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Well, it's coming up to June already(!) and I'm feeling my seasonal urge to read Midsummer Nights Dream, and if I can find my elderly DVD, watch that too. This is one play I'd like to see on stage, maybe semi ballet, it could be beautiful. Romeo and Juliet too is a summer read for me.

At the other end of the scale, what but MacBeth and Antony and Cleopatra for deepest darkest winter?

 

Seems silly, but habits form and to read these plays at other times just feels wrong to me now, so I dabble about in the others and various poetry, when I feel like a bit of musical expression throughout the year. 

 

Modern language can be so boring, can't it?

 

I may tarry no longer - 

 

Happy :readingtwo: All

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Have to admit I have always felt rather intimidated by Shakespeare and aside from studying Macbeth at school and reading a couple of the sonnets I've stayed well away.

 

However, the BBC have recently put up some of the Shakespeare plays on iPlayer. I watched Othello and was blown away. Fantastic actors but I was also drawn in by the speeches and the plot. It has definitely made me change my perspective on Shakespeare and I really hope to watch more of the plays on iPlayer.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations on what I should watch next? :) 

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On 22/08/2020 at 7:24 PM, Angury said:

Have to admit I have always felt rather intimidated by Shakespeare and aside from studying Macbeth at school and reading a couple of the sonnets I've stayed well away.

 

However, the BBC have recently put up some of the Shakespeare plays on iPlayer. I watched Othello and was blown away. Fantastic actors but I was also drawn in by the speeches and the plot. It has definitely made me change my perspective on Shakespeare and I really hope to watch more of the plays on iPlayer.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations on what I should watch next? :) 

I always remember a teacher I had once saying 'we were never meant to read Shakespeare's plays, we were meant to watch them'... which is a good point really.

 

I would vote for Macbeth next, to see how it compares to your memory of it from school!

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  • 9 months later...

I have been trying to understand and even like Shakespeare. I read his sonnets and recognised the one we did at school, Let me to a marriage of true minds..., And also the once sung by Florence and the Machine. We did Macbeth for school. I watched the play years ago. I also wanted the Roman Polanski version. Last year I read Othello in one of those Arden series. I read it because it was one I had not come across before at school, in film or in Shakespeare in the Park type stagings. I found the introduction more interesting than the play. I recently finished another Arden book on Richard II. I was congratulating myself on having understood most of it, only now I am reading the introduction and it seems I hardly understood it at all.

 

 

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Have you watched the BBC series 'The Hollow Crown' ? The first set,which was 'Richard II', 'Henry IV Pt 1', 'Henry IV Pt 2' and 'Henry V' are particularly good. They are basically the plays of the same name, but with jusicious editing and the removal of certain bits,that do not in any way detract from the power and the beauty of the works. There was a second run, which I did not find as good, even though it included 'Richard III', a powerful drama by any standards. Check them out if you have missed them, they are well worth it.

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I was very lucky. We visited my maternal grandmother every week when I was a child and my grandmother would not let anybody in to the kitchen when she was doing her dishes. She quoted whatever she felt like as she did them and my mother allowed me to sit at the open door - as long as I didn't go over the threshold, which she showed me - and listen. I can't remember specifically what she quoted but it definitely included Robert Burns, Shakespeare and very probably the King James Bible. She quoted them with feeling and expression and while, as a child, I had no idea what she was actually saying I got the sense from her expression. When I got to do these thing at school I fully understood them so was a little ahead of my contemporaries. 
 

I still like to hear the spoken word even if I don't understand it.

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On 24/06/2021 at 10:01 AM, timebug said:

Have you watched the BBC series 'The Hollow Crown' ? The first set,which was 'Richard II', 'Henry IV Pt 1', 'Henry IV Pt 2' and 'Henry V' are particularly good. They are basically the plays of the same name, but with jusicious editing and the removal of certain bits,that do not in any way detract from the power and the beauty of the works. There was a second run, which I did not find as good, even though it included 'Richard III', a powerful drama by any standards. Check them out if you have missed them, they are well worth it.

I 've watched one or two bits on YouTube. Ben Wishaw is great, better than all the great British actors from yesteryear if you ask me.

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I read the historical King Richard II was the one who went out to meet Wat Tyler and the leaders of the peasant revolt. He gave in to their demands, persuaded them to go home. After that he reneged on his promises and all the ring-leaders were hanged. So, on the one hand, he did have more nerve than is shown in the play; on the other hand, he also demonstrated that you could not trust him.

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I cannot really understand Shakespeare's plays without studying them first. I used to think it was because the words were so different to contemporary English. Now I am not so sure about that. I did not have much trouble understanding The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, written in 1749, or Robinson Crusoe, written in 1719. I expect if I read the Diary of Samuel Pepys, I would not have much difficulty. I think it is either because Shakespeare's written style is especially flowery, or it is the actual ideas I have difficulty with. I often wonder how much of it was getting through to Shakespeare's original audiences. I assume most of it was, but were they picking up on every nuance?

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  • 5 months later...
On 6/24/2021 at 11:29 AM, lunababymoonchild said:

I was very lucky. We visited my maternal grandmother every week when I was a child and my grandmother would not let anybody in to the kitchen when she was doing her dishes. She quoted whatever she felt like as she did them and my mother allowed me to sit at the open door - as long as I didn't go over the threshold, which she showed me - and listen. I can't remember specifically what she quoted but it definitely included Robert Burns, Shakespeare and very probably the King James Bible. She quoted them with feeling and expression and while, as a child, I had no idea what she was actually saying I got the sense from her expression. When I got to do these thing at school I fully understood them so was a little ahead of my contemporaries. 
 

I still like to hear the spoken word even if I don't understand it.

That's a very nice story.

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Next year I plan to read one of Shakespeare's comedies in one of those Arden books, probably A Midsummer Night's Dream. I don't care if Titania was given the fairy equivalent of Rohpinol. Just don't care. In 2023, God willing, I will do the big one, Hamlet.

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23 minutes ago, KEV67 said:

Next year I plan to read one of Shakespeare's comedies in one of those Arden books, probably A Midsummer Night's Dream. I don't care if Titania was given the fairy equivalent of Rohpinol. Just don't care. In 2023, God willing, I will do the big one, Hamlet.

We could do a group read of Shakespeare if you want. There will be notes etc on the internet to help. Hamlet is amazing!

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  • 2 months later...

I am reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. I am still keen on doing a read-along this year, but I wanted to stick with my plan of reading a Midsummer's Night Dream first. I have never read it before or seen any film/TV adaptation or watched it as a play. I am enjoying it more than Richard II and Othello, which I read last year and the year before. For a so-called comedy it is not funny, but it is pleasant poetry. I like the Arden book. I have not started reading the introduction, but I have looked at some of the pictures. They are very artistic. There is a frame from a 1935 film adaption of the fairy folk. There is a photograph of Bijou Fernandez dressed up as Robin Goodfellow in 1888. She looks a minx. My favourite is a sculpture by Dutch artist, Arie Teeuwisse:

 

https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.manvantaal.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2021%2F04%2F04hezenes5.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

 

I might actually watch that 1935 film. It looks great.

 

Up and down, up and down

I will lead them up and down

I am feared in field and town

Goblin, lead them up and down

 

 

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  • 4 months later...

I watched the 1935 film adaption of Midsummer Night's Dream. Some of it looked good. I thought James Cagney and Mickey Rooney were good, and whoever it was who played Oberon. Other bits bored me, especially the play within a play at the end.

 

Does anyone one want to do a group read along in, say, August?

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6 hours ago, KEV67 said:

I watched the 1935 film adaption of Midsummer Night's Dream. Some of it looked good. I thought James Cagney and Mickey Rooney were good, and whoever it was who played Oberon. Other bits bored me, especially the play within a play at the end.

 

Does anyone one want to do a group read along in, say, August?

Me

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