Monday, April 3, 2017

April 2017

There has been little Shakespeare this month as life sometimes has other ideas. No plays or movies, few sightings. But one event has made up for it. Språklärarnas riksförbund (The National Association of Language Teachers in Sweden) invited me to give my presentation ‘Why Shakespeare?’ at their conference and what a pleasure it was! A keen audience, the chance to meet Shakespeare enthusiasts from round the country, and I even met up with old friends. Annette Å, whom Hal and I met in London in 2013 at the Shakespeare course arranged by Shakespearesällskapet (see my reports in June and July of 2013 here on the blog) was at the conference and we had a nice chat reminiscing about the great time we had then. Hal and I met Ingrid A, one of the arrangers of the conference, originally on a bus trip to England in 2011, on which we visited Stratford upon Avon and began talking over a book about Shakespeare. Ingrid was responsible for arranging for me to speak now at the conference. So, a wonderful Shakespeare day to round off the last month and begin this one. Thank you, Ingrid and Språkbad väst!

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.

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Shakespeare sightings:
  • In Belinda Bauer’s novel The Beautiful Dead  the police suspect that the serial killer will strike at a West End theatre during a performance of Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo collapses during the poison scene, and stays collapsed, the police rush to the stage but he revives, as the killer calmly murders the theatre manager…
  • In Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi as the twelfth Doctor in the episode ‘Sleep No More’ says, ‘Never shall Cawdor sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more. Shakespeare. He really knew his stuff.’
  • In Dagens Nyheter there was
    • a review of a satirical Hamlet which ‘must be seen…..’ This production is high quality nightmare theatre…’
    • an advert for the coming return to the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Rickard III with the brilliant Jonas Karlsson. Hal and I saw it the first time round.  In the advert it says, ‘He is manipulative, murderous and power-mad. You will love him.’ Yep.
  • In Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising she explains ancient pagan customs in Britain and quotes Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor: ‘There is an old tale goes, that Herne the Hunter…’ and continues by describing this frightening spirit.
  • The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer is a wonderful book. I’ve read it before and written about the Shakespeare sightings in it before but it’s well worth reading again, which I’m doing now, and some of the sightings are well worth repeating:
    • Shakespeare has reason to be proud when he buys New Place in 1597, ‘with its brick, glazed windows and chimneys – a far cry from the smelly house where he spent his boyhood (and where his aged father still lives). And you can see why William’s wife, Anne, is pleased to be living in New Place rather than the two-room farmhouse in Shottery where she grew up.’
    • The Mermaid in Cheapside is ‘the drinking haunt of William Shakespeare of Stratford’.
    • Writing books is not considered professional and Shakespeare is one of the ‘very few writers who manages to elevate himself from a relatively humble level to the status of a gentleman.’
    • Shakespeare is an example of those many who move to London to make their fortune before returning to the place of their birth.
    • It is the custom to kiss one’s hostess on the lips when greeting her and Cassio mentions this custom to Iago when greeting Emilia with a kiss.
    • Though a later portrait of Shakespeare shows him wearing an earring (in fact this is the portrait – which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London – used on the cover of Shakespeare calling – the book) it is highly unlikely to be accurate as few or no men in Elizabethan times pierced their ears. 

Further since last time:
  • ‘Why Shakespeare?’ in Gothenburg (see above) 

Posted this month
  • This report