Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Lear and Anonymous

My DVD of King Lear arrived the other day. It is the version with Paul Scofield as Lear. Directed by Peter Brook. Its been a strange sequence of events. Our postman came late and put the DVD through the letterbox when I had just sat down to watch Twelfth Night. So I put it on the shelf and thought I'll watch it tomorrow. Tomorrow was St Crispin's day, which is today now, if you see what I mean? Anyway, I thought logically its St Crispin's day so I'll watch Henry V. Nah! I couldn't wait so I watched King Lear. It was sitting on my shelf looking at me and its only a month or two since I watched Henry V. So King Lear got the nod. King Lear was the first Shakespeare play I ever saw live at the theater. It was years ago at the Edinburgh festival and I think that's what gave me my love for Shakespeare, that's what kicked it all off. So I have a great love for this particular tragedy. Brooks film is very gritty, shot in black and white and filmed on the frozen tundra. I think the location is in Denmark. Paul Scofield as Lear is immense and all the supporting cast are fantastic. All the treachery and tragedy are there, its a very grim story with poor old Gloucester getting his eyes gouged out. Lear's daughters Goneril killing Regan then killing herself. When Cordelia his third daughter is murdered at the end, the old man is left to mourn his daughter, the only one who loved him in the first place. Then he himself dies. There is a lot more to the story than that and it'll not be long before I watch it again.

Something I have noticed while studying Shakespeare, you have to really pay attention. That little summary above is not nearly good enough. Its lazy and light on detail. There is so much going on in a Shakespeare play, when I try to write about one of them, its like coming up against a brick wall. I mean when I start to write about certain characters, I haven't got the confidence to go on in case I am talking rubbish. So if you leave a comment, be gentle and point me in the right direction. You don't have to be too gentle, I've got a thick skin

A quick word on this new film coming out, Anonymous. It was on the news tonight. In Stratford-upon-Avon all the statues and anything with Shakespeare on it was covered with white sheets including his name blanked out. All in protest of this movie. I can't help feeling its a bit of an own goal. I mean why give them any more publicity. I have come late to Shakespeare and I'm damned if I'm going to let a load of clever, full of themselves academics. or not so academic Holywood money grabers, tell me he didn't write his own plays. And the thing is, I'm a truck driver from Scotland and I wasn't around in Shakespeare's time, but neither were they and neither was Robert Plumer Ward or Thomas Looney, who I would put in the same league as Dan Brown The Davinci Code "expert" I know there are other theories but you can't keep attacking one man with a scatter gun full of candidates. I'll finish now pointing you in the direction of 60 minutes with Shakespeare 60-minutes.bloggingshakespeare.com Think that will get you there. @DaintyBallerina and @stanley_wells on twitter are two great champions of Shakespeare, seek them out their defence makes more sense than mine.

11 comments:

Marypana said...

One thing I would advice when reading/watching Shakespeare is to look out for themes running throughout the play. So, in Lear, for example, you have the theme of madness/lucidity - lucidity IN madness (Lear only begins to see clearly when he is mad). Also the theme of foolishness/wisdom (the fool is always giving Lear wise advice even though he delivers it in a seeming foolish manner. These themes are seen also in the sub-plot of Gloucester. He gains lucidity and begins to 'see' clearly when he is physically blind, so there is irony. Good job, George. I like your blog:)

thewhitespike said...

Brilliant, Brilliant. Thanks Mary, your comment has taken my breath away, also scared me to death. You have shown me just how far I have to go on this journey.

Marypana said...

Pleasure:) One step at a time.

The Virtual Victorian said...

What a wonderful way to begin a blog...I hope you enjoy the study and the writing.

thewhitespike said...

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Violet said...

I haven't seen many Shakespeare productions, but I do enjoy reading him. Lear is one of my favourites. So intense and powerful. Have you seen the 2006 Macbeth film, starring Sam Worthington? It is truly awful, but good for a laugh if you come across the DVD.

thewhitespike said...

Thanks for your comments Violet. Means a lot. No I've not seen that Macbeth, sounds a riot. If you get the chance watch Patrick Stewart's version its fantastic!

Dainty Ballerina said...

Another splendid blog post George. I absolutely love your blog and your ongoing Shakespeare journey. Your enthusiasm is both infectious and inspiring. Here's to you!

thewhitespike said...

Thank you Dainty, I don't have to tell you what that means to me. And here's to you too!

Trish Nicholson said...

Hello George, I don't know much about Shakespeare but I'd like to, and one needs to learn a bit at a time, so I'm going to join you on your journey. You can do the work, and I'll read the blogs! No-one could read your blog and not catch the enthusiasm. Thanks. Trish.

thewhitespike said...

Thanks for your comment Trish, that means so much. I was realy chuffed when you told me on twitter you had left a comment. My blog is just for fun, there are great blogs out there that are fantastic, and a lot more academic. Shakespeare in fantastic!