Quote of the Week: 29 January 2018

The ‘tribes’ that make up an audience can be just as entertaining as the show itself …

BH arden ass
This bit’s funny, everyone!

Malcom Evans, ‘Deconstructing Shakespeare’s Comedies’, in Alternative Shakespeares (ed. John Drakakis), (Methuen:  London, 1985)

Why do we go to spectator events?  What’s in an audience?

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PTS 09/053: A Reminder to Rebel

I’d stopped listening to the voices in my head, and actually, they’re the important ones in English.

BH Green Goldfish

My Ponytail Shakespeare read-through project is behind schedule.

Not drowning, necessarily – still waving, to paraphrase Stevie Smith, but wishing I wasn’t quite so far away from the shore, paddling blithely in the warm shallows of Romeo and Juliet, as I should be by the end of January; having splashy fun with the rest of the blog and my new excursions on Twitter.  But fifty-plus posts and nine plays in?  Not dead.

That said, despite plenty of opportunity, I’ve ‘not got round to‘ reading Act III of Love’s Labour’s Lost.  I’m still reading:  Iain M BanksPaolo Bacigalupi, and chunks of George Wilson Knight on Julius Caesar, but, when all’s said and done, no Shakespeare or LLL.

We might say I’ve lost any love of my labour in this play … (sorry about that)

Why?

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PTS 08/049: No Weddings and No Funerals

Not everyone gets their just desserts as our RomCom ends …

BH CoE finale
Do I know you?

The Comedy of Errors, Act V

Shakespeare has plenty to do in the 400-odd lines of Act V.  The general confusion needs to create a crisis before we can have our happy ending – in this case, perhaps an equivocal, unsatisfying one, but more on that later.

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PTS 08/047: Cheats Never Prosper?

Near misses, and fascinating Misses – Luciana’s journey continues …

BH why-do-women-cheatPonytail Shakespeare read-through:  The Comedy of Errors, Act III

We’ll come to the idea that ‘cheats never prosper‘ in a while.  It’s a busy act.

In the meantime, sometimes the margins in comedy and tragedy are very, very fine. Exactly like in real life, actually …

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The ‘Punatomic’ Particle

By 5:15 we were all questioning whether we actually existed …

BH punatomic particle

Like Dante, as the Inferno unfolds, I found myself at a crossroads on St Andrew’s Day, and the way forward was unclear.  I had a little time to kill: I could walk round the block, or dive into a pub.  Within minutes, I was soaking up the warmth in The Bluebell, a decent pub I’ve not been to in several years.

The place was almost deserted.  For the rest of the world, it was that limbo between going home for tea (those who had already been drinking), and going to the pub for a couple after work.  For various reasons, I fell between both those stools.  So it was me, a pint of Titanic‘s Plum Porter, Aidan behind the bar, and Jamie – who had a bus to catch. 

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PTS 08/045: Oh, no it isn’t! Oh, yes it is …

You just can’t tell some people that you wouldn’t HAVE Blackadder without Shakespeare …


Ponytail Shakespeare read-through The Comedy of Errors: Act I scene I

‘Which is it today?’
The Comedy of Errors.
‘Ugh!’
‘It’s about two sets of twins, separated at birth, who find themselves-‘
‘Stop! Enough!’
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King Lear at The Globe (dir. Nancy Meckler)

BH mcnally
Is anyone going to step up and make this a great Lear with me?  (Kevin R McNally asks for help)

Whilst not one of my true favourites, Lear’s a play I know quite well and which, having a taste for Tragedy more than Comedy, I enjoy. I studied it at University, and I’ve seen at least two stagings before that I can remember. The first, at the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival some years back, was memorable for the blinding of Gloucester, which involved one of his eyeballs being sucked out. I’ve got a great photo of it (with a stretched ‘optical nerve’ leading from eye socket to mouth) which I often use to frighten children who claim that Shakespeare is boring. The second performance starred Derek Jacobi. The most striking things about it were Jacobi’s unsatisfyingly-camp Lear, and the use of strobe lighting to great effect in recreating the storm. Reading it, I’m always struck by Edmund‘s louche sexuality, and that always seems to have been missing. What did I want today? Hubris, wanton cruelty, ingratitude, and ‘the Globe experience‘ …

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