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:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlfYT-Za_x2JuweuLmpYfi1AXhUNKz32g

(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.)

hmmm...

Nov. 28th, 2015 11:34 am
tempestsarekind: (viola reading (tears))
A Shakespeare book coming out in 2016:

The One King Lear by Brian Vickers
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674504844

Here's the website copy:

King Lear exists in two different texts: the Quarto (1608) and the Folio (1623). Because each supplies passages missing in the other, for over 200 years editors combined the two to form a single text, the basis for all modern productions. Then in the 1980s a group of influential scholars argued that the two texts represent different versions of King Lear, that Shakespeare revised his play in light of theatrical performance. The two-text theory has since hardened into orthodoxy. Now for the first time in a book-length argument, one of the world’s most eminent Shakespeare scholars challenges the two-text theory. At stake is the way Shakespeare’s greatest play is read and performed.

Sir Brian Vickers demonstrates that the cuts in the Quarto were in fact carried out by the printer because he had underestimated the amount of paper he would need. Paper was an expensive commodity in the early modern period, and printers counted the number of lines or words in a manuscript before ordering their supply. As for the Folio, whereas the revisionists claim that Shakespeare cut the text in order to alter the balance between characters, Vickers sees no evidence of his agency. These cuts were likely made by the theater company to speed up the action. Vickers includes responses to the revisionist theory made by leading literary scholars, who show that the Folio cuts damage the play’s moral and emotional structure and are impracticable on the stage.</blockquote Things to think about...
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?

*flail*

Mar. 26th, 2015 12:43 pm
tempestsarekind: (amy and her boys)
While I was browsing in the bookstore the other day, I came across a book in the Shakespeare section called Poor Tom. Since - as the tag says - Edgar is my very best favorite, I picked up the book, expecting it to be on vagrancy or something.

But it is apparently an entire book, by Simon Palfrey, about Edgar! Oh, my heart.
http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo18241294.html

I managed not to buy it then and there…but I did check it out from the university library even though I have no time right now to read it, because what if someone else checked it out first?

...yup.

Dec. 3rd, 2011 11:33 pm
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
So I still have totally irrational keysmash feelings when someone declares that Edgar is dull and conventional at the beginning of the play--which is a frustrating thing to hear or read because Edgar hardly has anything to do at the beginning of the play! It's not really fair to make that judgment--but I guess anyone who isn't actively scheming must be dull. Ugh.

And you guys know that my general feeling toward villainous characters is something like *epic yawn*, but come on. Dismissing him just because he doesn't happen to be Edmund seems irresponsible.

Anyway. Edgar will always remain the best, to me, in part because he is the first one to draw our attention to a world beyond the closed world of the court. Yes, Lear gets there eventually with "poor naked wretches," and everyone talks about how important that moment is--but Edgar gets there first, with "The country gives me proof and precedent / Of Bedlam beggars" and "Poor pelting villages, sheepcotes, and mills." The more I read that soliloquy, the more I'm taken aback by that moment, and what it suggests for our understanding of Edgar--because out of everyone, he's the one who watches the world. And that's so my favorite thing: the quiet observers and listeners. (Horatio feelings in 3...2...1...) Of course he's capable of playing Poor Tom, when he needs to; he's just been storing all that away in memory.
tempestsarekind: (globe)
See, Sam Crane understands (I agree with everything except the last line, because I lean toward having Edgar rather than Albany have the last lines of the play, which means that Edgar's worldview does sort of win out, and certainly it triumphs in the duel with Edmund):

“It’s not like good prevails and evil doesn’t but Edgar is keen that there should be some kind of natural justice in this world. He tries to shape the world into his way of thinking.

“There’s one scene where he meets his father again when he’s in a state of absolute despair and wants to kill himself, so Edgar essentially conjures up a world where miracles can happen – but he’s actually having to create all this in his head, so strongly does he want it to be true.

“Ultimately though he comes to realise that this world’s not all good or evil, it’s just chaos.” (my emphasis)


http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/lifestyle/arts-entertainment/theatre-reviews/interview_sam_crane_1_3819830


*__*
tempestsarekind: (globe)
See, Sam Crane understands (I agree with everything except the last line, because I lean toward having Edgar rather than Albany have the last lines of the play, which means that Edgar's worldview does sort of win out, and certainly it triumphs in the duel with Edmund):

“It’s not like good prevails and evil doesn’t but Edgar is keen that there should be some kind of natural justice in this world. He tries to shape the world into his way of thinking.

“There’s one scene where he meets his father again when he’s in a state of absolute despair and wants to kill himself, so Edgar essentially conjures up a world where miracles can happen – but he’s actually having to create all this in his head, so strongly does he want it to be true.

“Ultimately though he comes to realise that this world’s not all good or evil, it’s just chaos.” (my emphasis)


http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/lifestyle/arts-entertainment/theatre-reviews/interview_sam_crane_1_3819830


*__*

o_0

May. 9th, 2010 05:32 pm
tempestsarekind: (due south)
Thought that just crystallized, even though I think I had the inchoate form of it before:

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life's as cheap as beast's...
(King Lear)

That is totally Fraser's hat, in "Hawk and a Handsaw." And that's why they can threaten him with taking it away: it's the one thing more than need that he has, the one thing that allows him selfhood and dignity. (Or at least it would be, if he were really a patient, rather than playing along.)

o_0

May. 9th, 2010 05:32 pm
tempestsarekind: (due south)
Thought that just crystallized, even though I think I had the inchoate form of it before:

O, reason not the need: our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous:
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man's life's as cheap as beast's...
(King Lear)

That is totally Fraser's hat, in "Hawk and a Handsaw." And that's why they can threaten him with taking it away: it's the one thing more than need that he has, the one thing that allows him selfhood and dignity. (Or at least it would be, if he were really a patient, rather than playing along.)
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions


Questions from [livejournal.com profile] thepresidentrix:

questions inside! )
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
Leave me a comment saying "Resistance is Futile."

• I'll respond by asking you five questions so I can satisfy my curiosity
• Update your journal with the answers to the questions
• Include this explanation in the post and offer to ask other people questions


Questions from [livejournal.com profile] thepresidentrix:

questions inside! )
tempestsarekind: (little dorrit)
Not much to say about Little Dorrit this week--though I continue to love it, and am disappointed when it ends every week--except that I'd suspected that part of my problem with William Dorrit is that he is more or less King Lear, and this week pretty much confirmed that. And my desire to punch him in the face from last week has now spread to the rest of Amy's family, except for Frederick. (I love him, and his big dramatic moment this week.)

Part of me is amused by how much work it must be to constantly have grates and windowpanes and fences on hand to shoot the characters through (the icon sort of illustrates this, though not fantastically), but it *is* an effective visual metaphor, and it was interesting to see those open shots this week, in which Amy is looking up, up at an Italian forest shot through with light, or a frescoed ceiling--especially in contrast with the grayish, washed-out world of the Marshalsea and its surroundings. And especially given how *brief* those shots are, how seldom they're given prominence before we're back to seeing Amy through a leaded window, or looking down on her from above while she's trapped between columns.
tempestsarekind: (little dorrit)
Not much to say about Little Dorrit this week--though I continue to love it, and am disappointed when it ends every week--except that I'd suspected that part of my problem with William Dorrit is that he is more or less King Lear, and this week pretty much confirmed that. And my desire to punch him in the face from last week has now spread to the rest of Amy's family, except for Frederick. (I love him, and his big dramatic moment this week.)

Part of me is amused by how much work it must be to constantly have grates and windowpanes and fences on hand to shoot the characters through (the icon sort of illustrates this, though not fantastically), but it *is* an effective visual metaphor, and it was interesting to see those open shots this week, in which Amy is looking up, up at an Italian forest shot through with light, or a frescoed ceiling--especially in contrast with the grayish, washed-out world of the Marshalsea and its surroundings. And especially given how *brief* those shots are, how seldom they're given prominence before we're back to seeing Amy through a leaded window, or looking down on her from above while she's trapped between columns.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
PBS is finally showing the Ian McKellen King Lear, this Wednesday, March 25:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/king-lear/introduction/475/

After the 25th, the whole production is supposed to be available on the site I've linked to, or at least somewhere on Great Performances Online.

I'm amused by the opening description:

"King Lear is a masterpiece of literary fiction. Ian McKellen and Trevor Nunn have rendered the play in a masterful fashion. PBS will broadcast King Lear on 25 March (check local listings). A masterpiece done in masterful fashion should not be missed.

"However, King Lear is long, complicated, and quite strange."

Translation: "Look, it's not going to make sense. No, I know you like Shakespeare. I know you've been to festivals. Just...trust me, okay? This play is nuts. And it's not the production's fault. See? It's masterful. Really, really masterful. It's just--Shakespeare, you know? He was good, but he was crazy."

It'll be interesting to watch the website as it develops, though, in terms of thinking about how to reach out to interested audiences beyond the university setting. PBS has been doing something similar with Masterpiece Theatre adaptations for a little while now, though I don't think they've done anything this elaborate yet.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
PBS is finally showing the Ian McKellen King Lear, this Wednesday, March 25:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/king-lear/introduction/475/

After the 25th, the whole production is supposed to be available on the site I've linked to, or at least somewhere on Great Performances Online.

I'm amused by the opening description:

"King Lear is a masterpiece of literary fiction. Ian McKellen and Trevor Nunn have rendered the play in a masterful fashion. PBS will broadcast King Lear on 25 March (check local listings). A masterpiece done in masterful fashion should not be missed.

"However, King Lear is long, complicated, and quite strange."

Translation: "Look, it's not going to make sense. No, I know you like Shakespeare. I know you've been to festivals. Just...trust me, okay? This play is nuts. And it's not the production's fault. See? It's masterful. Really, really masterful. It's just--Shakespeare, you know? He was good, but he was crazy."

It'll be interesting to watch the website as it develops, though, in terms of thinking about how to reach out to interested audiences beyond the university setting. PBS has been doing something similar with Masterpiece Theatre adaptations for a little while now, though I don't think they've done anything this elaborate yet.
tempestsarekind: (berowne [david tennant 2008])
One of the things I want to do in 2009 (not quite a resolution, but something similar) is to listen to more Shakespeare; the library has the entire Arkangel series as well as other individual recordings, which I should take more advantage of. So I started with King Lear, on the theory that at some point I'm planning to write on it, so it's not totally "wasted" time. Also, David Tennant is Edgar, and Edgar is my favorite thing about King Lear.

I haven't gotten very far yet. At the beginning I was quite worried I wouldn't be able to get through any of David's scenes without cracking up--though I'm not entirely sure whether that's because I'm imagining Edgar as the Doctor, or because his "Hello, my name is Edgar, and I'm a bit daft" voice is really too funny. (More the latter than the former, though, I think; sometimes a word or two sounds very Ten, but it's not that noticeable.) And I do take Edgar rather seriously, so as amused as I was by this (his "Armed, brother?" was especially funny, a bit prissy even), I don't think Edgar *is* silly, though very trusting. But I decided to listen at least through Edgar's Poor Tom speech, and I think the previous silliness pays off in that one: he sounds so surprised to find himself hunted and friendless--it's never crossed his mind, safe and unthinking as he's been, that he could ever find himself in a position like this. And bitter because of it, as the speech goes on, and he figures out his disguise. Plus the way he said "Edgar I nothing am" did break my heart a little. Interestingly, he slipped into his natural accent on "Poor Turlygod! Poor Tom!" So I'll be interested to see if he plays all of the Poor Tom stuff in that accent. I always feel like I'm missing some subtext when it comes to the associations various accents have in the UK--since I don't associate Scotland with madness--but I suppose it'll provide a way to distinguish Edgar's asides from his performance. We shall see.
tempestsarekind: (berowne [david tennant 2008])
One of the things I want to do in 2009 (not quite a resolution, but something similar) is to listen to more Shakespeare; the library has the entire Arkangel series as well as other individual recordings, which I should take more advantage of. So I started with King Lear, on the theory that at some point I'm planning to write on it, so it's not totally "wasted" time. Also, David Tennant is Edgar, and Edgar is my favorite thing about King Lear.

I haven't gotten very far yet. At the beginning I was quite worried I wouldn't be able to get through any of David's scenes without cracking up--though I'm not entirely sure whether that's because I'm imagining Edgar as the Doctor, or because his "Hello, my name is Edgar, and I'm a bit daft" voice is really too funny. (More the latter than the former, though, I think; sometimes a word or two sounds very Ten, but it's not that noticeable.) And I do take Edgar rather seriously, so as amused as I was by this (his "Armed, brother?" was especially funny, a bit prissy even), I don't think Edgar *is* silly, though very trusting. But I decided to listen at least through Edgar's Poor Tom speech, and I think the previous silliness pays off in that one: he sounds so surprised to find himself hunted and friendless--it's never crossed his mind, safe and unthinking as he's been, that he could ever find himself in a position like this. And bitter because of it, as the speech goes on, and he figures out his disguise. Plus the way he said "Edgar I nothing am" did break my heart a little. Interestingly, he slipped into his natural accent on "Poor Turlygod! Poor Tom!" So I'll be interested to see if he plays all of the Poor Tom stuff in that accent. I always feel like I'm missing some subtext when it comes to the associations various accents have in the UK--since I don't associate Scotland with madness--but I suppose it'll provide a way to distinguish Edgar's asides from his performance. We shall see.

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