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12 November 2017 @ 05:22 pm

I think Sacha Dhawan is the most frustrating of the History Boys to follow from America, because he's been in loads of things, but very few of them have made it across the pond. (I mean, I had to go back to watching Mr. Selfridge for him! This is how starved I am!) I have no hopes that this new drama will, either, but I'm always happy to see him - even if only in print and trailers.

You all may have seen this already, but somehow it had never come across my radar - a video podcast with Greg Doran from 2013 (possibly - that's the upload date, anyway), where he takes some actors from the Oxford University Drama Society through the prologue of Romeo and Juliet:

Acting Masterclass: 'Pyramus, you begin'
14 October 2017 @ 09:00 pm
Why you gotta be like this???


It's an all-day series of lectures/panel on "developments in the authorship question" later this month

I mean, I don't invite people to my house to have all-day lectures and panels on whether or not I exist, but you do you, I guess
27 September 2017 @ 08:05 pm
Samuel Barnett was a Jeopardy! clue tonight! That's proper fame. :)
27 September 2017 @ 07:36 pm
Metal detectorists unearth unique hoard of Roman artefacts

Look at that "licking dog" sculpture!
27 September 2017 @ 02:32 am
I somehow missed this two years ago, but apparently Olivia Colman was cast as Queen Anne in a film called The Favourite, with Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill. The film is slated for a 2018 release, so it'll be coming out on the heels (at least in Hollywood terms) of Helen Edmundson's play Queen Anne at the RSC, which starred Romola Garai as Sarah Churchill (at least in the revival) and Emma Cunniffe as Queen Anne.

(As a fan of Romola's, I am still sad that I couldn't see the play.)

I guess this means I really ought to move that recent biography of Queen Anne closer to the top of my to-be-read pile?
03 September 2017 @ 10:48 pm
In what is a slightly surprising turn of events, I've found myself avoiding much of the Austen media surrounding the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. Much of the writing about Austen on the internet just winds up irking me and rubbing me the wrong way, and I just haven't felt like dealing with that, this summer. (I did watch Lucy Worsley having fun visiting the places Austen had lived, though. That was cute enough, without doing that "but I'm not like all those other Austen fans" thing that is frequently the cause of my irritation.)

Here, however, is a piece I somehow missed from last year, which I rather liked:

What makes Mr. Darcy desirable? - Talia Schaffer

People often declare pompously that there's no real romance in Austen's novels ("but I'm not like all those other Austen fans!"), because declaring that the matches between characters are solely economic ventures is a way of "saving" Austen from being tarred with the "girly" brush: it's all right to like her, because she's not one of those writers, who care about feelings and whatnot. But that ignores the fact that a marriage to a wealthy man can still be a nightmare; the whole point of the relationships in Austen is that they are good ones, matches of temperament and esteem, not just money. Or as Schaffer puts it here:

Yes, Darcy is rich, but his wealth will do no good if he is a gambler like Wickham. Yes, Darcy is well-born, but his class will do no good if he uses his status to crush his wife rather than raise her. Yes, Darcy may be handsome, but his appearance may cover a vicious temper. Far more important than wealth, birth, and looks is a moral sensibility that can regulate these traits in a way that will benefit the woman who marries him.
In case you're looking for something else to think about for a bit besides each day's hammer blow of news:

Confessions of a Costume Curator
19 August 2017 @ 07:38 pm
If Manet, Cézanne, and the rest taught their contemporaries to look anew at the world around them, the Pre-Raphaelites did something analogous for the past—teaching people to see beauty in works that had hitherto appeared merely old and strange. The assumption that the present is always superior to what has come before, Prettejohn shrewdly notes, is also a form of blindness.


The link goes to a review of Elizabeth Prettejohn's new book, Modern Painters, Old Masters: The Art of Imitation from the Pre-Raphaelites to the First World War. (As an example, one of the prime instances of imitation in the review is the use various painters made of the mirror motif, inspired by Van Eyck.) The book sounds like it's worth a read, and I've found Prettejohn's work on the Pre-Raphaelites useful in the past (a long-ago college research paper on Victorian uses of Arthurian legend).
18 August 2017 @ 03:21 pm
Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes Will Co-Star in Antony & Cleopatra at the National

There's some confusion here in the article, which for some reason sends you to the Old Vic website at the bottom - but another article confirms that the production will be at the National Theatre in 2018, on the Olivier stage. I can't imagine, given the success of the NT Live Shakespeare broadcast, that they won't screen this too, but one never knows until it's announced…

(I still have yet to see a production of A&C. I heard good things about the recent RSC production, but no one seems to have screened it around here; maybe one day I'll look into getting the DVD?)