Blog powered by Typepad

« Farewell to a warrior | Main | My God, did I miss the end of the world? »

Tuesday, 26 January 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"...what used to be called 'correspondent' shoes."

NO. They used to be called "co-respondent shoes" as in co-respondent to a divorce petition on grounds of adultery.

I have an otherwise marvellous DVD of Verdi's Macbeth, (Netrebko, Lucic, Pape and Calleja), that the director has brought forward in time so as to make it 'relevant' to today's audience, (Bosnia, Ukraine 'n stuff).

OK, I do get to see Anna Netrebko in a satin nightdress for most of the Opera, but the production does throw up a few somewhat incongruous bits.

First, during the introduction to Lady M's sleepwalking aria they do the old silent movie trick of getting people to put a chair in front of her just before she steps on it. Now this was an impressive trick when I saw it perfomed, at speed, by Harold Lloyd or whoever on saturday morning pictures when I were a lad, but Ms Netrebko is not an acrobat so they had to do the whole thing at a snail's pace making sure each chair was in exactly the right place before she took a step. Pointless.

The other bit of nonsense is in the grand finale when the two armies meet. They all have rifles but they stand and shout at each other for a couple of bars then charge each other waving their rifles and using them like swords, literally banging them together.

You feel like shouting at them: "They're guns you plonkers! You're supposed to shoot them!"

Then Malcolm comes on, sees that Macbeth only has a dagger, so throws his own AK47 away and pulls out a knife.

Directors, eh?

I cannot speak for AussieD but when I say 'muck about with Shakespeare" I am usually referring to language and the essence of the plays. Don't change the language. Don't change the characters so that they become unrecognizable. If you cannot speak Elizabethan English then don't do Shakespeare. If you feel you need to rewrite his words, then don't do Shakespeare. Costumes are just that, costumes. I understand the need to leave out some characters and acts due to time constraints - as long as you don't leave out the important to plot bits. While I wince at changing the era into more modern times, if it is done well then after a while I cease to notice.

Thanks, Decnine, happily I have not (yet!) been cited in a divorce case!

Kevin, in my experience, any attempt by 'luvvies' to emulate soldiers nearly always ends up as farce!

Miss Red, do please take a few minutes and watch this:
The Crystals, 'pere et fils', are fascinating on the subject of how English was spoken 400 years ago.

I must plead guilty from time to time to changing the odd word or two when they are so archaic that they have literally become meaningless. In mitigation I always tried to replace them with a modern equivalent that did not alter the iambic pentameter. And whilst I never cut scenes, quite often I had to choose which scenes to play or not play because of the differences between the Quarto and Folio texts which is often due to Will himself having second thoughts. Bloody writers, why can't they make up their minds!

Duffers - I watched the video and I am fascinated and when I have more time I will watch others in the series.

What is curious is how snippets of the old pronunciation crop up sporadically in modern speech; such as Filom for film which reminds me of a scottish WOI from the OTC; the rolling of r's after vowels which you hear sometimes in Ireland and in the US; how the h is missed off the beginning of words such as hotel; and generally how they sound like country bumpkins - brilliant stuff.

Very intellectual!

I ditto exactly what Cuffeyburgers said. I think I have seen something similar to this video a long time ago. It is fascinating to hear how regional OP can sound.
I was lucky in that I had a wonderful English teacher in my wee convent in Bridge of Earn. She absolutely loved Shakespeare and did her best to make damn sure that not only could I read him properly but that I could understand him. Mother Culhane was indeed a treasure.

I remember one Shakespeare expert saying that the closest to Shakespeare's spoken language these days was to be found in parts of America.

Delivering his verse seems quite beyond most modern actors which is crazy when you consider that his iambic pentameters and their occasional variations hints at what is required almost as though Will himself was standing behind you whispering in your ear. Today they tend to drone it all out as though it were prose and anyone who complains is written off as an 'iambic fundamentalist'. Peter Hall is much to be missed!

"I remember one Shakespeare expert saying that the closest to Shakespeare's spoken language these days was to be found in parts of America."

De gustibus non est disputandum.

"De gustibus non est disputandum" - crikey, is that how y'all talk in 'Arkieland'?

The comments to this entry are closed.