Category Archives: Shakespeare

SHAKESPEARE UNLIMITED: DENNIS MCCARTHY AND JUNE SCHLUETER ON THE GEORGE NORTH MANUSCRIPT ·

(via Pam Green)

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 93

Scholars Dennis McCarthy and June Schlueter say they have discovered a major new source for Shakespeare’s Richard III, Henry V, Henry VI, Part II, and at least eight other plays. The scholarly world continues to investigate and debate these new claims, which, if proved true, would be a once-in-a-generation find.

On this podcast episode, McCarthy and Schlueter discuss how they used plagiarism-detecting software to analyze a nearly-450-year-old unpublished manuscript called A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels by a man named George North, finding multiple instances of matches with passages in Shakespeare plays. 

McCarthy is an independent scholar, and Schlueter is the Charles A. Dana Professor Emerita of English at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. They are co-authors of the first published edition of A Brief Discourse of Rebellion & Rebels by George North, published by Boydell & Brewer in 2018. They were interviewed by Barbara Bogaev.

Visit the Folger Shakespeare Library

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published March 20, 2018. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This podcast episode, Put Your Discourse into Some Frame, was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had technical help from Virginia Prescott of New Hampshire Public Radio, Andrew Feliciano at Voice Trax West in Studio City, California, and Neil Hever at WDIY public radio in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

CAESAR BLOODY CAESAR ·

Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Julius Caesar, and Jason Robards as Brutus in Stuart Burge’s film Julius Caesar, 1970

(Josephine Quinn’s article appeared in The New York Review of Books, 3/22.)

The Landmark Julius Caesar: The Complete Works: Gallic War, Civil War, Alexandrian War, African War, and Spanish War

edited and translated from the Latin by Kurt A. Raaflaub

Pantheon, 793 pp., $50.00

Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Julius Caesar, and Jason Robards as Brutus in Stuart Burge’s film Julius Caesar, 1970

When Julius Caesar was thirty-one years old in 69 BCE, so the story goes, and serving as a junior Roman magistrate in Spain, he once stood lamenting before a statue of Alexander the Great because he had achieved so little at an age by which Alexander had already conquered the world.

He had good reason for concern. Although his recent election as a quaestor—one of the officials responsible for finances—had given him a lifetime seat in the Senate, Roman politics were more of a funnel than a ladder: twenty quaestors who had been elected at thirty years old could compete nine years later for eight praetorships, and then, three years after that, for just two annual consulships. To rise, you needed political friends, name recognition, and, in order to buy elections, a great deal of money.

Caesar was already admired as an orator, but he was best known for his debts, and he was good at making enemies, especially among the powerful conservatives in the Senate. Furthermore, while he had ably fulfilled the standard military duties of a young Roman nobleman, he had attracted attention only for his first assignment overseas at the age of about twenty: a trip to Bithynia in northern Anatolia, where he had become friendly—many said extremely friendly—with its king, Nicomedes. Whether or not the rumors were true, this was the first hint of a lifelong tendency to test the bounds of Rome’s unwritten moral and legal codes.

(Read more)

DEREK JACOBI ON PLAYING HAMLET ·

(Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 91; via Pam Green)

Renowned actor Derek Jacobi talks about the Shakespearean role for which he is best known, Hamlet. Beginning at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1957, Jacobi has acted this role on stage nearly 400 times, and as you can imagine, he’s devoted hours to thinking about Hamlet’s words, Hamlet’s motivations, and the best way to play the role. Derek Jacobi was interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. 

This is the first of a two-part interview. In part two, Derek Jacobi talks about his career more broadly, including sharing the stage with Laurence Olivier, performing King Lear in 2010, and a struggle with paralyzing stage fright that drove him away from the theater for two years in the 1980s.

 

 

PLAGIARISM SOFTWARE PINS DOWN NEW SOURCE FOR SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS ·

(Alison Flood’s article appeared in the Guardian, 2/9.)

Plagiarism software more commonly used to check student essays for overly assiduous borrowings has uncovered a long-forgotten, handwritten document from 1576 as the possible source for more than 20 monologues and passages from Shakespeare’s plays.

Independent scholar Dennis McCarthy and LaFayette College professor June Schlueter used WCopyfind software to compare passages from Shakespeare’s plays with George North’s 1576 unpublished manuscript, A Brief Discourse of Rebellion, about the dangers of rebelling against a king. They were able to trace more than 20 passages back to the essay, including Gloucester’s opening soliloquy in Richard III, Macbeth’s comparison of dog breeds to different classes of men, the Fool’s Merlin prophecy in King Lear, and the events surrounding Jack Cade’s fatal fight with Alexander Iden in Henry VI.

“Until now, no Shakespeare scholar has studied the manuscript, and it has probably remained little read. Yet, as our analysis has revealed, Discourse is not merely the only uniquely existent, evidently uncopied document to have had a substantial impact on the canon; it is one of the most influential Shakespearean source texts in any form,” they write in a new book, A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels by George North, which is published on 16 February by Boydell & Brewer, in collaboration with the British Library. “In terms of the number of plays, scenes and passages affected, the scope of the manuscript’s influence likely exceeds all other known Shakespearean sources, excepting only the Chronicles of Hall and Holinshed and Thomas North’s Plutarch’s Lives.”

(Read more)

 

AT SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK, EVERYDAY NEW YORKERS WILL TAKE THE STAGE ·

(Peter Libbey’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/22; via Pam Green.)

This summer, the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park will be both for the people of New York and by the people of New York.

From July 17 to Aug. 19, two rotating ensembles of New Yorkers from all five boroughs will appear alongside five equity actors at the Delacorte Theater in a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub, with music and lyrics by Ms. Taub.

This will be the first time the Public has included a production from its participatory theater program, Public Works, in its regular summer program.

“This summer, we are making a huge leap forward by presenting a full-length run of a Public Works show,” said Oskar Eustis, the Public Theater’s artistic director, in a statement. “Surrounded by a huge ensemble of community members, ‘Twelfth Night’ will reach an enormously expanded audience with the deep Public Works message that everyone is an artist, and we are all in this together.”

(Read more)

Photo: Joan Marcus

VLADIMIR VYSOTSKY SONGS THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE ACCEPTED BY RUSSIANS ·

(Alexandra Guzeva’s article appeared in Russia Beyond the Headlines, 1/25.)

He was a sex symbol, the Soviet Kurt Cobain whose star burned brightly and was soon extinguished. Unique in all ways, you won’t confuse Vladimir Vysotsky’s voice with any other: It will sear your soul.

Born into a poor family in Moscow in the turbulent year of 1938, Vladimir Vysotsky went on to become a very talented singer, songwriter and actor. Among his best roles in cinema are the police captain in the TV series, The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed; the White Army officer in Two Comrades Were Serving; and Don Juan in Little Tragedies. His most famous theater role was Hamlet at the Taganka Theater, Moscow’s progressive stage in the 1960s-1970s.

(Read more)

https://www.rbth.com/arts/327360-5-vysotsky-songs-you-need-know

 

ORSON WELLES AND SHAKESPEARE ·

(from Folger Shakespeare Library; via Pam Green.)

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 89

There was a time when Orson Welles was one of America’s biggest celebrities. 

In 1938, he made national headlines when the radio show he produced did a version of The War of the Worlds that was so realistic people actually thought the country was under attack by Martians. Then he went to Hollywood and made Citizen Kane, which is still considered one of the greatest movies of all time. And he did all of this by the age of 26.

For his entire life though, Welles’s obsession was Shakespeare. He produced and starred in Shakespeare plays on Broadway and directed and starred in multiple versions of Shakespeare’s work on film, including Chimes at Midnight.

Our guest is Michael Anderegg, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of North Dakota and the author of Orson Welles, Shakespeare, and Popular Culture.

(Go to site)

 

 

HOW TO MEMORIZE SHAKESPEARE ·

(Malia Wollan’s article appeared 11/22 in The New York Times; via Pam Green.)

 “Get up on your feet, and speak the words aloud,” says Jacqui O’Hanlon, the director of education at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Shakespeare wrote these lines some 400 years ago; the worst way to learn them is sitting down and reading them in your head. Start with a few image-rich lines from, say, “Henry V.” Young people should consider choosing something from star-crossed lovers, as when Juliet says, “Come, gentle night; come, loving, black-browed night, give me my Romeo.”

It helps to read through a synopsis of the play first to know the basic plot. Get a partner to whisper the lines while you repeat. With professional actors and students alike, the Royal Shakespeare Company begins with something they call “imaging the text”: Act out the images. It will feel silly, but making a window with your limbs or galloping like a horse embeds the lines in your mind. Listen for the playwright’s beat. Shakespeare mostly composed in iambic pentameter, a rhythm in which unstressed syllables are followed by stressed ones; O’Hanlon describes it as “the rhythm of your heart.”

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/magazine/how-to-memorize-shakespeare.html

SHAKESPEARE AND WAR: STEPHAN WOLFERT ·

(from the Folger Shakespeare Library; via Pam Green.)

Shakespeare Unlimited: Episode 81

In his one-man show Cry Havoc! actor Stephan Wolfert, a US Army veteran, draws together lines in Shakespeare’s plays spoken by soldiers and former soldiers—including MacbethOthello, and Richard III.

He puts those words to the task of explaining the toll that soldiering and war can take on the psyches of the men and women who volunteer for military duty. Wolfert also runs free weekly veterans-only acting classes aimed at helping them readjust to life as civilians.

He is interviewed by Barbara Bogaev. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Shakespeare Unlimited podcast series. Published September 5, 2017. © Folger Shakespeare Library. All rights reserved. This episode, To the Battle Came He, was produced by Richard Paul. Garland Scott is the associate producer. It was edited by Gail Kern Paster and Esther Ferington. Esther French is the web producer. We had help from Beth Emelson, Associate Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre; Eric Tucker, Artistic Director of Bedlam; Melissa Kuypers at NPR-West in Culver City, California; and from Ray Cruz at Hawaii Public Radio.

For more information on Cry Havoc!, or to find one of the acting classes Wolfert offers for veterans, visit decruit.org.

(Read more)

https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-unlimited/war-stephan-wolfert

Photo: Berkshire On Stage

 

CAN YOU MATCH THE FAMOUS SHAKESPEARE LINE TO ITS PLAY? ·

(Annette’s quiz appeared in How Stuff Works; via Pam Green.)  

All the world is a quiz, and the wrong answers are merely failures. In this quiz, we’ll test your knowledge of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes. Can you match each of them to the right play?

  1. “To be, or not to be: that is the question.”

King Lear

Macbeth

Hamlet

(Read more)

http://quizzes.howstuffworks.com/quiz/can-you-match-the-famous-shakespeare-line-its-play?acct=act_10153036824292945&utm_medium=paid&utm_source=facebook&asid=6094320928364&adid=6094320930564&mkcpgn=e3016e6add0a4261be838bf067e725f7&sg_uid=e3016e6add0a4261be838bf067e725f7