I spotted a couple of Shakespeare-related things today. The first is exciting – the Maxine Peake production of Hamlet has apparently been filmed and will be released to cinemas in 2015 (see here for the full story). The fact that they filmed it after the show had finished probably just means they didn’t think of it earlier, but could mean a bit more originality in the direction/editing than they can normally manage with a filmed production.
The second is amusing – apparently there is a theory that Elizabeth I actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays. I am not generally a fan of authorship conspiracies (not least because so many seem to carry an undercurrent of snobbery – “Shakespeare couldn’t possibly have written the plays himself because he was relatively poor. This nobleman must have done it instead.”) But this one has tickled my funny-bone and I think someone (possibly me) should get on with turning it into a cracking novel…
Maybe the globe is a subtle reference to the playhouse, and not the international might of England after all…
Part 2 on where Shakespeare’s plays were acted. Part 1 is here
Well it’s nearly Halloween, and that can only mean one thing. Staying indoors and eating all the sweets you bought “for trick-or-treaters”…
On the other hand, since I have just finished re-reading Wyrd Sisters, Macbeth is muchly on my mind. I think this has to be the most creepy – and the most supernaturally charged – of Shakespeare’s plays*.
So this is the first post in a series – about Shakespeare in London, and the places where his places were originally performed.
Shakespeare must have come to London in the 1580s – by 1592, he was being insulted as an “Upstart Crow” which indicates some level of success (and fame).
There were already a number of purpose-built theatres scattered around the outskirts of London, The Red Lion in Whitechapel was the first, followed by the Theatre (1576) and the Curtain (1577) in Shoreditch, and the Rose at Bankside (1587), the first theatre-house in Southwark. They were built outside the city, as the Mayor and Corporation of London had banned plays as a measure to prevent the plague. It seems likely Shakespeare’s early plays were put on by a number of different companies – the title page of the 1594 edition of Titus Andronicus showed that it had been acted by three different companies.
There is going to be a long post on all Shakespeare’s venues soon, I promise. (Part of the problem is that it’s becoming too long – it’s likely going to become a multi-part multimedia event.) But in the meantime you all need to stop what you are doing and go and visit the Rose Theatre in Bankside*.
The Rose’s blue plaque
October is normally one of my favourite months of the year – I’m a fan of cool evenings, falling leaves, and even rain (in moderation). This month hasn’t got off to great start – and not just because I’ve failed to get tickets for Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse. So I tried to cheer myself up with Shakespeare’s views on the month and apparently he doesn’t mention it once by name in the entire canon. Well that’s just an extra kick in the teeth. It’s all April and May – and maybe December if he’s in a bad mood – but nothing at all for poor October. The best I can do is a bit of Antony and Cleopatra – “For his bounty, There was no winter in’t; an autumn ’twas That grew the more by reaping.”
See, this is why I like autumn. Pretty things.
I have tickets booked! The fifth Shakespeare play of year is going to be Henry V*.
I’m going to see an all-female production in Waterloo East. Alas, I haven’t managed to get tickets to see the all-women Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse beforehand – that would have been an awesome accidental double-bill.
The venue is apparently underneath a railway arch, which should make for an interesting atmosphere (and seating is unreserved, which gives me some qualms – I normally like to be able to pick the end of a row). I’ll report back in November on what the show is like!
*It’s actually the 11th time I’ve gone to the theatre this year. That’s more times than I’ve been to the cinema. I have accidentally become cultured.
I was hoping to write a long piece about the Shakespeare book bench (I have really loved the whole book bench concept), with details of the buildings on it and why they had been chosen, but when I went to take more detailed pictures, I found the bench had already been removed – and alas I don’t think my piggy-bank will stretch to my successfully buying it at the upcoming auction…
The first official picture of Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III has been published and he’s looking rather splendid. I’ve definitely already mentioned that Richard III is one of my favourite plays, and Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favourite actors, so you could say I’m rather excited.
You could say that. I’m far too busy saying SQUEEEEEEE!
The actual notes I made while watching Henry V go like this:
- Tom whats-his-face from King Lear! He always sounds that drippy!
- Tom Hiddleston riding. Does he do his own riding?
- Are they going to colour-code this with French in blue and English in Red? Should make it easier to follow…
- Masterful Tom Hiddleston.
- Oh look it’s Anton Lesser!
- Speechifying Tom Hiddleston.
- The comedy bit with Katherine. Never quite got this.
- Tom Hiddleston has an army of twelve. Never mind, the French only have about twenty.
- Tom Hiddleston in velvet. Yay!
- It’s over? No more Tom Hiddleston? Sadface.