All The World's A Stage - the Shakespeare thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by JozefK, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    That's a good one! I'm not quite as high on it as you, but it's a very good version of a difficult play to successfully pull off.

     
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  2. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    I was somewhat disappointed in Ran, my first viewing in decades. I had remembered it as being a filming of the play, but it's a very loose interpretation based on the play, none of the language and huge rearrangements of the storylines. Putting all that aside, although the film was big on spectacle and Kurosawa always has a great eye, I found the film less engaging than Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Ikuru, and the two you mentioned. Loved the Lear and Fool actors.
     
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  3. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    I liked Lady Kaede (the equivalent of Goneril), too.
     
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  4. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Remember the glut of Shakespeare films about 10 years ago? That was definitely a wave that's ebbed. This doc talks about the history of The Bard on film -

     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  5. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Oh yeah, it's been released on DVD with English subs. There are versions of it on Youtube (that I don't particularly recommend) but here's a very nice one of Grigori Kozintsev's Hamlet that is really a throwback to Olivier's '48 film (imo). It has it's moments (I like what he does with Ophelia, especially) -

     
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  6. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    [​IMG]
    Discovering Hamlet (1990, Mark Olshaker) Included are some interesting comments on varied artist's experiences with the play.
     
  7. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    The Kurosawa Hamlet treatment...

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    The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Akira Kurosawa)
    I was surprised to see that the old NY Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, who didn't give much praise, actually admired this one. It's been a bit of a mixed bag to me though I haven't seen it in years. Time for another viewing.
     
  8. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    And, of course, Germaine Greer's two cents on the whole business. :D

     
  9. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Back to The Scottish Play...

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    Throne of Blood (1957, Akira Kurosawa)
    Still my favorite Shakespeare film adaption. Funny that we should even call it a Shakespeare story as nearly all of his plays were reworked versions of well known tales and/or histories.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
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  10. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    The two original stories are A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest. He had favorites for sources, of course -- Hollingshead, Livy, Cinthio, Boccaccio . . .
     
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  11. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    The Brook/ Scofield Lear is being broadcast by Comcast (at least where I am) tonight at 10:44. Not to be missed!!
    Also seems to be free OnDemand from ScreenPix until July.
     
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  12. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    I can't believe it! They've inexplicably cut maybe my favorite moment in the film! At 51 minutes in, the noble Kent is spreadeagled in the stocks, and he says, "Fortune good night, smile once more, turn thy wheel," as the camera sees him from above and circles as it rises and pans away from him. This version cuts it at Fortune good night. Grrr!
    Otherwise loving it.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2021
  13. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    Curiouser and curiouser! The version Nicky posted above, from YouTube, has all of Kent's lines, but the video is black. The great effect is missing. There are a number of other speeches where the screen goes black -- I wonder if other visuals, which I don't have as strong a recollection of, have also been deleted. And why.
     
  14. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    [​IMG]
    Shakespeare in a Divided America by James Shapiro

    Fascinating approach and chock full of great stories! This is a book about American history, and how some of its critical cultural and political divides are reflected in the way the country has argued over Shakespeare's plays. A quick summary of his chapter divisions will give you a feel for his approach:
    1833: Miscengentation – John Quincy Adams wrote passionately about his repulsion at what he saw as the unnaturalness of Desdemona desiring a black African, and the evils of miscegenation (or amalgamation, as it was called then); and yet he was a powerful leader of the anti-slavery abolitionists. (Shapiro also covers the light-skinned 'Moorish' Othellos and the racist minstrel Othellos that we looked at the last time we did Othello.)
    1845: Manifest Destiny – US Grant rehearsing as Desdemona, Charlotte Cushman starring in male roles
    1849: Class Warfare – gripping story of the class war that broke out in New York City centered on the production of three competing Macbeths, all sold out – an introspective and nuanced Macbeth from a leading British actor playing at the upper crust Astor Place Opera House, a leading American actor playing a macho and warlike Macbeth at the BroadwayTheater, and a third actor playing the Bowery Theater to cash in on the controversy. The night of the three Macbeths,, a total of almost 10,000 New Yorkers saw the play. 5,000 rioters attached the Astor site, the militia was called in, people were killed, the city was on tenterhooks for a week.
    1865: Assassination – I knew that Booth came from a Shakespearean acting family, but I had no idea what a serious student of Shakespeare Lincoln was. It was common for him to recite passages from the plays from memory, sometimes for hours at a time, to family, friends, White House staff and visitors. And he had strongly held views on the plays, objecting to the (then popular) deletion of the play-acting role reversals scenes between Hal and Falstaff in HIV1, etc. This is the first of two chapters that deals extensively with Julius Caesar.
    1916: Immigration – A period of virulent anti-immigrant sentiment, often driven by the notion that northern Europeans (except the Irish) were of superior stock to the rush of new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. Caliban was often portrayed as non-white in this period, a sub-human and ultimately incapable of being civilized.
    1948: Marriage – a closely observed history of the development of the script for Kiss Me Kate, and its gradual development (devolution?) from a more radical conception to a more commercial and conventional musical. The adaptation from the original Broadway show to the film version furthered this – the show's backstage scenes were multi-racial and free from the conventional sexual morality of the on-stage Taming of The Shrew, while the film whitens the backstage crew and deletes almost all of the edgiest material.
    1998: Adultery and Same-Sex Love – an analysis similar to the previous chapter applied to the script for Shakespeare in Love.
    2017: Left/ Right – the story of the Central Park production of Julius Caaser, with a clearly Trump-like Caesar getting knifed by multi-racial senators, and the dumbed-down fury of the right-wing media and its audience that it ignited.

    Some of the chapters (such as the two about scripts) I found interesting enough; other chapters – particularly the ones on Lincoln and the race riots – were absolutely riveting. Recommended.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2021
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  15. mike s in nyc

    mike s in nyc Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york, NY
    I just started reading this, in the middle of chapter three, and it's excellent!
     
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  16. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    Last edited: May 14, 2021
  17. NickySee

    NickySee Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York, NY
    ??? My screen never goes black. Must your connection, Steve. I tested it on a couple of devices. Plays perfectly for me. Sorry to hear that. Good version, too. Maybe try it again at a later time?

     
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  18. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    I recorded it, too, with the same cut. I'll see if I can get another way.

    I did get the Russian version of Lear! Thanks for the rec. Haven't gotten to it yet. Suddenly got busy. After a 14 months of no gigs, we got approval for my hot-shot dancers (Advanced and Challenge level square dancers) to dance this Sunday, outdoors in the dance hall parking lot, vaccinated dancers only . . . so I've been consumed with this First Gig Back.

    Rereading The Dream. By the end of II, i, you're gasping for breath at the beauty of the language. Titania's magnificent speech that starts 'These are the forgeries of jealousy' is about climate change!! I'll write about this as soon as I get a break in the fence.
     
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  19. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    I absolutely LOVED this 2017 version of The Dream, although I'm sure the film has its haters. It's a modern version, very playful, full of 'spoiler alert' surprises, pretty faithful to the text although the staging will raise eyebrows. Brief animated sections, random references to other plays throughout, had me from the get go and stayed fun all the way. Can't wait to watch it again. I saw in on Tubi.

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  20. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    Cheers!

    So it looks like the prospects of us having a real life meeting in midsummer to do The Dream are growing brighter. Sunday I had my first dance in over fourteen months, limited to verifiably vaccinated dancers and held in a dance hall parking lot. I'm assuming that all of us who want to attend the next real-life meeting will be fully vaccinated by summer – if I'm mistaken, please let me know what's up.

    Although I've seen, read and played The Dream dozens of times, the richness and musicality of the play's language never fails to sweep me away. Hazlitt writes: "The reading of this play is like wandering in a grove by moonlight: the descriptions breathe a sweetness like odours thrown from beds of flowers." (I should note that Hazlitt also thought the play was better read than seen performed, "All that is finest in the play is lost in the representation. . . . Poetry and the stage do not agree well together." Not sure I agree with that.)


    Titania's rebuke of Oberon accuses him of causing disastrous climate change!
    She says that because Oberon has been harassing her and her fairies, they have been blocked from doing their dances to the winds. As payback for not getting their dances, the winds have created torrential rains, which have flooded the land so that the livestock and crops died and rotted, and this has led to the seasons themselves becoming altered:

    "These are the forgeries of jealousy:
    And never, since the middle summer's spring,
    Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
    By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
    Or in the beached margent of the sea,
    To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind,
    But with thy brawls thou hast disturb'd our sport.
    Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
    As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea
    Contagious fogs; which falling in the land
    Have every pelting river made so proud
    That they have overborne their continents:
    The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain,
    The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
    Hath rotted ere his youth attain'd a beard;
    The fold stands empty in the drowned field,
    And crows are fatted with the murrion flock;
    The nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud,
    And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
    For lack of tread are undistinguishable:
    The human mortals want their winter here;
    No night is now with hymn or carol blest:
    Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
    Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
    That rheumatic diseases do abound:
    And thorough this distemperature we see
    The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
    Far in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
    And on old Hiems' thin and icy crown
    An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
    Is, as in mockery, set: the spring, the summer,
    The childing autumn, angry winter, change
    Their wonted liveries, and the mazed world,
    By their increase, now knows not which is which:
    And this same progeny of evils comes
    From our debate, from our dissension;
    We are their parents and original.

    II, i

    Bright moments,
    Steve

    Francisco Tarrega -- Recuerdos de la Alhambra (John Williams)

     
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  21. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968 film)

    Here's another outstanding Dream on film, new to me, one of the best traditional films I've seen of the play. It didn't pin me to the wall like that radical, modern dress interpretation I recently raved about; but it was also free of the potential turn-offs that would alienate some viewers.

    This version is directed by Peter Hall, with Diana Rigg as Helena, Helen Mirren as Hermia, Ian Holm as Puck, Ian Richardson as Oberon, Judi Dench as Titania, Paul Rogers as Bottom, as well as other members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The acting is animated and engaging throughout, and the makeup for the fairy band is remarkably effective – gray-green skin with bright reds peeking out of their mouths and eyes. Judi Dench was a deliciously sensuous Queen of the Fairies, Diana Rigg turned the fairly routine role of Helena into something special, and Ian Holm is as good a Puck as I've ever seen. Highly recommended. And free on demand on Comcast. Or here on YouTube


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  22. ianuaditis

    ianuaditis Evil Twin

    Location:
    Long River Place
    My ninth (and also eleventh as it happened) grade English teacher hated Keaton but was OK with Keanu. 'Whoa-eth"
     
  23. john greenwood

    john greenwood Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Jumping in late here, but does any share my enthusiasm for John Barton’s series, “Playing Shakespeare”?
     
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  24. Steve Minkin

    Steve Minkin Senior Member

    Location:
    Healdsburg CA
    New to me. I will check it out!
     
  25. john greenwood

    john greenwood Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Don’t judge it by it’s first episode. It’s a somewhat superficial introduction. It gets better from there.
     

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