Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"While you here do snoring lie, Open-eyed conspiracy His time doth take." 
— William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Ariel at II, i)

Clouds performing Hamlet's "Alas poor Yorick" scene. (From: the Daily Mail)

"Tuesday is Shakespeare's birthday, and there's no shortage of Bard news in the UK media.
     James McElvoy's Macbeth, a hot ticket, is playing in London. Adrian Lester's Othello is about to open at the National Theatre. There are any number of Hamlets in the pipeline. And two academics – the very distinguished Professor Stanley Wells and Dr Paul Edmondson – have decided (unwisely, in my view) to take on the so-called anti-Stratfordians in a volume entitled Shakespeare Beyond Doubt.
     The conspiracy theories surrounding the 'authorship question' are so bonkers, and the people questioning Shakespeare are – to put it politely – so eccentric, it beats me why Wells and Edmundson felt the need to engage with this matter. Professional exasperation no doubt. It's understandable, but I wish they had not given this question serious attention.
     Just because Hollywood made a dreadful, and dreadfully stupid, film (Anonymous), and a West Coast campus (Concordia, in Portland, Oregon) together with an English university (Brunel) have decided to offer coursework in the authorship question, does not, in my view, require a considered response from good scholars. As Gore Vidal said in another context: you can handle shit with a kid glove. It still remains shit, but the glove doesn't get any glove-ier."
— Robert McCrum, the Guardian
Read more…

"When polish composer André Tchaikowsky died in 1982, according to his wishes, his body was donated to science, but his head — his skull, in particular — was donated to Shakespeare.
     In making this cranial contribution, Tchaikowsky hoped that his skull would be used in Hamlet as Yorick, the dead jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1…
     For many years, no actor or director felt comfortable using a real skull in performances, although it was occasionally used in rehearsals. In 2008, the skull was finally held by David Tennant in a series of performances of Hamlet at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon."
22 Words

Read more and see the pictures (of Dr. Who alumnus David Tennent holding "poor Yorick") here…

And get more "Bard News" here…

And here…

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