Friday, January 30, 2009


Of course, I mean non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama on DVD. There are rumours that Sam Mendes, Kate Winslett's husband, is currently trying to sell the BBC on redoing all of Shakespeare's plays again. More surprisingly, the beeb is said to be interested in the project. What on earth is the point of doing all 40 or so dramas again, just 25 years or so after the last cycle? So Mendes and others can situate Shakespeare's political intrigues of the 15th century in the corridors of power on Capitol Hill? What a waste of time! The credit for Shakespeare's genius is always primarily Shakespeare's and the most a serious director can do for him is to give a reasonably faithful rendition of his drama. Of course, Mendes wants to make a great classical name for himself by directing these plays and, no doubt, we will have his wife in a variety of Shakespearean roles that 25 years ago, mostly went to Helen Mirren. Needless to say, the beeb's last "bardothon" was hardly perfect and some of the plays got very poor treatment ("Antony and Cleopatra", "Romeo and Juliet", "As You Like It" and "Othello" come easily to mind). On the other hand, several of the productions were really very good (most of the history plays, "King Lear", "Measure For Measure", "Twelth Night" and many of the little known comedies and tragedies). An enterprise of this sort--extended as it is over space and time--is never likely to have a consistent level of performance throughout, and Mendes' new cycle, should it come to fruition, will no doubt be just as imperfect--or perhaps even worse--than the beeb's previous effort more than 25 years ago.

How much more worthwhile it would be for the BBC to give its attention to producing a cycle of non-Shakespearean dramas of the period to go with its previous Shakespearean effort. It would be wonderful to have Jonson's "Volpone", "Alchemist" and "Sejanus" on DVD for perpetuity as well as Marlowe's, Webster's and Middleton's plays. John Ford's "'Tis Pity She's a Whore" is a wonderful drama as is also The "Spanish Tragedy" and Dekker's "The Revenger's Tragedy". Imagine having access to a definitive dramatic source for Beaumont and Fletcher's plays and Jacobean city comedy! Alas, it almost certainly won't happen. Shakespeare's name can still easily be sold to the culturally challenged, yuppie-like denizens of the BBC, but the names of Webster, Dekker and Ford are likely to receive only bemused glances. Perhaps eventually, with the growing tendency to record live performance, most of these lesser known plays of the Elizabethan period will be filmed in the theatre itself--as has already happened with lots of lesser known operas.

We can only hope!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Richardsorq said...

114.833 2. Sanhemp A little planning can help you overcome the space constraints. First of all, you should sort all your stuff. Though this is a time-consuming task, but once done it can save you from wasting a lot of time and energy in future. During the sorting process you are likely to find out that half the stuff you own is hardly used. You should separate all such items so that they can be moved to a self storage warehouse.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Grizzlekalc said...

monster truck nitro 2 primary games, Play free monster truck nitro 2 primary games for free onlineThe sequel to Monster Truck Maniac game. If your little boy loves, then a monster truck birthday party might just be a great idea for his next Hell Cops - In Hell Cops you're police officers coming from hell! You are in a monster cop truck destroying vehicles and murdering men and women throughout the game

1:01 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home