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30 April 2016 @ 12:50 pm
I just idly happened to check what might be going on at my local independent cinema and discovering that they were screening Maxine Peake's Hamlet this Monday, so if you live in the US, you might want to check yours too, as it looks like they are finally doing some US screenings:

24 April 2016 @ 04:35 pm
One of the Complete Walk films from Shakespeare's Globe - Richard II with James Norton as Richard and Dominic Rowan as Bolingbroke - seems to be available in (what I'm assuming is) its entirety here:


It's interesting: removing the onlookers makes Richard's actions seem much less theatrical. But I find James Norton's hesitant, tearful Richard interesting, and wonder what he'd do with the whole part.
23 April 2016 @ 11:59 pm
From The Toast:

"Weepeth and sorroweth without comparison": Historical Fertility Problems
23 April 2016 @ 07:38 pm
…is kind of adorable? I might have to start watching Doctor Who again? (In like a year, or whenever it actually starts up again.)

In related "news," I saw a gifset of the Ponds today and my whole self went "waaaaaaah," because apparently I am never letting my babies go.
18 April 2016 @ 10:28 pm
Okay, see, now this is what I mean when I say that PBS is terrible at letting me know about programs I'd want to watch - especially if they involve Shakespeare. I happened upon this on the website while I was looking for something on the PBS News Hour page:

Shakespeare's Tomb

So it airs TOMORROW, which means I would totally have missed it if not for a random fluke of the internet search process. Thanks a lot, PBS.
17 April 2016 @ 05:32 pm
'I Don't Know Whether to Kiss You or Spank You': A Half Century of Fear of an Unspanked Woman

Cooper gets the idea [of spanking Claudette Colbert's character] after picking up a copy of The Taming of the Shrew, but it gets him nowhere, and in the next scene he throws the book in the fireplace.

Many of the spanking films seem to have Shakespeare’s play in mind, most obviously 1955’s quasi-adaptation Kiss Me, Kate. In alluding to the play, they suggest there’s something timeless about this kind of violence. Men have always had to spank their women when they’ve gotten out of line. Yet one thing you can say for Shakespeare’s play is that Kate isn’t physically abused. Indeed, a fetish site has looked through the stage history of the play and been unable to find any spankings until after World War II.

Repeatedly, in movies, newspapers, and Mrs. J.B.M.’s letter, the phrase “old-fashioned spanking” is used to align the act with a long tradition. A spanker is guilty, one story notes, of having “backslid into the past.” Another spanker “exercised a once universal but now frowned upon right.” Yet it’s a struggle to find examples of this form of marital discipline occurring very long ago. The spanking forums, which revel in finding precedents for their kink, come up really short on any before the last century. Of course, the more violent practice of wife beating, and the law of coverture that authorized it, has a long, ugly history—but wife spanking was new. It makes no appearance in histories of domestic violence. It was a particularly modern response to modern anxieties.

(link via a commenter at The Toast.)
16 April 2016 @ 09:45 pm
Emma Rice is doing The Taming of the Shrew in her first season at the Globe:

Featuring an all Irish company, the production marks the centenary of the Easter Rising by revisiting 1916 Ireland and remembering the role of women in the fight for independence. Encapsulating the rebellious spirit, Katherine will be played by Kathy Rose O’Brien, and Edward MacLiam will play Petruchio.


…I guess that is…a thing that you could do? I'm not sure I think it makes a whole lot of sense, but it is a thing that you could do. (It seems reasonable enough to mark the centenary with an all-Irish company; I just don't get trying to make The Taming of the Shrew some kind of commentary on the Easter Rising.)
14 April 2016 @ 09:38 pm
Well, someone clearly needs to write this novel. Or make a film:

'Royal' 17th century dress found under sand off the coast of Texel

(link via Twitter)
13 April 2016 @ 11:16 pm
I've never really thought about the odd convention that characters in comedies are often not supposed to laugh at each other's jokes, so I enjoyed this piece for drawing my attention to it:


I suppose this is related to one of the things that often frustrates me about productions of Shakespeare's comedies, though: no one has remembered to tell the actors that their characters actually enjoy wit and wordplay, instead of just rolling their eyes at it, or trying to gabble through it as quickly as possible because they think the audience won't get it (which is a tried and tested method of making sure the audience doesn't get it, of course).
13 April 2016 @ 10:09 pm
An interview with Giles Block, the Text Adviser at Shakespeare's Globe (interview by Andrew Dickson):

Not that I know exactly what he does - what it's actually like to work with actors - but this is basically my dream job. Or even my dream volunteer activity, if there were any Shakespeare companies around here that seemed to want this sort of thing…

(I bought Giles Block's book when I was at the Globe; I'm hoping to read it this summer.)