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Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King & Shakespeare: A Common Thread

One of my favorite quotes from Martin:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

It's all either of them talked about, mostly--things that matter. They both live on through their words. Words that matter. JM

The Queen, My Lord, Is Much, Much Better!


Update: Jan. 18-- Just received word that this funny little film received its Northern Hemisphere preview a few days ago, at the Arisia Convention.

I meant to post this a long time ago. Anyone who knows Macbeth will get what this is all about from the title. In tidying up one of my email boxes I found one I didn't even know I'd lost. Some time back, I received the following message from the wife of a voice-over artist:

Dear Joe,

I think you might enjoy my husband's funny video about Shakespeare
plays, The Queen, My Lord, Is Much, Much Better

Here's the backstory: My husband, Bob Kuhn, is a voiceover actor. (It's an interesting job,something different every time. So far, probably the most prestigious gig was narrator for a National Geographic TV special. The weirdest was voicing a torture victim in a dungeon …)

Awhile ago, I suggested he create a recording of his longtime favorite
"party piece": a comic essay from the 1950s that imagines theatrical
sabotage by bit-part actors in British productions of Shakespeare plays.

(Given your background, I should mention that a teacher distributed the
published essay to his English class in high school, and Bob has loved
it ever since.)

Well, 3 months later, Bob’s labor of love is finished: an actual (if
short) movie! I may be just slightly biased when I say it’s a glorious
cross between SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and NOISES OFF, carried off kind of
magnificently in a mere 15 minutes.

Some funny stuff there. It certainly conjures up some interesting images in addition to the ones already there. And my sincere apologies to Darcy for not posting it sooner. JM

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Romeo & Juliet and Troilus & Cressida with Sir Peter Hall


Made to serve as an accompaniment to his book Shakespeare's Advice to the Players, this 42 Minute Audio, from Theatre Communications Group, finds Sir Peter instructing two young actors in what to look for in the musical sense already embedded in Shakespeare's verse. Although it's just a beginning compared to what's in the book itself, and the wealth of other specific knowledge to be gathered by closely investigating the text, it's well worth a listen- to. (If for nothing else, to selfishly help excuse my earlier possibly over-generalized ravings in "Shakespeare Transmogrified", and at other places on the net re: the importance of paying attention to the syllabic structure, musical notation, and the myriad of other textual clues in Shakespeare's work) ;)

The book, to say the least, is highly recommended, not unlike anything written by Peter Hall's partner, John Barton. As I noted in the previous post, this is what I believe to be a warranted reiteration and sharper focus on the audio from what's already on The Bard Blog. Just wanted to get it out where it might be noticed again after so long.

As Sir Peter is quick to point out, these clues are not just for actors; they can also contribute to a reader's greater understanding as well. JM

The Bard Blog; or, Gedaly, where are you?

In my opinion, one of the best educational blogs about Shakespeare on the net, and one of my favorites, "The Bard Blog" has ceased to function for almost a year now. One could always count on The Bard Blog for its concentration on important, enlightening aspects on understanding Shakespeare, relevant and timely books, articles, and seminal postings getting to the heart of the matter of interpreting the Bard.

The blogs owner and proprietor, Gedaly, known for his enthusiastic promotion of textual analysis via the performance aspects of Shakespeare's work, last posted Feb. of last year. I've been dropping by every so often anticipating his return but, no Gedaly. In fact, the post that is to follow this one was inspired by Gedaly's review of Shakespeare's Advice to the Players by Sir Peter Hall, an extremely important book on the Form embedded in the text which Shakespeare used to instruct his actors.

Here's hoping Gedaly's okay, has just been too busy acting and directing, and will soon return. I would advise anyone interested in learning more about Shakespeare to click on the links above for The Bard Blog. Thumb through some of the topics. You're in for a wealth of information. JM

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fleshing Out Shakespeare's People

We can talk all we want about "character"--and that's always enlightening. But to actually see, first hand, someone's vision of what a Shakespeare character might look like is a real treat. Shake the Sculpture dropped by the other day to comment on "Who Introduced You To Shakespeare?" (thanks) and so I decided to check out what the name meant.

There's some really interesting and great work going on over at their blog ShakeTheSculpture

Check it out. I'm waiting for Hamlet and Macbeth...among many others :)