Henry’s Shy Side

After more than a year, I finally reach the final play in the Shakespeare canon - Henry VIII, co-written with John Fletcher. Mysteriously, I'm unable to engage with this play, no matter how many times I revisit it. And the Argo recording is truly splendid, with more period music than ever and a really great…

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The Other Transcendent

The Tempest, that odd, beautiful play, brings to finality several of Shakespeare's common running themes, most notably that of the misfit or social reject. I think back nearly to the beginning of this blog, a year ago, and Aaron the Moor, Richard of Gloucester, and the long train of characters who for some reason or…

Beyond Words

Here's flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun And with him rises weeping: these are flowers Of middle summer, and I think they are given To men of middle age. *** The image of Perdita, the lost child of angry Leontes, handing out restorative herbs…

Conversations with a Headless Corpse

And it's true, a headless corpse is on stage for goodly portion of Act IV of Cymbeline. The heroine, mistaking the deceased for her husband, swoons and lies unconscious on it. I suppose this is more difficult to process if you're watching the play on stage - is it appalling? Over the top, unintentionally (or…

Actor Interrupted

It's public knowledge, apparently, that Caius Marcius is a mama's boy with an implacable hatred for the "common man" that counters the value of his public service and makes him potentially unfit for office. It takes only a few moments, in the very first scene of Coriolanus, for a random group of citizens ┬áto discuss…

And then this happened…

Delighted to enter the strange, beautiful world of Shakespeare's Romances - a world where verse and prose are stylistically inconsistent (due in part to collaboration with other playwrights, but also to the poet's increasingly complex relationship to the formal constraints of iambic pentameter). A world where character development is non-existent and plots are driven not…