Went tonight with commodorified and fairestcat to the Company of Fools production of Henry Vheld in Glebe's Central Park - a couple of blocks from my place.
As usual, I loved it. Wonderful points about this production, besides the usual "not taking it seriously, but making it good" aspects that are their stock in trade:
- Fake yellow tennis balls as ammunition, thrown by the audience at the French
- Great diction from the girl playing the King. Good costume, too.
- Good use of fuzzy puppets - especially when the boys with the baggage are kills and we get dismembered fuzzy puppet parts strewn onto the stage
- Lovely plastic armour on the Dauphin, and good hats
Afterwards we went to Bridgehead (where I had an iced cappuccino, very nice) and then to my place, where we talked about Lord Vorpatril's Alliance and comics, and played Words with Friends in tandem. Enjoyed it muchly.
So they've found The Curtain theatre - Shakespeare's theatre before The Globe.
The story was also in The Guardian.
I liked the quote:
- Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the reconstructed Globe, described the discovery as "hugely exciting".
"I love the fact that we are excavating London, and slowly clearing away the miserable piles of Victoriana and Empire, and revealing the wild, anarchic and joyous London which is lurking beneath. It reminds me of the Zocalo in Mexico City, where all the Spanish palaces are slowly sinking into the earth, and the old Mayan temples are being squeezed back up."
You can tell he's in theatre, and not an archaeologist. I don't think that's how it works
I'd love to see where it is on a map of London.
How did English in Shakespeare's time really sound?
Seems they've figured it out: How should Shakespeare really sound? - though I'm always a little skeptical about the recreation of historical speech.
Still. Shakespeare. I love the way it souds - much more like modern speech and I expected - and the excerpts are nicely read.
Or maybe it's just that I'm such a Shakespeare junkie I'd love it in any case.
for January 5, 2012: If you could sit down and interview anyone, who would it be? And what would you ask them?
I'd interview William Shakespeare, because I love his works, and his life is a mystery. I'd ask him all the questions you'd expect: where did he go after leaving Stratford? Who was the Dark Lady? Who was the Fair Lord? Why did Iago hate Othello? Was there really a sequel to Love's Labours Lost? If he could change any of his plays, which would it be, and how? Which play is he happiest about? Which is he least happy about?
And what does he think of the reaction to his plays in the twenty-first century?
This amused me: William Bloody Shakespeare. Interesting that Whittell compared Shakespeare (unfavourably) to Dickens; I don't think many people now alive love the works of Dickens more than I do, but better than Shakespeare? Uh-uh. No, really, not.
Watched the film of the David Tennant version of Hamlet this evening with maaseru and Pim.
What a show. Keep in mind that I adore Shakespeare with a passionate passion, and Hamlet is my favourite of his plays. I've seen a lot of Hamlets, from the embarrassingly terrible to the brilliant.
I'd heard Tennant's performance was good, and I'd also heard it was over the top - that Tennant starts on such a note of hysteria, or madness, that he left nowhere to go for the emotions to escalate.
It must have been someone who really liked understated performances who said that, since I thought Tennant was just about perfect. I'm not saying he was the best of all Hamlets, or that there could be a definitive Hamlet, or that I haven't seen other great versions: I am saying that I found Tennant to be expressive, interesting, sympathetic, dynamic and utterly natural in the role.
( A few specific comments... )
I saw Hamlet tonight with Beulah, a production by the new Ottawa Shakespeare Company in the newly-built second stage at Centrepointe.
Enjoyed it very much, even though at least one of the reviews I saw called it "Shakespeare for the Twilight crowd." Not really. No vampires.
I love Hamlet, both the play and the character. I love the cadence, the beautiful poetry. I love the banter and the second-guessing and the intrigue. I love the swordplay and the setting - a medieval castle - and most of all I love the melancholy Dane, who for my money is the perfect prototype of the Romantic Gothic hero.
I thought from the ads they would rewrite the story, but no, really, they didn't. The started with corpses on the stage and the dead Hamlet in Hortaio's arms, and Horatio about to tell us what happened. Then we get the play, cut a little, but more or less as Shakespeare wrote it. Starting at the climax, or the ending, or the middle, is fashionable these days: see Castle and Jane Eyre. My favourite bit: the famous Polonius speech to Laertes, "to thine own self be true", is delivered in the departure lounge of an airport. Ophelia is listening to music on her iPod.
My second favourite bit: Hamlet kisses Ophelia in the "get thee to a nunnery scene", and then later embraces and kisses Horatio in the scene where he's talking about how much he loves him. Oh, yeah, this is my kind of Shakespeare.
I have seen a medicine
That's able to breathe life into a stone,
Quicken a rock, and make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion, whose simple touch
Is powerful to araise King Pippen, nay,
To give great Charlemain a pen in 's hand
And write to her a love-line.
- William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564 died April 23, 1616, from All's Well That Ends Well Act 2, scene 1, 72–78
Information about Double Falsehood, a newly-discovered play written, or co-written, by Shakespeare. Or is it? Seems it's sort of a rewrite of Cardenio, which would explain why Hammond sees "Shakespeare's hand" in about half of it, but no more than that. It also seems to be the conclusion and brainchild of one scholar - I'd like to hear a few more Shakespeare scholars talk about it.
I like the title. I'd like to see it.
It's also a kick to hear about a new play by John Fletcher, since I was hanging out at his place in Rye back in October.
This article says they'll be performing it in Statford-on-Avon next summer. Okay, if I win a lottery... or get an income... whichever comes first.
The CBC has an item about it.
I just got home from seeing Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors at the National Arts Centre. I'd had my doubts beforehand, partly because it isn't one of Shakespeare's more substantial plays, and partly because it was directed by Peter Hinton, who failed to impress me with his strangely pointless and random production of Taming of the Shrew at Stratford.
Well, it turned out to be fabulous. Not the best Shakespeare I've ever seen, but everything that it ought to be: funny and outrageous and predicable and quirky and imaginative.
The story, if you don't know it, is all about two sets of twins who are confused for each other. Separated when young, one grew up in Ephesus (with a servant, Dromio) and the other in Syracuse (with Dromio's twin brother, also called Dromio). Their father goes travelling to look for them and is about to be executed for being in Epheses without enough money. As it happens, every one turns up in Ephesus, and each Antipholus keeps being confused with the other one (and Dromio with Dromio) and it's all outrageously silly.
This production played up the old-fashioned silliness with broad humour and topical references - not in the dialogue, which was pure Shakespeare, but in the business and the props and the nuances. We have references to urban transit, the RCMP, gay marriage, Star Wars and its fandom, Star Trek, and tiger slippers. The various duels are fought with light sabres. Most times when the actors went on or off the stage, they used the hand sanitizers at the doorways.
And the set was gorgeous. Minimalist - I love minimalist sets. Metallic and reflective walls that occasionally showed windows or doors or an inset bed. Before the curtain - Figuratively speaking, as there was no curtain - the set was bare, with a small ship hanging in the middle near the floor. On one wall: a clock with no hands. On the other wall: a picture of the Queen. On both: the hand sanitizers.
Of the various actors, I thought the two women playing Dromio were the funniest, Danielle Desormeaux and Debra Kirshenbaum, both masters of physical comedy. I thought in passing that Clare Coulter, who played the Abbess, could easily take the role of Sybilla Crawford, Dowager Lady Culter - and that was before I saw her name.
My favourite character was the depressed but sexy old man, Antipholus of Ephesus, played by Andreas Apergas.
From fannish5 on LJ: Name the five most loving fictional moms.
I'm not sure I can say "most loving" but I can name my five favourites, mostly because they are interesting:
1. Cordelia Naismith, mother of Miles Vorkosigan in the novels by Lois McMaster Bujold.
2. Kate Somerville, mother of Philippa Somerville, in the Lymond novels by Dorothy Dunnett.
3. Jackie Tyler in series 1, 2, and 3 of Doctor Who - Rose's mother.
4. Lady McDuff, in Shakespeare's Macbeth.
5. Katharine Hepburn playing Eleanor of Acquitaine in The Lion in Winter.
Special mention: Aunt May in the Spider-Man comics, who, though she was never a mother, is a great mother figure for Peter Parker.
And an extra special mention for Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, who isn't a mother yet, but soon will be. Will we see her again? I certainly hope so.
Had a lovely day, a very sociable day.
Around 9.30 a.m., Lynne visited me to go over one or two weight-training exercises she'd given me, that I'd forgotten. She's planning to do more walking; she says her aerobic walks with the dog have turned into mere saunters now the dog is aging, so she plans to do more real winter walking. I was impressed. I'd like to do the same.
But not today. I went to lunacy_gal's place for brunch with maaseru and josanpq, to see her newly renovated kitchen. A good time was had by all, especially when josanpq treated us to a talk she'd given her students about the Great Wall of Hull, erected during the war between the Marquis of Aylmer and the Duke of Gatineau. With pictures. Well, hadn't we always wondered where the Great Wall of Hull came from?
Besides that bit of history, lunacy_gal gave me a Christmas present: a jigsaw puzzle that has a picture of Shakespeare at the Globe surrounded by most of his most famous characters. Except I can't find Hamlet. And I'm not sure who is peeking out of the casket/coffin/thing, unless maybe it's Bassanio. There are four cross-dressing women and I could only think of three (Rosalind, Portia and Viola) so I looked it up and it must be Jessica. Jessica! I'd forgotten she dressed as a boy.
The books josanpq found for me look wonderful and I will no doubt be talking about them when I read them.
By the time we left lunacy_gal's place, it was snowing hard. I came home and made dinner: chicken baked in sour cream and dill with rice and salad. Marion and Vicky came over to watch Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars, and Marion told us about the Doctor Who convention she recently went to in Chicago. maaseru and explodedteabag joined us for supper.
I fear I have exceeded my daily calories. Ahh, the joys of Christmastime.
What a great day. The latest good thing that happened was that an anonymous poster pointed me to this link of John Barrowman's show for this year's Children in Need. Which I hadn't known about.
And that was always my favourite scene in Risky Business, and Barrowman's song is terrific. I didn't know he wrote songs. "All over the place like a cheap suit."
Just the latest in a bunch of good things this morning. maaseru and I went to brunch at Farb's with josanpq and luncacy_gal. maaseru and I shared their Bread Pudding French Toast and just as well, too, I'm sure I've already exceeded my Weight Watchers points for the day with just half the dish. And it was incredibly good. josanpq surprised me with a late birthday present. What fun!
Then we crossed the street to Books on Beechwood, always a dangerous place. I was doing fine till my eye feel on The Shakespeare Encyclopedia: The Complete Guide to the Man and his Words, edited by A.D. Cousins. It was love at first sight, with a gorgeous covers showing the controversial Cobbe portrait. But I still might have had the self-control to leave it on the shelf if I hadn't opened to a page at random and seen a beautiful photograph of David Tennant as Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost from last year. There's another photo of him as Hamlet, and another photo from the Kenneth Branagh movie version of Love's Labour's Lost, which I love.
So I bought it. Exciting book #1.
Exciting book # 2 was The Costume History: Die Kostümgeschichte by August Racinet (Taschen, 2009). With a "special price" for the Taschen 25th anniversary. I looked at the medieval pages and almost wept for joy.
Castle of the day: I have a few choices. Well, I could say "The Virgins and Castle", which is the pub (est. 1777) where we had supper. Delicious roast duck with mashed potatoes, fresh peas and carrots, and a green salad with tomatoes and cucumber.
Or I could cite the castle in Sunnydale California that I saw in the Buffy episode "Buffy vs. Dracula".
Or I could pretend that we actually saw a castle in the beginning of As You Like It, which I saw in Stratford-on-Avon at the Courtyard Theatre. And enjoyed very much indeed. And will have things to say about.
Watched quite a bit of Buffy today: "Buffy vs Dracula", "Real Me", "The Replacement", and "Out of My Mind". Loved the Spike scenes - do I sound like a broken record there yet? Loved the way Giles seems to have metamorphosed from librarian-teach-watcher to a sensei or guru. In the first episode there, I thought Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy was showing the body language and look of Eliza Dushku, but seemed more like herself later on. And Spike and Harmony make a very funny combination.
I'm still in Stratford.
Today we saw Macbeth with Colm Feore in the lead, Geraint Wynne Davies as Duncan, and Dion Johnstone (whom I now know to particularly look for) as a quite wonderful Macduff. I thought the staging was wonderful - great use of sound and light, and the witches' cauldron was magnificent. Also good use of video to give the effect of Macbeth in his fortress, using a sort of Big Brother surveillance on security cameras, yet giving the impression of himself as the prisoner of his own paranoia - claustrophobic, hypervigilent, desperate. I also loved Tom Rooney as the Porter.
The problem with dressing most of the cast in modern Canadian military uniforms is that it makes the characters harder than ever to tell apart.
I went for a couple of walks. Stratford is a lovely city to walk in. Didn't get to stroll along the Avon feeding the swans, as I'd half hoped, because of the rain. Maybe if I'm quick and early tomorrow morning, I'll still have a chance.
After the play today: more shopping, more books. I swear I will never overspend on books again. But oh so very worth it... after supper I was reading, not one of the books I got, but one maaseru got - How To Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, which is a delightful read. I'm not sure he says anything I don't already know, and he says some things I think are not true (for instance, Vergil did not come 'immediately after' Homer - there was 800 years between them) - but his style is loads of fun to read. I keep reading choice passages aloud to maaseru, sometimes because they're amusing, sometimes because I'm appalled. (This man likes Faulkner, for example. Yerch.)
Late evening, we went back to Foster's Inn on Downie Street for dessert, and I had their delightful Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, which was as good as I could possibly have hoped.
It rained today, but that relieved the heat, and it was a beautiful evening. The rain gave maaseru the excuse to buy a wonderful big umbrella with pictures of Shakespeare on it.