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Shakespeare in our lives (continued from Happy Birthday)
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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2998


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:18 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

What Shakespeare have I read/studied/seen?

Hamlet at school, also The Tempest, and I think Macbeth and King Lear.  I did English at university and must have done a number there but have no real memory of them.  Othello, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, Julius Caesar.

Must have done Romeo and Juliet - never really liked it much.  Saw the Zefferelli version of it.  We studied Richard III quite thoroughly as a teaching tool at teachers' college and I have seen the film version set in the 1930s.  

We saw Much Ado about Nothing at the Globe with an all-woman cast.  Good and memorable, and a play I like for its banter.  

Recently I have read The Merchant of Venice, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Taming of the Shrew.  I watched rather vaguely The Maori Merchant of Venice which was very much praised but was in Maori so hard for me to follow.  And can't be quite Shakespeare - though perhaps that's like saying an English translation of War and Peace isn't really Tolstoy.  

I haven't read any other of the history plays, including the Henry ones.  Nor any of the obscurer ones like Coriolanus, Troilus and Cressida, Titus Andronicus.  Some of them are much more familiar to me that others - Othello and Macbeth for instance, as opposed to Julius Caesar or The Tempest though I know I have read both of those.  I have watched some of those modern versions of Shakespeare on television and they probably help with familiarity.  The school here always has The Ugly Shakespeare Company come annually, and I sometimes see those.  

Cheers, Caro.


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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3435


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caro, I must have known you'd seen the all-woman Much Ado at the Globe, but I'd forgotten. I suppose it was probably the same production as the one I saw with Shelley and Verity (also of this board, though they're not around much these days) in June 2004, with Josie Lawrence as Benedick. I remember their Dogberry was particularly good.


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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1170



PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I came from an ordinary non-academic family, Shakespeare was part of my childhood.  Both my parents left school at 14 with no qualifications but my mother had been Peas-Blossom in a school production of "Midsummer-Night's Dream" and my father had been third witch in "Macbeth" and they would quote lines from those plays to me.  We had a family edition of Shakespeare and I enjoyed looking up quotes in the volume.

I vaguely remember watching with my family TV productions of "As You Like It" and "Hamlet".  I definately remember watching the Peter Hall/John Barton's TV production of "The War of the Roses."  This was an adaptation of Henry VI, Parts I, II and III and Richard III.  This was what really turned me onto Shakespeare.  It was so violent and sexy.  I loved it - especially knowing that I would never be allowed to watch something like that if it hadn't been Shakespeare.  (It had the same impact that "I, Claudius"was to have a few years later.)

I started studying Shakespeare at school when I was about 13 and we did Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like It (twice as I changed schools and had to do it again) Henry IV Part I and Henry V.  We then did Macbeth for O-level.  Also, I went with my mother to watch a school production of "The Winter's Tale."

By the time I was 16 I was familiar with almost a dozen Shakespeare plays.  This was from a non-academic lower middle-class/working class background. I went to grammar school but I wasn't a top student.  The point is that Shakespeare wasn't seen as elitist or middle-class or too difficult for the proles to understand.  I agree that it requires effort to grasp some of it but, for example, you don't take up a sport and expect to master it completely right away.  

It saddens me how Shakespeare almost has become marginalised.  I've heard English teachers say blithely:  "Oh, Shakespeare is far too difficult for our lot to understand.  They do Willy Russell instead."


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2108


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth, that's the production I saw as well at the Globe. We took my parents there for my mum's 65th birthday. As I recall, I had rather better weather than you, Shelley & Verity!



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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandra, I went to grammar school too, but we only studied 2 Shakespeares, one as a warm-up and one for O-level. We did study some other interesting drama though - Priestley, Pinter, Osborne etc.

I don't think high culture is necessarily linked only to academia. My grandparents left school at 14, but were lifelong lovers of classical music. Of course, in those days you could leave school at 14, and enter an apprenticeship with a view to a middle class white-collar occupation (accountancy in my grandfather's case).




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