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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Gertrude
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2213  Wednesday, 6 November 2002

From:           John Ramsay <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Nov 2002 16:28:26 -0500
Subject: 13.2188 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2188 Re: Gertrude

Geralyn Horton <
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>>From:           John Ramsay <
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>
>>>>No playwright knows better
>>>>than Howard Barker of the intimate relationship of sex and death, sin
>>>>and ecstasy.
>
>>Is this stage offering an adaptation of John Updike's novel 'Claudius
>>and Gertrude'?  Seems very similar.
>
>The degree of contempt for contemporary writers displayed here is very
>disturbing.  I don't really expect that someone interested in the works
>of Shakespeare will necessarily be familiar with every playwright of our
>own era; but Howard Barker, if not exactly a household name, is an
>English poet, essayist and playwright with a considerable body of
>published work and a formidable reputation.  In temperament, politics,
>and style he is about as different from the conservative American
>novelist Updike as it is possible for two serious literary men of
>approximately the same generation to be.
>
>I would expect most SHAKSPERians to have heard, at least, of Barker's
>version of "Lear".

An internet search for 'Gertrude The Cry' turned up this ad from Howard
Barker's theatre company:

Thursday 14th - Saturday 16th November

The Wrestling School presents
Gertrude The Cry

Written and directed by Howard Barker

In this new world of Elsinore, Howard Barker defends Hamlet's reviled
mother and her adulterous affair with Claudius, depicting them as lovers
driven beyond reason, while Hamlet is a censorious moralist.

>From John Updike's afterword to 'Gertrude and Claudius'

'Putting the murder aside, Gertrude and Claudius are pretty  decent
people...Hamlet pulls them all into death.'

Perhaps Geralyn Horton should have had a look at the Updike version
before attacking my suggestion that the Barker version is similar to the
Updike one?

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