tempestsarekind: (where comedy meets romance)
Does anyone know if they've continued filming plays at the Globe for Globe On Screen since Emma Rice has been the Artistic Director? I haven't been paying much attention, since I haven't been that interested, frankly (the weird Dia de los Muertos production of Romeo and Juliet this season made me want to flip some tables, for example), but ironically - given my username and the related fact that Twelfth Night is my heart's most important text - the photos from the current production are piquing my interest:

http://blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/161017955533/twelfth-night-photos

I know production photos only tell a partial story, but wouldn't it be funny if Emma Rice managed to win me over with Twelfth Night, of all things?

ETA: Well, I read some reviews, so…I'm doubtful that the "winning over" process will happen here. I mean, who knows - I still haven't seen any of her productions, so I feel slightly bad about judging them unseen - but everything I read about them is basically everything I hate in Shakespeare productions (mainly? Not caring about the text. You can have all the bells and whistles you want, if you care about the text; and if you don't, then the bells and whistles won't save you*), so I am not super inclined to poke myself in the eye and then wonder why it hurts…

*Here's the thing. I get the sense, with Emma Rice, that she thinks Shakespeare needs the bells and whistles - not that they might be interesting, or cast new light on the text, but that no one could possibly be interested in Shakespeare without them. Every production sounds like, "Quick! Get some pop music playing, before the punters get restless! Give 'em spectacle; god knows they don't want words." And, well, I've kind of staked my intellectual life on the exact opposite principle - that we can give people access to Shakespeare by respecting their intelligence, their capacity to imagine themselves into unfamiliar worlds, their ability to respond to poetry - so.
tempestsarekind: (thomas kent)
How much I find Viola/Olivia really uncomfortable. Specifically, I always dislike it when productions have Olivia kiss Viola at the end of the play, and suddenly Viola is into it. (This happened in the first production of Twelfth Night I ever saw, actually.) I mean, I know it's all about gender fluidity and everything, but Viola has spent the entire play basically running from Olivia and being made miserable by her, trying to keep Olivia at arm's length, being forced to come back to Olivia's house when there's nothing she wants less, because Olivia keeps saying, "oh, but maybe next time you'll be able to convince me to love Orsino!"

Don't get me wrong; I love Olivia a lot, and I feel terrible for her as well (I also have strong feelings about the way too many productions turn her into a desperate joke, having her practically maul poor Cesario because it's "funny" and making her shriek "Most wonderful!" at the end of the play because sex jokes trump miraculous reunions, I guess). I just don't see how Viola's clear anger and frustration with Olivia are just supposed to convert magically to attraction simply because Viola's no longer in disguise. It's not at all unimaginable to me that Olivia might still have feelings for Viola at the end of the play, but all the "NOW KISS!" in the world can't reconcile me to the reverse when there's been nothing to prepare the ground for it. I suppose it's possible that someday I might see a production of this play where the actors make me believe that Viola has had feelings for Olivia all along (somehow, in spite of lines like "'tis a vulgar proof / That very oft we pity enemies"), but I have yet to see one.

This has been another episode of Unnecessary Opinions Corner.
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 )

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: (ofelia reading)
(Is the New Yorker's new stance "no one should like reading anything unless it is approved by us"? Didn't they just publish one of these finger-wagging pieces for adults? Did they feel like they weren't scolding enough readers with that last one? Thought they'd cast their net a little wider, did they?)

"What if the strenuous accessibility of 'Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods' proves so alluring to young readers that it seduces them in the opposite direction from that which Gaiman’s words presuppose—away from an engagement with more immediately difficult incarnations of the classics, Greek and otherwise? What if instead of urging them on to more challenging adventures on other, potentially perilous literary shores, it makes young readers hungry only for more of the palatable same?"

"The Percy Jackson Problem," Rebecca Mead
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/percy-jackson-problem

(link via Neil Gaiman's Tumblr.)

Won't somebody please think of the children??? (What if the books are so enjoyable that children can't help themselves? What if they're like drugs?)

…I sometimes wonder if people would be less odd and panicky about this if we didn't live in a culture that was so concerned with precocity and early development. Let's say children don't pick up difficult incarnations of the classics - let's say they don't read them until high school or even, god forbid, college. (I'm assuming for the sake of this argument that reading the classics is a good thing that we would like people to do at some point, but it is not the only way to build a life.) Is that so bad? And let's say - brazen thought, but humor me for a second - that when they do read those classics in high school or college or even (gasp) when they're not in school at all (because I hear tell that people do still develop interests once they graduate), they feel more comfortable with them because they remember some of the stories from reading Rick Riordan's books: where, exactly, is the problem?

I feel like these articles all seem to operate under the impression that if you're not reading it (whatever it is) by the time you're ten, it's all over for you, and you're intellectually stunted forever. But I can never take these handwringing pieces seriously, because my own experience was so different. I was a pretty precocious reader as a child, in some ways: I started reading when I was two, I read well above my grade level, and I had a pretty well-stocked vocabulary. And Rebecca Mead would probably have approved of me, because for some odd reason I was obsessed with Bullfinch's Mythology (I…appropriated my mother's copy without actually thinking about it, to the extent that she found it on one of my bookshelves a couple of years ago and commented, "I used to have this book…"), and my first encounters with a lot of Greek and Roman myths happened in that book (although I have a very strong memory of first reading the story of Pandora's box in Virginia Hamilton's collection In the Beginning). (I didn't really latch on to the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - mentioned in Mead's piece - but oh, how I loved their version of East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I wish it would come back into print.)

But I didn't "graduate" to reading "serious" adult fiction when I was a child, or even very much when I was a teen. I was quite happy in the children's section, for a long time. I read and loved Matilda, and thought wistfully about how nice it would be to have been a prodigy, to impress somebody like Miss Honey because I loved Dickens - but I never went out and tried to read any Dickens. Even in high school, I liked most of what we read in school, and I understood it pretty easily - but even after reading and loving Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion for class, I didn't run to seek out any other Austen novels. I was far too busy at the time reading Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip and Josepha Sherman, and trying to find all the Gillian Bradshaw novels I could get my hands on. I knew Fortinbras as the Murry family's dog in A Wrinkle in Time well before I knew he was a character in Hamlet.

And you know, I think I turned out okay. I read the rest of Austen's novels in college, and fell as ardently in love as anyone could wish. It turns out that I really liked Bleak House, once I got around to reading it. Shakespeare pretty much knocked me over the head and dragged me off to grad school, where I don't seem to have done any worse because I didn't read all the plays when I was twelve. And if I still haven't read Tolstoy or a bunch of other things yet - well, I've still got time. Because I haven't stopped reading, and changing, and learning that things I heard about when I was younger actually come from other sources that I can choose to explore even though I didn't then. (Baby Me would not have been ready for Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, even though she had read a retelling of it. Baby Me was not ready for Twelfth Night, even though she could understand it perfectly well in her seventh-grade English class, because she hit backspace, appalled and embarrassed, at the first joke about venereal disease. Who knows what other riches Baby Me has left for Grownup Me to explore?)

The books that made me love reading - that turned me into the kind of person who could love Austen and Shakespeare as entirely as I do - were unabashedly children's books, populated with Moomins and dragons and children who ran away to hide in museums, and girls who traveled through time. The books that kept me in love with reading were the sorts of genre books that critics often sneer at (books that still have a purchase on my heart). Certainly the books that made me want to be a writer when I was younger, that made me think about how words worked together, were those kinds of books. (I literally started writing about writing because I wanted to figure out how McKillip's Riddlemaster books worked.) My reading abilities didn't atrophy and desiccate just because it took me a little longer to get around to the kinds of books that Rebecca Mead would consider important. So I bet those kids reading the Percy Jackson series are going to be fine.
tempestsarekind: (posner)
Or, as I said out loud to my computer when I saw this on Twitter, "Saaaaaaaaaam. BABY":
http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/education/discovery-space/adopt-an-actor/archive/sebastian-played-by-samuel-barnett

You can't quite tell just how high-pitched this exclamation was, but you're better off for that, I'm sure.

He actually winds up talking a fair bit about what it's like to be doing two plays at the Globe, since it's still early days for Twelfth Night. Anyway, I'm looking forward to keeping an eye on these as they get farther into rehearsal, because I have LOTS of Sebastian feelings, and no one ever really talks about him much. Plus, you know, Sam.
tempestsarekind: (berowne is perplexed [dt])
David Tennant is playing Malvolio in a BBC Radio 3 production of Twelfth Night on April 22:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01g4vgj

There are also some Globe actors on board: Naomi Frederick (Rosalind in the production of AYLI with Jack Laskey and Jamie Parker) is Viola, and Trystan Gravelle (Berowne in LLL) is Sebastian. They're also doing R&J the week after, with Trystan Gravelle as Romeo.

OMG

Feb. 3rd, 2012 04:09 pm
tempestsarekind: (posner and scripps)
It is not at all an exaggeration to say that I'm having a hard time catching my breath after reading this news:
http://www.playbill.com/news/article/159335--Londons-Shakespeares-Globe-Season-Will-Feature-Jamie-Parker-Samuel-Barnett-Samantha-Spiro-Johnny-Flynn

Samuel Barnett is going to play Sebastian in Twelfth Night this summer at the Globe. 1) This means Jamie and Sam are in the same season. 2) Sebastian is my utter love, so that is splendid casting. You had just better record this production, Globe!

3) which gets its own line: SAM IN A DRESS. He's also going to be Elizabeth in R3, and I don't have any particular R3 feelings, but, SAM IN A DRESS. I'm just saying.
tempestsarekind: (elizabeth bennet is amused)
I ran into a friend just now; we're in the same cohort, we've been in the same classes, so he knows something about my tendency to - shall we say? - cling limpet-like to certain texts. He wanted to know what my tutorial was on, since I said I was trying to finish prepping for it. I just laughed; I couldn't help it.

"Shakespeare," he guessed. "Twelfth Night. It's on Twelfth Night, isn't it."

"Actually, it's on Jane Austen and Shakespeare." (And yes, Twelfth Night is on the syllabus.)

"Wow, you've really come a long way in six years!"

"I know! Grad school was such a great investment for me!"

*

There are moods in which I would feel bad about this tendency of mine, because if I were a real, proper clever person, I would be engaged by all sorts of literature. I spent the first two years of grad school feeling like that most of the time, because while I liked many of the things I was reading (and hated some, too, let's be honest), I wasn't thrilled by any of them but my old loves. But right now I am looking at a photocopied section of Mansfield Park ("we all talk Shakespeare"), and marveling at it, so for now I can't be upset with myself for having the good sense to adore Jane Austen.

um

Jul. 3rd, 2010 09:35 pm
tempestsarekind: (a sort of fairytale)
...I really need *not* to write some long, babbling post about how Moffat sees Doctor Who as a comedy, and therefore hope is key to the finale. but a placeholder might do )

um

Jul. 3rd, 2010 09:35 pm
tempestsarekind: (a sort of fairytale)
...I really need *not* to write some long, babbling post about how Moffat sees Doctor Who as a comedy, and therefore hope is key to the finale. but a placeholder might do )
tempestsarekind: (cheveril glove)
I can't actually remember whether I've mentioned my apparent inability to not say "And ginger shall be hot i' the mouth too!" whenever I eat spicy gingerbread. Anyway, that problem has been compounded by the name of the Pepperidge Farm cookies I bought yesterday: Gingerman. That's what the package says: not Gingermen, plural, which you would expect on a package of cookies (at least one that contains more than one cookie), but Gingerman. Every time I look at this package, I can't help imagining a teeny-tiny tasty little superhero, and his adventures.

Gingerman!



...help me.
tempestsarekind: (cheveril glove)
I can't actually remember whether I've mentioned my apparent inability to not say "And ginger shall be hot i' the mouth too!" whenever I eat spicy gingerbread. Anyway, that problem has been compounded by the name of the Pepperidge Farm cookies I bought yesterday: Gingerman. That's what the package says: not Gingermen, plural, which you would expect on a package of cookies (at least one that contains more than one cookie), but Gingerman. Every time I look at this package, I can't help imagining a teeny-tiny tasty little superhero, and his adventures.

Gingerman!



...help me.
tempestsarekind: (austen)
I was flipping through John Wiltshire's Recreating Jane Austen (Cambridge UP, 2001), and in a chapter on Jane Austen and Shakespeare, Wiltshire quotes several 19th-century authors who saw Persuasion as a novel with close ties to Twelfth Night. I found this interesting, because I've long thought that if any of Austen's novels reminds me of Twelfth Night, it's Mansfield Park. (See here: http://tempestsarekind.livejournal.com/814.html ) So, a poll:

[Poll #1525569]

(The King Lear bit is because I know I remember coming across an article once--in Shakespeare Survey, maybe?--that compared Fanny Price to Cordelia. I was doing frantic research on a paper at the time, so I never got to read the argument...)

wah!

Jan. 21st, 2010 05:01 pm
tempestsarekind: (posner plus books)
So I'd already read that Samuel Barnett was going to be in a production of Women Beware Women at the National Theatre, and now this:

"Sir Peter Hall will direct Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Rebecca Hall as Viola, in a production in the Cottesloe Theatre to celebrate the RSC founder's 80th birthday."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8472216.stm

I saw Rebecca Hall as Hermione, with the Bridge Project, and adored her; I wonder what her Viola will be like.

wah!

Jan. 21st, 2010 05:01 pm
tempestsarekind: (posner plus books)
So I'd already read that Samuel Barnett was going to be in a production of Women Beware Women at the National Theatre, and now this:

"Sir Peter Hall will direct Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Rebecca Hall as Viola, in a production in the Cottesloe Theatre to celebrate the RSC founder's 80th birthday."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8472216.stm

I saw Rebecca Hall as Hermione, with the Bridge Project, and adored her; I wonder what her Viola will be like.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
FAIL, I say.

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/twelfthnight/page_220.html

Today I had my tutorial on Twelfth Night (we wound up having to move it back a day, which did not actually help on the ridiculousness front). At one point, I lapsed into Orsino Defense Mode (I'd been doing pretty well, actually; when I admitted that I liked him, my student was surprised--not just that anyone could like him, but that I hadn't shown evidence of it before then. I am sneaky. Up to a point). And one of the pieces of evidence in that defense (as I've written about before) is his sudden use of the word "sirrah"--"Her husband, sirrah?"--when he's previously referred to Cesario by using "Dear lad" and "my boy," etc. (We will pass over, as quickly as possible, the part where I buried my face in the book at that point and exclaimed, "Oh, it always makes me so sad!" That is a separate instance of fail.)

So of course SparkNotes, managing to disregard context as always, renders the line as "Are you her husband, boy?" Which...so doesn't work, in this play. It's not that "boy" can't be an insult, of course--but it isn't here, not from Orsino to Cesario.

Also, *weeps*

VIOLA
And all those sayings will I overswear;
And those swearings keep as true in soul
As doth that orbèd continent the fire
That severs day from night.


becomes

VIOLA
Everything I said before I’ll say again. I swear I meant every word.


WHY DO THEY HATE ME SO MUCH?

Reading the "translation" side by side with the original text really emphasizes how little most of it actually needs translating, though. I've ranted about this before, the way these translations make the whole enterprise of reading Shakespeare look harder than it is, so I won't do it now--though there is, perhaps, a little willful obtuseness on my part in saying that, only a few days after my Milton section ground to a halt because of basic reading comprehension. Still, Milton =/= Shakespeare, and...really. Just look at that passage above.

What I want to do, at some point, is to use a SparkNotes "translated" passage to demonstrate everything one misses out on when one reads a translation--to point out that all those annoying words and stuff are there for a reason. Someone I know did that once, and it sounded like a good idea.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
FAIL, I say.

http://nfs.sparknotes.com/twelfthnight/page_220.html

Today I had my tutorial on Twelfth Night (we wound up having to move it back a day, which did not actually help on the ridiculousness front). At one point, I lapsed into Orsino Defense Mode (I'd been doing pretty well, actually; when I admitted that I liked him, my student was surprised--not just that anyone could like him, but that I hadn't shown evidence of it before then. I am sneaky. Up to a point). And one of the pieces of evidence in that defense (as I've written about before) is his sudden use of the word "sirrah"--"Her husband, sirrah?"--when he's previously referred to Cesario by using "Dear lad" and "my boy," etc. (We will pass over, as quickly as possible, the part where I buried my face in the book at that point and exclaimed, "Oh, it always makes me so sad!" That is a separate instance of fail.)

So of course SparkNotes, managing to disregard context as always, renders the line as "Are you her husband, boy?" Which...so doesn't work, in this play. It's not that "boy" can't be an insult, of course--but it isn't here, not from Orsino to Cesario.

Also, *weeps*

VIOLA
And all those sayings will I overswear;
And those swearings keep as true in soul
As doth that orbèd continent the fire
That severs day from night.


becomes

VIOLA
Everything I said before I’ll say again. I swear I meant every word.


WHY DO THEY HATE ME SO MUCH?

Reading the "translation" side by side with the original text really emphasizes how little most of it actually needs translating, though. I've ranted about this before, the way these translations make the whole enterprise of reading Shakespeare look harder than it is, so I won't do it now--though there is, perhaps, a little willful obtuseness on my part in saying that, only a few days after my Milton section ground to a halt because of basic reading comprehension. Still, Milton =/= Shakespeare, and...really. Just look at that passage above.

What I want to do, at some point, is to use a SparkNotes "translated" passage to demonstrate everything one misses out on when one reads a translation--to point out that all those annoying words and stuff are there for a reason. Someone I know did that once, and it sounded like a good idea.

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