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POETRYETC Home

POETRYETC  October 2008

POETRYETC October 2008

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Subject:

Re: The Globe

From:

Roger Day <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc: poetry and poetics

Date:

Thu, 23 Oct 2008 12:41:18 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (305 lines)

And I don't understand why you can't understand my basic English.

I've been meaning to write this up for a while. Maybe I'll do so;
doing it on the sly at work is difficult.

Roger

On 10/23/08, Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I am trying to understand your basic points here, R'Owl, but cannot.  You'll
>  need to get your opinions to the point of a simple listing of simple short
>  sentences, perhaps, before you yourself see them plainly and clearly.
>  If it weren't so important, apparently, to you, I wouldnae bother bothering
>  you.
>
>  Try again.
>
>
>  Judy
>
>  2008/10/23 Roger Day <[log in to unmask]>
>
>  > I'm not saying it's Government-sponsored;  the Royal Family haven't
>  > been the govt for a long time now. I'm talking about a systemic,
>  > probably a specifically English, cultural problem which still lingers,
>  > and spreads it's chill hand.
>  >
>  > I think quality in shakespeare is an untestable attribute. As Robin
>  > says, he's everywhere (and nowhere), we're fish in water. You can go
>  > around saying S is genius, fantastic, lovely, yeah, and you'll always
>  > find layers of books and people to support your view. The english in
>  > particular are taught, no, indoctrinated from birth that S is our
>  > genius. Rarely can you find a disinterested claim to the contrary. You
>  > can say that he's lasted the test of time; well, the censorship issue
>  > almost defeats that argument, certainly it puts a pall over it. I'm
>  > not saying he isn't good, it's the pervasiveness that, amongst other
>  > things, I don't like.
>  >
>  > I used to have objections to Patronage from any source; less so now,
>  > particularly when I'll be the one doing the begging pretty soon. So I
>  > don't have objections to govt sponsorship per se; just the unthinking,
>  > interwoven, systemic variety that still lingers over s. It's not as
>  > bad as it was, but there's still some there.
>  >
>  > I have come to the conclusion that Theatre in these isles will survive
>  > and, now that the dead-hand of the censor has been lifted, we are
>  > seeing the start of a better day. Possibly. It's almost as if the
>  > centre has been cut from the heart of the Shakespeare industry and
>  > only the outliers remain. From this I take heart.
>  >
>  > Roger
>  >
>  > On 10/23/08, Judy Prince <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>  > > R'Owl and Alison:  In this round, anyway, you each make unarguable
>  > points.
>  > >   Both of you know that Alison's correct in asserting that no 'bells and
>  > >  whistles' makes a play positively memorable----unless, of course, it is
>  > the
>  > >  bells and whistles that you happen to prefer to positively memorable
>  > >  writing.  Bells and whistles can be profoundly exciting and distracting.
>  > >   Ten years ago in the UStates it was playing around with a body of water
>  > >  onstage; that continues permutatedly up to today---an audience regarding
>  > the
>  > >  new element [wow, water onstage; what will the actors DO with it/in it?
>  >  fun
>  > >  to see how they manage it]
>  > >  Other things than physical staging and actors' movements in response
>  > will
>  > >  'bell and whistle' audiences.  Au courant is Michael Billington's----and
>  > >  most theatre companies and playwrights worldwide----exuberance and
>  > relief
>  > >  that 'at last' plays reflect the news of the day; ie, docudrama.  These
>  > >  plays include the awesomely successful recent play of that ilk: _Black
>  > >  Watch_, National Theatre of Scotland.  It was THEATRE, believe me.  No
>  > body
>  > >  of water onstage, but a muscled, energetic, thoroly musical and visual
>  > >  visceral event.  The writing?  As docudrama as was possibleth:  the play
>  > >  form imitating the playwright's experience, in all respects, as he
>  > engaged
>  > >  with the returning-from-Iraq Scottish regiment soldiers whom he had
>  > >  interviewed.  Much of the credit for the success of the play goes to the
>  > >  directors, especially those who directed movement and music.  Twin
>  > elements
>  > >  [bells and whistles, and docudrama newsy] made this play the success it
>  > was,
>  > >  and one of those elements will, of itself, cause the play to fade into
>  > >  wallpaper relatively soon and permanently.  It is what has and will
>  > cause
>  > >  plays to fade, and poems to fade, relatively soon and permanently:  the
>  > >  writing's not memorable.
>  > >
>  > >  Hence, Bells and whistles?  Important, not essential.  The second
>  > element,
>  > >  newsworthy docudrama, sometimes fascinating, but not essential.
>  > >
>  > >  Memorable writing?  Essential.  Period.  R'Owl, you get no points for
>  > your
>  > >  monkey metaphor, and you know it as well as Alison.
>  > >  However, your fallback position has some logical warrants, R'Owl.  But
>  > it is
>  > >  a peripheral issue.  It has nothing to do with Shaksper or playwriting
>  > or
>  > >  even literature of any kind.  You object to state-sanctioned events.
>  >  You
>  > >  reflect a highly 'class-conscious' culture which is somewhat foreign to
>  > >  USAmericans.  As I've said before, USAmericans bow to MONEY and those
>  > who
>  > >  have it, nominally, but we don't have the cultural apparatus to respond
>  > to
>  > >  'class' with the same depthy love/hate that you do'.  We do racism as
>  > well
>  > >  as UK folk, or Chinese or Japanese, for that matter.  And we do
>  > genderism
>  > >  slightly more enlightenedly than other cultures.  But that pervasive
>  > 'class'
>  > >  thing, we don't have in the same way you do.  A brief test to show you
>  > that
>  > >  you have a socio-political bee in your bonnet, not a literary one:
>  >  would
>  > >  you object strenuously to government-sanctioned fine art [e.g.,
>  > sanctioning
>  > >  some art galleries, not others, funding some artists' works and not
>  > others',
>  > >  providing funds for some art schools and not others].  If your answer is
>  > a
>  > >  resounding yes, then it's your socio-political stance which drives your
>  > >  steam, not your take on Shaksper's writing or political views.  Of
>  > course,
>  > >  your government DOES sanction fine arts in all those parenthetical
>  > examples
>  > >  above.  Does that drive you wild?  Apparently not yet, because you've
>  > given
>  > >  no sign of it that I know of.  It would be well for you to do so!  It's
>  > >  those kids you'll be shepherding soon that stand to gain from your
>  > positive,
>  > >  creative attention to the shortsightedness of governmentally-propelled
>  > >  policies.  And it's WEALTH and its influence that drives these.  You are
>  > >  right to expose them and to urge continuous reviews of them----and to
>  > offer
>  > >  substitutes for their inadequate, inaccurate assessments and fundings.
>  > >
>  > >  When you finally come to judge a play, and Shaksper, you will find that,
>  > as
>  > >  with most successful-in-any-terms playwrights, Shaksper capably presents
>  > all
>  > >  the psychological sides of an issue.  It MUST BE done if a playwright is
>  > a
>  > >  playwright because convincingly portraying many characters constitutes
>  > the
>  > >  major element of successful playwrighting.  You can do cardboard
>  > characters
>  > >  as did Ben Jonson----but his damn well tap a deep psychology of
>  > individual
>  > >  personalities, or they wouldnae worked so thoroly and lasted so long in
>  > >  popular public view.
>  > >
>  > >  Hence, Shaksper did as all playwrights do, and which you have noted:
>  >  she
>  > >  bowed to the censors, or her plays would not have been publicly
>  > performed.
>  > >   They were continuously privately performed, of course, because she had
>  > the
>  > >  financial wherewithal to have them done.  In fact, the first play
>  > performed
>  > >  in England for James I and 6 was at her home, and it was her play.
>  > >
>  > >  BTW, my congratulations to Alison---a noteworthy play critic.  You take
>  > the
>  > >  high road, Alison, refusing to echo the popular view if it doesn't feel
>  > a
>  > >  'fit' to you.  And you effectively warrant your claims.  Not easy, and
>  > >  always demanding of time, energy, dedication.
>  > >
>  > >  Best,
>  > >
>  > >  Judy
>  > >
>  > >  2008/10/23 Roger Day <[log in to unmask]>
>  > >
>  > >
>  > >  > 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.
>  > >  >
>  > >  > Roger
>  > >  >
>  > >  > 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.
>  > >  > >
>  > >  > > A
>  > >  > >
>  > >  > > 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
>  > >  > >> them.
>  > >  > >>
>  > >  > >> Roger
>  > >  > >>
>  > >  > >> 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
>  > >  >
>  > >
>  >
>  >
>  > --
>  > My Stuff: http://www.badstep.net/
>  > "I began to warm and chill
>  > to objects and their fields"
>  > Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
>  >
>


-- 
My Stuff: http://www.badstep.net/
"I began to warm and chill
to objects and their fields"
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

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