About six weeks ago, I saw the RSC’s latest production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (you can read my review of that performance). I was able to see it again today, at one of its last performances, which was also used as a camera rehearsal for tomorrow’s broadcast live to cinemas. I suggest you […]
If you’re a Shakespeare buff like I am, you probably like having all of the Bard of Stratford’s works on your iPad or iPhone. It’s great to be able to dip into a play or poem when you have some down time, or when you’re waiting for an appointment. You can download free or paid […]
“We might be better off with public readings of Shakespeare,” says Harold Bloom in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. “Ideally, of course, Shakespeare should be acted, but since he is now almost invariably poorly directed and inadequately played, it might be better to hear him well than see him badly.” Not being able to judge the quality of current Shakespearean performances as the erudite Bloom, I suffer more from a dearth of Shakespeare here in the French countryside.
While we cannot always find such public readings, we can listen to recorded, dramatized versions of the plays, as with this set of Shakespeare’s 38 plays. With a cast of hundreds, most actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, these works come alive through a skillful combination of reading, sound effects and music. As radio used to do when dramatizing works, the Arkangel set gives you the acting and the atmosphere. While one may be a bit irked by the “original” music, a sort of Coltrane-inspired Elizabethan music–why didn’t they use actual music of the period, including that composed for Shakespeare’s plays?–the overall production quality is about as good as it gets.
There’s always room for books aimed at the general public examining some obscure element of Shakespeare’s life or thought. Since we don’t know much about his life, or his thought – other than through the plays – there’s plenty of speculation in books like this. Some succeed in being interesting and thought-provoking; and some don’t. […]
Henry VI – Shakespeare’s three-part history play – is one of the Bard’s earliest works, and my only experience seeing it performed was not very positive. I spotted an article about a production at the Avignon Festival in France, that claims that the play is “more exciting than a TV series.” Performing all three plays […]
The RSC’s new production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona is exhilarating, fun, and full of energy. If you know a few Shakespeare plays, you certainly know Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, and maybe a few of the history plays. Some of the comedies are well known: Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, […]
Actor Ben Crystal is at the forefront of the original pronunciation (OP) movement, which attempts to recreate the type of accent that was used in Shakespeare’s time. Together with his father, linguist David Crystal, Ben has acted in OP performances of Shakespeare plays, and gives workshops on OP. He has recorded a CD for The […]
In an article in the Daily Mail, hobbit Martin Freeman discusses cutting the “boring bits” out of Shakespeare plays so younger people enjoy them. He’s currently starring in a production of Richard III in London – which I won’t see, because it’s too far to go to see someone like him play Shakespeare – and […]