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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Olivier
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0679  Wednesday, 6 March 2002

From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Mar 2002 18:32:43 -0000
Subject: 13.0627 Re: Olivier
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0627 Re: Olivier

Brian Willis makes a spirited defence of cinema as a Shakespeare medium
whilst admitting to its all too obvious faults.  He says quite
stridently that Shakespeare was plot driven.

"Beautiful poetry yes, but also some of the best sources and plots were
drawn upon. Richard III thrills us . . . "

Shakespeare called himself a poet - not a storyteller or dramatist.  We
would be the poorer if the latter were true.  I don't believe he was
remotely interested in plot.  Hence only three of his plays had original
plots - and someone probably told him those.

"Again, NO ONE watches soaps for the great dialogue.  It's the plot. Who
sleeps with who? Who is going to kill who? Much like a Shakespearean
comedy.  Except Shakespeare's dialogue is far better."

I think Brian is beginning to erode his own point.  The word is
"dialogue" - but in the case of Shakespeare it is poetry.  If I can
crudely distil the Bard - he is all about the poetry of being human.
This has nothing to do with plot, counter plot and surprising twists.
The plot of many plays were crude and sometimes clumsy - as in the
untidy ends of The Tempest.  Richard III's plot is not intricate - lots
of characters don't mean complex.  When the two little princes have a
scene to themselves being very cute we just know that the next scene
contains their murder.  Such a crude set-up would be red-lined at any
second rate creative writing school any where.

Film is most certainly not always visual, as Brian asserts.  I won't
bore with obvious lists but Kramer vs. Kramer, Accidental Tourist, Dead
Poets Society, etc. are not remembered for their lavish set designs.  I
say again that television is by far the best medium for the dramatic
reciting of dramatic poetry - Shakespeare.

I ask Brian.  If you were showing an intelligent, artistic adult a
version of Romeo & Juliet for the first and only time, would you show
Luhrmann's effort? I think not and rest my case.

Martin Steward has nudged me into finding a copy of Greenaway's
Prospero's Books.  I'm sure I'll hate it, but who knows, it might be
wonderful.

SAM SMALL

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