Quality of its adaptions notwithstanding.
For me, it's probably Othello -- perhaps because I am prone to jealousy in relationships and I think Shakespeare captures the dynamic perfectly.
Macbeth and Pericles, Prince of Tyre are close seconds.
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Quality of its adaptions notwithstanding.
For me, it's probably Othello -- perhaps because I am prone to jealousy in relationships and I think Shakespeare captures the dynamic perfectly.
Macbeth and Pericles, Prince of Tyre are close seconds.
|by Anonymous||reply 288||Last Saturday at 9:55 PM|
Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter
|by Anonymous||reply 1||08/06/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 2||08/06/2020|
Howard Keel In Kiss Me Kate.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||08/06/2020|
Macbeth, as adapted in Throne of Blood (Kurosawa film).
|by Anonymous||reply 4||08/06/2020|
R2 Glenda Jackson playing King Lear
|by Anonymous||reply 5||08/06/2020|
Lear (in its many incarnations including Ran), followed by The Winter’s Tale.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||08/06/2020|
I like The Winter's Tale too r6
|by Anonymous||reply 7||08/06/2020|
The Scottish Play. It's the shortest, and I like a touch of melodrama.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||08/06/2020|
This is a terrible print, but it's interesting to see the same speech done with a much more naturalistic approach here, at the [bold]10:15[/bold] mark
|by Anonymous||reply 9||08/06/2020|
Antony and Cleopatra - a play about how being horny drives people to do things that are deeply ill-advised.
It’s the only play of Shakespeare’s that I can relate to.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||08/06/2020|
Anthony and Cleopatra is one of my favorites too, R10. It shows how even people who believe themselves inextricably entwined are, ultimately, separate and alone. Love isn’t enough.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||08/06/2020|
I love Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry V, Richard III, and Much Ado About Nothing.....
Then.....Romeo & Juliet and Love's Labours Lost.
Some good stuff there!
|by Anonymous||reply 12||08/06/2020|
Which is the one with all the twink nudity?
|by Anonymous||reply 13||08/06/2020|
I think that's MacDick R13.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||08/06/2020|
Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream
|by Anonymous||reply 15||08/06/2020|
The tremendous one! People are saying how tremendous it is. The best play they've ever seen ... people are saying they've never seen anything like it! Five acts!
|by Anonymous||reply 16||08/06/2020|
Henry IV Part One because of Falstaff
|by Anonymous||reply 17||08/06/2020|
Macbeth and Antony & Cleopatra
|by Anonymous||reply 18||08/06/2020|
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is the only play I've read completely. I think I need an edible like I used for reading Dickens once. And a reference guide for astonomy.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||08/06/2020|
Is it okay to say that Shakespeare bores the fuck out of me?
|by Anonymous||reply 20||08/06/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 21||08/06/2020|
I remember seeing "As You Like it" on stage at the Stratford Festival many years ago and really liking it.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||08/06/2020|
I vote for King Lear if you're reading it, but the two best productions of a Shakespeare I've ever seen have both been Twelfth Night. It seems to be possible to have an interesting new interpretation of TN and pull it off brilliantly: I'm not sure it is possible to do likewise with King Lear. Every time I've seen KL something important has been wrong with it. (Or in some cases, everything.)
The Scottish Play is like King Lear in that regard. Fascinating to read and to imagine: near impossible to stage successfully, though hats off to Kurosawa for his Birnam Wood. Dazzling and truly scary.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||08/06/2020|
What are the easy 3-4 plays someone who has never read Shakespeare should start with?
|by Anonymous||reply 24||08/06/2020|
Romeo & Juliet was my first, and stuck with me for good. Lots of great poetry in there.
Lear is probably my favorite.
I also enjoy A&C, in large part because the character of Cleopatra is so over-the-top.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||08/06/2020|
Henry V for its sweep and grandeur. Richard II for its drama and poetry.
My favorite line is Perdita's in The WInter's Tale: Daffodils, / That come before the swallow dares, and take / The winds of March with beauty.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||08/06/2020|
I’ve seen one amazing production of Antony and Cleo. The rest have been meh
|by Anonymous||reply 27||08/06/2020|
Julius Caesar, King Lear
|by Anonymous||reply 28||08/06/2020|
I HATE ALL ELIZABETHAN THEATER!!!
Who the fuck cares about this shit. It's 2020! The people who enjoyed Elizabethan theater have been dead for 500 years!!! No one gives a shit except people who majored in Theatre !!!! ( which is a fake major for rich kids who couldn't figure out how to pick a real major!!!)
BLECH! YUCK!! PASS!!! GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!
|by Anonymous||reply 29||08/06/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 30||08/06/2020|
Calm down, R29. No one here is going to make you sit through a Kenneth Branagh film festival. Good productions of Elizabethan plays can still grip audiences and keep them on the edge of their seats. My experience is that too many school teachers manage quite effectively to stifle everything that's wonderful in Shakespeare -which is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Romeo and Juliet is a tremendously powerful, exciting play full of fighting, death, love, and romance. But my teacher thought the best way to experience it was to memorize famous quotes by act, scene, and line number...
I love Twelfth Night, followed by Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. The bottom of the list, for me, is the Scottish play. It's just too unrelentingly dark and dismal.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||08/06/2020|
King Lear and Dick III and Hamlet too!
|by Anonymous||reply 32||08/06/2020|
I love Othello, too.
I read Cymbaline and a Winter's Tale and loved them both, but have never seen them performed.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||08/06/2020|
Romeo and Juliet. I read it in freshman year (high school) English class, my very first Shakespeare play. I remember thinking I was going to be bored by it, hate it, not understand it...but the opposite happened, and I've loved Shakespeare since. Awwwww!
|by Anonymous||reply 34||08/06/2020|
The Scottish Play, by far. It was the first one I ever read, and it stuck with me.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||08/06/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 36||08/06/2020|
Hamlet is not just my favorite Shakespeare play, but my absolute favorite play.
It's so wholly cathartic. And then there's the sheer countless number of timeless phrases that play has contributed to the English language.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||08/06/2020|
I love the Scottish Play and Midsummer Night's dream.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||08/07/2020|
A Midsummer Night's Dream never fails to make me laugh, no matter the production. It might be the world's only cast-proof, director-proof comedy. It could be directed by Ed Wood and star the Real Housewives of New Jersey and it would be funny.
That said, I think Hamlet and MacBeth are the truly great plays.
A vote for Titus Andronicus, which some think was not Shakespeare, but which is a fascinating work with a slasher-film sensibility. I would have loved to have seen Dario Argento direct it.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||08/07/2020|
Overrated and hardly any dongs presented.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||08/07/2020|
R24, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Romeo and Juliet are among the easiest to read. Don't try to understand every word or you'll get too hung up.
It would probably be good to watch Baz Luhrmann's and/or Zeffirelli's R&J before attempting to read it. They're heavily edited, but both of them will make what's going on clear before you start.
If you can get hold of the recent NT-Live broadcast of Midsummer Night's Dream, that's a very good one and is the whole play.
If you're totally new to Shakespeare, have a look for online courses - there are some that are free. Or watch Shakespeare Uncovered. There seem to be episodes on YouTube. Each one deals with a different play. They're a very good way in. They assume you've read the play, but they deal with the through-line of each play and its most famous issues and problems, so when you come to read you know what you're looking for. Good luck!
|by Anonymous||reply 41||08/07/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 42||08/07/2020|
Oddly, two of OP's favorites don't survive in Shakespeare's versions. Pericles wasn't in the First Folio at all due to ownership issues and exists in a dodgy separate publication (it was left out at the last minute and Timon of Athens included instead). While Macbeth is in the First Folio, it clearly isn't the original text - it's far too short, had clear chunks missing and also sections of someone else's play (Middleton's The Witch) shoehorned in - it's the only First Folio text like this, where the editors (fellow members of Shakespeare's acting company) couldn't find a good original version. It also seems to have been one of the least liked of his plays at the time, with hardly any contemporary references to it, compared to the big, often-revived hits like, say, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and anything with Falstaff.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||08/07/2020|
You do realize that all.of you writing the Scottish play are probably the biggest simps on this board.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||08/07/2020|
Macbeth, because I've always been a Goth at heart.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||08/07/2020|
R44 what is a simp?
|by Anonymous||reply 46||08/07/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 47||08/07/2020|
The Taming of the Shrew. (not really - just an excuse to show off Marc Singer).
Among the comedies: Midsummer Night's Dream Tragedies : Macbeth History plays: King Richard II , also King Henry IV because of Falstaff
|by Anonymous||reply 48||08/07/2020|
For me it would be The Tempest (but I also like Lear, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar & Twelfth Night a lot)
|by Anonymous||reply 49||08/07/2020|
[quote] I would have loved to have seen Dario Argento direct it.
R39 Concur! With Argento's daughter Asia playing Queen Tamora. She can't really act much, but would be a natural at seething batshit.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||08/07/2020|
Herpes simplex, R46.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||08/07/2020|
R29 ... and while we're at it what the hell is all this Sophocles and Aeschylus and Euripides BS from 2500 years ago, right? right?
(when's the next Kardashian show?)
|by Anonymous||reply 52||08/07/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 53||08/07/2020|
r53 Good name for a band.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||08/07/2020|
Hamlet, hands down. But, though not 100% Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus.
Though slightly off-topic, I’m also very partial to the gore and violent bloodletting of a good Webster or Kyd, and not just Titus. These aren’t very often staged any more, unfortunate.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||08/07/2020|
The Taming of the Shrew.
|by Anonymous||reply 56||08/07/2020|
R53, Othello never believed that Desdemona loved him. When he talks about the beginning of their relationship, about how she pitied him, something is wrong. It’s similar to the moment when Macbeth is jolted by the witches’ prophecy—he’d thought about killing Duncan before.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||08/07/2020|
Who are all these silly queens calling "Macbeth" "The Scottish Play." It's only bad luck to say "Macbeth" inside a theater, other than during rehearsals and performances of the play.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||08/07/2020|
In terms of stage performances, the best I've ever seen was a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Othello. So emotionally riveting.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||08/07/2020|
R58, for those of us who work professionally in the theatre it becomes a lifelong habit to refer to it as The Scottish Play. Only a "silly queen" calls other people silly queens, bitch. :)
|by Anonymous||reply 60||08/07/2020|
You think DL isn't theater, r58?
|by Anonymous||reply 61||08/07/2020|
Thy pizza boy ... he bringith
|by Anonymous||reply 62||08/07/2020|
R60 can we call you a pansy?
|by Anonymous||reply 63||08/07/2020|
Ok gurls any fav quotes? I remember wanting to get a good grade for my oral English exam in high school. I quoted R&J and more
|by Anonymous||reply 64||08/07/2020|
I’m obsessed with the character of Malvolio. He literally gets tortured for the crime of complaining about a bunch of noisy drunks and the audience usually cheers at his misery. His last line is, "I'll be revenged." One of these days, I want to see the sequel - Thirteenth Night: Malvolio's Revenge.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||08/07/2020|
The treatment of Malvolio is what, for me, defines a good production of Twelfth Night. It's a role that is difficult to play with any sympathy. I think the closest to manage it was Richard Briers in the TV production of Kenneth Branagh's company.
I think the video is speeded up a bit...
|by Anonymous||reply 66||08/07/2020|
I enjoy reading about Shakespeare more than I do reading (or watching) his work.
This was good:
|by Anonymous||reply 67||08/07/2020|
Macbeth is my favorite tragedy; the plot is a straight arrow from beginning to end (with one little tangent for the drunken porter). I saw the RSC production with Ian McKellan and Judi Dench staged very simply in the round in a tiny black-box theatre. It was fantastically acted and terrifying (the DVD recording is good but not a patch on being there, of course). After it was over I thought, "Well, I never need to see Macbeth again because it can't be any better than that." And while I've seen a few filmed adaptations of it, I've never seen it on stage since.
I love R&J largely for the poetry of the balcony scene. It irritates me when directors allow them to kiss or embrace at the end of the scene, Romeo having somehow climbed up to the balcony. No -- the balcony is the obstacle; they have to seduce each other with words. (Bonus points for a hot Mercutio and/or Tybalt, of course.)
One of the best Twelfth Night's I've seen was the Globe Theatre's with Mark Rylance as Olivia. Honestly, I just sat there waiting for him to come back onstage, he was so funny and true (and could really work a gown).
The best Midsummer was the recent Bridge Theatre's with Oliver Chris and Gwendoline Christie as Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania, but, really, the fantastic and funny immersive staging was the real star. Many thanks to National Theatre Live for streaming it this summer. I watched it several times.
My goal is to see every Shakespeare play *on stage* before I leave this mortal coil. I have only four left -- the Henry VI trilogy and Titus. (Many thanks to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the opportunity to knock a LOT of the rarely done plays off the list.)
|by Anonymous||reply 68||08/07/2020|
If she says your behavior is heinous
Kick her right in the Coriolanus
|by Anonymous||reply 69||08/07/2020|
Interesting Merchant of Venice isn't liked much.
Favorite lines in Shakespeare? Impossible to answer, but these:
The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: 'T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown: His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway; It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||08/07/2020|
My personal fav is THE WINTER'S TALE.
Runner's up ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL and TITUS ANDRONICUS*
*mostly for Julie Taymor's stage production (NOT the film).
|by Anonymous||reply 71||08/07/2020|
A good place to ask this question: I've always found that with Shakespeare, both plays and film, for the first five minutes or so, I don't have a clue what they are saying. Almost like a foreign language. But by the end I am understanding and comprehending everything. It's like it takes a while of hearing the rhythm and phonemes of Elizabethan English before my native-English ear can get what the fuck it is they are saying.
Is this true for anyone else? I always wondered.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||08/07/2020|
The poetry in Merchant is sublime. Maybe his most beautiful writing. But the story is hard. It’s difficult to know how to react to the gaiety of the last act after Shylock leaves the stage.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||08/07/2020|
[italic]Exit, pursued by a bear[/italic]
|by Anonymous||reply 74||08/07/2020|
Measure for Measure
|by Anonymous||reply 75||08/07/2020|
Ooops, this was for R71
[quote]Exit, pursued by a bear
|by Anonymous||reply 76||08/07/2020|
I'm the same, R72. It takes a few minutes to reset your brain. (Unfortunately, those first few minutes may contain a lot of exposition for the rest of the play.) A big help is when the actors know what they are saying and aren't just reciting lines they've memorized. If they understand their lines and what the character wants, chances are you will, too. I saw a production of All's Well where the actress playing Helena clearly had no clue what her character was saying, and since she's the female lead it made for a long slog; fortunately the Parolles was great. I won't say that all British actors are better at this than American actors, but many of them are; it's just in their bones.
|by Anonymous||reply 77||08/07/2020|
The most beautiful setting of Shakespeare: "Serenade to Music" by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Text from Act V, Scene I of The Merchant of Venice.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||08/07/2020|
R77 Thanks, that all makes sense. And yes, British actors seems so much better at making communication simply seem like communication, not some dramatic "recitation"....
|by Anonymous||reply 79||08/07/2020|
Another example of the beauty of Shakespeare: "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind" by John Rutter, from his cycle When Icicles Hang.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||08/07/2020|
Antony y Cleopatra, definitely, both the play and the grenadiers.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||08/07/2020|
r72: yes, even when I'm reading it with a glossary, it takes about an hour for the first couple scenes and then another hour and a half for the rest of the play. You get swept up in the language along with the action.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||08/07/2020|
As You Like It
|by Anonymous||reply 83||08/07/2020|
Another vote for Twelfth night. And I saw a production of ' As you like it' at the Globe in London when I was a student there that just blew my mind. Mark Rylance was the artistic director then, and everything he directed was fabulous.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||08/07/2020|
West Side Story
|by Anonymous||reply 85||08/07/2020|
I saw Derek Jacobi play Macbeth while still at school. My English teacher informed us that we were in for a treat, to see a career highlight by a great actor.
Ultimately though, the performance was a fiasco, and the great man himself was already too old to be McBeth.
I’ve always loved Hamlet.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||08/07/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 87||08/07/2020|
My favorite passage from Shakespeare:
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
|by Anonymous||reply 88||08/07/2020|
Another fan of The Winter's Tale here, a play that seems like its so fragile, poised on a delicate balance, yet I've never actually seen a bad production or where the end wasn't totally magical. It's actually incredibly robust and producer-proof.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||08/07/2020|
"The Tempest:" perfect for order and disorder in the early modern world
"Richard II" the king's two bodies
"Henry V" saw Kenneth Branagh in it at Stratford in 1984
"Othello" false friendship
And I'm a sucker for "Romeo and "Juliet."
|by Anonymous||reply 90||08/07/2020|
A Shakespearean theatre company was presenting a series of five of The Bard’s plays in an out-of-the-way town, and was dismayed when they discovered that the marquee was too small to list all the plays in the series. However, the general manager was a clever and resourceful man so he devised a method of “shorthand” to indicate which plays would be performed.
After he finished, the marquee read:
When asked to decipher the billboard, the general manager explained:
Monday: Much Ado About Nothing
Tuesday: As You Like It
Wednesday: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Friday: The Taming of the Shrew
|by Anonymous||reply 91||08/07/2020|
Henry V. I love the St. Crispin’s Day speech.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||08/07/2020|
Macbeth is my favorite to see performed--it's genuinely exciting.
King Lear is my favorite to read because it's so rich and dense.
I love parts of Cymbeline--it has some beautiful lines in it.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||08/07/2020|
Measure for Measure.
It always makes me cry. Always makes me reconsider what matters most in life.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||08/07/2020|
“The Scottish Play” is the draining pasta of 2020.
|by Anonymous||reply 95||08/07/2020|
R&J, A&C, Hamlet and Lear
can't choose just one
|by Anonymous||reply 96||08/07/2020|
Before I see any Shakespeare play, I have to do some homework. At the very least I need to read through the play, ideally with good footnotes. I used to use those versions that have a modern translation of the play side by side with the original. I know they’re made to make it easier for high school kids to cheat, but I still find them useful.
|by Anonymous||reply 97||08/07/2020|
r97 I like the Folger editions. They give a brief summary of each scene so you already know what to expect and can focus on the big picture, rather than getting bogged down by the language. And their footnotes aren't overwhelming (like, for example, the Arden Shakespeare).
|by Anonymous||reply 98||08/07/2020|
I have to disagree. The best way to experience a Shakespeare play you don't already know is to see it on stage in a decent production. If the actors are doing their job right you'll understand it so much better, and likely enjoy it more.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||08/07/2020|
R99 is right; with solid actors who know how to deliver iambic pentameter without it being obtrusive, everything flows and you understand pretty much everything. Some of the references that contemporaries would get instantly don't land today of course, but these are rarely crucial.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||08/07/2020|
OP, you are asking a lot. You're asking for our "favorite play. Quality of its adaptions notwithstanding'"
That requires us to actually have read the text. I bet 30% of those us have not read the text.
You also ask to make a judgement on the play while ignoring the adaption. I doubt that 70% of us can do that.
And I also suggest that 50% of us are judging the play based on the MOVIE version.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||08/07/2020|
R101, this is an English lit thread, not a math thread.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||08/07/2020|
John Maynard Keynes says we need maths to organise our emotions. Poetical people like Shakespeare and Wilde get bogged down with hearts and flowers, roses and lillies.
|by Anonymous||reply 103||08/07/2020|
LOCK 'EM UP!
|by Anonymous||reply 104||08/07/2020|
r101 looks like a LSAT logic puzzle.
|by Anonymous||reply 105||08/07/2020|
An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!’
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and MEASURE still FOR MEASURE .
|by Anonymous||reply 106||08/07/2020|
R72 I have to agree. During the first scenes I'm often at a loss with the language and then by the final act I'm totally absorbed. Some plays are more accessible than others. I highly recommend reading the play before attending a performance. Over the years I've managed to see or listen to most plays. Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale may be the only exceptions. The Age of Kings on dvd is a great introduction to the History cycle from Richard II to Richard III. Judy Dench as Queen Katherine of France and Sean Connery as Harry Hotspur are likely the only principal actors still living who appeared in the series.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||08/07/2020|
Favorites: Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar (saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform this in Brooklyn), As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labours Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, and the Tempest.
There are passages in Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, King Lear, etc.. which are among the most sublime not only in English-language drama but in all of English literature.
I am less fond of the history plays, and of King Lear, which is really long and baggy, though it is nevertheless an extraordinary play.
|by Anonymous||reply 108||08/07/2020|
R107 Julian Glover and Eileen Atkins are still alive
|by Anonymous||reply 109||08/07/2020|
I think this is beautifully recited.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
|by Anonymous||reply 110||08/07/2020|
I feel this thread is a bridge to the sixteenth century.
We are showing our appreciation for a language which most on Datalounge consider to be impenetrable gibberish.
Whereas I consider the language we hear on the streets of our cities to be impenetrable gibberish.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||08/07/2020|
There's meh Lewis. . .and then there's the memorable Brando . . .
|by Anonymous||reply 112||08/07/2020|
^ Look how he prissily purses his lips before summoning up some words.
This role should have gone to Paul Scofield as Mankiewicz intended.
|by Anonymous||reply 113||08/07/2020|
R112 Brando is much easier on the eyes and a classic!! I just don’t understand DLers generally seem to dislike Lewis so much. He’s not attractive but he sure can act.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||08/07/2020|
R112 Brando is much easier on the eyes and a classic!! I just don’t understand DLers generally seem to dislike Lewis so much. He’s not attractive but he sure can act.
|by Anonymous||reply 115||08/07/2020|
R113 Scofield would have turned it into a boring recitation a la Lewis. Brando's delivery - despite the theatrics - is what made his interpretation memorable.
Same with Othello. Olivier did a fine job, but Fishburne made it memorable.
|by Anonymous||reply 116||08/07/2020|
Lewis? What Lewis are we talking about? I love Paul Scofield. I just watched The Train (1964), with Paul, Burt Lancaster, and Jeanne Moreau. Excellent!
|by Anonymous||reply 117||08/07/2020|
R117 Lewis as in Damien. Scofield is a good actor, was noteworthy in A Man for All Seasons. But it takes a special actor to bring to life 500 year old characters as Shakespeare wrote them.
|by Anonymous||reply 118||08/07/2020|
Who is Lewis?
|by Anonymous||reply 119||08/07/2020|
Antony and Cleopatra, just perfect.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||08/07/2020|
R119 a British actor watch R110
|by Anonymous||reply 121||08/07/2020|
R119 a British actor watch R110
|by Anonymous||reply 122||08/07/2020|
Damien Lewis, ew.
|by Anonymous||reply 123||08/07/2020|
R118 Scofield was tricky, perverse outsider of a man but —after a decade starring for the Royal Shakespeare Company— I deem him to be perfectly adequate to bring to life Shakespeare's 500 year old words.
|by Anonymous||reply 124||08/07/2020|
Have the Taming of the Shrew fans seen this? Part 2 is also on YouTube.
|by Anonymous||reply 125||08/08/2020|
Taming of the Shrew should be performed with the response by Shakespeare's younger contemporary John Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed, in which a widowed Petruchio gets the tables turned on him by his second wife.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||08/08/2020|
Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale
|by Anonymous||reply 127||08/08/2020|
Jerry Lewis, Rose!
|by Anonymous||reply 128||08/08/2020|
May I highly recommend the Beeb's 2005 Shakespeare Retold series, especially The Taming of the Shrew, with the delicious Rufus Sewell as Petruchio, the screechy, cunty Shirley Henderson as Kate and Stephen Tompkinson (DCI Banks), with a special appearance by Leslie Hornby aka Twiggy as Kate's mum. A joy!
|by Anonymous||reply 129||08/08/2020|
That Jerry Lewis never got to play Othello in blackface is a great tragedy.
|by Anonymous||reply 130||08/08/2020|
From my favorite production of Richard II
|by Anonymous||reply 131||08/08/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 132||08/08/2020|
R131 Little Ben is as thin as a stick. I feel as though I could break him over my knee.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||08/08/2020|
Shakespeare in love
|by Anonymous||reply 134||08/09/2020|
R133 Based on this contemporary image King Richard II was no porky pig.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||08/09/2020|
I may have read 'Richard II' decades ago. But, on the another hand, I may have not read it OR I have completely have forgotten it.
But anyway I don't remember if Shakespeare wrote Richard II as a card-carrying Nancy-boy. I know Sir Larry was slightly shocked in the early 1950s that the lovely Sir Michael portrayed Richard II as camp as a row of tents.
|by Anonymous||reply 136||08/09/2020|
The gorgeous Michael looks just as cute and fey as Jack Whitehall in that other DL thread
|by Anonymous||reply 137||08/09/2020|
Macbeth, but that might be because I taught it for about twenty years.
|by Anonymous||reply 138||08/09/2020|
Saw Ralph Fiennes (and Francesca Annis) in "Hamlet" and Patrick Stewart in "Macbeth" on Broadway, and both actors and productions were magnificent.
|by Anonymous||reply 139||08/09/2020|
The OP asked us for our favorite play the "quality of its adaptions notwithstanding".
Yet the bulk of us are talking about the quality of the adaptions we've seen.
|by Anonymous||reply 140||08/09/2020|
[quote]r138 [The Scottish Play], but that might be because I taught it for about twenty years.
Oh, good. I have a question.
Isn't it pretty widely accepted that Lady M killed herself? I always saw it that way, then someone insisted it's not specifically stated.
|by Anonymous||reply 141||08/09/2020|
To be pedantic, R140, novels are "adapted;" plays are performed. When you see a performance of a play, you are experiencing the work as it was meant to be experienced.
|by Anonymous||reply 142||08/09/2020|
Dear R142 you have hit the nub of Shakespeare's problem.
His stuff can only truly be appreciated if it's read at leisure with a dictionary. It can only be appreciated on stage if 50% of the text is cut.
|by Anonymous||reply 143||08/09/2020|
A new thread in which some contributors assign W.S. to the ash pit of history and declare him irrelevant yet manages to attract 143 responses. I wonder how many contemporary writers will be discussed in the year 2400 ? My prediction - none.
|by Anonymous||reply 144||08/09/2020|
[quote]R140 Yet the bulk of us are talking about the quality of the adaptions we've seen.
I don't think there's a big difference between having seen (some) movie versions and a stage production. Many stage productions have the texts edited, as well.
|by Anonymous||reply 145||08/09/2020|
Excellent question OP.
Othello grew on me, and the last time I saw it I found it very engaging. I watched the opera by Verdi a few weeks later.
Richard III has long been a big-time favourite. I actually liked the version by Al Pacino!
I love what is at the heart of Hamlet. Even considered staging it myself (???) for a while! Never did, of course.
I've never read or seen Julius Caesar, but have been considering it lately.
I think I would enjoy seeing a really good version of As You Like It, but I never have except in my head.
I would also like to see Coriolanus and Henry V.
|by Anonymous||reply 146||08/09/2020|
R144 These 143 responses have come from 68 reminiscing about their experiences in the theatre, cinema or actually reading the text from decades ago.
Terence Rattigan write plays about 20th century humans speaking normal speech. And so did mumbling Harold Pinter.
But Shakespeare's text is artificial, elongated, euphuistic and utterly alien to 21st century America
|by Anonymous||reply 147||08/09/2020|
Margot and Bobby did a good version of 'Hamlet'. They cut out all the words.
|by Anonymous||reply 148||08/09/2020|
R 141, Malcolm says that it is thought she committed suicide.
There are a lot of things that Shakepeare does not say definitely. But like most playwrights, he is writing drama and not a puzzle. The medium of theater is experienced in performance so what seems to be the plot, usually is. Audiences do not have a script and cannot flip pages looking for clues.
If Shakespeare had another idea of how she died, he would have said so and cut Malcolms reference to suicide.
|by Anonymous||reply 149||08/09/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 150||08/09/2020|
Not trolling, but since most of us have extra time on our hands, here's an extra credit video:
|by Anonymous||reply 151||08/09/2020|
I never cared for Twelfth Night until I saw that stunning revival with Mark Rylance and Stephan Fry. Unfortunately I’m now not able to enjoy any of Shakespeare’s plays because I compare them all to that production. Oh well...
|by Anonymous||reply 152||08/09/2020|
Agreed, r152. I saw it three times. Every element was perfect. The performances, the costumes, the music, the smell of those beeswax candles. It might well be the best evening I’ve ever had in the theatre.
Does anyone know if the all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse was ever filmed? I’d love to see it again.
|by Anonymous||reply 153||08/09/2020|
I do enjoy a beeswax candle!
|by Anonymous||reply 154||08/09/2020|
Your BUTT enjoys a beeswax candle!
|by Anonymous||reply 155||08/09/2020|
Did Shakespeare do anus jokes?
He joked about urinating.
|by Anonymous||reply 156||08/09/2020|
If she thinks your behavior is heinous, kick her right in the Coriolanus.
|by Anonymous||reply 157||08/09/2020|
R141, Yes, Lady Macbeth commits suicide; she was beset by the imagined smell and sight of blood on her hands. Hence, Macbeth, Seyton, and soldiers hear "the cry of women, my good lord" at their discovery of her. "Wherefore was that cry?" "The queen, my lord, is dead." (Act 5, scene 5)
And the avoidance of mentioning the title pertains only to the actors in an actual production, not to a mere discussion.
|by Anonymous||reply 158||08/09/2020|
R147, it is not Shakespeare's fault that 21st America is the Kingdom of Moronia.
He wrote poetry (shock, horror), and he had a huge vocabulary (oh, no!), but he wrote plays designed to appeal to the audience in the cheap seats, which in his day was no seats: they stood crowded around the stage like a mosh pit. He was a huge hit with them, as well as with the intelligentsia of the day.
And "euphemistic" - I do not think that word means what you think it means.
|by Anonymous||reply 159||08/09/2020|
21st century America.
|by Anonymous||reply 160||08/09/2020|
I do not believe— and I cannot believe— that the rabble on the ground floor of the Globe Theatre stood during a complete performance of 'Hamlet'.
The challengers on that TV show 'Survivor' can't stand for more than one hour before they start dropping off.
Hamlet is more than thirty thousand words. It is four hours. There are no laughs or pratfalls in Hamlet.
|by Anonymous||reply 161||08/09/2020|
Hamlet, hands down.
|by Anonymous||reply 162||08/09/2020|
I've never read on of his plays. They were out of favor at the high school I went to. I've only seen adaptions "based on" his plays, never one done according to his text. I don't really want to either.
|by Anonymous||reply 163||08/09/2020|
Words That Shakespeare Invented:
In addition, William Shakespeare coined many popular phrases that we still use today.
|by Anonymous||reply 164||08/09/2020|
R161, there are laughs in Hamlet - the scenes with the players, for example. And the people standing in the Globe weren't doing so for 4 hours. Multiple sources tell us that plays in the outdoor playhouses were expected to last for about 2 hours, running with no intervals from 2-4pm, October to March, so the audience could get home before dark in a world without police, public transport or street lighting. They were all matinees. The long versions (3-4 hours) in the First Folio that are the default texts today were very probably the expanded and more sophisticated versions developed by Shakespeare for court performance before Elizabeth I or James I. These were evening events under artificial light that began at c. 8pm and were expected to last into the small hours.
|by Anonymous||reply 165||08/10/2020|
[quote] And "euphemistic" - I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Maybe not, but euphuistic does.
|by Anonymous||reply 166||08/10/2020|
So much misinformation!
--There are some scholars who think that groundlings had stools. However, even today people will stand for hours at concerts, sporting events, and immersive theater so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that people stood for long periods.
--Shakespeare may be the first recorded use of a word, but that does not mean he coined it. He could just have been tuned into the latest language trends.
--All of Shakespeare plays mix serious stuff with comedy. They did not have the same idea of appropriate division of genre that we have today. And if a clown was getting paid, the company needed to get its moneysworth.
--The plays seem to have been about 2 hours. There is no evidence that they were expanded for court performances. There is more evidence that in some cases at least, Shakespeare wrote long and play was cut for production. (The Folio Hamlet is shorter than the second quarto and cuts a lot of stuff we think is indispensable for the play.
There is evidence that we play a lot slower than they did then. Our leisurely pace of speech and the addition of production elements (even lighting shifts add pauses within a production) makes our productions run longer. Not to mention the addition of intermissions.
However, even so, most of Shakespeare's plays with minimal cuts and an intermission will run about 2 and a half hours.
|by Anonymous||reply 167||08/10/2020|
^^and the Folio Hamlet appears to be a production script.
|by Anonymous||reply 168||08/10/2020|
[quote]Shakespeare may be the first recorded use of a word, but that does not mean he coined it. He could just have been tuned into the latest language trends.
"Language trends" is an erroneous attempt to foist 21st century sensibilities on the 16th century. Given the absence of even the most basic education, primitive language skills and prevalence of dialects, I'd be far more inclined to believe that Shakespeare was the originator.
|by Anonymous||reply 169||08/10/2020|
You can believe anything you want. I am talking about what there is evidence for.
The language of Renaissance England was indeed experiencing all sorts of trends. The vocabulary was exploding at a huge rate. As you point out, there were a number of dialects, but the new social and physical mobility of the time allowed the dialects to collide with each other and join up to make the language we have now.
You cite the absence of education as an impediment to the development of a language. But the opposite is more common. Oral language is more susceptible to change and growth than written language. And the verbal sophistication of even the uneducated is evident in the plays, sermons, and speeches from the period that are meant for this audience.
As an analogy, think about the development of visual language even in your lifetime. Today's audience is very sophisticated in reading film editing, composition, etc. even though they never had any formal education in this. Once visual literacy is part of everyone's curriculum, you know that the development of visual grammar and tropes will slow down. In fact, it already is happening.
Because Shakespeare (and other playwrights of the time) were trying to imitate spoken language, they reflect the grammatical and vocabulary trends of the time more than the educated academic writers of the era. That is why we see all the new words in their plays. Shakespeare is first in this in part because that was who he was, but also because so many of his plays survive. Also, Shakespeare's popularity cemented the words he recorded in posterity's vocabulary.
|by Anonymous||reply 170||08/10/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 171||08/10/2020|
R142 I always enjoyed productions of Shakespeare's plays. I usually went when one was presented - even at a local high school or community theatre.
I used to think that he was Idiot Director Proof - until I saw the horrible production of Hamlet directed by Libby Appel at the IRT......leather chaps....Hamlet on a wheel like Wheel of Fortune....friends of hers in major roles.....and music by HER SON.
And she took it along with her when she went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.....I hope she is out of theatre now and suffering for her sins somewhere in the middle of the ocean.
|by Anonymous||reply 172||08/10/2020|
There is evidence the plays could have been expanded for court performance, R167. There's been a recent important book about it, Richard Dutton's Shakespeare, court dramatist (2016).
|by Anonymous||reply 173||08/10/2020|
R173, if you read Dutton he himself admits that there is little evidence for his views and that they are largely hypothetical. He also admits that his ideas have not gotten a lot of support from other scholars.
He is very interesting to read, and he has put a spotlight on a neglected area of study. But one of the reasons it has been neglected is that there is so little evidence.
I do think that Dutton trips over himself a bit because he marries the real evidence he does find to his own biases and beliefs about production, court taste, and popular taste.
I think he is right to note that some plays were expanded. But there is also evidence that some plays were shortened.
He makes the usual scholars error of generalizing from specific cases where there is not necessarily evidence that the case is typical or common.
|by Anonymous||reply 174||08/10/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 175||08/10/2020|
[quote]R171 OMG, [R36]
The foolishness of the young[bold] : o[/bold]
Bar your doors! Let none offer him sanctuary!!
That impudence surely will bring more covid down upon us!!!
|by Anonymous||reply 176||08/10/2020|
I really enjoy the videos by Ben Crystal on YouTube. The one I've linked below discusses the use of Original Pronunciation (OP). In light of the posts about length above, it's interesting that -- when the Globe did several performances of [italic]Romeo & Juliet[/italic] in OP -- it ran 10 minutes shorter than the regular one, even though the cast, director & staging were the same.
In Part 4 of the same talk, Ben discusses the use of "verse overlap" in Shakespeare, using scenes from [italic]Hamlet[/italic] and [italic]Lear[/italic]. It's fascinating to see how dramatically intense -- and drastically shorter -- the scenes become when performed that way.
|by Anonymous||reply 177||08/10/2020|
One time there was a DL thread about turning Shakespeare titles into porn titles.
The two I most remember were "As You Lick It" and "Pericles, Prince for Hire."
|by Anonymous||reply 178||08/10/2020|
Omg!! That is awesome r178
|by Anonymous||reply 179||08/10/2020|
R172: Libby Appel is long gone from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I've seen some dreadfully directed and designed Shakespeare productions there (some of them probably hers) and just as many beautiful ones (ditto), so it's a crap shoot.
|by Anonymous||reply 180||08/10/2020|
R178 For scat lovers King Richard the Turd
|by Anonymous||reply 181||08/10/2020|
Midsummer Night's Wet Dream
|by Anonymous||reply 182||08/10/2020|
R164 he did not "coin" the words 'skim milk'.
'Skim milk' is a noun. Shakespeare used 'skim' as a verb.
|by Anonymous||reply 183||08/10/2020|
He also coined the term "Reduced Fat Pringles". Way ahead of his time.
|by Anonymous||reply 184||08/10/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 185||08/11/2020|
The gay Midsummer's...........
|by Anonymous||reply 186||08/11/2020|
Not by Shakespeare, but nothing in early modern English theater is gayer than Marlowe's Edward II
|by Anonymous||reply 187||08/11/2020|
A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
|by Anonymous||reply 188||08/11/2020|
R31 Are you saying Kenneth Branagh films are tedious, pompous and self-preening?
|by Anonymous||reply 189||08/11/2020|
His 'Julius Caesar' is a poorly-constructed play.
The title character disappears after 20 minutes and the second half is very dreary and wanders off in to an utter anti-climax.
|by Anonymous||reply 190||08/11/2020|
r190 = Christopher Marlowe
|by Anonymous||reply 191||08/11/2020|
OP, 'Pericles' can't be a good play because no-one —yes, no-one— has willingly wanted to make a commercial film of it!
|by Anonymous||reply 192||08/11/2020|
'Pericles' may have a few good lines in it but a poem is NOT a play!
|by Anonymous||reply 193||08/11/2020|
No, R189, I'm not. I was simply pointing out that no one was going to force R29 to sit through hours and hours of Shakespeare. I happen to have a great deal of affection for Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V. His unedited Hamlet shows why it is always edited, and some of the casting is just plain awful. But in general, I'm a fan.
|by Anonymous||reply 194||08/11/2020|
R190, plays in Shakespeares time are just structured differently. The climax usually happens halfway through, but today we like it closer to the end. So usually you cut act 4 and 5 heavily for production or distort the text a little to get a later climax.
But it is hard to do that. Caesar dies almost exactly halfway through the play.
And adding an intermission makes it worse. If you put it after the assassination and funeral, it feels like the play is over and the second part is an afterthought.
It does play better without an intermission so you can feel the sweep of events resulting from the assassination.
Complaining that Shakespeare does not fit our model for a play is like criticizing the Simpsons for poor character development. That is just not what it is about. You may not like how Caesar is built, but it is not poor construction---it is just something different than what you are used to.
|by Anonymous||reply 195||08/11/2020|
^^is should read "it is hard to do that in Julius Caesar because the plot resists it more than most Shakespeare"
|by Anonymous||reply 196||08/11/2020|
R151 That video is just two talking heads talking for more than 35 minutes. That could be as tedious as watching a bad, uncut version of the four-hour long 'Hamlet'.
Can you give us a precis?
|by Anonymous||reply 197||08/11/2020|
Pericles was one of the most popular -- if not the most popular -- plays during Shakespeare's life.
|by Anonymous||reply 198||08/12/2020|
Why has popular taste changed so much? I bet everyone here would rank it down with the history plays
|by Anonymous||reply 199||08/12/2020|
r199 Pericles is fun. It's lighthearted. It has elements of magic. It has pirates and shipwrecks and brothels. It has a happy ending.
What's not to love?
|by Anonymous||reply 200||08/12/2020|
R199, the audience during Shakespeare's time was not as sophisticated as the "Follies" lovers of today, who constantly demonstrate their insight and intellectual superiority on DL hourly.
|by Anonymous||reply 201||08/12/2020|
I am chaneling Shakspeer now in my music.
|by Anonymous||reply 202||08/12/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 203||08/12/2020|
It's always nice when DL's intelligentsia like r203 weigh in
|by Anonymous||reply 204||08/12/2020|
R204 I know, right?
|by Anonymous||reply 205||08/12/2020|
I'm sorry, R194. I happen to be an unabashed and adoring fan of Laurence Olivier.
And I curse those Wardour St money-lenders who funded Branagh yet refused to do so to Larry’s worthy realisations of 'Macbeth' and 'Antony & Cleopatra'.
|by Anonymous||reply 206||08/12/2020|
I first saw "The Tempest" in college and was totally unprepared for the effect Prospero's epilogue would have on me. Tears began streaming down my cheeks and I quickly bolted for the lobby and hid from my friends until I could compose myself. I know, MARY.
|by Anonymous||reply 207||08/12/2020|
MacBeth and The Tempest
|by Anonymous||reply 208||08/13/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 209||08/13/2020|
R195 Shakespeare is worse than Handel.
They are as worse as those ‘frauen’ who cradle their mugs or poseurs cradling their balloon glasses of brandy.
They take an idea, a word or a motif and perform themes and variations with trills, arpeggios and fugues climaxing in a farandango which can last five minutes.
It is the enemy of action.
|by Anonymous||reply 210||08/14/2020|
Shakespeare fucked his way into the Globe. Everyone knows it.
|by Anonymous||reply 211||08/14/2020|
R211 Shakespeare took one hour to get an erection and three hours to read a climax.
|by Anonymous||reply 212||08/14/2020|
Twelfth Night, always, for sheer fun.
It has my favorite crazy line: “Too well what women to men may owe. In faith, they are as true of heart as we. My father had a daughter lov’d a man, as, t’were I a woman, would love your lordship.”
Mind twister. Love it.
And Midsummer Nights Dream is sheer joy.
|by Anonymous||reply 213||08/14/2020|
He was no Lloyd Richards, that's for sure.
BTW, if there's arguments that we don't know who Shakespeare really was, how do we know he died?
|by Anonymous||reply 214||08/14/2020|
R214 Was Shakespeare Edward de Vere?
|by Anonymous||reply 215||08/14/2020|
^ He facilitated at least one black bottom.
|by Anonymous||reply 216||08/14/2020|
Much like Rome itself, R190.
|by Anonymous||reply 217||08/15/2020|
Christopher Plummer as Prospero
|by Anonymous||reply 218||08/15/2020|
Brian Dennehy in Twelfth Night.
|by Anonymous||reply 219||08/15/2020|
I love the magic of Macbeth. The play addresses it with such a matter-of-fact sophistication that doesn’t play up the wondrousness of it. It’s just there, and it’s a dark and dangerous thing. And while part of the mystery of the play is whether the weird sisters’ prophesies were a magic curse or if they planted the seeds that made Macbeth become his own undoing, there’s no question that they foretold events beyond anyone’s control. The magic of the play is real and it’s cruel and strange without apology or explanation.
I love Much Ado About Nothing. It makes me happy. It’s such a delight and a trifle.
I love the rapturous nature of King Lear—both the nature of the planet and the natures of the people. Lear is one of the plays in which Shakespeare demonstrates a totally unflinchingly honest observation of human psychologies, and especially the cruel aspects that we usually compartmentalize and pretend belong only to a select few. Lear himself is the closest way we have to explain the current US president’s psychology, and two of his daughters show us how and why those who enable him to so. They all also suggest how such behaviors are likely to conclude. Shakespeare was a dramatist and a humanist, not a moralist, and the tragic outcomes of some of his plays are not written as moral lessons but as logical endings of reckless, self-interested lives.
I have come to love Hamlet so much more than I did when I was young. I was taught Hamlet as Shakespeare’s greatest and most profound play and that was intimidating and it positioned Hamlet as something to analyze. Only in recent years, listening to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s podcast, have I come to understand that while Hamlet is as brilliant as its reputation, and a serious existential examination, it’s also a farce and a trifle in its own way. Hamlet is a melodramatic college student! That’s certainly not how I was taught to understand him. But having the character reframed this way, as a spoiled royal brat who is studying philosophy abroad and is in that post-adolescent everything-philosophical phase of his life, everything he does and says just makes a lot more sense and has a lot greater dimension. He’s in between a kid and an adult, and the stakes at home could not be higher, but at the present moment of the play he is in the high-drama college kid phase of his life and he’s just not equipped to grasp real-life consequences because he’s so rapt by his own musings. His relationship with Ophelia can be read in different ways that color the play. They both have dark senses of humor. And the ghost of his father—a whole different kind of mysticism than what’s depicted in Macbeth (and becoming very high stakes for the author when considering his culture and its laws—he could have been jailed for depicting a ghost in purgatory at this time in England).
Measure for Measure—so relevant to today and so harrowing.
Richard III—so gleefully wicked.
The passing of time has proved that Shakespeare’s writing is as extraordinary and insightful as its reputation AND as I get older and experience more of life’s dramas, his plays and their commentaries color the worst of life’s events with a sense of humor that I find really therapeutic.
|by Anonymous||reply 220||08/15/2020|
Now, reading that post alone at r220 is worth a year's worth of DL fee.
Love this entire thread, too.
|by Anonymous||reply 221||08/15/2020|
R221 I have always really loved reading (more than watching) Shakespeare, even just sections of his writing for the language alone, but the Folger “Shakespeare Unlimited” podcast has completely surprised me by becoming my favorite podcast. I look forward to every episode. (Some, such as ones about directors, aren’t that interesting to me, but all the topical ones are.) If you like Shakespeare at all in a casual way, you might love the podcast.
One thing I learned from it recently that I never knew is that Shakespeare only became appreciated by academics long after his writing preservered because it simply entertained and captivated people. His writing was lost for a while, then revived almost incidentally as a street festival theme, and then a long time after that his folios were some of the first to end up in early Ivy League university libraries, and students happened upon them and formed impromptu book clubs to obsess over them, almost as if they were Dungeons and Dragons. It was not an academic pursuit; just people who really, really loved his writing so much that they wanted to discuss it with others who had read him. You can imagine how Shakespeare’s philosophies, absent of the intimidation factor of being taught by scholars, would be thrilling to college students. So then those college students became captivated by his writing, and then they became scholars and teachers and established his works as an institution.
My point is that his writing has persisted not because of any kind of high-culture pretense that is now associated with it, but just because it is so fucking ingenious and so emotionally and intellectually and spiritually resonant with so many people.
|by Anonymous||reply 222||08/15/2020|
R220 It wasn't until I saw 'Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead' that my eyes were opened to the almost...soapiness.. of Hamlet. It made me love it more.
"You know this play? A slaughterhouse!"
|by Anonymous||reply 223||08/15/2020|
[quote]the Folger “Shakespeare Unlimited” podcast has completely surprised me by becoming my favorite podcast
R222 Thanks for this.
|by Anonymous||reply 224||08/15/2020|
I saw a strange and wonderful Hamlet in a "theatre" above a shop in London. The theatre was actually a bedroom in an apt.! One wall had bleachers and seats for 8-10 people. That left a playing area about 4'x8' for the cast of four. Lighting was courtesy of two people standing behind the audience with flashlights (not kidding). The play was reimagined as taking place in Hamlet's head as he lays dying, with key scenes being played out -in some cases multiple times, but with slight variations. In particular, the scenes with Ophelia got a lot of play/replay. I don't really know what audiences not familiar with the "regular" version of Hamlet would or could have made of it, but for the rest of us it was magnetic and really enlightening, as it explored basic questions about Hamlet's relationships with people and his motivations for his actions. That's a hallmark of Shakespeare's greatness -the ability to play with the text and setting and still have the power of the piece come through.
|by Anonymous||reply 225||08/15/2020|
Orson Welles thought John Barrymore was the greatest Hamlet...
|by Anonymous||reply 226||08/15/2020|
'Hamlet' would be more satisfying if The Ghost of Hamlet's Father re-appeared during the events of the play. Hamlet could do some dialoguing instead of those fake soliloquies.
The Ghost of Hamlet's Father could help flesh out the character of the one-dimensional Gertrude. There are too many courtiers and spear-carriers cluttering up the corridors who could be well cut. Polonius could be cut.
|by Anonymous||reply 227||08/15/2020|
I’ve never read Richard III and now I’m inspired to do so. Thanks, DL!
|by Anonymous||reply 228||08/15/2020|
[quote] 'Hamlet' would be more satisfying if The Ghost of Hamlet's Father re-appeared during the events of the play.
|by Anonymous||reply 229||08/15/2020|
R227 Polonius’s murder is important to the plot, and he is Ophelia’s and Laertes’s father. Their relationships are intertwined. Polonius is a linchpin.
And Hamlet’s soliloquies make sense because he is so self-involved and obsessed with his thoughts. He doesn’t have a relationship with his father’s ghost. It’s not like they have meaningful father-son conversations. The ghost warns him and then begs off. Shakespeare’s ghosts are not chatty undead people. They’re spirits trapped in purgatory. You’re trying to turn Hamlet into Twilight or some silly teen drama.
|by Anonymous||reply 230||08/15/2020|
"Now is the winter of our discontent.
Made glorious summer by this sun of York".
Richard makes the pun that the son from his family of York will bring sun to the kingdom. Despite that, he's unhappy because he has murder about six rivals in order to claim the crown for himself.
|by Anonymous||reply 231||08/15/2020|
R230 I thought only Catholics believed in 'spirits trapped in purgatory'. Shakespeare seems like rational humanist to me.
|by Anonymous||reply 232||08/15/2020|
I saw a production of Hamlet in which the main character plotted to make everyone believe that he was going mad so he could hatch his plot of revenge. The "To Be or Not to Be" was done with an intense, angry tone, articulating his contemplation of killing Claudius.
|by Anonymous||reply 233||08/15/2020|
R232 It’s complicated! Listen to this. It’s really interesting.
|by Anonymous||reply 234||08/15/2020|
R230 Soliloquies are the enemy of action. They are as tedious as CBT.
Look how Richard at R231 turns the soliloquy into a meaningful 'dialogue' with the man —unnamed and unseen— who carefully opens the door and artfully draws Richard out as to his motivation and his intentions.
|by Anonymous||reply 235||08/15/2020|
Rob R229, Wiki tells me you're making 'Sunset Boulevard'.
|by Anonymous||reply 236||08/15/2020|
[quote]r226 Orson Welles thought John Barrymore was the greatest Hamlet...
I have trouble with Hamlets who look that weathered, unfortunately. Barrymore is 51 there, which is kind of pushing it.
But I've read of other people, like Margaret Webster, who agree that he was also their favorite Hamlet. They base that impression on when he played the role at age 40, if my math is correct.
|by Anonymous||reply 237||08/15/2020|
R235 You’re pretty confident about how to best fix Shakespeare’s lousy, long-forgotten play Hamlet.
You must be a producer.
|by Anonymous||reply 238||08/15/2020|
“Hamlet is as much a story of adolescence as Romeo and Juliet,” Schvey explains. “Remember, Hamlet is at university when he is suddenly called back to attend his father’s funeral, and there are numerous textual references to his youth. Indeed, many of the characters — Horatio, Laertes, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern — are university students, and Ophelia is younger still.”
“But the essence of the story is youth,” Schvey continues. “Much has been made about the mystery of the character — his impulsivity, his erratic behavior and swings of emotion. And yet if we see Hamlet as a teenager rather than as a middle-aged man, things that seemed incoherent suddenly ring true.”
|by Anonymous||reply 239||08/15/2020|
You guys realize that the soliloquies were meant to be spoken to the audience. They are the moment when we feel closest to the character as he confides in us asks us what he should do.
They are like those moments when Dolly sings "Before the Parade Passes By" or Sally sings "Losing My Mind." The characters tell us things they would never tell the other characters.
If the actor is caught in his own thoughts, he does not know how to play Shakespeare.
|by Anonymous||reply 240||08/15/2020|
R227, your suggestions have been retrospectively incorporated into the play. The Ghost of Hamlet's Father appears during the aptly named closet scene, trying to stop Hamlet from attack Gertrude. Gertrude can only hear Hamlet's side of the conversation, leading her to conclude, with a sigh of relief, that Hamlet is, indeed, mad.
Gertrude--blind, self-satisfied Gertrude--is a good character.
|by Anonymous||reply 241||08/15/2020|
There is nothing more powerful than an actor turning out from the scene and looking the audience dead in the eyes acknowledging the audiences presence.
Talking to a ghost could never beat that.
|by Anonymous||reply 242||08/15/2020|
Theatre is not cabaret!
|by Anonymous||reply 243||08/15/2020|
I really like the "whole package" of Kenneth Branagh's HAMLET (1996) but at 35 he seems too old to be a young prince, as well.
I know I'm being sweeping, but the daddy issues etc. the character's dealing with seem to fit better with a performer who's in their mid 20s, at most.
|by Anonymous||reply 244||08/15/2020|
A younger Barrymore for R237...
|by Anonymous||reply 245||08/15/2020|
Polonius is a linchpin merely to push the plot along.
And Gertrude, does she want sex or power? We don't know because most of the characters around Hamlet are shadowy plot devices.
|by Anonymous||reply 246||08/15/2020|
R246 We don’t know because the logic of Hamlet all emanates from Hamlet. His mother is a mystery to him. He loves her. He’s appalled that she betrays his father. He’s appalled that she’s a sexual being. We’re supposed to be confounded by her because Hamlet is. A child doesn’t know the complexities and motivations of his parents. He knows them archetypally. His mother is violating her maternal archetype and the spirit of his father—which is only known to us through Hamlet—is solely that of a betrayed father and king. It’s all about what is inside Hamlet’s worldview.
|by Anonymous||reply 247||08/15/2020|
By the way, Hamlet was written (probably) several years after Shakespeare’s young son Hamnet died from the plague. It is likely imbued with Shakespeare’s own ‘daddy issues’ relating to the death of his child.
|by Anonymous||reply 248||08/15/2020|
Hamnet should have worn his mask.
|by Anonymous||reply 249||08/15/2020|
R248 was listening to the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast
|by Anonymous||reply 250||08/15/2020|
R250, there’s also the new novel Hamnet.
|by Anonymous||reply 251||08/15/2020|
Marry me r249
|by Anonymous||reply 252||08/15/2020|
R251, the author was on the podcast.
|by Anonymous||reply 253||08/15/2020|
You need to check out Private Romeo. Great fun.
|by Anonymous||reply 254||08/15/2020|
I just listened to the Hamnet podcast. Very interesting.
|by Anonymous||reply 255||08/15/2020|
"Theatre is not cabaret!"
It's better. Shakespeare never sells out, whereas my shows never have empty seats.
|by Anonymous||reply 256||08/15/2020|
Shakespeare really comes alive when you watch it on telly with closed captions (English subtitles). You get a LOT more out of it.
Hamlet is the best tragedy, and Twelfth Night/Much Ado About Nothing tied for the best comedy.
I also really love The Tempest.
|by Anonymous||reply 257||08/15/2020|
|by Anonymous||reply 258||08/16/2020|
A rare complete original First Folio edition sold yesterday at Christie's New York for $10 million. I hadn't realized that there are only 235 copies extant and majority of those are incomplete.
|by Anonymous||reply 259||10/15/2020|
Sorry, correct link below.
|by Anonymous||reply 260||10/15/2020|
Thanks for bumping this thread. I am going to do another plug for the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast. This week’s episode is about writing in the time of plague and it reveals a lot of surprising info—for example, most of us think of the black plague as an event that swept suddenly through Europe and killed off a huge share of its population suddenly during the Middle Ages, but in reality, it persisted for over 400 years and became a part of everyday life for European people, including Shakespeare—and the lifestyles were very much like our COVID lifestyle.
Most interestingly to me is that while we today go dystopian during times like this, the plague literature scholar says that the Elizabethans including Shakespeare had no “zombie apocalypse” worldview at all. It didn’t exist. People didn’t dread the end of the world in any way; they accepted that plague was a part of ongoing life. And instead of writing dystopian literature, they wrote utopian literature that looked forward to a future in which problems like plague had been eradicated.
|by Anonymous||reply 261||10/15/2020|
I believe my love for Shakespeare began when my pedantic ninth grade English teacher was out sick one day, and the former English teacher, now the school librarian, took over for that one morning. She continued with the ongoing study of “Julius Caesar.” I can’t remember what she said exactly, but she clearly loved the play and its author so much, that she struck a spark in me that has burned ever since. She made me see how a good teacher really can inspire.
My long gone older brother once told me that the New York Shakespeare in the Park did good productions of lesser Shakespeare and bad productions of great Shakespeare. This was certainly true of an embarrassing Sam Waterston in a worse Hamlet,” and a dull Raul Julia and Snidely Whiplash Richard Dreyfuss in “Othello.” I walked out of both of those.
But I did see a magnificent “Pericles,” during a night when a real thunderstorm threatened behind Randall Duk Kim, railing at the weather, in a production that captivated. And also a “Shrew” cast, with Julia and a very funny Meryl Streep. As well as memorable productions of “Comedy of Errors,” “Measure for Measure,” “ All’s Well that Ends Well,” and a charming turn-of-the -century “Much Ado” that was so well received it transferred to a decent run on Broadway.
|by Anonymous||reply 262||10/15/2020|
Please, r171. It's only verboten for the actors.
|by Anonymous||reply 263||Last Friday at 1:24 PM|
The Tragedie of Norm the Cat.
|by Anonymous||reply 264||Last Friday at 1:56 PM|
R261, apart from More's "Utopia," I am not aware of any implicitly utopian English literature from the Tudor or Jacobean periods.
However, it is correct that the plague was something to live around at that time, and not a "stop the world" event with its frequent resurgences. Some of the non-medical responses involved techniques we are familiar with, such as shutting social events (the theaters, for example), decamping for non-urban areas, and socially distancing from others. Of course another similarity was people ignoring recommended behaviors.
While literature may not have invoked the dystopian world, certainly the problem of living in a corrupted, wicked and destructive social order and environment was a common plot, and the theme of surviving and emerging into the light again (or not) was prevalent. In a Christian worldview of the time, shaking the lingering medieval view from sight, hopelessness still was seen as an eventual end from a bad life and death. Eternal damnation was the "worst case" at the time, and the Last Judgement trumped mere zombification.
|by Anonymous||reply 265||Last Friday at 2:06 PM|
My favorite is Macbeth but I'm a basic bitch.
If you folks don't know about the TV show "Slings & Arrows," you might enjoy it. It's a gentle comedy about a troubled theater company (inspired by The Stratford Festival) producing Hamlet. Actually there are three seasons, each based on a different Shakespeare play, but the first season is the best.
|by Anonymous||reply 266||Last Friday at 2:16 PM|
Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream (I’m just a groundling, I giggle at the play within the play), and The Tempest. But I also think Antony and Cleopatra gets short shrift.
|by Anonymous||reply 267||Last Friday at 3:41 PM|
Hamlet, hands down.
To die, to sleep, to sleep perhaps to dream.
Aye, there's the rub.
For what shape such dreams may take,
when we have shuffled off this mortal coil
must give us pause.
|by Anonymous||reply 268||Last Friday at 9:11 PM|
R268, did you know the "To be or not to be" speech is an interpolation written separately from the play, and set into the scene because Shakespeare had it around and wanted to make use of it?
Did you know Shakespeare is widely believed to have played the Ghost of the King, Hamlet's father?
Did you know that, despite people writing it otherwise, that Shakespeare's dead son was named Hamlet, not Hamnet?
And you left out the bare bodkin from the macerated speech, darling.
|by Anonymous||reply 269||Last Saturday at 11:52 AM|
I know that all the quartos and the First Folio have different (even if similar) texts for the To Be or Not to Be soliloquy.
|by Anonymous||reply 270||Last Saturday at 1:40 PM|
So hard to choose but, Macbeth.
|by Anonymous||reply 271||Last Saturday at 1:53 PM|
I love the Scottish play but many scholars feel that the version we have today is probably highly abridged. It's only half as long as most of the tragedies (which may actually help its popularity) and some scenes you'd expect are missing.
|by Anonymous||reply 272||Last Saturday at 2:15 PM|
R272, please don’t say “the Scottish play” instead of Macbeth unless you’re actually in a theatre. Otherwise you come across as ridiculous.
|by Anonymous||reply 273||Last Saturday at 2:26 PM|
A Midsomer Nights Dream and Macbeth
|by Anonymous||reply 274||Last Saturday at 2:29 PM|
I wrote the Scottish play deliberately to set you off, thread nanny. And it worked.
|by Anonymous||reply 275||Last Saturday at 2:31 PM|
Ignore my Midsomer
|by Anonymous||reply 276||Last Saturday at 2:35 PM|
Pericles and Tempest. I’ve done productions of Hamlet and (a surprisingly successful) interpretation of MacBeth. Hamlet is really a great read, with lots of interesting things kind of hidden in it.
|by Anonymous||reply 277||Last Saturday at 2:36 PM|
Perfect for Datalounge r91.
|by Anonymous||reply 278||Last Saturday at 2:48 PM|
R272, I had never read that before, but that would explain why Macbeth is missing the radical variations in tone and sprawling subplots that characterize most of Shakespeare's plays.
|by Anonymous||reply 279||Last Saturday at 3:06 PM|
People who don't like Shakespeare haven't spent any time with it, and people who don't like Handel think he only wrote The Messiah.
|by Anonymous||reply 280||Last Saturday at 3:32 PM|
Iago's soliloquies/asides with snark and homoeroticism.
|by Anonymous||reply 281||Last Saturday at 3:34 PM|
Hamlet gets better as the years go by and there’s no question it’s one of his masterworks. I do love Macbeth, too, and particularly the supernatural aspects of it. Shakespeare wrote dreams and understood the magic of mystery and vice versa.
I am surprised people aren’t saying King Lear.
|by Anonymous||reply 282||Last Saturday at 3:54 PM|
[quote] [R58], for those of us who work professionally in the theatre it becomes a lifelong habit to refer to it as The Scottish Play.
So what you're explaining, basically, is that you're not only superstitious, you're also [italic]deeply[/italic] affected.
|by Anonymous||reply 283||Last Saturday at 3:58 PM|
[quote] to sleep perhaps to dream.
|by Anonymous||reply 284||Last Saturday at 3:59 PM|
"[[R58]], for those of us who work professionally in the theatre it becomes a lifelong habit to refer to it as The Scottish Play." So what you're explaining, basically, is that you're not only superstitious, you're also deeply affected.
Are sailors "deeply affected" when they refer to ships as she? How about Christians and Jews when they make the sign of the cross or touch a mezuzah? In the theatrical world it is a very old tradition to refer to Macbeth as The Scottish Play. Respecting a tradition may be a sign of superstition, or it may simply be a sign of respect. But it isn't affectation. Affectation is when you sign a post –Mary! :)
|by Anonymous||reply 285||Last Saturday at 5:54 PM|
Oh sweetie, "the theatrical world" may qualify as a genuine religion in your own little stagestruck fantasies, but you've really got to get a grip on reality.
|by Anonymous||reply 286||Last Saturday at 9:20 PM|
And again, I deliberately wrote the Scottish play to watch the thread nanny come out with guns blazing and she didn't disappoint.
|by Anonymous||reply 287||Last Saturday at 9:28 PM|
From Russia with Love
|by Anonymous||reply 288||Last Saturday at 9:55 PM|
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