I had just managed to make my way through this book a second time, namely because I wanted to write a review of it on Goodreads (and Booklikes), and while it was pretty rushed, I had decided that I would leave it at that and move on to my next book (and project). However, as I am prone to do, I read through some of the other reviews of Goodreads (such as this one, this one, and this one) when I realised that I simply couldn’t just leave it at that scrappy piece of work that I wrote up on the train on my way home from work. Okay, while I have covered several points, albeit briefly, I suddenly realised that there is so much more to this book that I had to continue with my exposition on this blog.
One of the things that I don’t like about seeing plays while I am away is that I don’t always get a chance to sit down and write about them while they are still fresh in my mind. In fact that makes it even more difficult, considering all of the experiences that I’d encounter while wandering around the place means that I inevitably land up with so much in my head that it pushes the experience further back, and it is not until I have returned to my comfort zone (or my writing zone as I should say) am I able to think more about it. Then again, that isn’t going to happen for at least a month, so while I am sitting on the train heading out to the Sunshine Coast, I probably should take the time to actually write about the third play that I saw – Merchant of Venice.
Well, in the space of a couple of days I have gone from one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays to one of his more complex, and detailed plays.… Read more “Chaos in the Forest – A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Okay, this may not be the first Bernard Shaw play that I have seen performed, however the previous one, Man and Superman, was a performance by the National Theatre that was filmed and then distributed to various cinemas around the world. Okay, while it may not have been live, it was close enough, and seeing Ralph Fiennes performing on stage was an experience to say the least.
I initially suggested that I have seen the Tempest three times on my Goodreads and Booklikes posts that is) but now that I think about it I believe I have only seen it twice before I saw this production (and I believe that both of those previous productions were also by the Bell Shakespeare Company). Anyway, when I discovered that they were staging another production (this time only in Sydney) I pretty quickly booked my tickets because it happens to be one of my favourite Shakespearian plays.
Honestly, I’m not really all that sure whether I appreciated the Bell Shakespeare Company bringing this play into the 20th Century in much the same way that they do with quite a lot of their plays. The thing is that while the idea behind a lot of plays are timeless, somethings seeing a performance set in the original setting is so much better than having to sit through another modern Australian adaptation.
As I have said on my numerous reviews on Goodreads (and elsewhere), a play is meant to be watched, not read, and it can be very difficult to truly appreciate a play unless you watch it performed. The problem is that you rarely see many plays performed by playwrights of the past (unless that playwright is Shakespeare – he is still very popular). This means that it was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to actually see any of Shaw’s works. However, imagine my delight when I jumped onto the website of the Palace Nova Brighton Bay and discovered that they were showing a production of Shaw’s Man & Superman that was recently staged in London. While I have seen movie adaptations of couple of his plays (The Devil’s Disciple and Caeser and Cleopatra – both of which have now been removed from Youtube due to copyright violations), I have yet, until now, seen one of his plays performed. Of all the plays that they could have chosen they selected a relatively obscure one.
I have had a rather odd relationship with this particular play. I first read it during university and it really didn’t appeal to me, especially since the lecturer that we had seemed to be obsessed with sex. At the time I really didn’t like the idea of sexualising Shakespeare; until I realised that Shakespeare is actually really, really dirty (though due to the language most of the references simply go over our head). However, it wasn’t until one of my friend’s put on a production of this play that I suddenly understood what was going on, and that my lecturer was only outlining what many of the academics had been saying for quite some time. Still, it is certainly not one of my favourite plays, and many of the elements that appear in As You Like It also appear in his other plays.
I must say that it came as a bit of a surprise, not a shock, but a surprise, to receive a post on my Facebook page telling me that the author of the beloved Discworld series had passed away. I wasn’t shocked because, well, death comes to us all in the end, as he would remind us time and time again in his books, yet from my perspective (and I must admit that while I enjoy his books, I don’t necessarily follow all aspects of his life) he did not seem to live the type of lifestyle that would bring about his passing at such a young age. Yeah, I know, he was 66 so while that may hardly be young in some people’s books, I still consider people of that age to be in the prime of their life.
Oscar Wilde is surely a tragic figure, a victim of 19th and early 20th century prejudice. Then again, I guess it also had something to do with him being quite a well known personality at the time, though in 1895 he was convicted of ‘Gross Indecency’ ), and sentenced to two years in gaol.