Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Othello or Henry V? That was the choice I was going to have to make. This is the dilemma I am facing on my Shakespeare journey. I want it all, right now. There is so much to read and watch, I cant make up my mind what to look at first. I am going to have to learn to be patient, and cover one play at a time. I decided to buy Othello. The reason I went for Othello is, I have watched the DVD of Henry V, and I loved it. The scene where they hang Harry's old friend for looting a church is heart breaking, his old beaten face and the look in his eyes, when he just stands on the wagon with the noose round his neck. Richard Briers, absolutely crushing. Once more into the breach; is stirring stuff, with Kennith Branagh on horse back, with the castle walls behind him. Heroic. But, I want to watch and read King Henry IV Part 1-2 first, Try and follow them in order.

So that is why I bought the wee Penguin copy of Othello. I am going to take my time on it. I'll read the play and all the introductions and commentary's first, then get the DVD. I don't know which movie to buy, I think it will be the one with Sir Ian Mckellen as Iago. That's favourite just now, unless someone suggests a better one.

Its just occurred to me, The Merchant of Venice has to be addressed as well. That's what I mean about choices. Banging my head of my laptop here. If there is anyone still reading this, and you are brave enough to stay with me, you might see me explode, or at least witness my breakdown. I'm not going to give up. there is no other person I know personally, that quotes Shakespeare. Badly. I try to tell them what they are missing out on, who knows maybe one or two of them may start to take an interest.

Another choice is Twelfth Night. I think I mentioned it in a previous post, I loved the DVD, but I haven't been able to get a copy of the book. Penguin of course. It really is my favourite so far, so I want to read the play and all the commentary that I can find.

Looking through my copy of The Arden Shakespeare Miscellany by Jane Armstrong. I realise how big a choice I have. So really what have I got to complain about. I am being pulled into a world of wonder and tradition with the finest writing in the English language. This is where the words fail me, trying to describe how I feel about the whole world of Shakespeare. I feel an affinity with all the characters in this world. From Actors to Editors. Blogers and Academics. I am only a novice with a spell check facility on my laptop, but who cares we are all in the world of Shakespeare together. Wish I could think of a good quote to finish on. I cant, there is such a big choice.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Prince of Denmark

This is becoming a difficult journey, a very difficult journey. In two ways. First, witch is really the main factor is the time. The time it takes me to watch and study one of the plays. Second is finding the time to write this blog. I told the DB that I have got a bit of a writing bug, and its true I love to write. Leaving comments on other peoples blogs, writing on twitter and sending emails, its great. But the blog is the most rewarding and the most difficult to do. I drive a lorry for a living, its long hours, when I go on twitter, I have to pull into laybys to tweet, so sometimes my tweets must be a bit odd. Because of the long days, it means I get home late in the evening, and I'm usually to tired to fire up the lap top and start writing. If I do then its always when the rest of my family are in bed. Witch is exactly what has happened right now. When I said before that I study the plays, I don't want it to sound like I am doing it purely academically, I'm not. I'm doing it because I love Shakespeare, and I want to get as much out of it as I can. The reason I have told you all this is because, I feel as if its all slipping away from me, and I don't want that to happen. So enough of self pity, on with the journey.

I watched Hamlet with David Tennant the other night. I thought it was fantastic. When it came to perhaps the most famous speech in the English theater. To be or not to be, that is the question; I honestly wasn't expecting it, I had forgotten it was in Hamlet. I have saw it parodied many times by comedians and hammed up for effect by second rate actors. When David Tennant started to speak, I nearly forgot to breath. To see it done for the first time by a proper actor, was absolutely spellbinding. I thought it was a terrific production. Very sad at the end, and poor Ophelia my heart bled for her. Another sad note to report. I miss laid my little Penguin copy of the play. Its in the House somewhere, god knows where. It will turn up I'm sure.

So that is my first of the tragedies. I think the next DVDs I'll order will be Richard III and I really want to see Macbeth, the new version with Patric Stewart. Another thing that has intrigued me is the character of Falstaff. Came across him for the first time in Henry V. I thought he had a very small part in the play, and I wondered why he is such a famous Shakespearean character. Then thanks to my copy of The Arden Shakespeare Miscellany by Jane Armstrong, I discovered he first appears in King Henry IV Part 1. So I am really looking forward to getting my teeth into them.

I don't think this has been a particularly good post, and I am truly sorry. The next time I will write about Henry V. All heroics and battles. "Once more into the breach" cant remember the rest it might be Dear friends, but I'm not going to take the chance. its late and I'm very tired. Anyway the next time I promise I will make it more uplifting. Oh yes and just before I go. "Alas poor Yorick" I have only ever saw that in parody. As with To be or not to be that was obviously the first time I'd seen it done properly. And I think Ophelia is my favourite girls name in Shakespeare's plays. not my favourite female character, that so far, is Portia from the Merchant of Venice. She is definitely my heroine, for now. I just have to say Hamlet Is magic!