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Old July 1 2013, 08:00 AM   #76
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Who knew that in a season of bigger, badder cgi slug-fests that the best movie of the summer so far would be Joss Whedon's house party film. . . I want to know how to swing an invite to the next shindig he throws. . .



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Old July 1 2013, 08:46 AM   #77
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

It just opened at the little indie theater down the block from me. I shall be heading down there on tuesday when the heat hits 115 degrees as an alternative to peeling off my skin to stay cool.
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Old July 1 2013, 04:31 PM   #78
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Gaith wrote: View Post
^ Are they, though, or are we just so used to seeing them freely transposed that we've come to accept it as natural?




Actually, the time and place Shakespeare intended for them was 16th century England. If you put "Julius Caesar", "Antony and Cleopatra" or "Troilus and Cressida" in the title, that would not be funny... It would really be new and original to stage those plays in the time and place Shakespeare "intended", i.e. the way his company played them: with Julius Caesar, Brutus, Antony, Cleopatra, Achilles etc. wearing the costumes of 16th/17th century English people. Which is exactly what's usually done in traditional productions with Hamlet or King Lear - despite the obvious anachronism. Why not his Roman or Ancient Greek/Trojan plays as well? Why are they wearing togas in Julius Caesar?

And then there are those comedies and romances of his like A Midsummer Night's Dream or Winter's Tale that are staged without any regard towards geography or history.

Staging Shakespeare's plays in a modern setting is, in fact, far more faithful to Shakespeare, since that's exactly what Shakespeare himself was doing.

Sci wrote: View Post
Shurik wrote: View Post
Add to this the fact that the theatre was, at the end of the day, a mechanism for propaganda as much as it was anything else; all plays had to be approved by the Master of the Revels, and theatrical performances were subject to heavy censorship from the Elizabethan/Jacobian dictatorships. Elizabethan/early modern authors were very conscious of the fact that they were shaping the public's understanding of historical events for political purposes -- this was not something they shied away from. Hence why King MacBeth is the epitome of temptation and corruption, and the ancestors of King James are depicted so heroically.
And then there's Richard III, which is a very good play, but it reads like a propaganda piece more than everything ... Not surprising, considering Richard was the one whom Elizabeth I's granddad defeated on his way to the throne. Not that historical Richard III was a saint or something, but Shakespeare presents him as a complete monster devoid of humanity.
And on the flip side, there's Henry V, which depicts the title character in such unambiguously heroic terms that it would rival a North Korean biography of Kim Il-Sung in terms of being cult-of-personality propaganda.
Err... I don't think so. That description reads more like an account of watching Olivier's version of Henry V (or to a smaller extent Branagh's) than reading the actual play. Both of these films removed all subversive elements from the play - and there certainly are in the text, to the point that some critics have read the play as a smart, subversive satirical play under the guise of a patriotic hero story. Shakespeare was a smart fellow.

I almost wonder at moments how he got away with some stuff, such as a prose conversation between two minor characters who compare Henry V to Alexander the Great - which is a good thing, right? Or maybe not... When their point of comparison is that Alexander killed his best friend (they are commenting on Henry's treatment of Falstaff, and IIRC it comes shortly after Henry orders the execution of prisoners), and the Welsh comic character keeps calling him "Alexander the Pig"... which I'm sure was seen as just a big of lowbrow comedy for the masses (you see, the Welsh comic character mistakes "big" for "great" and mispronounces his "gs" as "ps")... That's all it was... or maybe not, since it's a bit too convenient - especially when you keep in mind the less than flattering way Shakespeare portrayed Julius Caesar and the Greek conquering heroes in Troilus and Cressida.

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Nor do all aspects of Shakespeare really survive translation. Richard III really doesn't translate into thirties Fascism. It's about glorifying the Tudors by blackening their predecessor.
Actually, it translated wonderfully. And for 99.999% the audiences today, as well as a hundred years and two hundred years ago, Richard III isn't about the Tudors or their predecessors. Most people don't care about the Tudors or the Yorks or about the historical Richard (who, BTW, doesn't really seem to have been any nicer in real life, based on the available evidence; he's certainly likely to have ordered the death of his nephews). I would argue that it was never what the play was about; it was just why it was written. The play is about ambition and ruthlessness - about his incredibly ambitious guy's obsessed with power because of his other deficiencies, and will stop at nothing to become the ruler. That's a timeless story.

The vision at Banquo's feast is meaningless to us. A woman's statue coming to life (I've forgotten if that's Cymbeline or A Winter's Tale) had resonances that simply do not apply today.
There's this thing called Suspension of Disbelief. By your logic, most people today believe in vampires, zombies and superheroes, or how else is the fiction about them so popular?
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Old July 1 2013, 10:40 PM   #79
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

DevilEyes wrote: View Post



Actually, the time and place Shakespeare intended for them was 16th century England. If you put "Julius Caesar", "Antony and Cleopatra" or "Troilus and Cressida" in the title, that would not be funny... It would really be new and original to stage those plays in the time and place Shakespeare "intended", i.e. the way his company played them: with Julius Caesar, Brutus, Antony, Cleopatra, Achilles etc. wearing the costumes of 16th/17th century English people. Which is exactly what's usually done in traditional productions with Hamlet or King Lear - despite the obvious anachronism. Why not his Roman or Ancient Greek/Trojan plays as well? Why are they wearing togas in Julius Caesar?

And then there are those comedies and romances of his like A Midsummer Night's Dream or Winter's Tale that are staged without any regard towards geography or history.

Staging Shakespeare's plays in a modern setting is, in fact, far more faithful to Shakespeare, since that's exactly what Shakespeare himself was doing.
Either you are assuming the conclusion, or you didn't even understand the question. Which is, to what extent did Elizabethan/Jacobean audiences regard themselves as "modern," distinct from ancient or mediaeval? Mediaeval religious art also had a tendency to dress its figures in contemporary dress, but it would be foolhardy to assume those artists were modernizing for their audience. Shakespeare was much closer to mediaeval times than to us. At the outset of his career, drama was a branch of poetry. No, it is by no means assured that our version of modernization was "exactly" what Shakespeare was doing.

Err... I don't think so. That description reads more like an account of watching Olivier's version of Henry V (or to a smaller extent Branagh's) than reading the actual play. Both of these films removed all subversive elements from the play - and there certainly are in the text, to the point that some critics have read the play as a smart, subversive satirical play under the guise of a patriotic hero story. Shakespeare was a smart fellow.

I almost wonder at moments how he got away with some stuff, such as a prose conversation between two minor characters who compare Henry V to Alexander the Great - which is a good thing, right? Or maybe not... When their point of comparison is that Alexander killed his best friend (they are commenting on Henry's treatment of Falstaff, and IIRC it comes shortly after Henry orders the execution of prisoners), and the Welsh comic character keeps calling him "Alexander the Pig"... which I'm sure was seen as just a big of lowbrow comedy for the masses (you see, the Welsh comic character mistakes "big" for "great" and mispronounces his "gs" as "ps")... That's all it was... or maybe not, since it's a bit too convenient - especially when you keep in mind the less than flattering way Shakespeare portrayed Julius Caesar and the Greek conquering heroes in Troilus and Cressida.
A female ruler such as Queen Elizabeth threatens her throne and her life by permitting military adventures of the state. The consequences of defeats are all too obvious, but for the queen personally a victorious general is a personal threat. Your certainty that those "elements" in Henry V are "subversive" rests largely on a naïve and uncritical assumption.

Or perhaps not so naïve. You can write "Welsh comic character" easily enough. But it doesn't take a hugely sophisticated writer to put unpalatable opinions in the mouths of despised, "comic" characters as a way to blunt the edge. You don't know how London audiences felt about the Welsh. The Tudors were despots, like their successors the Stuarts. We know that there was much resentment of the tyrants boiling beneath the surface. A propaganda piece that pretends to present all sides is far more effective. But Henry V still gets the St. Crispin's Day speech.

Actually, [McKellen's Richard III] translated wonderfully. And for 99.999% the audiences today, as well as a hundred years and two hundred years ago, Richard III isn't about the Tudors or their predecessors. Most people don't care about the Tudors or the Yorks or about the historical Richard (who, BTW, doesn't really seem to have been any nicer in real life, based on the available evidence; he's certainly likely to have ordered the death of his nephews). I would argue that it was never what the play was about; it was just why it was written. The play is about ambition and ruthlessness - about his incredibly ambitious guy's obsessed with power because of his other deficiencies, and will stop at nothing to become the ruler. That's a timeless story.
If bullshit is timeless, then it's a timeless story. None of that Fascist décor meant a damn thing in the McKellen staging. Shakespeare's Richard achieves power in a way completely irrelevant to modern politics, fascist or democratic. Anyone who thinks that this is a probe of human nature is a fool. While he or she looks for the scheming villain, the machinery of power grinds away, undisturbed, unnoticed, undangered.
I suppose poverty is the modern equivalent of a hunchback, though. In that sense Richard III is a relevant cautionary fable about the threats posed by the manifestly inferior trying vainly to cure their discontents. This is not a kind word for Shakespeare.

The vision at Banquo's feast is meaningless to us. A woman's statue coming to life (I've forgotten if that's Cymbeline or A Winter's Tale) had resonances that simply do not apply today.
There's this thing called Suspension of Disbelief. By your logic, most people today believe in vampires, zombies and superheroes, or how else is the fiction about them so popular?
There might be a language problem here. The term "resonances" has nothing to do with suspension of disbelief. It is a fairly common way of referring to the associational images and references and allusions of a scene. Scene:resonance::word:connotation is a pretty good analogy. The march of kings in Macbeth is a straightforward exercise in dynastic glorification. I do hope it doesn't inspire patriotic feelings in its audience today. The statue coming to life reference mediaeval religion (Catholicism) with bleeding and weeping and floating statues. Again, I do hope religious awe is not a part of an audience's response to such a scene.
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Old July 2 2013, 01:09 AM   #80
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

I had to drive clear across town to see this, since only one local theater is carrying it. But though sitting too close to the HD video screen in the small theater seems to have given me a headache, the trip was worth it. I'm not familiar enough with the play to assess the merits of the adaptation, but it was a solid movie and the performances, production, and direction mostly worked very well. If anything, it was the source material I found most wanting, since it seems kind of uneven in tone and focus and its crises are resolved too easily. But then, maybe that's what Elizabethan audiences wanted in a comedy, and maybe I shouldn't expect too much from a play called Much Ado About Nothing. There was some good dialogue, though, and Whedon and his cast mostly brought out the best in it, and did a terrific job finding the emotion and drama as well as the humor.

The real standouts here for me were Fran Kranz -- just as brilliant, heartfelt, and poignant an actor as he was in Dollhouse -- and Amy Acker, who was as superb as ever. Reed Diamond also really impressed me -- making Shakespeare's dialogue sound natural and non-stagey is a very hard thing to do, and I think Diamond did it better than anyone else, though Acker was a very close second in that department. Nathan Fillion was quite memorable as Dogberry, but he wasn't really doing much beyond being Nathan Fillion. I liked Tom Lenk's '70s-bad-cop take on Verges.

But I found Alexis Denisof underwhelming as Benedick. His delivery was too declamatory, more reciting the lines than delivering them naturally. Maybe that's because he was going for a bombastic characterization, but it didn't work for me. And while Clark Gregg was good, he didn't stand out as much as I'd expected. Sean Maher was an underwhelming villain as Don John, and Spencer Treat Clark as his henchman Borachio was rather bland.

The production was good. Hearing that this was a project Whedon and friends put together in 12 days in his house, I wasn't expecting the house itself (and its grounds) to be such a central and captivating character. No wonder he wanted to make a movie there -- it's a gorgeous place. Although I wonder how much he dressed up the "sets" to make them more visually interesting. The music was fairly good too, and it was nice to see Maurissa Tancharoen get an onscreen cameo as the singer at the party (unfortunately she was the only nonwhite person whose voice is heard in the film, though there are several black extras). And those acrobats on the trapeze were amazing.

It was a bit weird seeing this contemporary setting for a story so rooted in centuries-old customs and attitudes -- dukes and princes, arranged marriages, the fixation with feminine purity before marriage, etc. That always throws me in these modernized productions. Plus it was weird hearing the Rule-63'd Conrade consistently referred to as a "fellow" and a man, although Dogberry did call her "she" at one point.


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Which is, to what extent did Elizabethan/Jacobean audiences regard themselves as "modern," distinct from ancient or mediaeval? Mediaeval religious art also had a tendency to dress its figures in contemporary dress, but it would be foolhardy to assume those artists were modernizing for their audience. Shakespeare was much closer to mediaeval times than to us.
Well, there is the fact that at the time, "modern" tended to be used to mean "ordinary, commonplace," as in Sonnet 83's lament that "a modern quill doth come too short" in writing of the worth of its addressee, or As You Like It's use of "modern instances" to mean trite examples and "modern censure" to mean common sense. But on the other hand, there is All's Well that Ends Well, Act II sc. iii:
Laf. They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
Par. Why, ’tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in our latter times.
So they did have a sense of their own time being newer and distinct from the past -- just as everyone probably has throughout history.


At the outset of his career, drama was a branch of poetry. No, it is by no means assured that our version of modernization was "exactly" what Shakespeare was doing.
No analogy is ever exact, but there's no question that Shakespeare was modernizing for his audience. "The clock hath stricken three" in Julius Caesar is a classic example -- they didn't have striking clocks in Ancient Rome, so that's as great an anachronism as the cell-phone video in Whedon's Much Ado. (Oops, I already mentioned that one way back in post #24!)
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Old July 2 2013, 02:25 PM   #81
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Christopher wrote: View Post
It was a bit weird seeing this contemporary setting for a story so rooted in centuries-old customs and attitudes -- dukes and princes, arranged marriages, the fixation with feminine purity before marriage, etc. That always throws me in these modernized productions.
The question then is whether modern dress is a genuine modernization, i.e., a meaningful one? This question applies to Shakespeare's supposed modernization as well, of course. Today we have a great deal of readily available scholarship about past costumes (and possibly a widespread hostility towards identifying with superficially different stage characters.) I still suspect that simple ignorance played a large part in modern costuming in the Elizabethan/Jacobean theater. Costumes cost money.

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Which is, to what extent did Elizabethan/Jacobean audiences regard themselves as "modern," distinct from ancient or mediaeval? Mediaeval religious art also had a tendency to dress its figures in contemporary dress, but it would be foolhardy to assume those artists were modernizing for their audience. Shakespeare was much closer to mediaeval times than to us.
Well, there is the fact that at the time, "modern" tended to be used to mean "ordinary, commonplace," as in Sonnet 83's lament that "a modern quill doth come too short" in writing of the worth of its addressee, or As You Like It's use of "modern instances" to mean trite examples and "modern censure" to mean common sense. But on the other hand, there is All's Well that Ends Well, Act II sc. iii:
Laf. They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear.
Par. Why, ’tis the rarest argument of wonder that hath shot out in our latter times.
If you substitute "mundane" for "modern" in the All's Well quote, the meaning comes out quite clearly. The character is arguing for belief in magic/religion, an attitude that was becoming associated in some circles with the past. The response is confused in this excerpt. What does "it" refer to? Does "rare" have another meaning in that period?

The question is how clearly they realized that the past was different, including things like daily dress and, more to the point, social customs. I suspect that new discoveries, such as the existence of the New World and technologies, and new religions were the main reasons for regarding their world as "latter times." But these novelties could be regarded as an overlay on a timeless human nature, the false projection of today's life into the changeless past. There are people who still think that way today.

So they did have a sense of their own time being newer and distinct from the past -- just as everyone probably has throughout history.
Rural society comprised largely of illiterates probably felt this? The realization that the past is gone is not at all the same thing as a genuine grasp of the fact that the past was different, and tomorrow will be different. Quite often it seems as though the official adulation of Shakespeare is about enshrining the principle of timelessness to society, which is merely the inevitable expression of eternal human nature.

No analogy is ever exact, but there's no question that Shakespeare was modernizing for his audience. "The clock hath stricken three" in Julius Caesar is a classic example -- they didn't have striking clocks in Ancient Rome, so that's as great an anachronism as the cell-phone video in Whedon's Much Ado. (Oops, I already mentioned that one way back in post #24!)
Again, is it so certain the audience knew it was an anachronism? In what sense is an anachronism a modernization? Much Ado About Nothing is not a modern story. By your report it is not modernized in any meaningful way. The characters are just dressed well (but cheaply.) I think it is a real question whether anything in Shakespeare shows any deep understanding of how society was changing. Really a lot of Shakespeare seems to turn away from the world, to some dreamscape where the emotions run riot, given names, but not really people.

Shakespeare's use of contemporary dress seems to me likely to have been exactly the same thing: An old fashioned story done on the cheap, no fancy costumes only some stinking nerds care about. And this doesn't matter, to people like that, because there's not really anything about the past that is fundamentally different. The past doesn't need commonplace markers like proper costumes. The social customs of the past don't change the drama, because they, like the past as a whole, isn't fundamentally different. I suppose that I have learned from this exchange that it is entirely possible that Shakespeare's use of modern dress was a problematic as modern dress in Shakespeare today. Thanks for the enlightenment!
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Old July 3 2013, 04:01 PM   #82
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Went after work and saw this at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville's Midtown yesterday. As an Indie/Retro theater they do serve a small selection of beers/wine so I had myself a brew an sat down for Much Ado About Nothing.

I throughly enjoyed it and while I know I've seen this material covered before I've never had as much fun with it. It's not going to be for everyone and it's not going to make a killing over it's limited run but this labor of love for Whedon and the Gang gets two big thumbs up from me!!
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Old July 3 2013, 04:13 PM   #83
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Not playing anywhere near me, so that's a bummer.
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Old July 3 2013, 10:37 PM   #84
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

An important thing to consider in evaluating what the fact that the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre used contemporary dress for historical characters, and other anachronisms:

Theatre at this point did not have a tradition of Realism/Naturalism. There was no sense that the stage should try to accurately re-create real life. Sets, costumes, staging, characterizations -- these facets of the theatrical experience were not designed in Shakespeare's era to be an accurate reproduction of the physical world, any more than music is meant to be an accurate reproduction of human speech or of the aural world.

So the idea that there would have been any need or obligation to use period accurate dress, or to refer to accurate technology, for historical plays, just would not have occurred to them.
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Old July 4 2013, 12:20 AM   #85
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

^And of course they didn't even have sets in Shakespeare's day -- just the bare stage, with dialogue establishing the setting (e.g. "This castle hath a pleasant seat").
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Old July 4 2013, 02:43 AM   #86
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Sci wrote: View Post
An important thing to consider in evaluating what the fact that the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre used contemporary dress for historical characters, and other anachronisms:

Theatre at this point did not have a tradition of Realism/Naturalism. There was no sense that the stage should try to accurately re-create real life. Sets, costumes, staging, characterizations -- these facets of the theatrical experience were not designed in Shakespeare's era to be an accurate reproduction of the physical world, any more than music is meant to be an accurate reproduction of human speech or of the aural world.

So the idea that there would have been any need or obligation to use period accurate dress, or to refer to accurate technology, for historical plays, just would not have occurred to them.
I find this more plausible than the certainty that Shakespeare was modernizing the stories by setting them in contemporary dress. But I have been authoritatively assured that this was so. Further, the reverence for Shakespeare is most commonly held to be precisely his realism about humanity, albeit of a timeless variety. I don't actually believe in a timeless humanity, so the reverence is confusing.

Notions of realism or naturalism, not our modern ones of course, but something ancestral to it was the trend of the whole period. In some respects the Elizabethan stage was a naturalistic revulsion against the morality play. At this time, prose dialogue instead of poetry was cutting edge naturalism. Moving away from stylized gestures, makeup and costuming to contemporary dress was a minor part of this perhaps.
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Old July 4 2013, 11:30 AM   #87
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

stj wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
An important thing to consider in evaluating what the fact that the Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre used contemporary dress for historical characters, and other anachronisms:

Theatre at this point did not have a tradition of Realism/Naturalism. There was no sense that the stage should try to accurately re-create real life. Sets, costumes, staging, characterizations -- these facets of the theatrical experience were not designed in Shakespeare's era to be an accurate reproduction of the physical world, any more than music is meant to be an accurate reproduction of human speech or of the aural world.

So the idea that there would have been any need or obligation to use period accurate dress, or to refer to accurate technology, for historical plays, just would not have occurred to them.
I find this more plausible than the certainty that Shakespeare was modernizing the stories by setting them in contemporary dress. But I have been authoritatively assured that this was so.
I suppose one might argue that the effect of using contemporary garb was to "modernize" historical characters, even if this was not the intent. But I think it's far more plausible to presume that theatrical companies of the era just didn't put that much thought into it one way or the other, given their lack of a Realist/Naturalist tradition. They just did not care about anachronisms.

Which, either way, does make the presence of anachronisms appropriate for a Shakespeare adaptation set in modern times. These anachronisms might not have registered as such for an Elizabethan audience, but they were certainly present, and it seems quite appropriate that we can encounter anachronisms our current productions, if only to "mirror" the anachronisms present in the original productions.

Further, the reverence for Shakespeare is most commonly held to be precisely his realism about humanity, albeit of a timeless variety. I don't actually believe in a timeless humanity, so the reverence is confusing.
*shrugs* I like Shakespeare a lot; I think he was a great writer with amazing insights into humanity. I also think he was a man of his age, and that the prejudices of his era clearly show in his work. I also think he was a popular entertainer who lived in a dictatorial police state, and that sometimes his works functioned as political propaganda.

I think that Shakespeare may be an amazing writer, but that we in the English-speaking world have a habit of setting him up on a pedestal and engaging in "Bardolotry." Yes, this is the man who wrote the sophisticated characters of Hamlet and Macbeth; this is also the man who created the ridiculous cartoon characters of Pistol, Nym, and Bardolph from Henry V, whose sexism shines throughout The Taming of the Shrew, whose idea of a typical working-class man can be seen in The Tempest's Stephano or in The Winter's Tale's Clown and Autolycus. The same man who wrote "To be or not to be" was not above dirty jokes about the word "cunt" in Henry V, or above absurd physical comedy in Midsummer Night's Dream.

Shakespeare was amazing, but he wasn't this perfect, idealized writer people think of him as. Were he alive today, the guy would probably be working in TV or movies, making stuff that alternates between easy laughs and sophistication.... sort of like Joss Whedon.
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Old July 4 2013, 04:31 PM   #88
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Re: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, by Harold Bloom is the sort of official context I'm thinking about. With the number of books with Bloom's name on them, I don't think he can be dismissed as a crank. And this "Bardolatry" long precedes us. Henry James wrote The Birthplace long ago.
Esthetically speaking, Shakespeare is the equivalent of the flag, Mom and apple pie. Only the perverse and tasteless are less than enthusiastic.

I think it's ironic that the official status assigned to Shakespeare seems to interfere with a genuine appreciation of his comedies. Comedy is always underrated but in Shakespeare the need to falsely elevate the tragedies and histories leads this to near criminal underestimation of his remarkable range and depth in the comedies.

However, I do not think any contemporary figure can be compared with Shakespeare. An essential aspect of Shakespeare is not his stagecraft or witty dialogue or blank verse, but his borrowing. Modern notions about originality forbid anyone to operate as Shakespeare did. Shakespeare appears to me to have made his real money as a partner in a theater. Certainly no other playwright seems to have been able to make himself rich, although a couple, Marlowe and Kyd managed to make themselves dead. Shakespeare was the kind of man who thrived in a despotism. I think that the kind of man he was also comes out in his plays.

PS It occurred to me that while you appreciate the sophisticated character of Macbeth, I can't forget that the real Macbeth was nothing like that, that in fact the real Macbeth ruled for about seventeen years. Incidentally, the second season of the Canadian series Slings & Arrows covers the production of Macbeth, and has some interesting things to say. The comments of the Nigerian janitor to the play's director are especially provocative. Also, buried amongst the hugger-mugger in Anonymous is a set piece scene about the play Henry V, which dramatizes the excitement or joy of enthralling an audience. (As you know, any resemblance to any genuine human beings in Anonymous is more or less accidental.)
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