lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
So, I am very glad I am assuming the 30 days of Shakespeare are not consecutive because I just missed roughly...eleven. My apologies. I was shuttling my way round the Midwest to visit various family members and only got back home last night. I love my family and my in-laws-to-be, but it is so nice to have all family obligations finished until the wedding

Without further ado, here we go.

Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play

Ye gods. SO MANY. It is not even funny how many roles I would absolutely love to play and will probably never get the chance. Unless I actually manage to get a full-time job and therefore have the schedule and funds to start my own playreading group in whatever department is crazy enough to take me. ;)

I will preface by saying that, after a number of years in amateur productions, I've learned that although there are a vast number of roles I would love to play, there are far fewer at which I would be at all good. So this list is going to stick to characters that fit both criteria, from what I can see.

As such, Juliet is Right Out because I have never looked young enough to play her, least of all now when I am well past the right age.

Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra - The only character in Shakespeare who looks remotely like me! I'm not saying I actually look like Cleopatra -- just that I look more like her than I do any other Shakespearean character. More importantly, however, she is such an amazing character and the absolute emotional centre of that play; she's got so many layers and there are so many directions to take her, and that final scene is just magnificent. I don't know if I'd be any good, but I would relish the chance to give it a try.

Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing - She's just so much FUN.

Margaret of Anjou in the First Tetralogy - I don't need to explain this, do I? ;)

Elizabeth Grey in 3 Henry VI and Richard III - See above.

Desdemona in Othello - This would never happen except in a playreading, but I would love the opportunity just so I could really delve into her character and figure out what makes her tick and how much she realises before the end of the play. This is something I know actresses engage with a great deal in playing Gertrude or Cordelia, for instance, but in my limited viewings of film versions of Othello, never with Desdemona. I really, really, REALLY wish I'd been able to see the Donmar production with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello because the audio version is marvellous and stupid Donmar for having a tiny performance space.

If gender were irrelevant (as it often is in playreadings), I'd probably engage in all sorts of group-related corruption to read Richard III or Edmund in King Lear or Prince Hal or Richard II. I did actually manage the latter, albeit in Thomas of Woodstock rather than in Shakespeare. In fact, here is Act II, Scene I, where Richard totally forgets how old he is and an entire room of early modernists bursts into slightly hysterical laughter at the mention of chronicles.

Anyway, we return you to your regularly scheduled postings. :)

Full List of Questions )
lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play - Richard III (1995)

I first ran across this film while watching the 1995-6 Oscars, oddly enough, where it was nominated for a number of different design-related awards. It didn't really register until I read the play for the first time, roughly three years later. I borrowed the film from the library and promptly fell in love.

In which I descant on why I love this film in spite of everything it cuts out. )

Although I obviously don't agree with a number of the directorial choices made in Loncraine's production, I do think it does what a feature-film version of this play ought to do -- it's entertaining, incredibly well-acted, and the alternate setting isn't just window-dressing (I'm looking at you and your ninja, Branagh). Plus, on a completely superficial note, it's just pretty.

In the end, if you're looking for a faithful, full-text adaptation with excellent acting throughout and possibly one of the most terrifying endings I have seen in Shakespeare, the 1983 BBC production is what you want. If you want a clever and interesting interpretation with a fun alternate setting, and are willing to overlook some rather egregious cuts, Loncraine is well worth a try.

Full List of Questions )
lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
Day #12: Your favourite scene

Damn you, meme, how dare you make me choose? I will arbitrarily narrow it down to...five. Okay, five. In no particular order.

In which we find a representative sampling )

ETA: So, [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 had the brilliant idea of posting bits from various productions that are up on YouTube. I am attempting to edit this post accordingly, so watch this space if you're interested!

Full List of Questions )
lareinenoire: (Richard - squee!)
Day #5: Your favourite villain

You have three guesses and the first two don't count. )
Full List of Questions )
lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
Day #2: Your favourite character
Curse you, meme, for making me choose! But I appreciate that you also include categories for hero and heroine so I can openly cheat the system and filter out some of my answers.

Lady Elizabeth Grey / Queen Elizabeth from 3 Henry VI and Richard III - First of all, this is not by any means a dig at Margaret. I adore Margaret from the bottom of my heart. But Elizabeth's quieter form of resistance and her strength in the face of losing practically every person she's ever loved and the fact that she OUTSMARTS RICHARD III give her the edge in my mind. Also, the fact that does does get outmaneuvered sometimes but that doesn't stop her. She's not a nice person, not by a long shot. But she gets things done. And I have to give credit where it's due.

Also, I want to play her. SO BADLY. But not as badly as I want to direct Richard III.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 linked me to this wonderful post about the miscontextualization of the quote 'Well-behaved women rarely make history.' I do find it's extremely relevant to Elizabeth, who is often negatively compared to Margaret because her presence isn't as clearly delineated.

Full List of Questions )
lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
I don't watch enough television for those TV memes, so I am going to do the Shakespeare one that has been going round.

My one caveat: I am indecisive. No, seriously. I am. Most of these questions will have at least two answers if not possibly more. I am just like that.

Day #1: Your favourite play

Short Answer: Othello and Richard III )
lareinenoire: (Default)
Disclaimer: These are long and they ramble a lot. I'm taking them more or less verbatim from my notes, though getting rid of bad grammar and things I don't think about when I'm scribbling madly. ;) I'm also adding in proper act and scene numbers so that the descriptions make more sense. Due to the vagaries of train travel -- as I mentioned in the previous entry -- I missed all of Act I and the first two scenes of Act II of Henry IV, Part I.

My review of Richard II, which I saw on 20 November 2007, is here.

Henry IV, Part I )
Henry IV, Part II )
Henry V )
Henry VI, Part I )
Henry VI, Part II )
Henry VI, Part III )
Richard III )

I do have overall thoughts as well, but most of them are so tied up with my dissertation that I'll spare you and put them into my Shakespeare chapter instead.
lareinenoire: (Crystal Ball)
I really ought to know better than to even walk into Oxfam. Admittedly, the last few times, I emerged unscathed. This time, however, there were problems. I walked out with three books.

Further details and vaguely related rambling on the state of C15 scholarship )

At any rate, I should probably go back to Thomas Malory. I started rereading Le Morte Darthur the other day and am once again struck by how many innocent bystanders are accidentally decapitated. Especially ladies who happen to be standing next to the man [insert knight here] was aiming for. Obviously the Knights of the Round Table have very bad aim. Though I do keep getting flashes to crazy!Lancelot from Holy Grail and that's always fun.
lareinenoire: (Bitch)
After reading two articles referencing aforementioned chronicle and finishing the first series of Doctor Who, my new mental image of Edward IV is Captain Jack.

In a mad sort of way, it works. Both are very good in wartime but somewhat problematic in peacetime, both are incredibly charming and will sleep with anything that moves, and both are generally cleverer than they are given credit for being, although if Jack dies of a heart attack after overeating himself into a stupor, it would be truly awful.

ETA 2:10 AM: The articles used segments of the chronicle to posit that Edward IV may have been bisexual. I'd accept it as a possibility, though not based on those particular segments, which may well have been using 'love' in a nonsexual way. Who knows? Subtext, how I love thee.

Why doesn't Edward IV get any love? Cut to spare the uninterested. )

Anyway, all of this is in an effort to avoid writing that introduction to my dissertation outline that justifies its existence. I have a page of semi-incoherent ramblings about appropriation of women as characters that is only partly related to the cultural framework of queenship but has far more to do with the twisting of those frameworks to fit the needs of propaganda...which is the right idea, but not in any way that makes sense.

On a completely unrelated note, I did notice this in the film, but it is rather staggering how good Joaquin Phoenix sounds when he sings Johnny Cash.

ETA 2:10 AM: More thoughts added under the cut.

Meh.

Nov. 13th, 2006 04:29 pm
lareinenoire: (Default)
Still not better. Voice sounds slightly better, but is now interspersed with violent coughing fits. I'm not very fun to be around right now, but unfortunately the computer is still incommunicada, which leaves me no recourse but the library. Where there are other people constantly distracted by aforementioned coughing fits. I feel horrible about it, which makes me try to stifle the coughing, which makes it worse, which...you get the picture.

At least today's Chronicle of Choice was short and to the point. Well, one of them was. I actually managed to transcribe all relevant bits by hand in a reasonable amount of time. The other one, I've asked the lovely people at the counter to keep in hopes that my computer will magically reappear in the next five days. I know there was a time when everyone transcribed by hand, and that I have no right to complain...but I intend to complain anyway.

::deep breath::

It takes too long. And it hurts my hand, which has developed this inexplicable cramp between the thumb and forefinger. Plus, if I get distracted, my handwriting becomes practically illegible, which is not helpful in the least.

I did finally finish Charles Ross's biography of Richard III. He seems to espouse the 'he really was no better and no worse than any other person around him' theory. Which is fine with me; I'm actually finding that to be my theory of choice these days. He just seems content to set out the information and let the reader decide what they think. Plus, he points out the foibles of both sides of the Ricardian debate equally, and he's actually very nice to P.M. Kendall. Of course, this is pre-Weir, so I have no idea what he'd think of her.

One of my stack requests got cancelled, much to my annoyance. It happened to be the article about Pope Pius II who decided on a whim to compare Marguerite of Anjou to Joan of Arc, and I was really looking forward to that, simply because it's an odd notion and moderately amusing. Supposedly, the Upper Camera Reserve has it, and I might try to make it there after stopping by the English Library to pick up copies of Shakespeare's various Henry VI plays.

I'm trying to decide if I want to go to a lecture tonight. It sounds interesting (19th Century Literature and the Bible), but I'm tired. And I've run out of sugar, which is something of a calamity in my world. At any rate, I've got half an hour to decide, so we'll see.
lareinenoire: (Elegance)
THIS is why I'm writing a dissertation on literary afterlives of historical figures. Because people think it's interesting! Because it provokes arguments! Because [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 occasionally makes awesome fingerpuppet videos involving said literary afterlives of historical figures.

(And because I'm a huge nerd. But moving on...)

This whole thing began after several people (myself among them) made joking comments about Shakespeare's Richard III being a Tudor hackjob. For me, it was joking. I don't know about anyone else. She then posted a very clear and interesting response that points out the flaws in the 'hackjob' theory, linked above. Personally, I'd love to see [livejournal.com profile] junediamanti and [livejournal.com profile] a_t_rain's thoughts on the subject.

For those who are curious, ramblings regarding the late and occasionally lamented Richard III and Tudor Hackjobbery follow )

In other news, note to self re: Oxford weather -- It doesn't matter how warm it is in the morning. Nor does it matter that you're planning to spend several hours in a library. It's the middle of October. Wear a coat. Because Murphy's Law demands that the day you leave the house wearing a sleeveless top is the day you return to the house in very cold rain.

At least I've started keeping the umbrella with me at all times.
lareinenoire: (Wilde Truth)
Picked up last term's essays. Suffice it to say the weather echoed my mild to moderate terror of this particular errand. It's been raining all day.

They were...lower than I wanted.

I passed both of them, thank God. If I hadn't, I'd probably be suffering a nervous breakdown right now. And, thanks to my very high mark from first term, my average has barely scraped past the minimum mark for the Ph.D. programme.

It's ironic that the essay I was more confident about was the one that came out with the lower mark. I was sure I'd written a nice, coherent piece, but apparently it contained rather large logistical gaps that I just hadn't seen. I managed to scrape the mark they gave me, on account of the vast amounts of research. Thank goodness it counted for something; I certainly spent enough time on it.

Of course, the silver lining on the cloud is that the essay that picked up the High Pass mark is the jumping-off point for my dissertation. And most of the problems pointed out by the examiner--i.e. lack of secondary sources, no real discussion of the parallels between Dumas' theatre and fiction, etc--are all things that will be dealt with in detail in the dissertation.

So I suppose it all evens out cosmically.

I think I'm going to drop my clothing into the washing machine and have a drink. Preferably something alcoholic. I don't care that it's the middle of the afternoon. Sometimes you just need alcohol.
lareinenoire: (Snape!)
I fell in love today...

::grin::

...with the Wren Library. I swear my jaw dropped and hit the floor when we walked in for my seminar this morning. Normally I don't care for Neoclassical architecture, but when said Neoclassical architecture involves midmorning sun streaming through *massive* mullioned arch windows onto hundreds of priceless books...

Yeah.

In love.

Now back to my romantic evening with Richard III.

ETA (22:21): Link to a photograph of aforementioned library. Doesn't do it justice but at least gives an idea.

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