Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Lear; Branagh; Interpretations; Psalms; Isabella;
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1011  Tuesday, 20 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 10:38:38 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1005 Re: Lear on PBS

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 10:55:00 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1008 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh

[3]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 12:45:18 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 11:00:29 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1004 Re: Non Nobis and Te Duem

[5]     From:   C. Gilmore <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 20:28:32 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Thanks

[6]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 19 Oct 1998 12:38:57 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Thanks



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 10:38:38 -0700
Subject: 9.1005 Re: Lear on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1005 Re: Lear on PBS

Dominic Hartley writes:

> Although at least one other production from the same space has recently
> transferred successfully to television (the Deborah Warner/Fiona Shaw
> Richard II), I feel there is rich research material for someone in the
> dismal realisation on film or television of notable performances from
> major theatrical companies. The odd success such as that Richard II or
> the Brook/Scofield Lear shouldn't disguise the fact.

I haven't seen the Fiona Shaw R2, but do you think the lack of success
of stage productions being made into film might just reflect the lack of
effort made to adapt to a different medium?  The Brook/Scofield Lear
made lots of purely cinematic choices (using black and white, filming
Lear saying 'never' from several angles).  Simply pointing a camera at a
stage production transferred to a cheap indoor set is a recipe for
disaster.

Cheers,
Sean.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 10:55:00 -0700
Subject: 9.1008 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1008 Re: New Shakespeare Films by Branagh

Thanks for your note, Justin.

> I think you will find it difficult to point to any Branagh-directed film
> and find neophyte actors. However, I wish he would make sure he was
> getting actors who can actually handle the parts he has given to them
> (>cough< Jack Lemmon >cough<).

Or the embarrassing Michael Keaton.  Or the hopeless Keanu Reeves.  But
why is Branagh putting these actors in these roles?  Is it to provide a
foil, making his own adequacy look brilliant?  That said, I think that
Charlton Heston acted him off the screen.

> > but it's
> > certainly a good example of self-indulgence.
>
> I doubt there are many in this world who would dispute that FRANKENSTEIN
> was an absolutely horrid film.

Yes, but what *made* it so horrible?

Branagh seems to have a split personality.  His smaller, artsy films are
really pretty good, and often don't involve him as an actor at all.
Moreover, his work among a team of Shakespeare actors, among whom he is
either not the most senior or just not the director (i.e., Henry V, the
BBC Hamlet) are very good as well.  It's the larger films, which he
directs and acts in from the position of being a star, that seem to
flag.  There was no reason to give himself the "How all occasions do
inform against me" speech at all, much less to turn it into a moment of
grandiose declamation, much less make it the crescendo of a grandiose
movie filmed with 70mm cameras.  In fact, there was very little reason
even to cast himself, apart from the obvious fact that every actor wants
to do Hamlet.  And this is just the problem-acting and directing the
same films, Branagh is able to indulge himself, in a way that even James
Cameron can't.  Which is too bad, because his smaller and earlier works
are really very good indeed.

The suggestions by someone on this list (was it you? whoever it was
deserves my thanks) that this tendency of Branagh to star himself in
order to attract funding makes a lot of sense and explains a lot of
things.  Still, I'd really like him to make a Shakespeare film with the
budget that Ian McKellen had for Richard III.  Maybe it would turn out
as good.

Cheers,
Sean.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 12:45:18 -0700
Subject: 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;

> > or as Tate did in his time rewriting
> > the end to suite the sensibilities of the time.
>
> No. Write your own play if the one you have does not suit your taste,
> your sensibilities, or your message.
>
> I am reminded of Anthony Burgess' decision that the end of Oedipus Rex
> was just not appropriate for modern audiences, and so he rewrote it. He
> did similar things to Cyrano de Bergerac when he "translated" that.
>
> If he felt Sophocles' Oedipus was no longer a good play, why could he
> not write his own? If he thought Rostand's Cyrano was in some way
> deficient, why not write his own?
>
> If you feel that Shakespeare's plays are no longer suitable, write your
> own.  You could do no higher honor to a man who did just such a thing to
> many plays in his own lifetime.

I actually wonder about this, Justin.  What exactly is the difference
between having one of the characters say "Thus truth and justice
conquers all" and writing a criticism that implies that Lear is truly
optimistic?  The first, of course, we dismiss out of hand as "Tate's
ending" but the second method of avoidance we find all the time.

I suppose, though, that I'm avoiding your issue of an authorial text.
Still, every criticism seems to me to be an effort at containment and
reduction.  Some are just more obvious than others.

Cheers,
Sean.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 11:00:29 -0700
Subject: 9.1004 Re: Non Nobis and Te Duem
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1004 Re: Non Nobis and Te Duem

I wonder if anyone noticed a connection between singing the Non Nobis, a
classic text against idolatry (quoted, in fact, by the Homily on the
subject) and Henry rejecting "idol ceremony" before the battle?

Cheers,
Sean.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. Gilmore <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 20:28:32 -0400
Subject: 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Thanks

Ed Taft suggests that Claudio's claim that Isabella has "a prone and
speechless dialect, / such as move men" may support Jason Mical's
suggestion that Isabella is "afraid of sex."  Why does Claudio's claim
say anything about Isabella's attitude about sex? If Claudio means that
Isabella is, as Taft suggests, "naturally sexy," how does that lead to
the supposition that she is "afraid of sex"?  By "naturally sexy," does
Taft mean that she is attractive to men?  Perhaps Mical can point out
some place in which we can see Isabella herself evidencing a fear of sex
rather than a place in which one of the male characters responds to her
as an object of lust.  I suppose it is possible that she wants to be in
the convent to avoid men who view her in this way (let us include the
Duke here).  Is that a fear of sex or an impatience with attitudes about
chaste young women?  Maybe Mical can show us where he sees this fear of
sex.  By the way, there is a fascinating article about the passage that
Taft cites (2.4. 100-104):

>                 . . . were I under the terms of death,
>                 Th' impression of keen whips I'ld wear as rubies,
>                 And strip myself to death, as to a bed
>                 That longing have been sick for, ere I'ld yield
>                 My body up to shame. (2.4. 100-104)

"Erotic Religious Flagellation and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure,"
Brown, Carolyn E. _English Literary Renaissance_ 16:1 1986 Winter
p.139-165.

Ciao, cg.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 19 Oct 1998 12:38:57 -0700
Subject: 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1009 Re: Isabella; Ham.; Intrepretation; Swords;
Thanks

I find the removal of swords from Shakespeare a little bizarre, because
the worst violence I can think of is the blinding of Gloucester,
traditionally done with bare hands.

Maybe getting the actors to pretend to be beating each other to death
with their boots instead of stabbing each other would satisfy everyone.

Cheers,
Sean.
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.