tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
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: (Default)
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

(…why doesn't Adrian Lester have a tag?)
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
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:


(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:
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:

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.


Jul. 7th, 2016 07:48 pm
tempestsarekind: (trespass sweetly urged)
I just bought my ticket for the screening of Branagh's Romeo and Juliet. I'm still kind of miffed about the whole Jacobi-playing-Mercutio thing, and I don't really get why he seems to have filmed the production in black-and-white, but Romeo and Juliet are my babies, so I really have little choice but to go.

Anyway, might be worth checking your local cinemas, if they screen these sorts of things and update their websites regularly. The screening here isn't until September 1 (although the UK screenings started today, I think?), but other cinemas will probably have other dates.
tempestsarekind: (histories)
I tried to watch the Fassbender Macbeth last night, but wound up finding it unfinish-able. (I made it through Duncan's murder and Macbeth's coronation.) Not good if you like tones of voice other than whispering and facial expressions other than blank; possibly good if you like mud and close-ups of people having their throats slit. Or droning music, to go along with all the monotonous low voices.

Meh. It was just boring, and that play should never be that.
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
Just posting so I can find it later: All of the Guardian's Shakespeare Solos videos on YouTube:


(Incidentally, listening to Riz Ahmed doing Edmund's "Thou, Nature, art my goddess" soliloquy has made me annoyed all over again with the liberal hand most editors use in applying exclamation marks to the text - precisely because he doesn't exclaim the last line - "Now, gods, stand up for bastards" - but gets quiet instead, and I think it's a very effective choice…but one that a reader who sees an exclamation point might not even consider.)

(I checked, just to be sure - although I have yet to question an exclamation mark in a Shakespeare text and find it there in the earliest editions, but I look forward to that day - and there is no exclamation mark in either the First Quarto or the Folio text. There is an exclamation mark in the Pelican and Folger Digital editions, which are the two that I have on hand at the moment.)
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:

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 )


Nov. 8th, 2015 10:54 am
tempestsarekind: (rosalind and celia)
I can't quite figure out how I feel about this review of Branagh's production of The Winter's Tale (and Harlequinade):


For example:

This time, Branagh’s following in the footsteps of Michael Grandage and Jamie Lloyd, whose West End seasons have proved a new working model for commercial theater. But where those projects hung off an individual director’s style and vision, Branagh’s sits in the actor-manager tradition. It shows. Playing triumphs over purpose.

…What does that even mean? Because it sounds like the reviewer is saying that Branagh cares more about putting on the play than making it about his "vision" or whatever (I tend to be skeptical of "vision"; Cumberhamlet had one of those, presumably - it's not always a good thing), and if I have to choose, I am way more interested in the "playing" part. If you give me a production that does a good job with the play, then it will, through that process, reveal new things about the play - and that's purpose enough. (Maybe I would feel differently about this if my entire job were going to see plays. But the thing about traditional stagings is that they don't feel traditional if you have little to no experience with the play. They're just stagings, then.)

But then the reviewer says,

Too often, though, the actor’s vanity becomes visible, and key handovers and reconciliations are played out in slow motion. Branagh pulls focus like a barman pulls pints — that is to say, for a living. Everything he does just seems so earnest.

…Are vanity and earnestness the same thing? I don't think they are. The production may well show signs of both, at different times, but it feels to me like the reviewer is mixing up his terms somehow. (Also, you know, I have a hard time understanding why I am assumed to be able to see the inherently pejorative nature of "earnestness." I'm gonna need more details on that one, because I don't automatically see earnestness as a flaw.)


The buttoned-up Victoriana and its family values, from which Leontes laments this “bawdy planet,” neatly flags up the play’s sexual politics. Bohemia, by contrast, is a place of dancing and delight, where Jessie Buckley’s breezy Perdita can grow her hair down to her waist. Women are in control here, whipping off their partners’ shirts at will, whereas in Sicily, Miranda Raison’s dignified Hermione can only plead her case and wait her husband’s verdict.

This sounds like he's basically objecting to the logic of the play itself - which is fine, but not really a review of how the production handles the play. I mean, okay, it sounds like Branagh's production is pretty traditional - it's no Young Vic Measure for Measure with blow-up sex dolls all over the stage, that's for sure - but I feel like this review is written from the perspective that traditional can't be good, as opposed to making a case for whether or not this production is traditional and good. If the Victorian setting makes sense for the play's sexual politics, then isn't it a reasonable choice even if it isn't the most outré? At the beginning of the review, the reviewer suggests that the Victorian setting is "only" pretty - allusions to mulled wine and Christmas cards - but the rest of the review gives me the impression that the reviewer probably wouldn't ever see a Victorian-set production as worth doing, anyway: that any Victorian production would only ever be "pretty" to him. So I can't tell.


In sort of related news, the praise in this review of the National Theatre's As You Like It sort of sounds like the reviewer hasn't seen As You Like It in decades: at this point I have seen more somber Forests of Arden with "subdued palettes" than anything else; do they even still do "Robin Hoodery"? (This isn't entirely a complaint, as I happen to believe that the Forest of Arden is about communal effort to create a joyful space; you shouldn't just get the happy larks for free because people are in a forest. I have seen some As You Like Its that forgot to create the joy, though.) But the ending of the review made me happy I already had my ticket for the NT Live screening, because I adore Celia more than reason:

At the centre, Rosalie Craig and Patsy Ferran are a combustible duo. Craig has a fervent, poised androgyny as Rosalind: no swagger, all silk. Agile and bugle-eyed, as sceptical as she is supportive, Ferran makes Celia one of the most vital of Shakespearean roles. Together they illuminate a vital truth about As You Like It. One of the loves it celebrates is not a romance but a marvellous, complicated sisterly affection.

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: (all the world's a stage)
I missed this somehow, but Branagh's productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale, along with The Entertainer, are going to be filmed and broadcast worldwide:


So fingers crossed that a cinema near me decides to show them!

(No mention of the whole "Derek Jacobi playing Mercutio nonsense, but oh well.)

noooo why

Jul. 18th, 2015 06:39 pm
tempestsarekind: (excuse me what)
So Branagh is doing Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale at the Garrick Theatre in London, alongside Terrence Rattigan's Harlequinade, which is apparently a play about a company that tries to put on Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale. I like the idea of this grouping, and a lot of the casting sounds really amazing (Dame Judi Dench as Paulina! Michael Pennington as Antigonus!) or intriguing (Jessie Buckley as Perdita! Her Miranda for the Globe had a lot of potential). But then there's this weird thing:

Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James as Romeo and Juliet and Derek Jacobi as Mercutio, in Shakespeareʼs heartbreaking tale of forbidden love.

I just - no. 1) Mercutio is not an elderly man; that's just creepy and weird. (I know productions have done middle-aged Mercutios, but…come on, man, why is this old dude trying to fight Tybalt?) 2) This (casting a way more famous actor) looks like exactly the kind of move people make when they want to make Mercutio more important than the lovers, and I hate that: there isn't another Shakespeare tragedy where people are constantly trying to downplay the presence and importance of the title characters, but of course Romeo and Juliet are just stupid teenagers, and Shakespeare really cared about Mercutio. Double plus ugh. And 3)…I don't actually like Derek Jacobi doing Shakespeare all that much? Of course I respect his talent, and I recognize that this is totally my problem, and probably my bad taste, rather than an objective judgment, but his performances just bounce off of me and leave me cold.

Anyway. I have no particular feelings about Lily James, since I've only seen her in Downton Abbey, or Richard Madden, since I don't watch Game of Thrones (although I liked him in the Birdsong miniseries - but I didn't watch it very carefully). Apparently Richard Madden played Romeo in the Globe's touring production of R&J back in 2007, though - and his Adopt an Actor blog posts are up on the website:


So that could be interesting: it's rare that an actor gets to take a second crack at playing Romeo professionally because he's such a young character. (The same is true of Juliet.) But now I'm all unnecessarily crabby about a production I won't ever get to see (unless perhaps they film it).

two things

Jun. 30th, 2015 04:30 pm
tempestsarekind: (the wind and the rain)
1. How did I not know that Indira Varma played Olivia in the Derek Jacobi Twelfth Night at the Donmar?

2. What does it say about me that I am far more upset about not seeing Indira Varma than about not seeing Derek Jacobi?

(I'm also sad that I was too sick to go to the Globe On Screen Titus in which she played Tamora, but I at least have the option of watching that on DVD or Globe Player once it's out. I love Olivia, and I have yet to see an Olivia that I really love...)
tempestsarekind: (dido plus books)
Reading an interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw pulled up this tidbit:

At RADA, Gugu’s contemporaries included Ben Whishaw, Tom Hiddleston and Andrea Riseborough, all former nominees for the Rising Star gong. Shortly after graduation, she was Juliet to Andrew Garfield’s Romeo at the Manchester Royal Exchange, when they were both 22.

Well, this is the worst; everything is terrible. (Oddly enough, I was thinking "I bet she would have made a wonderful Juliet" at an earlier point while reading this article, because Harry Lloyd got mentioned, and he was one of my fancasts for Romeo for a while.)

I mean, I did see her as Ophelia opposite Jude Law, but… Juliet, you know? My heart-girl, my best beloved. I can just imagine Gugu's radiance in Belle in that role.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Branagh confirms Scorcese Macbeth film

I liked this production when I saw it via NT Live, although I felt like the cast hadn't quite settled into their roles when it was filmed - so it would be interesting to see them give it another go. (Especially Alex Kingston, assuming the original cast beyond Branagh is involved.)
tempestsarekind: (where comedy meets romance)
I thought I posted this when I wrote it - back in October - but it wasn't in my Globe tag when I went looking for other productions I'd seen James Garnon in. I like how this is incredibly representative of me, in that it turns into a Romeo and Juliet rant partway through. At least I'm consistent?

29 October 2014

One of these days, I would like to see The Tempest and have the director take Miranda seriously, and not make her into a whiny, stomping child. Unfortunately, yesterday was not that day - although I did get a wonderfully alien Ariel in Colin Morgan, and a fascinating Caliban from James Garnon, who is quickly rising to the top of my Shakespeare's Globe Awesome People list. (I don't really have a list; I haven't seen enough repeat actors in Globe parts to make a list. It would basically be him and Philip Cumbus, and possibly Joseph Timms.) Seriously, though - Miranda is one of those Shakespearean heroines that I have feelings about but I’m never sure whether anyone else does (Hermia and Emilia belong on this list), and the whole point of her part of the play is that she is growing into a woman; even if she's somewhat sheltered and untried, she needs to be mature and poised enough to make decisions for herself, including the decision to get married. And in the text she is. Jessie Buckley, in the performance I saw last night, had to add the whining over the top of a line like "My affections are then most humble. I have no desire to see a goodlier man" (imagine a sitcom teenager stomping her foot and going, "Daaaaaaaad! You're so embarrassing! GOD," and you'll basically have the tone) – when textually, that line is all about Miranda standing up to her father and expressing her own desires. And it was a real shame, because there were moments last night where I could see the less stereotypical version in Buckley's performance, and she could have been really good at that: you could practically see her Miranda growing up in front of us in the way she said "Hence, bashful cunning," for example. (That line is so much like Juliet's "But farewell, compliment," and I love it for similar reasons: they're no longer playing by the rule book that's been set out for them.)

(I also think a lot of productions have similar problems with Juliet: they don't know how to make her seem young without making her into a caricature of a teenager or a whiny idiot - which is nowhere in the text, really, unless you think she's not supposed to get upset when terrible things happen to her, I guess. It's sort of like how people complain about Romeo being "whiny" when he's crying in Friar Lawrence's cell - you know, a couple of hours after one of his best friends died more or less in his arms, and then he killed a man, and then he found out he was being banished from the only home he'd ever known and would never be able to see his new bride again. I mean - yeah, suck it up, Romeo, you baby. Real men don't cry when they kill people.) (I honestly think one of the weirdest R&J phenomena is the way that people take the Friar's words as an accurate summation of what's happening in the play, or how characters should behave. I mean, that dude does not have the best track record? Ah well.)


While I'm posting random Shakespeare things from October 2014 that I thought I'd already posted, here's another:

I have a weird and irrational antipathy to Tom Hiddleston's Prince Hal/Henry V - I couldn't even watch the episodes because every time he said something, it was like nails on a blackboard. I mean, why would you even put the stress on "And gentlemen in England now abed / Shall think themselves accursed they were NOT here"? The whole point - and the natural stress pattern of the line - is that they are not HERE, with all the other soldiers who form the St. Crispin's Day brotherhood. The goal is to glorify the "here," not care about the others' absence. (Also, bizarrely, I think his clear love for the H5 speeches gets in his way, because he treats them with too much reverence and not enough point; he forgets what they're for, which is to convince and inspire the very specific individuals in front of him, not just to sound generally stirring in a broad sort of way.)

(back to me today) This is the most nitpicky thing to get upset about, and I swear I am not usually one of those "Respect the verse!" people (like Charles Kingman in Slings & Arrows), although I think that the stress patterns can give you cues and clues if you let it, but Hiddleston's line readings kept throwing me off so badly when I tried to watch Henry V that I never even went back to try the Henry IVs. Some of it was clearly residual Jamie Parker adoration - the way he reaches out as if to touch the very air on the word "here" is still imprinted on my mind - but not all of it.
tempestsarekind: (fraser: oh dear)
Oh dear, this could potentially be very bad for my health:

Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry chat to us [What's On Stage] about Love's Labour's Lost and Won

They are really rather cute together. I'm not sure I see the necessity of performing Much Ado and just *calling* it Love's Labour's Won (yes, I know, some people think it might have been an alternate title for the play, but it is rather confusing), but linking the two plays could be interesting anyway. I really liked Edward Bennett as Laertes and as Oliver in the RSC AYLI from a few years ago, and Michelle Terry was an excellent Princess in LLL at the Globe; I also liked her Helena when I saw the NT Live All's Well (although the fairy-tale aspects of the production felt too pasted-on for me to fully enjoy it; I think fairy tales are a great lens for looking at the play, but it's not enough just to give Helena a red cloak…). So I'm already trying to imagine the two of them as Berowne/Rosaline and Benedick/Beatrice.

The RSC website indicates that there will be a live screening of both plays in the UK; I can only hope they make it across the pond as well!
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: (Default)

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