Riveting fiction and Shakespeare chat for lovers of the English Renaissance
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
On Rapping Shakespeare: A Response to Mark Rylance
Now, an actor as good as Rylance deserves to be listened to. He knows his craft. But if you sense something fishy about his argument, it's because it's fishy. My
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November . . .
What was their motive? And how did they fail? More to the point, how did they come so close to succeeding? And most importantly -- was Shakespeare secretly in league with them?
You'll get some unusual answers to those questions in my forthcoming novel, Gunpowder Percy. Will Shakespeare is the least of its cast of characters, which includes Guido Fawkes (the guy himself, pictured above left), the playwright Ben Jonson, the iron-willed and feisty gentlewomen Anne and Eliza Vaux, mad
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Cumberbitches and Benedictines Flock to the Cinema for HAMLET
But those who didn't see the British National Theatre's live-streamed* Hamlet will want to know not what hat the Benedict wore, but whether he was any good. Did he embarrass himself? Should some stars just stay away from Shakespeare?
Well, yes, some stars should just stay away from Shakespeare (perhaps the subject of another post). But Benedict Cumberbatch is not one of those. In fact, his was one of the two most brilliant portrayals of Hamlet I've seen.
That the second in that group was David Tennant's, in a 2012 production, might indicate my preference for newer approaches to the role, but it doesn't mean I'm not
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Yes. As Katherine Duncan-Jones pointed out in her biographical work Ungentle Shakespeare, Shakespeare was a tightwad. In his Stratford barn, he hoarded grain to capitalize on times of bad harvest, and no evidence suggests that he was the type to stand his fellow players a round of drinks. There is of course no evidence to
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Shakespeare on Aging
What does this have to do with Shakespeare?
Well, as followers of this blog know by now, all roads lead to and from Shakespeare. Will had a lot to say about everything, including aging. Some might think he had little right to comment on that topic, since he died when a mere babe of 52. "That time of year thou mayst in me behold / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang" -- please! I know 50 was not the new 40 in 1616, but by most
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Famous Shakespeare Puzzles
1. O, o, o, o.
2. cousin Ferdinand
3. How did Brutus know she was dead?
5. What happened to Sly?
6. Hamlet, did you mean "not not to stir without great argument"?
7. Antonio has a son?
8. Just a pretty long night in the woods
9.The Third Murderer
10. Cassio's wife
come just after this festive set of images
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Shakespeare and the Empty Nest
Shakespeare and his Elizabethan contemporaries might have been puzzled by modern parents' sadness and trepidation when kids fly the coop heading for college, the Alaskan wilderness, or a six-person roach-infested-apartment share
Monday, June 1, 2015
Nostalgia (and Shakespeare)
Part of the reason I can see Miranda's twelve years as an abysm (I believe Shakespeare invented that word) is that I myself have been nostalgic since I was old enough to have a memory. When I was three I missed being two. I never wanted to get one minute older than I was, not at ten, not at eight, not at seven. I always knew that being a kid was better than anything to follow. It was a no-brainer. I remember Miss Bender, my third-grade teacher in Bronxville, New York, singing us the song about childhood from Babes in Toyland: "For once you pass those golden gates, you can never return again!" I think the whole class started to cry,
Friday, May 1, 2015
Shakespeare Read No Crap and So Should You
Now you're expecting me to say Shakespeare wrote grammatically. The truth is, I don't know whether he did or not. The rules seem to have been a little different then, back in fifteen-ninety-something. There were fewer of them (rules). Shakespeare didn't even spell his own name the same way every time. He wrote, "Who does the wolf love?" because "whom" hadn't been invented yet, luckily for the Elizabethans. As for subject-verb agreement, forget about it. "These high wild hills and rough uneven ways / Draws out our miles." What's that, the more "s"s, the better? "Their encounters . . . hath been royally attorneyed." Hmm. Let's forget about "attorney" as a verb. It's "encounters hath" I find unsettling. I give it a big "nay," and I blame it on the printer. Then there's
Thursday, April 23, 2015
A Shakespeare's Birthday Salute to Will, Cervantes, and Sancho Panza
Here is Petruchio:
And shrew Kate:
I went with a basic frog-Caliban in forest green.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Bold Plantagenet Director To Present Hamlet as a Renaissance Prince
Kalamazoo Community Playhouse director Jerry Eaton is all about pushing the envelope. This man of the theater -- whom DNA evidence has shown to be a twenty-sixth cousin to Richard Plantagenet, or King Richard III -- was the driving force behind his company’s 2010 post-nuclear, dystopian Annie, 2012’s all-female La Cage Aux Folles, and the controversial 2013 Arcadia Elementary School production of Full Metal Jacket. This time, however, he’s got Shakespeare companies from Chicago to New York sitting up and taking notice.
He's chosen to set Hamlet in late-sixteenth-century Denmark, and to cast a 30-year-old man in the title role.
“It took a while to convince the cast,” Eaton confesses. “When I sprang it on them at the first read-through, they were incredulous. Several stormed out. Our key actress had of course assumed she
Sunday, March 1, 2015
First Amendment Shakespeare
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Shakespeare Invented Your Name!
Thursday, January 1, 2015
On Being Written About and Through
And now, it has happened! Yet not, overall, in a way that fulfills my grad student dreams.
Here's the story. I was accidentally Googling my name on the Internet, when I came across two references to my fiction. The first concerned a novel I'd written
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