Thursday, 24 May 2012

David Tennant - Measure for Measure


Quote #016

"Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure."

Duke Vincentio - 'Measure for Measure' Act V, scene 1


16 - Measure For Measure

You can see when reading this play why there is a school of thought which subdivides Shakespeare’s Comedies into either full on comedy (Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors, etc.) and those which are sometimes named the 'Problem Plays'. There are elements of comedy; Elbow’s malapropisms, Pompey’s change in career and  Lucio slowly digging his own grave as he slanders first the Duke and then the Friar the one to other not knowing them to be the same person (Lois Lane often had the same trouble)!

The ‘Problem’ within this play is that the taking of ‘virtue’ is seen as a great sin, practically when that virtue belongs to a Nun-to-be! And how do you expose Angelo as a someone condemning a man to death for a crime he’s willing to commit himself on the sly.

But is this a problem or is that us seeing modern values in a period piece. Yes the city seems to take a dim view of ‘tumbling’ out of wedlock and Angelo does give Isabella a dammed if you do / don’t conundrum. But wouldn’t the people watching in Shakespeare’s day have been more of the mind of Pompey and Lucio than the Duke?  So couldn’t you just as well play it with Angelo as a lecherous old so and so, Isabella less of a naive Nun, the Duke just trying to catch everyone out and the whole production with more of an air of farce about it?
Carry on Duke?

Put it this way – what if the Carry On team had performed it with the following cast?
Angelo – Sid James
Isabella – Barbara Windsor
The Duke – Jim Dale
Mariana – Joan Sims
Lucio – Kenneth Williams
Read the play with them in mind and see what a difference it makes!

So, measure for measure, maybe we’re the problem…

And Finally – The Bard inadvertently stumbled on the format for a dating game-show. The new twist is that any male participants exposed as having “Done-the-dirty” with their date are forced to marry the bachelorette in question!


Friday, 4 May 2012

'Theatre of Blood' Trailer

Original trailer for Vincent Price's 1973 film 'Theatre of Blood'


Quote #015

"Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly;
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed,
But that I cannot do ten thousand more."

Aaron - 'Titus Andronicus', Act V, scene 1


15 - Titus Andronicus

Hands up who likes blood! Well, then this is the play for you! It has four beheadings as well as the lopping off of three hands, one person torn limb from limb, another buried chest deep and left to starve and the removal of one tongue. Not to mention the final scene’s gastronomic nightmare. In all I count twelve deaths in Titus with nine of them happening on stage. This isn’t so much a blood-bath as a blood-bathroom suite; complete with blood-basin, blood-bog and blood-bidet!

'Theatre of Blood' - 1973
Personally I’ve never been a big lover of ‘slasher’ movies with tonnes of guts and gore so I’d probably give this play a miss if anyone went for a ‘full on’ adaptation. However, I was reminded of the great Vince Prince movie ‘Theatre of Blood’ where a ham actor has his revenge of his critics by killing each off in the style of a different Shakespearean murder. In the movie Robert Morley gets the Andronicus treatment by eating his ‘babies’ cooked in a pie! Although fortunately his babies in this case are a couple of poodles!

And finally – Maybe a musical version would lighten the tone. Set it the swinging Sixties it could use hit songs by the Beatles, such as “If I Fell (into your grave)”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand (but not the rest of you)”, “Lady Tamora (children are your meat)” and “Help! (I killed somebody) Help! (In fact everybody) Help! (I’ve killed my son) Help!”


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Finest Man That Ever Breathed

MICHAEL: Life is a strumpet stained with wine. "Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages!"
DR FASSBENDER: Isn't that Schiller? 

MICHAEL: Shakespeare.


MICHAEL: [Indicating a portrait of the Bard]
That man there is the finest man that ever breathed.


MICHAEL: He is. 

DR FASSBENDER: He is? Who's he? 

Who's he?


MICHAEL: [Taking off his jacket] I'll soon show you who he is. 

DR FASSBENDER: Hey! You must not strike me, you naughty boy!  You're my patient, that's who you are! And, anyway, I can lick any Freudian psychoanalyst what's in this house. 

 'What's New Pussycat?" - 1965