Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shakespeare Baptism


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1) I love Shakespeare. So much I will sit and read a play, not even acted out in a movie or a live performance.

2) I have a script that has a character who does a play performance of Love's Labour's Lost within it...I am not finished this script yet, but it is a full length movie time frame.
3) When Shakespeare was in grade four, his school class was memorizing Ovid. What did I memorize in grade four? The back of a CAPTAIN CRUNCH cereal box.
4) Shakespeare was baptised on April 26, 1564.
5) The city of London was rampant with terrorism. People who lived outside the strict Prostistan code sometimes had their heads hung on posts at the city gates. The political climate of Shakespeares times probably contribute to the relevance and strength of his stories to our lives.
6) King Lear was a very popular play in the last century...possibly reflecting the self-awareness, or educating the awareness of dysfuntional families.

7) I am very inspired by the following definition by Northrop Frye's on comedies in Shakespeare: There is another aspect of Shakespearean comedy that we have not yet discussed. Northrop Frye has identified some of Shakespeare's comedies as "Green World" comedies, and A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of those comedies. As Frye says, "the action of the [Green World] comedy begins in a world represented as a normal world, moves into the Green World, goes into a metamorphosis there. . . and returns to the normal world" (85). The principal characters converge in this Green World, typically a forest, and all of their conflicts are worked through and resolved. This convergence in a forest is what we have observed in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
This Green World is also maternal; that is, there is something about this world that engenders new life, and often there is a character, usually female, who dies and is revived, either physically or spiritually. Thus death is a part of comedy because comedy embraces all of life's experiences, but death in comedy is not tragic because even if the dead character is not revived, the character's spirit lives on in one or more of the other characters. Therefore, death allows the other characters to re-assess their lives and live them more fully.

The Green World is a place of magic, transformation, and discovery. It is also a place of incongruities, where things and people seem to be out of their element. For example, in some of Shakespeare's English forests, we find palm trees and lions. It is a place where time seems to stop because the demands of the real world have been left behind. And because the constraints of the real world have been left behind, the characters are free to explore new ways of seeing and of being in the world. Often characters are placed in these new situations involuntarily, but the adversity and challenge of the new experiences facilities their personal growth and makes commitment to life, marriage, and society possible.
from here: click.
Painting of character Olivia, in Twelfth Night by Edmund Blair Leighton in 1888.
The twins,a boy and a girl, both seduce Olivia. (Helena Bonham Carter) 8) I watched a movie version of Twelfth Night the other day. At first I found it quite boring...it was slow and extended beginning. The version I saw was directed by Trevor Nunn and starred Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kinglsley. I gave it another try yesterday afternoon and next thing I knew...I was very happy with the movie. I see now, that the quiet beginning, meeting a set of twins as they perform on a ship, followed by thier stormy shipwreck, separation and then survival actually gets you accustomed to the characters. At first I found Ben Kingsley "Fool" bland...but he grew on me. The first half hour was rough for me...but by the last 45 minutes and half hour he story and characters really deliver and it is a riot to see the mystaken identities and genders play out. There was a line about attraction :like aquavit to a midwife" that had me laughing it was such a funny line...like midwives were drinkers, or pouring it on the birthing mothers or something...I just kept laughing about it all yesterday.
9) I 've watched In Search of Shakespeare BBC/PBS special twice. I also own the book version. It's central thesis is that Shakespeare's parents were Catholic, and he was secretly raised with the old school religion combined with a rural oral tradition of ancient folk tales. And of course, Ovid.
10) Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet, died at 11 from the Bubonic Plague. Yes, his son's name is very close in sound to Hamlet.
11) This was a fascinating book about a painting found in Ontario, Canada a few years ago, and potentially a portrait of a young, and rather sexy Shakespeare. This book records the processes taken to prove or disprove whether it was possible for this painting to actually be made at the time of Shakespeare. Various studies were made including finding the wood it was painted on came from trees that grew in 15th century, would have been dried and tempured just about the right time approriate to manufacture into a thin board. Good fun, like a mystery novel.
12) two sites with some pictures:Piccies of Willie and Painting Shakespeare
Intense analysis of movie Twelfth Night 13) I haven't read this essay yet, but will start to work through it it after I drop round and say hi to YOU! I am looking forward to this inasanely long essay because it explores the style of this movie version by Trevor Nunn...and at first I was very resistant to the movie, but now have high regard for it's style and pacing.:I can't wait to compare my thoughts and this article. Me= NERD!!! This is my Thursday Thirteen Week Edition #36 .

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11 comments:

Wylie Kinson said...

Hiya Candy,

First I'll answer your questions about Bermuda.
It's warmer than Cape H because of the Gulf Stream.
Tennis didn't come FROM Bermuda, but made a stop there on it's way from England. We had a tennis court in BDA and an American sportswoman took it from there to the US.
Bermudians don't talk about the Triangle because way back when, they depended on tourists for their livelihood and didn't dare risk scaring them away. Personally, I would have TOTALLY opened a 'Lost in the Triangle' museum, with all the hooky myths to boot!
And yes - I do watch LOST. Religiously! hehehehe

Enjoyed your post. I've always enjoyed Shakespeare, but wish I knew more. The socio-economics of the time period put everything in very nice perspective, don't you think? I wish they taught us more about it in highschool when they made us read his plays. It would have made more sense, for me anyway, if they could have given us a broader view of life in those times.
Excellent! Thanks.

Thomma Lyn said...

Ahhh, what a wonderful TT! Always a joy to read Shakespeare, or about him. :)

Take care, and happy TT! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Joy Renee said...

thanx for visiting and sorry I was late posting. it is up now. my TT #30 is 13 source of free ebooks online. Part of my search for substitutes for library access. Be sure to check out Bartleby's searchable Complete works of Shakespeare.

I am a Shakespeare fanatic. I once had a growing library of commentary on Shakespeare. I currently have the two volumes that are part of the Britanica Great Books set.

I too have a work in progress that features Shakespeare's work. One of the characters in my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld was a Shakespearean stage actress and after a trauma begins to communicate only in quotations form Shakespeare's plays. She is often in dueling dialog with another character who communicates only with quotations from KJV of the Bible.

I laughed at that thing about the midwives and alcohol too when you wrote it but then got to thinking, maybe they understood about sterilizing their hands to prevent the deathly infection that took so many new mother's lives after 'professional doctors' took over from the midwives

Christine said...

I think my favourite play is MacBeth...or maybe Othello...but I loved the Leo D movie version of Romeo and Juliette...naw I can't pick just one.

Took me a while to warm up to the plays when I was a kid, but they sure do grow on you!

d said...

Although not Shakespeare ... Rosencrantz & Guildenstern is one of my favorite films. If you're unfamiliar - it's originally a play written by Tom Stoppard about the two characters from Hamlet. Hysterical wordplay throughout!

Tink said...

Very interesting list, as I love Shakespeare!
Thanks for visiting my TT.

rashbre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rashbre said...

Hmm, how very strange that my post to here has somehow disappeared. I remember saying something about this week being Shakespeare's birthday week - on St George's day...But it seems to have mysteriously disappeared.

Oh well. second attempt.

To be, or not to be, that IS the question...or maybe it is a love's labour lost?

rashbre

Candy Minx said...

Wylie, oh okay thanks for the tennis lesson! heh. Sometimes I wonder if high school is really a good time at all to study Shkaespeare. I know some people who had wonderful teachers who found a way to bring the work to life...I think it's important to read the play and then see it performed...I believe kids relate to that greatly. Yes, having someone point out the direct comparisons of our times and Shakespeare does help too.

hey Thmaslyn,,,I find that recently, ther ehas been a lot of new things found out about Shakespeare where previously the idea there was no record of him, but now innovative historians have found great things about his life.

Joy, I think your idea of an actress souting Shakespeare as her only way to communicate is a wonderful idea! I look forward to hearing more about this story idea, way to go! Yes, i think the aquavit was for sterilization too in the comment...but it was the double kind of reference that just cracked me up...and it was made by a secondary character that we don't like so much so it showed what kind of a person he was at the same time.

Christine, yes the plays do grow on you...and some of the fantastic movie versions really help us to get into the initial poetry barriers. You know, kids hear and pick up so much slang...I think one good way to teach Shakespeare is to teach kids that it is like a slang...he used the hip terms for his time...that really helps kids. When they learn all the clever insults and secret nicknames in shakespeares conversation...it becomes an inside joke and slang.

D, oh yes, i know the Stoppard play and movie...excellent! Again, this kind of response to Shakespeare through reworking a character...helps us understand him. Tom Stoppard co-wrote the script for Shakespeare In Love.

Hey Tink! There are so many references in W.S.'s plays to magic, alchemy, chemistry, astrology, astronomy and witches and the power of women...I am not surprisedto hear you are a fan.

Rashbre, yes, we believe it was Shakespeare's birthday on St. George's day because it was common practice for the baptism to be just so many days after a child was born. There is a written record of his baptism in his local church, therefore he was likely born three days earlier on the 23rd. To be or not to be...is a vital question...it is such a stick in the mud who knows they ahve the choice to BE...and they take it..and then act out the rest of their lives as if they had no choice and treat others poorly.

Tiff said...

hay! totally watched ten things i hate about you on thurs! crazy!!

felix said...

Ah. Shakespeare, the litmus test for nearly everything about art, literature, life and the galaxy. I think the best thing about Shakespeare the man is that we know nearly nothing about him. Imagine if there had been the modern media industry in 16th century England. Reams of trivia and intrusive interviews, mixed with supermarket tabloid ravings on the "second best bed" and the "fair youth."

I saw the Michael Wood show on Shakespeare on PBS, and bought the book as well. Relied heavily on research and fact rather than on flights of fancy.

But, always, you return to the work. The words. Embedded in our language, our culture and our understanding.

A "mounument without a tomb," for sure-Ben Jonson was right.