This weekend just gone marked the 40th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. As the ‘Upstart Crow‘ (or magpie) himself, I’m sure Shakespeare would have approved …
Month: January 2019
300: This … is … SHAKESPEARE!
A few numbers for you:
Broadly 100 posts a year …
Just short of 200,000 words …
Plays read for the first time: 9 (of varying quality) …
Here I am, 300 not out!
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PTS 13/081: The Curse of Kings
… is that the job is, frankly, shit. And that you have to be a shit to do it successfully.
PTS read-through: King John, Act IV.
If you’re not ‘born great’, if you want to achieve greatness, you have to put in the hours, right? Just think of the graft involved: wheeling and dealing; equivocating; making and breaking alliances; sucking up; marrying well (not, alas, for love); adding colours to the chameleon; changing shapes with Proteus; and generally setting the murderous Machiavel to school.
And for what?
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PTS 13/080: Remind me: who’s in charge here?
February 1570: in the blue corner, Elizabeth I; in the red corner, Pius V …
Commence au festival, as the Joker might say.
Ponytail Shakespeare read-through – King John, Act III
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Shakespeare: The Upstart Magpie …
there is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide , supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Iohannes factotum , is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrie. [a]
Stop and think for a moment – the more you read, the less you find that is truly original. *
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QotW (#64): 21 January 2019
If there’s anyone more maligned than Greene who wasn’t actually a serial killer or worse, I’m struggling to come up with a name.
Although it increasingly appears to have been abandoned in the twenty-first century, conscience is everywhere in the late sixteenth. Hamlet, of course, blames it for his cowardice; Margaret curses Richard III with it; and it seems almost a rule that if you hire two thugs to carry out some dastardly act, one of them will prove reluctant …
It is also, it seems, only for the poor and the base – much like its cousin, Patience. Even in moments of classic anagnorisis, I’d suggest we scarcely see it in our tragic heroes – a subject for another post, perhaps.
Anyway, to Robert Greene …
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QotW (#63): Monday 14 January 2019
I mentioned the other day that I was coming into King John blind, apart from the Disney film and a vague notion of the Magna Carta. The little I am beginning to accumulate through secondary reading and the play itself is startling.
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PTS 13/079: This is Brexit!
My fears for Arthur Plantagenet were more or less realised as Act II began, universally patronised with the soubriquet, ‘boy’ and a quasi-contemptuous ‘thy’ by his father’s killer, Austria. And I still sensed that the real quarrel is between Arthur’s mother, Constance, and Eleanor – otherwise why would she come along? Never mind Iron Maiden‘s ‘Bring Your Daughter (to the Slaughter)‘ – how about ‘Bring Your Mother’?
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PTS 13/078: Homophone fun with King John
King John, Act I
Having broken out of my Romeo and Juliet-induced enervation, I approached King John with a sense of excitement bolstered by my positive experiences with the Henry VI plays. Unusually, maybe impatiently, I skipped my Arden’s introduction and got stuck in after finding these hopeful signs elsewhere:
“a neglected play about a flawed king” [a]
“King John has all the beauties of language and all the richness of the imagination to relieve the painfulness of the subject.” [b]
So, what did I make of Act I?
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PTS 12/077: Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack Album
There’s an irony that the PTS read-through project has significantly slowed when dealing with the plays I know best.
Mostly, I think it’s because I’ve had too much to say, and been unable to stick to a post-per-act; a post-per-scene is a killer.
So, at least for the moment, I’m moving on from Romeo and Juliet: there’s plenty of room for future posts if I want to revisit it, but I’m hungry for my next new play.
That leaves one thing to do before I move on, and that’s produce the now-traditional soundtrack album.
The eternal question is, of course: WHAT’S MISSING? Drop me a line and let me know …
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