Author Topic: Shakespeare  (Read 16025 times)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 06:57:31 AM »
Isn't it always thrilling to find non-fiction that's written with verve, humor, and curiosity? So many academics, especially, write as if they're doing chores.

As many music history books as I read, I can certainly attest that!  God forbid we should try to inject any sort of enthusiasm or human interest into a recitation of the facts....  ::)

In short, yes. :)

8)
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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 08:33:53 AM »
Curse you, Shapiro: I am even reading your Bibliographic Essay with interest!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2014, 02:12:15 AM »
Cheers, Brian, that is one fabulous book.

I had to squirm a bit reading about Freud's "need" to attribute the plays to someone else . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2014, 03:43:17 AM »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2014, 09:48:05 AM »
The missus (and mom-in-law) saw Shakespeare in Love.  Their ruling?  "If you haven't seen it, there's no reason to seek it out."
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2014, 10:00:56 AM »
The missus (and mom-in-law) saw Shakespeare in Love.  Their ruling?  "If you haven't seen it, there's no reason to seek it out."
Thanks for that.  I've heard from others that it's a masterpiece, but I defer to your judgment. :)
Imagination + discipline = creativity

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2014, 10:04:18 AM »
One fun footnote is, it was an occasion (as we chatted over brunch yesterday) for me to give them a brief summary of The Authorship Controversy.  Many were the eye-rolls in Woburn that day!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2014, 10:08:09 AM »
Thanks for that.  I've heard from others that it's a masterpiece, but I defer to your judgment. :)

A bit more color on their response:  so much promise (fine cast, beautiful costuming), so little follow-through.  They kept watching in a sort of miasma, hoping that the project would redeem itself.  Story surprisingly thin on the ground.

Again: I am just the messenger.  But, these are excellent artists whose judgement I hold in high esteem indeed.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2014, 12:16:55 PM »
A bit more color on their response:  so much promise (fine cast, beautiful costuming), so little follow-through.  They kept watching in a sort of miasma, hoping that the project would redeem itself.  Story surprisingly thin on the ground.

Again: I am just the messenger.  But, these are excellent artists whose judgement I hold in high esteem indeed.
An accurate assessment. Starts splendidly. Middles tolerably well. Ends with a whimper.

Offline Brian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2014, 07:17:51 PM »
Bump!

From another thread:

What is your favorite Shakespeare?

For me a slightly unlikely choice: Richard III. The first play I saw in a good live performance - and, a few years later, the play I've seen in the best live performance, starring Kevin Spacey and Haydn Gwynne. Maybe it's a little personal to me, then.

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2014, 07:28:26 PM »
A bit more color on their response:  so much promise (fine cast, beautiful costuming), so little follow-through.  They kept watching in a sort of miasma, hoping that the project would redeem itself.  Story surprisingly thin on the ground.

Again: I am just the messenger.  But, these are excellent artists whose judgement I hold in high esteem indeed.

Couldn't disagree more. I think it's a brilliant romantic comedy, not least for its tongue-and-cheek play with historical fact.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2014, 07:33:40 PM »
Bump!

From another thread:

What is your favorite Shakespeare?

For me a slightly unlikely choice: Richard III. The first play I saw in a good live performance - and, a few years later, the play I've seen in the best live performance, starring Kevin Spacey and Haydn Gwynne. Maybe it's a little personal to me, then.

My favorites:
From the tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, Lear, Antony, Coriolanus. (Macbeth has been ruined for me by so many abysmal productions that I have trouble returning to it. On the other hand despite numerous abysmal productions I still love Romeo.)

From the histories: Henry IV 1 and 2.

From the comedies: the Dream, Much Ado, As You Like It, The Tenpest above all.

As for Richard III, where did you see Spacey? I saw his R3 in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, and Mark Rylance in the part last year. Both were among the best Shakespearean performances I've seen in recent years (well, anything would be better than the Macbeths of Ethan Hawke, Patrick Stewart, and Kenneth Branagh), but I find R3 the character and play rather one-dimensional.
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Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2014, 07:35:52 PM »
Thanks for that.  I've heard from others that it's a masterpiece, but I defer to your judgment. :)

Kindly defer to mine then. I think it is a masterpiece, ending included.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Ken B

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2014, 09:40:47 PM »
Bump!

From another thread:

What is your favorite Shakespeare?

For me a slightly unlikely choice: Richard III. The first play I saw in a good live performance - and, a few years later, the play I've seen in the best live performance, starring Kevin Spacey and Haydn Gwynne. Maybe it's a little personal to me, then.

Othello

BUT, and it,s a big big big but, I want to direct it as a comedy.
Not that it is a comedy, it isn't, but it is structured like a comedy, with Iago as a variant on The Cunning Slave. It is filled with jokes, cruel ones. I saw a performance once which was good but had one horrible horrible flaw: Othello never turned his back on Iago. Thinking about that was the first time I saw Pseudolus and Harold Hill in Iago.  Make the audience share in Iago's fun. This is vital.
Marat/Sade is also a tragedy played as comedy, it's not as whacked as it sounds.

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2014, 02:00:37 AM »
Othello

BUT, and it,s a big big big but, I want to direct it as a comedy.
Not that it is a comedy, it isn't, but it is structured like a comedy, with Iago as a variant on The Cunning Slave. It is filled with jokes, cruel ones. I saw a performance once which was good but had one horrible horrible flaw: Othello never turned his back on Iago. Thinking about that was the first time I saw Pseudolus and Harold Hill in Iago.  Make the audience share in Iago's fun. This is vital.
Marat/Sade is also a tragedy played as comedy, it's not as whacked as it sounds.

I've seen such a production last year, at the Comédie française. It was catastrophic, purely vulgar (but the translation was, to) and missing the whole complexity and ambiguity of the characters. I don't think the "play a tragedy as a comedy" trick really works easily, I mean if you want a comedy, why not play a comedy ?

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2014, 02:06:07 AM »
I have been reading more Shakespeare in the past year or so, actually, but I still have to read a few "big ones" as King Lear (next on the list) or Richard III. So I'm not sure my opinion is really relevant at this point...

For the moment my favourite play would be Macbeth. It is imperfect (at least as in the state it has been transmitted to us), and it is exactly why I find it a great piece, you have to find a way to reveal its beauty, to reinvent it, and it is challenging the creativity of any director. I've seen all movies and a few productions, none were entirely satisfactory, but each one interesting even in its flaws.

My least favourite is The Tempest. I find it so weak that when reading it I can only wonder if it is really by Shakespeare... Well probably it's just me, of course.

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2014, 03:21:50 AM »
Kindly defer to mine then. I think it is a masterpiece, ending included.

(* chortle *)

And why should we all think the same?

jo, you're going to have to see for yourself  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brian

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2014, 04:30:52 AM »
My least favourite is The Tempest. I find it so weak that when reading it I can only wonder if it is really by Shakespeare... Well probably it's just me, of course.
Yes, it is just you. An incredibly weak play is The Merry Wives of Windsor: its rewrite as the Boito/Verdi opera Falstaff is an astonishing improvement, elevating one of Shakespeare's worst to one of opera's best.

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2014, 06:08:51 AM »
I've seen such a production last year, at the Comédie française. It was catastrophic, purely vulgar (but the translation was, to) and missing the whole complexity and ambiguity of the characters. I don't think the "play a tragedy as a comedy" trick really works easily, I mean if you want a comedy, why not play a comedy ?

Because, as I said, I don't want a comedy and Othello is not a comedy. I want to exploit a way to make the audience feel complcit with Iago, and not just see him as unmotivated malevalence personified. I didn't say play it for laughs, but use the way it is structured. There are strong similarities to how Malvolio is manipulated in 12th Night for instance. These are part of the play too, but are routinely ignored.

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Re: Shakespeare
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2014, 06:56:21 AM »
Because, as I said, I don't want a comedy and Othello is not a comedy. I want to exploit a way to make the audience feel complcit with Iago, and not just see him as unmotivated malevalence personified. I didn't say play it for laughs, but use the way it is structured. There are strong similarities to how Malvolio is manipulated in 12th Night for instance. These are part of the play too, but are routinely ignored.

Yes, I see. The fact is the production I'm talking about was transforming Iago into a buffoon, and that really didn't work.

What you are saying is interesting. Well, representing the complexity and inner contradictions of the characters in Othello is quite the challenge. The French poet Yves Bonnefoy (who also translated several Shakespeare plays into French) wrote great things about all that, but I'm not sure it has been published in any other language.

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