shakespeare is ass
July 28, 2003 08:48 AM

We've started rehearsals for another play. I think I may have mentioned some time back that we were writing - or really cobbling - this thing vaguely based on Hamlet.

I hate Hamlet. And the process of reading through the entire play aloud didn't unconvince me.

It comes back to something I've said before and will probably say several times in the future. Recognizing Shakespeare as the single truly brilliant writer of theatre ever is a mistake. It's a matter of publicity. Someone, some time ago, decided that Shakespeare was important. It caught on, and once caught on became embedded in our educational system. At least in English-speaking countries.

This isn't an indication of Shakespeare's brilliance, but of the work's normalcy.

I will say that a complete, thorough reading of any Shakespeare play does reveal several clever ways of working with theatrical conventions of the day. Meaning - not knowing otherwise, you'd have no idea that things like soliloquys were devices for scenic shifts. Clever, indeed.

Because Shakespeare is so widely known worldwide, the work has great potential for universality in performance. Everyone knows Shakespeare (or so we think - turns out our cast doesn't), so using it as a vehicle for something different still resonates as familiar.

But, like too much else, modern mainstream theatre embraces this cultural yearning for normalcy. Even with artists who aren't boring, it happens. It trends towards the middle, and so trends towards repetition. In the case of Shakespeare, this becomes hundreds of misguided attempts to recreate The Globe around the world. [Heh. Globe. Around the world. Heh. Oh, nevermind.]

Normal and repetitious is not what art is made of.

This is why Shakespeare, despite protestations to the contrary, is ass.

[I've been waiting to make this argument before the world since I was twelve. Thus the juvenile "ass".]

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your wicked thoughts

shakespeare est un fesse , c bourrer de caca , i piss par le cu

these are the thoughts of A-L-I on July 13, 2004 09:27 AM

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