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Old 2006-07-05, 03:17 PM   #1
Aardvark
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Question Shakespeare (Shaking or Stirred???)

Putting aside the malarkey regarding as to whether Shakspeare was a man or a woman/existed at all or was indeed "In Love", does anyone read/enjoy/hate his work; Discuss and whatnot, etc etc...

Granted not everything dates well but in all honestly I haven’t enjoyed any of the comedies I've read (And I've read quite a few). I’m a Transformers fan, so obviously I’m more than willing to accept ludicrous, silly plots but even at that I found them neither fun nor interesting

However I have found some of Shakespeare's tragedies to be enjoyable; “MacBeth” is genuinely interesting (Also very accessible) even if it’s quite a typical Jacobean piece (And a fair bit of it is pilfered from older tales) and it certainly is augmented by the passages from Thomas Middleton's play "The Witch". The dark overtones and engaging scipt make it a compelling

I’d also recommend "Hamlet" and "Coriolanus". Still the likes of "Antony and Cleopathra" and the sickeningly beloved “Romeo and Juliet” are far too overbearing and at times extremely plodding.

I’ve only started to wade through his histories and for the most part, they’ve been rather dull. However “King John” is a sadly overlooked piece. I don’t like the majority of Shakespeare's plays that I've read, in fact I’ve hated many, but I still keep giving the chap a chance…hmm sounds familiar.

Your thoughts etc etc??????
 

-Alex???

Last edited by Aardvark; 2006-07-05 at 03:31 PM.
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Old 2006-07-05, 03:48 PM   #2
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My problem with Shakespeare is that there's not really a lot of plot... Half of it feels like Elizabethan Tales of the Unexpected, and once you know the ending (they both die/Macbeth gets his/no, I can only remember those two...), it's all a bit pointless.

Yeh, I'm a phillistine. DWI.
 
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Old 2006-07-05, 04:07 PM   #3
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There's no point to any of the comedies I've read. It just ends in a marriage and everyone dances. Granted they may have entertained Jacobeans but I just can't see how a modern audience could find them appealing. Though I do find the blatant anti-Semitism slightly interesting in the otherwise innocent and mind-bogglingly stupid "Merchant Of Venice". Shylock is the only aspect of the aforementioned play that's interesting and he does receive some memorable and more importantly wonderful lines.
 

-Alex???
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Old 2006-07-05, 04:47 PM   #4
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I'm not a fan of Shakspeare. Yes, some of the topics are rellavent today, but there is not much to appeal to a modern audience. His comedy's are probably some of his worst work.
 
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Old 2006-07-05, 05:02 PM   #5
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The problem is that you have to get someone, who really knows not only the script, but the period and the hidden jokes to teach/act it. Otherwise, it blows donkeys.

There are no stage directions in his plays, so there's a lot that will be missed by someone, who doesn't know what to look for. Romeo and Juliet, when done right, is quite raunchy, and really funny.
 
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Old 2006-07-05, 05:14 PM   #6
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Now look, Shakespeare is BRILL!! Gorrit? Stop reading the plays like they should be modern and enjoy for what they are - in part, responsible for those 'Tales of the Unexpected'. Mind you, they weren't written to be read, but played, so you should go to the theatre to see a traditional rendition to really get the flavour of what's going on.

I personally like The Scottish Play: Lady MacBeth goes nuts and throws the dog into the cruel, cruel world ('Out, damned spot'), and ends up topping herself. Very persycological. Richard III is darned good if the timeframe is a little contrived. Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet etc - hey, they even used the plots for modern films! Oh, golly gosh!

Basically, you've got to consider the time these plays appeared and the mindset of the public then. 'Merchant of Venice' is a difficult story for us today on the grounds that it is stereotypically anti-Semitic, a theme coming right up out of the Middle Ages (Chaucer: Nun's Tale), which wasn't so long before Shakespeare.

If you've tried Middleton, you are among the brave, as those plays are even harder to read. You could try Tourner, especially the Tragedies, and see where a lot of basic horror themes come from.
 

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Old 2006-07-05, 05:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by RID Scourge
The problem is that you have to get someone, who really knows not only the script, but the period and the hidden jokes to teach/act it. Otherwise, it blows donkeys.

There are no stage directions in his plays, so there's a lot that will be missed by someone, who doesn't know what to look for. Romeo and Juliet, when done right, is quite raunchy, and really funny.
Very true. Knowing bit about King James and Jacobean history greatly enhances the enjoyment of “Macbeth”. I can’t say I’ve researched into every single one of the plays where my general knowledge doesn't extend.

I can’t say I agree with you in regard to “Romeo and Juliet”. I know the play pretty well but I can’t say I enjoyed much of it, though there are some fantastic one-liners. However I have only seen one production of the play and it was pretty poor to say the least. Tybalt’s thick Scottish accent didn’t help either
 

-Alex???
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Old 2006-07-05, 05:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clogs
Now look, Shakespeare is BRILL!! Gorrit? Stop reading the plays like they should be modern and enjoy for what they are - in part, responsible for those 'Tales of the Unexpected'. Mind you, they weren't written to be read, but played, so you should go to the theatre to see a traditional rendition to really get the flavour of what's going on.
I've seen quite a few productions of Shakespere's plays. I can view Middleton's work with a modern mindset without any trouble but I certainly bother nor make a point of it (Same for Shakespeare). I'm just of the opinion that his comedies (The one's I've read) are a bit redundant. But with all of his work you're guaranteed a fair amount of witty/memorable lines. I agree they do need to be viewed rather than read, but I hate going to the theatre and a good production can cost a fair bit.

Quote:
I personally like The Scottish Play: Lady MacBeth goes nuts and throws the dog into the cruel, cruel world ('Out, damned spot'), and ends up topping herself. Very persycological. Richard III is darned good if the timeframe is a little contrived. Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet etc - hey, they even used the plots for modern films! Oh, golly gosh!
Lady Macbeth is indeed a compelling character, Polanski handled her rather well in his adaptation, which ranges from utter brilliance to utter ****e. "Midsummer's Night Dream" wasn't too bad now that you mention it.

Quote:
Basically, you've got to consider the time these plays appeared and the mindset of the public then. 'Merchant of Venice' is a difficult story for us today on the grounds that it is stereotypically anti-Semitic, a theme coming right up out of the Middle Ages (Chaucer: Nun's Tale), which wasn't so long before Shakespeare.
Merchant of Venice is not a difficult rread at all. The anti-semetic edge to it is the only thing I find interesting (Aside from the character of Shylock himself). IMHO ointless fluff.
Quote:
you've tried Middleton, you are among the brave, as those plays are even harder to read. You could try Tourner, especially the Tragedies, and see where a lot of basic horror themes come from.
As Shakespeare himself would say, “Middleton is the dog’s bollocks”. A truly compelling writer.
 

-Alex???

Last edited by Aardvark; 2006-07-05 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 2006-07-05, 06:13 PM   #9
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I didn't mind having to study it in school, remember quite enjoying Macbeth/Hamlet and own both but I've not read in years... hmm... one or the other might make for pleasant vacation reading, though.
 

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Old 2006-07-05, 06:44 PM   #10
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I like Shakespeare, I enjoy the old langauge and the themes. His writing if performed well is still among the best. Hell, his work survived for a reason, It is just good stuff.
 
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Old 2006-07-05, 07:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by saysadie
I didn't mind having to study it in school, remember quite enjoying Macbeth/Hamlet and own both but I've not read in years... hmm... one or the other might make for pleasant vacation reading, though.
Go for “Macbeth”. It’s short and accessible, definitely better for vacation reading. Plus it reminds me of hamburgers. Oh how I miss fast-food...
 

-Alex???

Last edited by Aardvark; 2006-07-05 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 2006-07-06, 09:20 AM   #12
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The only play I remotely enjoyed at school was Othello, Iago is just a great charecter.
The school environment didn't help though, the only thing I can remember about Mr. Bailey's english lessons is his advice on the best way to stimulate the clitoris. Which to be honest has been more useful to me in latter life than a detailed knowledge of the sybolism of the machinery in Tess of the Bloody D'Uzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
 
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Old 2006-07-06, 12:16 PM   #13
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I have a personal animosity for Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'. That was one horrible school days experience that I never want to repeat.

Chaucer lessons were really good, as were those on Shakespeare. Heck, I went on to study those at Uni. (Speciality literature and the visual arts Europe 750 to 1604.)
 

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Old 2006-07-06, 12:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clogs
Stop reading the plays
...and watch them (ideally performed by people who can act.) Not too fussed about the settings, personally. Some modern reworkings are watchable, and the basic themes don't need any updating.

Quote:
Originally posted by [dalek]
the only thing I can remember about Mr. Bailey's english lessons is his advice on the best way to stimulate the clitoris.
This is the kind of teacher I'd like to be (though I suppose I should qualify that by asking if Mr Bailey is currently languishing at her Majesty's pleasure?)

I've come to loathe Thomas Hardy even more than Tolkien.
 
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Old 2006-07-06, 12:26 PM   #15
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Denyer - take that back! My English teacher was Mr Brakes and he didn't tell me how to...er....do things like that - if he did, he would have been arrested 'cos it was an all girls' Grammar School.
 

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Old 2006-07-06, 12:40 PM   #16
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I'm well aware that they need to be seen rather than read however the likes of "Macbeth" and "Coriolanus" are just as enjoyable to read as they are to see.

As I said I have seen many performances (be it on Theather/Cinema/TV/DVD/VHS) and none of them have changed my mind on the plays I disliked to begin with.

I freely admit that the production of "Romeo and Juielt" was poor to say the least and it simply compounded my distain for the play.

Quote:
Originally posted by Clogs
I have a personal animosity for Swift's 'Gulliver's Travels'. That was one horrible school days experience that I never want to repeat.
Hey Swift founded my primary school*




*Improper use of smiles...I hated my primary school

Edit: For anyone a tad confused, that should read "Originally posted by Denyer", not Clogs.
 

-Alex???

Last edited by Aardvark; 2006-07-07 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 2006-07-06, 01:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clogs
'cos it was an all girls' Grammar School.
Sounds as if he was already in hell, if it was anything like my sister's... teenagers are bad enough, but single-sex environments... argh.

(Sorry, one of these days someone'll come up with a decent forum system that allows multiple quotes automatically. I'm pretty crap at remembering to change the cut-and-pasted bits...)

Quote:
Originally posted by Clo... er, Aardvark
As I said I have seen many performances (be it on Theather/Cinema/TV/DVD/VHS) and none of them have changed my mind on the plays I disliked to begin with.
Macbeth's barely a Shakespeare play -- very little subplotting. Ideal introduction for kids because of it, though. (And of course it's heavy on the bloodletting.)
 
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Old 2006-07-06, 01:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer, he's a bit like a rubbish version of Clogs Woot!!!
Sounds as if he was already in hell, if it was anything like my sister's... teenagers are bad enough, but single-sex environments... argh.

(Sorry, one of these days someone'll come up with a decent forum system that allows multiple quotes automatically. I'm pretty crap at remembering to change the cut-and-pasted bits...)

Macbeth's barely a Shakespeare play -- very little subplotting. Ideal introduction for kids because of it, though. (And of course it's heavy on the bloodletting.)
Which is why I said it was accesible and somewhat of an easy read (And that it's "derived" from older tales). I'm well aware its the Art Of War in terms of Shakespeare but like the former I enjoy it. It may be fluff, but so is candyfloss and so are the white clouds amidst the blue sky on a hot summer’s day…

"Coriolanus" certainly isn't accesbile but it's still enjoyable. As your less rubbish self mentioned Middleton is only for the bravest of readers but his work is still enjoyable and furthermore compelling. I've yet to enjoy any of Will's comedies. Though "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is pretty fun; I saw an excellent [amateur] performance of it a while back. It looked cheap but the acting was superb.
 

-Alex???

Last edited by Aardvark; 2006-07-06 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 2006-07-06, 02:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aardvark
its the Art Of War in terms of Shakespeare
You take that back, sirrah!

I find live performances much preferable to the text in cases such as Measure for Measure, with the names and disguises otherwise blurring together -- on top of modern audiences not taking the central conceit of out-of-wedlock very seriously because it's so alien to Western culture, it's rather grim because the incidental humour (Elbow's malapropisms, other plays on words) needs footnotes for most readers.
 
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Old 2006-07-06, 02:20 PM   #20
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Skimming over what's been said already...

I think the thing to remember about Shakes is that they're scripts. And, as with all scripts, they live and die on the adaptation.

You can have the wittiest dialogue and most cunningly crafted plot in the world, but it's not going to mean a thing if the lead can't deliver a line and the director sets the tone wrong.

Reading the scripts raw is the rough equivalent of reading the source code for a .jpg of the Mona Lisa -- sure, what you're technically looking at is regarded as a masterpiece... but you're not seeing it as it was actually designed to be seen.

Or, y'know... having a magic trick explained to you before you see it for the first time. It's a bit pointless.

By all means, sift through the source code once you've studied the image... but to study it solely as the source? Rubbish!
 

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