It is been over a year since I have returned from Europe and I realised that I haven’t yet written about Macbeth. Actually, there are quite a lot of things that I have been meaning to write about, both on this blog and on my travel blog, that I simply haven’t got around to doing just yet. I guess a part of it is because there is an awful lot of stuff that I could write about, and also with work and with other things that have got in the way, the amount that I have been able to write has been limited. However, of late I have only intended to post one post a week (and one post a fortnight on my travel blog), and there has been plenty of stuff for me to post that I guess letting a number of things drift isn’t all that bad. However, I did see Macbeth, and I should at least put some time aside to write about it.
As I was sitting in the theatre watching this play a part of me was wondering if there is actually much more that I could write about this play than the obvious – racism, feminism, and maybe homosexuality. In a way these three aspects seem to dominate the Merchant of Venice, with some critics simply writing it off as some anti-semetic rant of Shakespeare’s. In a way I can understand why people see it that way because our Jewish anti-hero does come across as vengeful, greedy, and quite unforgiving.
Well, if you haven’t read the first part of this post then I recommend that you do, namely because I explore the history of the nude, and also how the concept changed in the early 20th Century as we moved from the public to the private space. The other thing is that I am running through is the idea of where the line is drawn, and what we would consider offensive. One idea has suggested as to whether the image is sensual or not, yet there are works of art hanging on the walls of art galleries for everybody to see that are incredibly sensual. The other thing is that we are probably much more relaxed with regards to the naked body that the British of the Victorian era were, who were renown for being rather prude.
There is probably very few things more controversial in art than the idea of the nude. Sure, artists have been painting, sculpting, and creating nude images for millenia, yet there is always this debate over whether it is right to display the unclothed human body, and whether we should prevent the young from being exposed to such images. The question always comes down to where one draws the line between art and pornography. Mind you this line is actually a pretty subjective line, and is also a line that isn’t necessarily set between gender identities – there are women who consider pornography to be fine, while there are men who are absolutely appalled by the industry.
It seems as if there is a resurgence of interest in the plays of George Bernard Shaw, though when I say resurgence I am referring to having seen three plays of his over the past three years, which is significant because I pretty much haven’t seen any of his plays previously. That probably has a lot to do with not actually knowing about him, or having any appreciation of his work prior to purchasing a copy of Pygmalion and proceeding to read it. The other problem is that the lack of options when it comes to theatre in Australia, but then again it does teach me to keep my eyes open. However, the stage on screen series that are now being played at various cinemas around Australia helps a lot as well. So, when I discovered that Saint Joan was going to be one of the films shown I took the day off work, made my way down to the Palace Brighton Bay, and began to treat myself to another play that I am not expecting to see again any time soon.
I’ve just finished reading a book, Henry V, War Criminal and Other Shakespearian Puzzles, which explores a number of puzzles, and apparent contradictions, in some (or in fact most) of Shakespeare’s plays. I guess when you happen to be this hugely famous author any little mistake, or apparent mistake, is suddenly scrutinised extensively, and debated over by academics of all stripes. Then we have somebody like Shakespeare, who in many cases is viewed as not just one of, but the greatest, writer that the English language has ever produced, and we are speaking of a language that has produced countless numbers of great writers. However while writers such as Charles Dickens can produce a love/hate relationship, Shakespeare seems to be loved by all (except for those high school students who are forced to study his plays).
Well, my original plan was to simply sit down on my couch on Saturday night and watch a film that I have already watch with the intention of not actually writing anything about something. Well, I guess The Butterfly Effect is not the type of film that one can simply walk away from and not think too heavily about what just occurred. Well, okay, you probably can, but as people suggest I have this annoying habit of thinking too much – not that that is a bad thing, but some people do feel somewhat threatened by people who do have this annoying habit of thinking about and analysing things and want to put a stop to it. However, this isn’t a post about anti-intellectualism, so I will leave it at that.
I would say that I have just finished watching this rather mindblowing television series, but I wanted to at least watch the original movie, and then the rather disappointing sequel before I started writing down my thoughts. Also, watching a couple of youtube videos also helped a bit with coming through with some thoughts, however as I look at the last of the ten episodes, I have to admit that I struggle to see where they can go to from there, and whether they can actually surpass what we have already seen. In any case, if you haven’t already watched the series then I recommend that you do, especially if you are a fan of the original film before you continue any further because even though I will attempt not to spoil anything (namely because there are some awesome twists), I can’t say that I won’t ruin the experience with this post, particularly since I am exploring some of the themes.
Normally I wouldn’t waste my time writing a blog post about a bad, or series of bad, movies, but for some reason, I feel that maybe I should write something about the idea of the dystopia since I have just wasted about nine hours of my life watching the four Hunger Games movies. Anyway, I won’t actually write about what I thought of the films namely because I have already done so on IMDB, and I will include links to the reviews at the bottom of this post, however, I do wish to explore the idea of the dystopia in general, and have a glance to some of the recent series of movies (which have come out of books mind you) that explore this idea. Mind you, a part of me does want to hold off a bit so that I can watch Brazil again, but I suspect I’ll have plenty to write about that particular movie when I get around to it.
Apart of me felt that it was a little ironic, with all the furore over Brexit, that this play was being performed by the Royal Shakespeare company around this time. Mind you, unless they had a crystal ball, I have a feeling that it may have been a coincidence that Cymbeline was being staged, though we must remember that Brexit didn’t happen in a vacuum, and there was a huge debate over Britain’s role in the EU and the European community in the lead up not only to the referendum but also the general election of 2015. The thing is that one of the major themes of the play, and it as just as important back when it was first performed as it is now, is the role of Britain in Europe, and how much influence should Europe have over British (or more precisely English) sovereignty.