Monday, July 6, 2015

July 2015

Finally the long wait is over and Shakespeare Calling – the book is now available. Below you will find the links for on-line purchase. Please encourage your local book shops and libraries to buy it! And once again, thank you all for visiting the blog throughout the years and for supporting this project.

Shakespeare Calling – the book

For those of you in the UK, Sweden and the rest of Europe:
or Adlibris, CDON or Bibliotekstjänsten

Now my Shakespeare life can go on to its next phase and Shakespeare Calling – the blog – continues. And we’ll start by reading the history plays again. First out – King John.

From Davis and Frankforter’s The Shakespeare Name Dictionary:
  • The River Trent starts in Staffordshire and crosses England to the Humber, marking the boundary between southern and northern England. It is mentioned in Henry IV Part One.
  • Tuesday is named for the god Tiu (German) or Tyr (old Norse Viking god), a war god corresponding to the Roman Mars.  Tuesday the day is mentioned in Henry IV Part One, Measure for Measure and Othello. 
Shakespeare sightings:
  • We happened to see a bit of a program about Warwickshire in England on the telly and they talked about Henley in Arden. Shakespeare was mentioned.
  • The X Files – remember them? We’ve started watching the whole series and in Season 1 a little boy is getting mysterious digital signals from Out There. Translated into text it emerges that some of it Shakespeare sonnets.
  • Coming home in a taxi from our young Shakespeare friend LR’s graduation party we caught snatches on the radio of an interview with Swedish actor Peter Stormare who talked among other things about playing Hamlet, directed by Ingmar Bergman. It seems they took the production to New York as well but unfortunately it was hard to hear everything.
  • In Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia it has been shown that people suffering from aphasia can sometimes produce without speech difficulties ‘elaborate familiar sequences’, for example ‘lines from Shakespeare.’ And later Sacks refers to Jaques in As You Like It and his seven ages of man. Jaques claims that there is nothing left in the last stage but Sacks asserts that something essential always remains.  This time I agree with Sacks!
  • In Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread a wife compares her romance with her husband as being like Romeo and Juliet, partly because she herself was thirteen when they met. He was twenty-six which makes it somewhat less than romantic if you ask me.
  • Blue Mars is the third in Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy and Shakespeare shows up again, several times:
    • Nirgal, a native Martian of Earth parents, finds that Shakespeare has prepared him for the turbulence of Martian society.
    • Ann, one of the original 100 colonists, considered herself free ‘to be or not to be.’ She is a toughie, that’s for sure.
    • The colonists are expanding onto the asteroids, planets and moons, many of which are named for Shakespeare’s characters (not fiction, it’s true).
    • Maya, another of the original 100, gets into doing theatre as a change from her political work, and her troupe does Shakespeare.
    • As her friends begin to die Maya reflects that unlike in The Winter’s Tale there will be no coming back for them.
  • In the very strong film Before the Rain Katrin Cartlidge’s mother Phyllida Law says ‘thus does conscience make cowards of us all’ but I’m afraid I don’t see the connection.
  • Blog follower AnneliT shared the National Women’s History Museum’s site on FB with birthday greetings to Lois Weber, the first woman in America to direct a feature film. It was The Merchant of Venice.
  • In Hustle the grifters got grifted and when they agree (almost) to drop the case Stacie says ‘Discretion is sometimes the best part of valour.’
  • The review in Dagens Nyheter of the new series Wolf Hall cites the strong acting as one of its merits and adds that one expects that from Shakespeare’s homeland.
  • In the novel All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews the main character finds her mother on the balcony in her nightgown ‘like Juliet’s nursemaid.’
  • In the novel White Nights by Ann Cleeves there are a couple of acting troupes who both refer to their dreams of working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. And in her Blue Lightning Jimmy Perez sees one of the women among the suspects as a Lady Macbeth egging her evil husband on.
  • In the film The Deep Blue Sea Freddie tells Hester, ‘I can’t be bloody Romeo all the time.’ Later Hester’s husband gives her a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets as a birthday present.
  • The TV films based on the Henry plays, The Hollow Crown are now showing on Swedish TV. We have the box and will be watching them soon as we progress with the history plays.
  • In Dagens Nyheter there is a review of a production of Romeo and Juliet south of Stockholm in which Juliet is a Romany girl in love with a ‘confused and humorous’ blond Romeo. The production is called ‘wild and funny.’ 

Further since last time:
  • Released: Shakespeare Calling – the book
  • Started reading: the plays aloud to each other for the third time, starting with King John 

Posted this month

Posted July 6, 2015