2013

The Hollow Crown vs. The War of the Roses

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0479  Monday, 14 October 2013

 

From:        John Drakakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 11, 2013 12:14:07 PM EDT

Subject:     RE: SHAKSPER: Crown and Roses

 

Hi Hardy,

 

I’m afraid that I didn’t like ‘The Hollow Crown’ and I have a few critical comments on it in my forthcoming piece entitled ‘Shakespeare as Presentist’ in Shakespeare Survey. I haven’t seen the original ‘Wars of The Roses’ for some time, and the copy I saw was in black-and-white. There have been BBC programmes explaining its significance when first broadcast. The original Hollow Crown’ was saturated with 1960s cultural and political values, as compared with the new ‘The Hollow Crown’ that seems to me to be much more interested in visual effects; It appears that the actor playing Richard modelled his performance on the late Michael Jackson: as some would say ‘Go figure!’ it also does, as your comment indicates, some violence to the texts of the plays, not to mention providing Falstaff with the opportunity for a gratuitous sexual encounter with Doll Tearsheet. If I remember it correctly Fluellen et al. are cut too though I doubt very much that this has anything to do with the current debates about Scottish, Welsh or Irish devolution. The series is not sufficiently thoughtful for that, I’m afraid. There was a BBC documentary on the making of this version of The Hollow Crown that produced some vacuously bardolatrous comments from a British historian whose work I have never been able to trace, along with some reverent comments (alas) from James Shapiro if I remember correctly. That’s worth a look if you can get hold of it. 

 

Cheers

John D 

 

Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars

 


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0478  Monday, 14 October 2013

 

From:        Geoff Pond <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 12, 2013 2:36:18 AM EDT

Subject:     Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars

 

Quills are drawn. The competition is fierce and poetic. Come and root for your favorite playwright!

 

SUBTERRANEAN SHAKESPEARE

Presents

 

A world premiere

By George Crowe

Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars: London Idol 1610

Directed by Robert Currier

 

In Elizabethan London, home to the most celebrated writers at the height of their brilliance, English literature is flowering, but Richard Burbage’s Blackfriars Theatre is not faring well. Outside, the plague assails its doors, and the distant threat of war draws nearer. Brooding in his echoing theater one weather-beaten night, Richard Burbage is lost in thought. “How might I resurrect this house? Another raucous bear pit, brothel, a drinking den?”

 

An audacious thought comes to him:

 

He will host a playwriting contest! LONDON IDOL 1610 is born. 

 

Richard Burbage challenges playwrights William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Francis Beaumont and the ghost of Christopher “Kit” Marlowe to compete with each other by presenting their one page “cover” plays based on Shakespeare’s best-known works. Dozens of the Bard’s characters careen from bawdy sex romp to wistful reverie in this witty, irreverent grand bouffe. Cross-dressing, cunning, low humor, corsets, loony violence—it’s all here, played by a spry, nuanced ensemble recruited from the Bay Area’s most accomplished comic actors. 

 

George Crowe's nimble, naughty script spoofs and teases Shakespeare's phenomenal wordplay to make this the highlight of this theater season. 

 

George Crowe has had many plays produced locally and nationally since the 1970's, including PARABLE FOR A DARK TIME at the Golden Thread Theater, THE FALSE SERVANT at Abydos Theatre.

 

Robert Currier, co-founder and Artistic Director of Marin Shakespeare Company, has directed most of the Bard’s masterpieces since the late 1980’s. 

 

The cast: Maureen Coyne, Debi Durst, Amy Lizardo, Mantra Plonsey, Geoffrey Pond, Jeff Trescott, Michael Walraven, original music composed and performed by Cindy Webster and Mantra Plonsey

 

Shakespeare at the Blackfriars

Runs October 18 through November 17, 2013

at

The Phoenix Annex Theatre

414 Mason Street in San Francisco

Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

and Sundays at 7pm.

 

General Admission $25.00

Students & Seniors $20.00

For reservations & press info, please call 510-276-3871

http://www.subshakes.com/

Goldstar http://www.goldstar.com/events/san-francisco-ca/shakespeare-night-at-the-blackfriars

 

Q: The Hollow Crown vs. The War of the Roses

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0476  Friday, 11 October 2013

 

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Friday, October 11, 2013

Subject:     Q: The Hollow Crown vs. The War of the Roses

 

When Poor Yorick closed, I purchased many DVDs of Shakespeare play that I did not own. One of those was The War of the Roses set.

 

Last week, I watched The Hollow Crown Richard II, after which, I decided to watch The War of the Roses Richard II

 

The Hollow Crown Richard II version cut the text. What I missed the most from these excisions was the Gloucester subplot. The War of the Roses Richard II version was close to full-text.

 

The Hollow Crown Richard II version had presentational, cinematic production values. The War of the Roses Richard II had representational production values and was recorded before a live theatrical audience.  

 

In the end, I much preferred The Hollow Crown Richard II to The War of the Roses version, which I found rather wooden.

 

I was wondering if anyone else would care to comment about these two productions or series.

 

Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0477  Friday, 11 October 2013

 

[1] From:        Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         October 10, 2013 1:33:54 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions 

 

[2] From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         October 10, 2013 2:36:13 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Bill Lloyd <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 10, 2013 1:33:54 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

Michael Egan writes,

 

Larry Weiss misreads me. I said that no commentator, including his good self, has addressed the fact that verbal and phrasal parallels exist between 1 Richard II and plays not attributed to Shakespeare until the 20th Century, These are Edward III, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More. Not only that, but in the Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More the parallels are found exactly in those scenes previously identified by the style critics as Shakespeare. So the process is mutually confirming.

 

I have never claimed that parallel phrases clinch the matter but without them there would be no case. What proves my thesis the quality of the writing. 

 

There are parallels and there are parallels. As Muriel St. Clare Byrne pointed out long ago, ‘mere accumulation of ungraded parallels does not prove anything’. Unfortunately the grading or determination of the quality of so-called parallels is at least in part a subjective matter—hence the attempts to objectify the process using the ‘negative check,’ plagiarism detection programs and massive databases of contemporary texts.

 

Some years ago, when Dr. Egan’s Woodstock claims first appeared on SHAKSPER, I read most of the then-available on-line version of his Woodstock thesis. (I believe he now disclaims that version as inadequate, but if there were much merit in the case surely 85% of the argument should be sufficient to point to the desired conclusion.) There were certainly many parallels adduced there, but to my judgment most of them seemed to be commonplaces of no particular significance. Many of the more impressive ones can be explained as Samuel Rowley’s borrowing from Shakespeare’s Richard II. I know Egan does not accept this argument, insisting that because some scholars (including Mac Jackson who has explained why he changed his mind on this point) once guessed that the undated Woodstock ms. represented a play originally written in the early 1590s, it must therefore be so (and must remain so, no change-sies). But Jackson’s and Lake’s arguments that the play can be shown to be by Samuel Rowley seem to me to be very strong. Dr Egan disagrees—and there we rare.

 

The parallels adduced for Shakespeare’s hand in the SpTr Adds have been vetted by negative check, database search, stylometrics etc. Egan’s Woodstock parallels and the SpTr parallels are both groups of parallels, but they cannot really be compared. I too would be interested to see what Sir Brian’s plagiarism program would make of Woodstock, but if I were Michael Egan I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating corroboration.

 

By the way, Edward II was first seriously attributed to Shakespeare by Capell in 1760 and first included in a collected Shakespeare in the 19c (in the “Leopold Shakespeare”). Two Noble Kinsmen was, of course, first attributed to Shakespeare in 1634 and since then usually has been reluctantly accepted as a red-haired stepchild, though rarely printed with his works (though it too was in the Leopold). Sir Thomas More (not printed until 1844) was first attributed to Shakespeare in 1871. Though it is true that these plays did not make it into the Riverside or the Oxford (etc.) until much later, there was always a significant portion of scholars and critics who tentatively accepted them. The same cannot be said for Woodstock, so the attempted coattails does not seem appropriate.

 

Bill Lloyd

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         October 10, 2013 2:36:13 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Spanish Tragedy Additions

 

Larry Weiss misreads me. I said that no commentator, including his good self, has addressed the fact that verbal and phrasal parallels exist between 1 Richard II and plays not attributed to Shakespeare until the 20th Century, These are Edward III, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Sir Thomas More.

 

Those contentions are addressed on pages 29-31 and in note 61 on page 31 of the panel’s opinion, which can be found in the SHAKSPER archives.

 

Romeo and Juliet Film Review

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0475  Friday, 11 October 2013

 

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Friday, October 11, 2013

Subject:     Romeo and Juliet Film Review

 

This is from today’s The Washington Post.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/romeo-and-juliet-movie-review-its-all-been-done-before/2013/10/10/2e8c94f8-31b0-11e3-9c68-1cf643210300_story.html

 

‘Romeo & Juliet’ Movie Review: It’s All Been Done Before

By Stephanie Merry

 

Just because high school thespians and community theater groups tackle Shakespeare doesn’t mean bringing the Bard to the big screen is a no-brainer. Aside from the fans, who will approach a new version with a mix of fear and lofty expectations, everyone will be asking the same nagging question: What makes yet another version worth the screen time? The answer might be one of two options. The film offers either something new or something better than its predecessors.

 

For the most part, the latest version of “Romeo and Juliet” fails on both counts. If there is one novelty in director Carlo Carlei’s take on the world’s best-known ill-fated lovers, it’s that the words aren’t entirely Shakespeare’s. It’s a fresh approach, indeed, but maybe not the wisest.

 

“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” remains, as do the play’s other most famous lines, but screenwriter Julian Fellowes, the creator of “Downton Abbey,” has dumbed down much of the remaining dialogue. Does that mean it will appeal to a broader audience? It’s possible — cursing “zounds” is so 1597, after all — but replacing existing text with old adages about the road to hell being paved with good intentions or striking while the iron is hot comes across as lazy. Besides, Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing” earlier this year proved that Shakespeare’s words don’t have to hinder enjoyment, much less comprehension.

 

When it comes to sets and costumes, this take might barely edge out its two most noteworthy predecessors, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version and the 1996 incarnation from Baz Luhrmann. The setting of Verona is luxe, filled with opulent estates, colorful frescoes and exquisite scenery. But none of that can make up for the fact that Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld aren’t remotely believable as the fervidly enamored Romeo and Juliet.

 

As far as looking the part, Steinfeld holds her own, although in Shakespeare’s time, Booth would have made a stunning Juliet, with his delicate features and pillowy lips. Unfortunately, neither one has mastered the art of delivering Shakespearean (or Shakespearean-like) dialogue while also emoting. Steinfeld powers through her lines so rapidly, she doesn’t appear to hear what she’s saying. And Booth, at least better at enunciation, can’t muster a passionate facial expression, much less a fiery inflection. The sentimental, soaring music seems determined to compensate for the lead actors’ shortcomings.

 

The supporting actors are much more memorable. Paul Giamatti is dependable as ever as Friar Laurence, while Damian Lewis nails the more outrageous characteristics of Lord Capulet.

 

At its best, an adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” can be so captivating that an audience might believe for a moment, out of sheer hope, that the tragic ending can be thwarted. This version never becomes so transporting. The movie is just a series of familiar scenes unfurling toward an inevitable conclusion.

 

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