PTS 02/009: England – A Nest of Hollow Bosoms

BH HVI II Eleanor and Margaret
This country ain’t big enough for the two of us … bitch!

 

What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,

Were all thy children kind and natural!

But see,thy fault France hath in thee found out,

A nest of hollow bosoms.  (CHORUS, Henry V:  II.0.18-21)

Henry VI II:  Act I

It’s a strange thing, patriotism. 

I’ll try to make this the final time I mention how I don’t feel especially patriotic towards England as opposed to Britain, but the beginning of the play causes me to examine my attitudes again.  It probably says something about my pedantic nature that I can’t simply conflate the two.  Or maybe it’s simply the fact that my Welsh girlfriend would probably dump me!  Either way, I suddenly became acutely aware of an inchoate fear for the country.  Ye-e-es, there was some fear for Henry, about to be eaten alive by his Queen like a hapless spider, but the sympathy I felt for Henry as a child effectively evaporated in the white heat of his ineffectuality.  It facilitated of the betrayal of my new Shakespearean heroes, the Talbots, and so isn’t easily forgiven or forgotten.  So it wasn’t what Margaret might or might not do to Henry that worried me.  It was how she might treat England

Continue reading “PTS 02/009: England – A Nest of Hollow Bosoms”

PTS 01/008: Henry VI (1) The Soundtrack Album

bh-wurlitzerAs I finish each play in the Ponytail Shakespeare series read-through, I’ve decided to create a soundtrack album for my own personal Shakespeare Jukebox.

NOT necessarily representative of my musical tastes, of course!  Just titles or indeed lyrics that made me smile in the context of the play.

I’d love to hear what I’ve missed, so get in touch!

Continue reading “PTS 01/008: Henry VI (1) The Soundtrack Album”

PTS 01/007: HVI (1) farewell …

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Image:  David Nordahl

I wanted to reflect on the play as a whole, looking back to my ‘Expectations’ back at the end of January.

Good literature is like a magic trick.  It makes you believe you are in a different time and place, and care for characters who are constructs, and react to their (also fictitious) actions as if you were a participant. 

Continue reading “PTS 01/007: HVI (1) farewell …”

PTS01/005: Where’s a night-tripping fairy when you need one?

bh-talbot-in-battleO, that it could be proved

That some night-tripping fair had exchanged

In cradle-clothes our children where they lay,

(KING HENRY IV:  Henry IV 1, I.i.85-87)

Henry VI 1:  Act IV

Talk about someone having ‘greatness thrust upon them’!

O, Henry, Henry, Henry … Continue reading “PTS01/005: Where’s a night-tripping fairy when you need one?”

PTS 01/004: We need Talbots, not bastards …

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NO-ONE looks pleased by Henry’s coronation …

Henry VI 1:  Act III

Writing about this act has been an almost painful task.

It would have been too too easy to continue with the ‘Carry On Up the Dolphin’ theme I’d adopted for Act II, but I didn’t feel up to it, aside from referencing the incorrigible overfamiliarity of Charles:

Ay marry, sweeting, if we could do that,

France were no place for Henry’s warriors. (III.iii.21-2)

Continue reading “PTS 01/004: We need Talbots, not bastards …”

PTS01/003: Open your ears! For who could possibly block them when loud Rumour speaks?

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Forget the English attack – are they doing it or not?

Henry VI 1: Act 2 the act with that scene …

No, not the one in the garden.  Surely, there’s only one thing worth talking about … in the words of Joe Jackson:

Is she really going out with him?

Is she really gonna take him home tonight?

Is she really going out with him?

Cause if my eyes don’t deceive me,

There’s something going wrong around here.

… are the Dolphin and La Pucelle an item or not?

Continue reading “PTS01/003: Open your ears! For who could possibly block them when loud Rumour speaks?”

PTS01/002: Shameful Complacency; Priapic Dolphins

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Henry VI Part 1:  Act 1

And off we go.  First-time visitor?  Click here and here to find out what Ponytail Shakespeare is all about.  Then come back, read, and comment – either here or at the Shakespeare Reddit sub.

On to the play, and post two of God knows how many in this project.

I wonder if I lowered my expectations too far …

To shrug and say it was fine, good, OK, would be to do the opening act of Henry VI part I a disservice. Sure, there were moments of clunkiness – not least when the French Master Gunner feels the need to declare – to himself, his son, and thereby the audience – his employment: 

‘Chief master gunner am I of this town’. (I.iv.6) 

But overall, it’s been an entertaining start.

Continue reading “PTS01/002: Shameful Complacency; Priapic Dolphins”