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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: December ::
Re: Edward Bond's 'Bingo
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2223  Monday, 4 December 2000

[1]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Dec 2000 11:48:57 -0600
        Subj:   Edward Bond, His Works and His Pomps

[2]     From:   Herman Gollob <
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        Date:   Saturday, 2 Dec 2000 16:02:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2215 Edward Bond's 'Bingo'


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Dec 2000 11:48:57 -0600
Subject:        Edward Bond, His Works and His Pomps

Years ago, I attended the premiere of "Bingo" in London.  If I remember
correctly, it starred Gielgud as the unrelievedly despondent
Shakespeare, who sat for most of the performance in profile in a chair,
terminally dour.  Albert Finney was second in nervous command.  With
such a cast, one would suppose that the very telephone book could be
made an exciting piece, but Bond's work had not even that much
electricity.  It is, in fact, probably the worst, most boring play I
have ever seen.  I could not stay for the ending, but stood outside the
theater, waiting, rather than continue the pain of watching great actors
suffer, at it seemed, through the ugliness. However, the English critics
loved it (but then they also love early John Wayne movies), and Bond
scribbled on, regurgitating another piece a while later.  I cannot
remember the name of  *that*, but, thinking at the time that I had
better give him another chance, I attended *that* one.  It starred
Glenda Jackson, whom the Costume Department had dressed as a purple flag
caught in a windstorm.  That part was memorable as unintended comedy,
the play otherwise was not, an opinion I was gratified to hear confirmed
by several in the upper galleries who began to repeat Ms. Jackson's
lines and those of other actors in loud, mocking yells.

That Mr. Bond and his plays have not been set adrift is nothing if not
miraculous, his continuing favorable reception as mysterious as the
commercial success of that sublimely ugliest of all pieces of jewelry,
the Rolex watch.

L. Swilley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Herman Gollob <
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Date:           Saturday, 2 Dec 2000 16:02:54 -0500
Subject: 11.2215 Edward Bond's 'Bingo'
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2215 Edward Bond's 'Bingo'

>I'm currently teaching some classes on Edward Bond's 'Bingo', a play
>about Shakespeare from the 1970s. It's a thought-provoking play, and I
>was wondering if any list members would like to offer their views on it.
>What do you think about Bond's representation of Shakespeare as a
>selfish capitalist who repents and eventually commits suicide? And how
>about Shakespeare's death-bed speech, "Was anything done?", and its
>implied dismissal of his plays?
>
>Any comments would be appreciated.
>
>David Nicol
>UCE, Birmingham

Dear Mr. Nicol,

I saw BINGO at Stratford in 1995 and thought it a shallow tendentious
Marxist screed.  A far more powerful portrait of a Shakespeare in
torment is Edward Arlington Robinson's shattering narrative poem, BEN
JONSON ENTERTAINS A MAN FROM STRATFORD (in fact, the only redeemable
feature of BINGO is the Ben Jonson cameo, and that's mostly caricature.

Herman Gollob
 

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