Posts Tagged ‘shakespeare’

Cara Blouin

Well, I guess now I’m going to put my petulant little fists on my lady hips and rant about how The Lantern put on an unironic production of The Taming of the Shrew. Isn’t that just so typical? I’ll probably bray about things like agency and consent until everyone is just bored and tired. Listen, I don’t like it any more than you do, but I’m going to keep acting like this until someone finally succeeds in shutting my bitch mouth.

Now, when I was in college I had a boyfriend who said that women who behave this way just need a deep dicking, but I don’t know. I got dicked pretty deep at The Lantern tonight and here I am typing.

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I am taking a break from expounding my LIFE PHILOSOPHY to talk about some other things, as a kind of intellectual palate-cleanser.  Today’s subject on which I will now go on at length, pulled randomly from the heaps of garbage that I read every day, is this article by Colin McEnroe over at Salon.

For whatever reason, I find I’m always more exercised by running into junk like this at sites I read regularly, as opposed to sites like the New Yorker, where I only once in a while check-in.  It seems to me that not only is the thing itself wrong, but that it’s also a kind of betrayal that they published it in the first place — not necessarily because I don’t agree with it (though, I’ll be honest here — as we all should strive for honesty in every one of our doings — that’s probably a big part of it), but because it seems like the kind of thing an editor should have looked at and said, “Nope, too dumb.  Send it back.”

(Well, I know, it’s Salon, obviously that wasn’t going to happen, come on.)

Anyway, the piece is for the most part some fussy hand-wringing about Kids Today, and I think that all articles about Kids Today should be answered not necessarily due to their merits, but just for the sake of having the counter-argument exist, in the hopes that this generation will, at long last, be the generation that beats back the idea of Kids Today, if not forever, at least for now, a momentary peace in a world constantly under threat.

It’s mostly fussiness, but it takes at its heart Ira Glass’s apparent disinterest in Shakespeare: “I think I’m realizing: Shakespeare sucks?”  And then seeks to take him to task on the grounds that Shakespeare self-evidently does NOT suck, and Ira Glass is somehow representative of a generation of increasingly-stupid children who don’t seem to realize that.

Well.

Before I get into it, let me just be clear: I like Shakespeare, as a reader, as an actor, and as a speaker of English. I’m also GOOD at Shakespeare; ask anyone, I’ve got a knack for this kind of stuff. If I was willing to live a little more in poverty, I could probably work consistently just doing Shakespeare. Shakespeare often speaks to me in a way that I find deeply intuitive and affecting. I have, in other words, a vested interest in seeing Shakespeare maintain his position as the most important playwright in the English language, and in seeing all of us remain idolators to his genius.

But.

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Cara Blouin

Shakespeare was supposed to have written all of his plays in one draft, each of them bursting perfectly formed into the world like the goddess Athena from the skull of Zeus. I don’t currently know any writers who can do that, but the model that playwrights have access to is either apathetic, disingenuous or expects exactly this sort of miraculous birth.

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Cara Blouin

Theater, Dan Hodge muses, is an impermanent art form, and he stays up nights wondering why he labors so long to produce something so temporary.

He is directing Timon of Athens for PAC at Broad Street now and it is probably wonderful- I’ll be the second to speculate and respond without having yet seen it, as Adrienne Mackey has been railing against some inane reviews of the show this week, as well.

Hodge comes to the conclusion that to perform classic plays is to become part of a larger heritage. And it soothes him to step into that line of history and, although briefly, take hold of an heirloom handed through from Shakespeare’s time to ours, and then to pass it on.

I don’t find the idea quite as reassuring; I’m still wide awake at night.
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I saw As You Like It at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre over the weekend, and it was fine. A nice little show, most everybody did a good job, and what do you expect from As You Like It? Frankly, I’m beginning to suspect that Shakespeare just wasn’t really a top-notch comedian.

But anyway, there’s a huge problem that I have with the play, and while I was watching it I think I stumbled on a way to solve it, and I want some opinions here. The problem that I have is this: Orlando is a complete fucking bonehead.

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Moff (sometimes called “Josh Wimmer”, as is the custom of his people) a little while ago wrote a post questioning the value of criticism. I have been meaning to write something lengthy in response to it, as I think he makes some interesting points, and that it’s an interesting topic of conversation.

This isn’t going to be that, though. Instead, I want to look at just one idea, and how it relates to the theater, and how amazingly peculiar an artform the theater is.
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Apologies if my post is a little scattered today. Philadelphia went from sunny and 60 all week to chill and rainy today, and wild changes in weather always give me a migraine. I think it’s something to do with pressure; I’d ask a doctor about it if I could afford to see a doctor. So, maybe one day soon, right! Yay.

Anyway: the topic of today’s discussion will be the provenance of the Literature of the Fantastic.

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