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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: March ::
Re: Shakespeare Bashing
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0508  Monday, 5 March 2001

[1]     From:   Robert Peters <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Mar 2001 18:59:59 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing

[2]     From:   Hal Tynan <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Mar 2001 14:17:26 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Peters <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Mar 2001 18:59:59 +0100
Subject: 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing

Jack Heller wrote:

>As one whose research has as much to do with Shakespeare's
>contemporaries as with Shakespeare himself, I suggest that such a
>discussion may be usefully balanced by asking what plays by other
>writers do we favor over particular plays by Shakespeare. And a third
>useful category could be what Shakespeare plays we think are underrated.
>I have seen some fascinating productions of plays that aren't generally
>considered his best, so even if I say that Two Gentleman of Verona does
>not present Shakespeare at his highest powers, I remember vividly a
>touring group from the Kennedy Center staging it as a Western. Just
>listing, then, here goes:

Good idea, here it goes:

Shakespeare's weakest:

Titus Andronicus (makes Hannibal seem like a masterpiece)
The Taming of the Shrew (misogynic and just not funny)

Most overrated plays:

The Tempest (to me the play just doesn't start until it's over)
Hamlet (every time I read the play I don't know if it is the most
profound masterpiece or a badly constructed piece about a neurotic
weirdo - must be me...)
Henry V. (it's propaganda, isn't it?)

Underrated plays:

Troilus and Cressida (cynical, witty, experimental, strange, a nuisance,
sheer punk = fantastic)
Measure for Measure (his most profound play, should get the applause
Hamlet gets)

Plays that should have get the Elizabethan Olivier award rather than
Shakespeare:

Ben Jonson: Volpone (this is just a hilarious, profound comedy that is
really funny)

>Shakespeare's weakest:
>
>Romeo and Juliet (to me, his most overrated work. The boring
>underwritten lovers and family members are easily upstaged by Mercutio
>and Tybalt. The play should have been about them.)

Well, I have to say I LOVE Romeo and Juliet but what Jack Heller says is
right: I prefer Mercutio and Tybalt very much to the lovers. Especially
Romeo is a kind of bore, isn't he?

>Plays better than any of those above by Shakespeare's contemporaries
>
>Marlowe's Edward II

Well, I could never get myself to like Marlowe. Edward II is maybe his
best play but what about stuff like the Jew of Malta? Very very strange
stuff.

Robert Peters

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hal Tynan <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 2 Mar 2001 14:17:26 -0700
Subject: 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0491 Re: Shakespeare Bashing

>Plays better than any of those above by Shakespeare's contemporaries
>
>Marlowe's Edward II
>Ford's Perkin Warbeck
>Webster's The White Devil
>Marston's Sophonisba
>Middeton and Dekker's The Roaring Girl
>Jonson's Bartholomew Fair
>This list could be much longer, but I'll save the rest.

Nooooo, don't save them, SHARE them. <g>

I'm always on the lookout for great plays from Sh's contemporaries.

>Underrated--or Underperformed Shakespeare:
>
>Coriolanus (which could make a great movie)

I agree with these. I've found Coriolanus absolutely fascinating,
regarding what Sh was trying to accomplish with the play, and with the
main character himself. Riveting - yes, it would make a great movie.

Hal
 

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