death by paper cut

{January 11, 2007}   shakespeare

shakespeare. what a funny name isn’t it? shake? spear? shaking spear? perhaps we’ve place the bard on such high a pedestal that he is out of reach to muse.

one of his popular titles, much ado about nothing, will be covered next semester in literary classics. this is my 4th shakepearen text that i have endeavoured to embark in my course of literary studies in academia.

within the day, i completed reading the text and watched the film adaption by kenneth branagh starring himself and emma thompson. kenneth branagh’s screenplay helped me make a lot of sense of the text.

exactly 10 years ago, i studied macbeth and hamlet for the ‘o’ levels. some adults find shakespearen english hard to grasps, what more teenagers. even now, i find that shakespeare isn’t meant to merely appreciated from a reading of its scripts, but fleshed out on theatre.

fortunately, my alma matar provided us the opportunity to do that just. the entire cohort watched a production of macbeth performed by an overseas cast. what i remembered most was the incredible amount of saliva that sprayed forth from the stage. the background lighting illuminated the showers of blessing even more iwith a silver lining. i also remembered that, in a duel, macbeth’s flimsy sword bent out of shape.

during my secondary three literature field trip to england, macbeth was again arranged to be shown to us at a local theatre in stratford-upon-avon, shakespeare’s place of birth. within the vicinity, a tour to anne hathaway’s tudor cottage was also organised. (to the uninitiated: the reference to anne anne hathaway here is shakepeare’s wife, not the dole eyed princess diaries fame who goes by the same name). we were told that the faithful reconstruction of the original 1599 globe theatre was still in progress, otherwise, a trip to shakespeare’s globe theatre would have been possible.

on a side note, a miniature version of anne hathway’s cottage can be seen at the model tutor village at fitzroy gardens, melbourne.

i studied the tempest as my 3rd shakespearean text for the ‘a’ levels. like much ado about nothing, the tempest is primarily a romantic comedy. the comedic effect is easily lost without watching a production. besides indicating the entrance and exit of the characters, shakespeare does not note facial expressions, tone or suggested animation in his script.

i’ve only watched their production on film, but for the tempest, it was my literature teacher who brought it to life with his personal sarcastic disdain for it. he found it implausible for the hero and heroine to fall in love at first sight and then proceed to get married before the day is over.

the only time i tried to read a shakepearen text on my own accord was when i was awaiting the commencement of the production of twelfth night at the royal botanic gardens. the jester (narrator) made his rounds amusing the audience as pre-show entertainment. he came up to me and inquired of what i was reading. i sheepishly showed him the cover of twelfth night. ‘oh! you’re testing us!’ he quipped.

injecting their own interpretation of humour and rearranging the text a little according to the director’s sensibilities, the theatre company did an excellent job.


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