in his voice on the word "awry" during "To be or not to be," ["And enterprises of great pith and moment / With this regard their currents turn awry / And lose the name of action"] breaks my heart every time; he's so trapped, and he's always horribly aware of it, and yet there's nothing he can see his way clear to do about it.)

Also, this production cut out "Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man / As e'er my conversation coped withal..." Boo--my inner Horatio fangirl thinks this is not on.

Things I really liked, though (basically pulled from the aforementioned scribbles):

meet it is I set it down... )
tempestsarekind: (viola reading (tears))
Today I was kind of a flake: I have a lot of school reading and dissertation reading that needs...er, reading, but instead I flaked out and read something for fun during lunch and after office hours were over: the first two chapters of Carol Chillington Rutter's book Enter the Body: Women and Representation on Shakespeare's Stage. I can't remember exactly when I checked this book out (again), but I had plans to read the relevant parts of it over Thanksgiving weekend, but someone has requested it, so. A couple of years ago now I read the chapter on Cleopatra, which I'm still divided about: I think half of it is great, and half of it is totally wrong and actually kind of unnecessary. And I can't remember why I read that chapter instead of the ones that are more relevant to me pretty much all the time, the ones on Cordelia and Ophelia, but I didn't then, so I read them today.

And--you guys. I'm not sure why, exactly, her books make me so happy: it's something to do with performance, and possibility, and the possibility of a criticism that isn't bogged down in demonstrating its own learning to the point of tedium. It's not that I always agree with her points, because I don't. But I read her work and come away energized, reminded of why criticism is supposed to be a good idea, and moved by possibility. And after the Ophelia chapter, I just want to think about the graveyard scene, which is the most unstable part of the play for me, probably: I change my mind about it all the time.

(Also, it reminds me of my recurring dream to teach a class on Hamlet and Hamlet-related stuff. *wants*)

I likely won't have a chance to read the chapter on Troilus and Cressida (which was probably the reason I checked the book out the first time, it occurs to me now: that chapter is about clothing and costume, so it would have possibly been relevant to my vanished dissertation topic), but I do want to read the chapter on Othello now, after rereading the play, because the chapter focuses largely on Zoe Wanamaker's Emilia (in Trevor Nunn's RSC production; I still haven't seen it because I keep forgetting the video exists!). And I adore Emilia. She breaks my heart, more than anything else about that whole play. There's a line that she has, that conjures up whole worlds of suffering worn like a badge, a refusal to break that is always vulnerable, that has nothing in common with stoicism:

Thou hast not half that power to do me harm / As I have to be hurt.

It knocks the wind out of me, you guys. I can only flail about it helplessly in front of my students and look like an idiot. What is her life like, that she can say such things?

So anyway, I'll probably read that tonight instead of something useful, like Thomas Wilson's The Arte of Rhetorique.
tempestsarekind: (ophelia)
While I was watching bits and pieces of all those Hamlets, my mind snagged on a bit of Ophelia's description of Hamlet when he bursts in on her as she's sewing in her closet:

And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors
,--he comes before me.

And there's Hamlet, acting like his father, searching for yet another mode of action. So I just wondered--has anyone ever done a production of Hamlet in which Hamlet borrows some gesture of the ghost's, here, and uses it with Ophelia, in much the same way that David Tennant's Hamlet borrows the Player King's Pyrrhus-gesture of raising a knife over his head in both hands, during both "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I" and "Now might I do it, pat"? You could do this quite easily in film, in flashback; I'm not sure how you'd do it on stage, unless Ophelia were to echo Hamlet's echoed gesture, either on her own self or on Polonius. Which would work, I think. They're all borrowing from one another, anyway--trying to figure out how to behave in this broken kingdom.
tempestsarekind: (ophelia)
While I was watching bits and pieces of all those Hamlets, my mind snagged on a bit of Ophelia's description of Hamlet when he bursts in on her as she's sewing in her closet:

And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors
,--he comes before me.

And there's Hamlet, acting like his father, searching for yet another mode of action. So I just wondered--has anyone ever done a production of Hamlet in which Hamlet borrows some gesture of the ghost's, here, and uses it with Ophelia, in much the same way that David Tennant's Hamlet borrows the Player King's Pyrrhus-gesture of raising a knife over his head in both hands, during both "O what a rogue and peasant slave am I" and "Now might I do it, pat"? You could do this quite easily in film, in flashback; I'm not sure how you'd do it on stage, unless Ophelia were to echo Hamlet's echoed gesture, either on her own self or on Polonius. Which would work, I think. They're all borrowing from one another, anyway--trying to figure out how to behave in this broken kingdom.

Profile

tempestsarekind: (Default)
tempestsarekind

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
91011 12 13 1415
16171819 202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 23rd, 2017 02:38 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios