Ah yes, "liberation" and "oppression". Fine flag words, there. And I'm
a book-burner to boot, hey? Make you feel good to think you're
rebelling against ... something?
Shakespeares long reign over English culture has been assisted by
censorship, in my opinion. All those long years in this country when
our theatre definitely wasn't free, although it may have been
exciting. (Bread and circuses and all that and you're right in that
helps if the circus is of quality stuff. ) The Lord Chancellor - an
office of the Royal Court let's not forget - and his blue pen,
snipping this, stopping that. After S's death, the theatre in this
country was closed by Royal diktat. S was the first to be raised from
the dust. Why? I think because he was safe; theatre companies could
put on S without fear of being closed down; he was the safe option;
people were pre-censoring themselves because that's how censorship
works. And so it continued until the 60s, when the blue pen was
abolished. So, yes, oppression and fear. And of course, this safeness
got bound into English culture, where S sits tightly bound to this
day, feeding, amongst other things, the myth of continuity, the
"river" of invented traditions that keep this sad sack of a country a
monarchy, and playing safe culturally speaking.
The one thing that did interest me recently about S's works was his
humanism. I was watching Clark's civilisation and he makes a forcible
point that S is probably the English equivalent of Montaigne. But hey,
S's canon is big enough you can probably read anything into it ...
I take heart though that the amount of S put on in this country is
declining. Certainly no West End Theatre - to take an index - has a
showing of an S play. I think as England splits apart, people may
triumph s more but I think the planks on which he stood are coming
apart. There is an awful lot of new stuff being put on in, exciting,
vibrant stuff, and I do take heart in this lest anyone think I'm Mr
Killjoy here, stopping their enjoyment.
I realise that this isn't a issue that crosses boundaries of nation.
But it saddens me greatly, heaves my poor heart so, to see others
follow down this route. S almost *invented* patriotism. It's up to you
but to take this poisoned chalice to your heart? It saddens me but
maybe this gladdens you. Hey ho.
On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 6:51 AM, Alison Croggon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Sorry Roger, but it's ignorant bullshit that you can "make the
> telephone directory" exciting in theatre. If you're going to have a
> text, it has to be dynamic and vital, and no amount of bells or
> whistles will cover the lack if it isn't. I've seen enough theatre -
> and suffered through enough bad texts - to assert this as absolute
> bedrock fact.
> If Shakespeare's work has a stultifying effect on English culture, I'd
> suggest it's not his fault, but that of those who make his work that
> way. And I don't see why it should be a cause for resentment If others
> find excitement where you only see staleness. Certainly I'm not
> participating in your oppression by enjoying that work. In fact, you
> could turn things around and see a certain liberating possibility in
> that language. But I'm not insisting.
> On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 4:39 PM, Roger Day <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I couldnt give a fuck if you or anyone else thinks shakespeare is
>> "exciting" - you can make the telephone directory in theatre
>> "exciting". My beef is with the stultifying effect of S on English
>> culture. If other poor deluded fools want to put on s, that's up to
>> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 10:27 PM, Alison Croggon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> Heh heh. Coincidentally I saw Romeo and Juliet in Lithuanian last
>>> night. Set in a bakery. It was a total pisstake on masculine machismo
>>> and male violence and especially on the culture of vendetta. The
>>> second half was basically a danse macabre, the first grotesquely
>>> funny. Extraordinary theatre. You'll never convince me it's dull!
>> My Stuff: http://www.badstep.net/
>> "I began to warm and chill
>> to objects and their fields"
>> Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
> Editor, Masthead: http://www.masthead.net.au
> Blog: http://theatrenotes.blogspot.com
> Home page: http://www.alisoncroggon.com
My Stuff: http://www.badstep.net/
"I began to warm and chill
to objects and their fields"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds