Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 2017

As we move into February we are met daily with reports of racism and xenophobia both at the grass root level and the governmental. We can be encouraged that protests are strong and widespread and we have good reason to remind ourselves that Shakespeare, too, promoted humanism in the face of the fear and hatred of his time. Sir Ian McKellen, as many of you know, has done many stirring readings of the monologue Shakespeare wrote for his characterisation of Sir Thomas More. Please listen and share:


Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silenced by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you. You had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Feed on one another.
O, desperate as you are,

Wash your foul minds with tears, and those same hands,
That you like rebels lift against the peace,
Lift up for peace, and your unreverent knees,
Make them your feet to kneel to be forgiven!
… You’ll put down strangers,
Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,
And lead the majesty of law in line,
To slip him like a hound. Say now the king
(As he is clement, if th’ offender mourn)
Should so much come to short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? Go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England,—
Why, you must needs be strangers. Would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements
Were t all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? This is the strangers’ case;
And this your mountanish inhumanity.


Now, to the report for February.
As always I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

or
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by
and

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Louise Penny’s The Cruellest Month the victim and the suspects had all been involved with a production of As You Like It in school and there are other references to Shakespeare throughout.
  • In Extras
    • One of the actors on set is reading Frank Kermode’s book on Shakespeare for his PhD work and Maggie is very impressed (as am I!)
    • Patrick Stewart is doing Prospero and Andy says to his nasty mate, ‘While you were studying Shakespeare, I was shagging birds’ (or something like that).
    • In the episode with Orlando Bloom, Barry, Andy’s agent’s other client, is mentioned doing his one-man version of Romeo and Juliet.
    • Andy demands a proper role from his idiot agent – in a Shakespeare play or something.
  • In the final episode of The Wire, during McNulty’s fake wake, Jay says, ‘From which no traveller returns…’ but since they were faking it, McNulty returns. 

Further since last time:
  • Watched The Globe performance of The Tempest with Roger Allam and Colin Morgan
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: Much Ado about Nothing


Posted this month






The Tempest - 'Sounds and sweet air'

‘Sounds and sweet air’
in
The Tempest

Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not:
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices.
That if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again, and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again (Act III.2).

     Are these the words of a brute? No, they are not. They are words said in kindness, to allay the fears of friends. They are words of wonder over incomprehensible beauty. They are words of longing.

O ho, O ho! Would’t had been done!
Thou didst prevent me: I had peopled else
This isle with Calibans (Act 1.2).

     Are these the words of a brute? Possibly. Spoken about Caliban’s unwelcome advances to Miranda, these are words, at least, of resentment.  Caliban had been alone on his island. His island. He says to Prospero:

This island’s mine by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou tak’st from me. When thou cam’st first,
Thou strok’dst me, and made much of me…
…then I loved thee
And showed thee all the qualities o’ th’ isle (Act I.2).

     Alone, lonely but free, master of the Isle. Caliban was overwhelmed by the arrival of Prospero and the child Miranda. Prospero has stolen the Isle from Caliban but accepted his generosity. Until Miranda grows up and Caliban makes mistaken – if understandable – assumptions.  In other words, Prospero’s attitude is, ‘We can take his Isle, accept his gifts, treat him kindly if patronisingly, but would you want your daughter to marry him?’
     And Miranda, who has taught him language, suddenly and to Caliban surely incomprehensibly, turns on him, because her ‘honour’ has been threatened. Shakespeare does not make it clear how this happened. Was it a kiss or attempted rape? We don’t know. Yes, Caliban then boasts he had thought to have babies with her but he might have meant that he was proposing marriage to her. And what choice did either of them have, isolated as they were? Miranda’s words cut deeply and keenly; he had believed in her affection for him:

Abhorrèd slave,
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill. I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak…
…but wouldst gobble, like
A thing most brutish…
…therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock, who hadst
Deserved more than a prison (Act I.2)

     Oh, cruel Miranda! To pity him and scorn his attempts at learning a foreign language! Let us suppose that Caliban had loved Miranda. Oh, cruel, cruel Prospero! Let us suppose, too, that Caliban loved Prospero. How easily that love would be manifested as hate at the painful, inexplicable rejection, enslavement and torture.
     So Caliban becomes not only a slave but an ill-treated slave, punished for the least infraction with physical pain and torture.
     And thus the story begins.
     Caliban now fears Prospero. This is clear in the scene in which he next appears. He is carrying wood.

His spirits hear me…
For every trifle, are they set upon me…
…bite and prick… and hiss me into madness (Act II.2).

     Is it any wonder, then, that with the intoxication of Stephano’s ‘celestial liquor’ and the fact that neither Stephano nor Trinculo use physical violence against him, Caliban falls to his knees in worship and offers up Prospero to these two buffoons with the plot to kill Prospero and give them the isle?
     Brutish? Of course, but pathetically human. And he pathetically believes that with these new masters he will no longer be a slave:

Freedom, high-day! High-day freedom! Freedom, high-day, freedom! (Act II.2)

     In the midst of the murder plot and Caliban’s dreams of freedom comes the ‘sounds and sweet airs’ monologue quoted at the beginning of this essay. Caliban loves music. His brutish heart longs for music just as it longs for freedom.
     The foolish plot to kill Prospero falls through and Caliban’s eyes are opened to the ridiculous reality of Stephano and Trinculo:

…I’ll be wise hereafter,
And seek for grace. What a thrice-double ass
Was I to take this drunkard for a god
And worship this dull fool! (Act V.1)

     Caliban obeys, one supposes, Prospero’s order to go to his cell and tidy it properly.
     And that’s that.
     Does Caliban get his music, his freedom? We don’t know. Shakespeare doesn’t tell us if Prospero takes Caliban with him when he and Miranda return to Milano.
     I hope not. I like to think of Caliban once again master of the Isle, no longer a slave, with no other companion but free Ariel and the spirits, delighting in the sounds and sweet airs.

Films seen this time:
·                The Tempest, BBC, 1980. Director: John Gorrie. Cast:  Prospero – Michael Hordern; Ariel – David Dixon; Caliban – Warren Clark; Miranda – Pippa Guard ; Ferdinand – Christopher Guard; Gonzalo – John Nettleton; Trinculo – Andrew Sachs; Stephano  – Nigel Hawthorne. A thoroughly lacklustre production!  What a shame for such a rich play.  Dixon as a dead-eyed, campy, nearly naked, lizardy strutting breathy Ariel is just so wrong. The only bright parts are when Trinculo and Stephano are on stage. Nigel Hawthorne is often very funny and it’s not strange that Stephano reminds me constantly of Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
·                The Tempest 2010. Director: Julie Taymor. Cast:  Prospera – Helen Mirren; Ariel – Ben Whishaw; Caliban – Djimon Hounsou; Miranda – Felicity Jones; Ferdinand – Reeve Carney; Gonzalo – Tom Conti; Trinculo – Russell Brand; Stephano  – Alan Cumming. By far the best film version.  Strong visual effects, strong acting (mostly) and powerfully set in Hawaii. http://rubyjandsmovieblog.blogspot.se/2014/11/the-tempest-taymor.html
·                The Tempest 2014.  Director: Jeremy Herrin. Cast:  Prospero – Roger Allam; Ariel – Colin Morgan; Caliban – James Garnon; Miranda – Jessie Buckley; Ferdinand – Joshua James; Gonzalo – Pip Donaghy; Trinculo – Trevor Fox; Stefano – Sam Cox. The overwhelming memory of having seen this at the Globe – our first! – is only heightened by the close-ups in the film.  The interpretation is more light-hearted than mine but I accept that utterly.  Roger Allam is just so good. He makes Prospero actually likable. Colin Morgan does a poignant, spritely, funny Ariel who leaps and flies about the stage and still projects with blinks and twitches a sensitive and magical character.  James Garnon as Caliban is a bit too much but Sam Cox balances that as a low key and very funny Stefano.  Jessie Buckley and Joshua James are good as the daft young lovers – finally a version in which they are not wimpy!  This is a production we are sure to watch many times just for the sheer pleasure of it. 


    





Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 2017

Happy New Year! 2016, the year of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, is at an end. For me it’s been an exciting year with lectures and theatrical activities in connection with the anniversary. Hal’s and my third or fourth reading of the plays has continued and you can find my analyses here on the blog. Otherwise, for the world, it has been rather a disastrous year and I sincerely hope we can weather the crises, resist the advances of the racists and deniers of environmental disaster and turn ourselves round to working together to develop a world in solidarity, equality and humanism.   

As always I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

or
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by
and

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In the YA novel Follow Me Back by Nicci Cloke the young protagonists are involved throughout the book in productions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
  • In Antonia Fraser’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII Shakespeare is referred to several times, especially in connection with his play All Is True.
  • In Peter Ackroyd’s  The Tudors
    • Malvolio is given as example of the figures of fun used in theatre in Elizabeth’s time to ridicule the Puritans.
    • Titania’s complaint to Oberon of the famine in the land is a reference to the famine in England at the time of writing the play.
    • The translation of the Bible into English, it is pointed out, inspired such writers as Shakespeare and Milton.
  • In Jodie Tyler’s third volume of the Chronicles of St Mary’s, A Second Chance, Falstaff, Lady Macbeth, the bard Bill, Henry V and his ‘Once more into the breach’ all make their appearances.
  • In Season Five of Doctor Who Bill Nighy as a guide at la Musée D’Orsay describes Van Gogh’s last production as being ‘like Shakespeare knocking off Othello, Macbeth and King Lear over the summer hols.’
  • In Dagens Nyheter there was a review of The Tempest in the town Örebro in which six actors do all the roles. Miranda is a boy and Ferdinand is a girl, Prospero is a woman, Caliban and Ariel are combined to Ariban. A highly respectable production, writes the critic.
  • In the novel The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones, one of the young protagonists Nick is coerced into going to a convention of detective writers who all thought they were important ‘apart from one or two who thought they were God or Shakespeare or something…’ 

Further since last time:

Posted this month
  • This report



Monday, December 5, 2016

December 2016

As You Like It has been the project this month. As always we’ve enjoyed reading it but the film experiences have been mixed. This play deserves a really good stage or film production and my latest reactions to what we’ve seen have left me wanting something better. Maybe someday! But now to the monthly report. 

As always I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

or
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by
and

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, one of the best space odyssey novels I’ve read, the very interesting and quite likeable spider characters have such names as Portia, Viola, Fabian…Subtle Shakespeare! More obvious are
    • A chapter title ‘Not Prince Hamlet’
    • Avrana, the sort of captain of the whole thing though in sort of suspended animation, reflects that she ‘had been in the giving vein, then. She had recognized them to be human enough to show mercy to.’
  • In the novel The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester the villain Lady Thorne blames her wayward daughter for everything and says, ‘”How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is - ’” and Frankie completes the quote, ‘”To have a thankless child.’” Snob Lady Thorne is appalled to hear Shakespeare in Frankie’s working class mouth.
  • Dagens Nyheter
    • Had a review of Ian McEwan’s latest novel Nutshell. It seems it’s based on Hamlet as a foetus; his mother Trudy is having it off with her brother-in-law Claude. I do like McEwan but frankly, this one does not sound so great.
    • Had a review of Romeo and Juliet at Stockholm’s City Theatre. I don’t think the critic liked it but I’m not sure. The review was long but didn’t say much.
  • In Ricky Gervais’ The Office, which we watched with a constant cringe – is it really like this in offices? Then I’m so glad I’ve never worked in one! –
    • On quiz night the tie break question was, ‘Which Shakespeare play has the character Caliban?’ The Boss David Brent (Gervais) and his team answer Macbeth. Tim (Martin Freeman) and his team get the right answer but the dreadful boss twists the rules so that he wins, as always.
    • David, in a later episode, mentions ‘The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and Shakespeare.’
  • In Peter Robinson’s latest Alan Banks novel When the Music is Over the characters have either played Juliet in school plays or are reading the sonnets or toss off quotes.
  • In Edna Ferber’s classic from 1926, Show Boat:
    • Schultzy, the director, tries to explain to the cast how to play the scene in ‘the ad lib. directions that have held since the day of Shakespeare.’
    • Schultzy’s beloved Elly leaves the show boat and him to pursue her dream of playing Juliet.
    • Magnolia loved the theatre: ‘Farce, comedy, melodrama – the whole gamut as outlined by Polonius…’
    • Kim finally achieves her dream of her own theatre where she can produce the plays she’s been longing to do, ‘Shakespeare even!’
    • Elly reappears and Kim says, ‘Mother tells me you played Juliet…’ 

Further since last time:
  • Watched:
    • The 1936 film of As You Like It with Laurence Olivier
    • Branagh’s 2006 production of same.
  • Started reading aloud with Hal: The Tempest 

Posted this month
  • ‘O Orlando! in As You Like It http://rubyjandshakespearecalling.blogspot.se/2016/12/o-orlando-in-as-you-like-it.html  
  • This report



O, Orlando! in As You Like It

O, Orlando!
in
As You Like It

     Orlando. One of those foolish young men Shakespeare is so good at portraying. But what is this? Do I actually like this one? I was so concentrated on Celia last time that Orlando slipped by me. Now I see that he’s not the same as Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing who rejects Hero at the slightest hint (lie) that she is unfaithful, or Proteus from The Two Gentlemen of Verona who without a thought rejects his true love Julia for Silvia, or Orsino in Twelfth Night who threatens to kill Viola, or any number of other fickle, shallow, nasty young romantic heroes (or whatever).
     Orlando is…well, let’s take a look.
     He opens the play by lamenting to his old servant Adam that his older brother Oliver – who had been charged by their father with seeing to Orlando’s education – treats him worse than their animals and has allowed no education at all:

…there begins my sadness…This is it, Adam, that grieves me. And the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.’ Almost immediately Oliver appears. Orlando confronts him and answers Oliver’s violence with some of his own, declaring, ‘I am no villain…you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me a good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities…give me the poor allotter my father left me by testament – with that I will go buy my fortunes’ (Act 1.1).

     What we see then from the beginning is a mild younger brother who wants a good education, who is chafing under the older brother’s unfair refusal to allow him his rights and who now rebels, shows an independent spirit willing to get on with a life of his own.
     A good start.
     In Act 1.2, when he is about to confront the mighty wrestler Charles, in what could be interpreted as a death wish, contrary to his interest in getting on with his life, Celia and Rosalind beg him to desist. In a very moving little speech Orlando expresses an appealing and profound sense of melancholy:

…if I be foiled, there is but one shamed that was never gracious, if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so. I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me, the world no injury, for in it I have nothing. Only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty’ (Act 1.2).

     Had I been Rosalind I might have fallen in love with him myself. Why he falls immediately in love with her is harder to explain. So far we haven’t seen much of her.
     Nevertheless, he falls in a big way and manages to defeat Charles against all odds. He must thereafter flee to the forest with old Adam.
     Even before we see the extent of his silly infatuation with Rosalind we see his devotion to Adam. When their flight threatens to defeat the exhaustion and famished old man Orlando carries him to shelter and rushes off to find food. He confronts the Duke and his followers with clumsy and clearly not very frightening threats of violence. When he discovers that the group in Arden are not only not aggressive but kind and hospitable he reverts into his polite, gentlemanly self, fetches Adam and all is well.
     Only then does he start his frivolous poem-writing and tree adornment. Everyone mocks the poems and, yes, oh they are bad but they’re sweet.
     He is much cleverer in his encounter with the rude and melancholy Jaques. When they agree that they would both have preferred not to meet the other, Orlando subtly utters one of Shakespeare’s best insults: ‘I do desire we may be better strangers.’ I love him for this line alone! He also slyly turns the tables on Jaques’ declaration that he had been ‘seeking a fool when I found you.’ Orlando’s reply: ‘He is drowned in the brook. Look but in, and you shall see him’ (Act 3.2). Score another for Orlando!
     What follows are the series of exchanges between Rosalind and Orlando in which she as Ganymede talks him into the ridiculous game of him pretending to woo her/him in order to fall out of love with Rosalind. Since he doesn’t want to fall out of love with Rosalind it’s puzzling that he goes along with it. I’ve always assumed that he suspects from the start that it’s Rosalind but I won’t look closely at that, or their exchanges and daft lines in these scenes. Frankly I find Rosalind slightly annoying and don’t think she deserves her high-ranking position on the list of Shakespeare’s women. Orlando I find much more interesting. He challenges her, he neglects to follow the exact times she imposes upon him, he calmly repeats after each of her mocking denials of his love, that he does indeed love Rosalind, he shows none of the hysterical silliness of which Rosalind full of but remains steadfast and polite throughout.
     In the meantime he is good enough to rescue his nasty brother from the lion, being injured himself in the process. They become friends and in spite of his sadness at not winning Rosalind’s love (or so he believes) he is generous in arranging the marriage between Oliver and Celia.
     Well, as we know, the lover and his lass are united in the end, along with the three other couples. I think it should have been Orlando and Celia but Rosalind was right in one respect: love is merely a madness and what does it matter? It’s a wonderful play, filled with too many brilliant lines to count, presented so quickly in such lively exchanges that one cannot help but smile from start to finish, even at the darker melancholy side. It all feels good.
     And if for once I think the young man – the polite, gentlemanly, kind, clever Orlando with a thirst for education and justice – deserves someone better than the woman he ends up with, well, he seems happy. They probably have a better chance at a good marriage than most of Shakespeare’s couples. I wish them well.


Films seen this time:
  • The Globe production, 2009. Director: Thea Sharrock. Rosalind: Naomi Frederick. Orlando: Jack Laskey. Celia: Laura Rogers. Jaques: Tim McMullan.
    • It’s lively and enjoyable but with mixed casting. Orland and Celia are good. I didn’t like the interpretations of Rosalind, Touchstone or Audrey, and Jaques was a bit blasé, full of himself, snide rather than melancholy.
  • The BBC production, 1978. Director: Basil Coleman. Rosalind: Helen Mirren. Orlando: Brian Sterner. Celia: Angharad Rees. Jaques: Richard Pasco.
    • Helen Mirren and Richard Pasco are very good.
  • The 1936 version with Olivier: http://rubyjandsmovieblog.blogspot.se/2013/03/as-you-like-it-1936.html
  • The Branagh version, 2006: http://rubyjandsmovieblog.blogspot.se/2013/03/as-you-like-it-2006.html
    • I gave this film a very high rating last time. This time I was less enthralled (sorry, Sir Ken!). The two brothers were good as was Jaques but I find it harder and harder to accept Rosalind and this interpretation now felt shallow and giggly. Celia too. I really like this play and hope to see a stronger production of it one day! 



Monday, November 7, 2016

November 2016

Life has generally been filled with things other than Shakespeare this month but we have read As You Like It and enjoyed it as much as ever. We’ve watched two of the four films we have of it and will watch the others next weekend.

As always I will once again mention to visitors of this blog that Shakespeare Calling – the book is available for purchase. Please help promote the book by buying it, of course, and telling your friends about it, by liking and sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Bokus…. And please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it.  Thank you. Your support is needed to keep this project alive.

or
or Adlibris. Or contact the publisher info@vulkan.se

Shakespeare Calling – the book is promoted by
and

Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Bernadette Robinson’s teaching memoirs Please Miss she comments on the poetry of one of her very young students: ‘Not Shakespeare, maybe, but a start for a budding actor.’ Which he went on to become, and sometimes played in Shakespeare’s plays which, according to Robinson, he did ‘with aplomb’.
  • In an extra feature about the making of Doctor Who an observation was made that there wasn’t much nuance in the voice of a Dalek. You wouldn’t see a Dalek playing Hamlet. It couldn’t be (in a mechanical Dalek voice): ‘To..be…or…not…to…be…’ Hmm, don’t be too sure. They did it in Klingon…
  • Peter Ackroyd, in his History of England Volume II Tudors
    • Describes the background to the friendship between Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer and notes, ‘It has all the makings of a stage play which, from the pen of Shakespeare, it eventually became.’
    • In the later conflict between Queen Mary’s Catholicism and the Protestants, many fled England and Ackroyd tells us, ‘The religious refugees left a more enduring legacy with their Geneva Bible, the text for which Shakespeare had an abiding affection.’
  • Monty Python carries on. Eric Idle is a man who garbles everything he says: ‘Ta the mnemot I’, working on The Mating of the Wersh by Malliwi Rapesheake, Two Nettlemeg of Verona, Twelfth Thing, The Chamrent of Venice, and he quotes, ‘Thamel: Be o tot bot net ot, that is the noestqui,’ and ‘A shroe! A shroe! My dingkom for a shroe!’ There has also been an episode called ‘Hamlet’ which starts with Hamlet on a psychiatrist’s couch. He pops up now and again throughout the episode and there are a few scattered quotes.
  • In the novel Still Life by Louise Penny CI Gamache is talking to psychologist and bookshop owner Myrna and replies to her comment that people can only save themselves: ‘The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.’
  • In the mini-series Unforgotten the ex-alcoholic, ex-racist Lizzie had in her new life taken her prodigy Curtis to see Hamlet
  • In Doctor Who season 1 with Christopher Eccleston Charles Dickens says, ‘What the Shakespeare is going on?’ Good one, I’ll have to remember to use that! Later the young maid reprimands the Doctor with the words, ‘There are more things in heaven and in earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Doctor.’
  • In Branagh’s Cinderella the evil stepsister sings a dreadfully out of tune version of ‘It was a lover and his lass…’

 Further since last time:
  • Read aloud with Hal: As You Like It
  • Watched:
    • The Globe production from 2009. A mixed pleasure. Orlando and Celia were very good, the others less so.
    • The BBC production from 1978. Enjoyable with an appropriately melancholy Jaques and a young Helen Mirren.
  • Read: the very strange fantasy novel Ill Met by Moonlight by Sarah A Hoyt in which the recently married Will, a schoolteacher in Stratford, has to rescue his wife and daughter from the kidnapping fairies…I cannot in honesty recommend it. 
Posted this month
  • This report