The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1574 Thursday, 22 September 2005
From: Susanne Greenhalgh <
Date: Tuesday, 20 Sep 2005 20:23:09 +0100
Subject: BBC Shakespeare This Autumn
In addition to the four contemporary rewrites of Shakespeare plays
scheduled for BBC1 this autumn, these two programmes will be screened on
Shakespeare's Happy Endings
This comic genealogy of rewritten Shakespeare is penned, presented and
performed by Patrick Barlow, who stars as Professor Simon Starkman -
academic, amateur thespian and novice documentary presenter.
Romeo and Juliet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and West Side
Story are just some of the many classic reworkings of Shakespearean
text, paying due homage to his work, the apotheosis of the art of the
Barlow embarks on a whistle-stop tour of some of the most interesting
and ludicrous bowdlerisations of Shakespeare throughout the history of
Some theatrical howlers from this litany of shame include: The History
Of Richard II (1680), making Richard sympathetic withdrawn after one
performance; The History Of King Lear (1681), in which the Fool is
removed, Cordelia is married off to Edgar, and which concludes with Lear
being restored to two thirds of his kingdom; and a Romeo And Juliet
(1597) in which, surprisingly, the young couple live together happily
ever after, which played on alternate nights with the original tragedy.
One stood the test of time; the other.
Patrick scrutinises the lunatic scribblings of Nahum Tate, Kemble and
Dryden, the bombast of Garrick, the entrepreneurial Victorian
actor-manager Henry Irving and the ludicrously camp 20th century player
Wolfit, among others.
Part documentary, part staged performance, Shakespeare's Happy Endings
builds on BBC FOUR's reputation for grown-up humour, candid biography
and a surprising take on a subject that everyone thinks they know.
A Waste of Shame
An intense drama about the passionate and destructive love triangle that
consumed Shakespeare in his troubled middle years, A Waste of Shame
adapts some of the most celebrated, sexual, raw, bitter and vitriolic
love poems ever written.
Shakespeare's Sonnets are the most compelling source for an emotional
and dramatic journey into the psychology of the man himself.
Self-analytical and brutally honest, they allow us to go behind the
scenes of this complex genius - they are his story told in his very own
Internationally-acclaimed novelist and screenwriter William Boyd has
written A Waste of Shame and brings to life Shakespeare's inner thoughts.
The drama is biographical: it focusses on Shakespeare's mysterious
relationships with the 'lovely boy' and his extra-marital relationship
with the 'dark lady' of his sonnet sequence.
The film tells the fraught, passionate love story behind the composition
of the Sonnets.
Based on academic sources, A Waste of Shame delves into the mystery of
the identity of who these people really were, and how they influenced
and affected the greatest writer in our literary canon.
They didn't just tug at his heartstrings: they also changed the
direction of his play-writing.
Shakespeare is presented as a corpulent, middle-aged writer and
businessman, separated from his wife Anne Hathaway and grieving for the
death of his son Hamnet.
Plague has sprung up again in London, and the theatres have all been
closed as a result.
Desperate for work, Shakespeare takes a commission to write 17 sonnets
for an androgynous young lord, William Herbert, soon-to-be Earl of Pembroke.
This young man gives one half of the inspiration to Shakespeare for the
most celebrated love poems ever written.
The second half is given by the 'dark lady' Lucy, an exotic courtesan
who sells sexual favours to the literati of Elizabethan London.
A Waste of Shame is the story of how these two liaisons dangerously
intersect in Shakespeare's life.
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