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Archive for the category “The play’s the thing”

Richard still wants to play Richard….

richard-armitage-broadway

Well, we knew before that Richard Armitage would like to play Richard III, and it seems he still does. I thought then that he wanted to play the real Richard, and to a point he still does, but it seems he’s prepared to take on the Shakespeare Richard as well. Shame!!!

http://www.broadway.com/buzz/186905/love-love-loves-richard-armitage-on-dancing-like-a-teenager-backstage-his-royal-bucket-list-role-more/

A year of anniversaries

shakespeare

2016 has been the 1000th anniversary of Edund Ironside’s accession and death, also of the death of his father Ethelred Unraed and the double accession of Cnut of Denmark. It has also been the 950th anniverary of the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings, being the end of the House of Wessex after its interruption.
Four centuries ago, St. George’s Day to be exact, marks the death of Shakespeare and possibly his 1564 birth. Opinion is still divided as to whether, in Richard III’s case among others, he merely embroidered what passed for history during his lifetime or invented many of the significant events he wrote about. At least we can precisely date his death better than we can his birth and we can, ironically, rely on the flow of his plays relating accurately to the culture of his own time, such as Cordelia’s execution, which could not have happened in Richard’s own century.

In March, Helen Castor marked the anniversary on Channel Four by investigating the fate of the Bard’s own remains in this documentary. It transpires that, having been buried in Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church with his family and a forbidding epitaph(1), GPR investigations show that his skull is probably missing, just like Morton’s at Canterbury Cathedral. Richard, of course, was intact except for his feet. It seems that not everyone over the years heeded the curse:

(1) Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Bleste be Middle English the.svg man Middle English that.svg spares thes stones,
And cvrst be he Middle English that.svg moves my bones

History and cultural history (II)

In this piece, we introduced the idea that Shakespeare, although a very inaccurate historian, accurately reflected the cultural history of his time with respect to the political execution of women. We have also discussed how the Bard’s Richard III may actually have been a portrayal of Robert Cecil. Another piece showed the uncertainty as to the origin of coloured roses as politico-military badges.

Now think of Hamlet. His adversary is King Claudius, his uncle, supported by the verbose courtier Polonius. The play was set in Denmark and 220px-claudius_crop 220px-edwin_booth_hamlet_1870written during 1599-1602 when it was apparent that England would soon have Anne of Denmark as Queen Consort. Hamlet kills Polonius as the older man hides behind an arras, which is a tapestry or curtain.

In January 41 AD, Claudius was proclaimed as Rome’s new Emperor. Graves portrayed him as hiding behind a curtain as his nephew Gaius (“Caligula”) was assassinated, to be found by a Praetorian named Gratus. Sometimes, it seems, those writing fiction cannot be original.

No, don’t get excited – it’s the same old Shakespearean Richard….

richard-in-shades

Unfortunately, Dr Bronwen Price is Principal Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, and a specialist in Shakespeare, so we cannot expect anything about the real Richard. Still, if the illustration is anything to go by, at least he keeps up with the times. He’s been portrayed in numerous periods and settings, so maybe this time he’s a rock star.

RAMSHACKLE CINEMA LAUNCHES LECTURE SERIES IN BEMBRIDGE

“Hey, guys, there’s something horribly wrong with my leg as well!”….

robert-sheehan

A year ago I posted on my Facebook page a link about Robert Sheehan becoming the next Shakespearean Richard III. Not knowing the actor, my only comment was that at least he was the right age to play Richard.

http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/misfits/news/a670513/robert-sheehan-doesnt-regret-leaving-misfits-early-i-was-just-a-restless-fella/#~ppnuTZvYf8bMXy

I thought no more of it, until prompted by a Facebook reminder of what I’d been up to a year ago. Curiosity set me browsing to see if there was more about Mr Sheehan’s actual performance. Opinion seems mixed, and there are a lot of reviews, so I’m providing the link to just one.

http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/theatre/611200/review-The-Wars-Of-The-Roses-Rose-Theatre-Kingston

Most of the performers are praised,  especially the ladies, but there is some reserve about Richard himself. Not having seen the production, I cannot say one way or the other. But there are  photographs with the review, including one of Richard wearing a very strange leather-strap contraption on his right leg. It covers the leg from ankle to thigh, and to me it proclaims: “Hey, guys, as well as everything else, there’s something horribly wrong with my leg as well!”

Anyway, it would seem that Mr Sheehan’s Richard will not go down in the annals of Great Performances.

 

‘The Hollow Crown’: A Poisoned Chalice or the Ultimate Prize?

Giaconda's Blog

benedict Benedict Cumberbatch as Shakespeare’s Richard III

I am currently watching the second instalment of Shakespeare’s history plays, concerning ‘The Wars of the Roses’ as interpreted by the BBC’s condensed and somewhat, contorted adaptation.

The first part of ‘The Hollow Crown’ covered Shakespeare’s history plays: Richard II, Henry IV, Part I and II and Henry Vth.  It was, for the most part, an excellent production. A combination of strong casting, brilliant original material and interesting sets made it a joy to watch. Simon Russell Beale’s Falstaff was a triumph. He gave a mesmerizing performance which managed to capture all the facets of Falstaff’s complex character in little more than a look or a gesture.

The overwhelming sense of these plays was the great burden which kingship brought for the poor unfortunate who wore the crown. In another blog post I have written about this in detail, taking specific lines from each of…

View original post 2,891 more words

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you….Rapping Richard….!

rapping Richard

Rapping Richard? I kid you not, as someone once said. Another production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, but in German with English subtitles….and not only a lot of rapping, but some full frontal nudity as well. Can’t say I’ll be queueing at the door, but some will probably like it. Maybe.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/edinburgh-2016-this-rapping-richard-iii-is-not-for-the-faint-hea/

Now it’s Margaret of Anjou’s turn….

Margaret of Anjou

Spotlight. Queen Margaret of Anjou. Your time starts…now!

http://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/Those-Women-say-ImWithHerHighness-9148135.php

 

How high was the Bard when he wrote Richard III….?

Bard

Here is an interesting theory, which I found courtesy of Susan Loughlin. It does make one wonder if Our Will had some funny stuff in his clay pipe!

http://tinyurl.com/npvgoyp

Walton’s Prelude to Richard III in included in Prom 44 tomorrow!

Walton's Richard III

Walton’s Prelude to Richard III is to have an airing.

BBC Proms presents

Prom 44: Shakespeare on stage and screen

Thursday 18 August 2016
Doors: 6:45pm

“The Proms continue all this week. The memorably named Prom 44 (Thursday, 7.30pm, Radio 3) features the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart, performing music from stage and screen inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, ranging from Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story to Walton’s Prelude to Richard III. The first half is British, there’s a chat with actor Michael Pennington in the interval and then the second half is Broadway all the way.”

To replay the performance:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/events/echmbp#b07p12hh

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