PTS 04/018 It’s Not You … It’s Me

BH christopher sly

The Taming of the Shrew (Induction)

For a while now, it’s been a vague ambition of mine to catalogue, mind map, or in some other way classify Shakespeare’s comedy, both in the comedic plays and elsewhere.  In doing so I AM mindful (for those who know their SF) of the Asimov short, ‘Jokester’, where finally getting an answer as to why humans laugh results in humour dying forever …

Still, I’m always and increasingly drawing intertextual links between and beyond Shakespeare’s plays, and this is what strikes me about what Arden calls the ‘Induction’ – the Christopher Sly frame.  It’s a cousin, maybe an ancestor, of the Rabelaisean idea of ‘Carnival’ that appears later on in:

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You don’t read Shakespeare. Shakespeare reads YOU.

BH reading shakespeare

Whilst it sounds trite, I’m increasingly beginning to believe this.

Part of this comes from the Pony Tail Shakespeare project, I’m sure. With a gap of 400+ years now between the works and our readings, we’re constantly confronted with attitudes which are at a variance with ours.  Example?  This month it’s The Taming of the Shrew, with some ‘interesting’ ideas about marriage, domestic violence, and ‘men vs. women’.

Mostly, though, it comes from being a teacher of Shakespeare …

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PTS 03/017: Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes …

BH DavidBowie-portrait
Is it me, or would Bowie have made a terrific Richard?

Henry VI part III, Act III

RICHARD: ‘I can add colours to the chameleon,

Change shapes with Proteus for advantages’  (III.ii.191-192)

I’ll come back to Bowie’s song when I finally hit Richard III in August, because when I revisited the lyrics, I couldn’t avoid staring thoughtfully for a while.  I will remind Richard that:

‘And every time I thought I’d got it made,

It seemed the taste was not so sweet.’

Like Bolinbroke in RII, like Macbeth – like almost everyone in Shakespeare, let’s face it – the anticipation, the chase, is far better than the conquest, when it comes to the crown.

In the meantime, nothing seems to stay the same in Act III …

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‘Lend me your ears’ … BBC Audio

BH BBC Macbeth image
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes …

For someone who almost famously doesn’t watch TV, I’m a remarkably big fan of the BBC.  What I DO spend is an awful lot of time listening to the radio – for news, sport, and entertainment.  I’m always dazzled by the quality of the drama they produce, and I really enjoy their Science Fiction adaptations – another obssession of mine.

But, it’s also an absolute treasure trove of radio programming about Shakespeare … both factual stuff and performances.

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PTS 03/016: Young Skywalker is in pain …

BH young skywalker is in pain
THIS is the look I’m talking about …

Henry VI part III, act II

In Act I, I wondered about how Richard might respond to the loss of the father he seems so close to, and explored the ongoing death of chivalry and nobility.

It doesn’t take long to see both of these ideas addressed in Act II …
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