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Showing posts from January, 2009

Group Reading of Richard II and a Conundrum

I had a very enjoyable time last Sunday participating in the third meeting of the Shakespeare Reading Group. Previous readings have been of Macbeth and Twelfth Night (see previous blog entries for more). Thirteen of us (but with no ill luck) gathered to read Richard II . As there is a lot of poetry and long speeches without much action, the reading was a little slow-going, but I think it went quite well. We even had a little "game" before beginning our reading to see if we could all keep the various characters straight.  As always, I encourage Oberon members and other interested people to participate in these group readings. One can really discover interesting things while reading every word of a play that is easily missed by only watching them (directors often cut lines or rearrange scenes). That brings me to the conundrum I allude to in the title of this blog entry. There we were, in the last scene of the play (Act V, scene 6), when I heard this from the student sitting t

I've Looked at Hamlet From Both Sides Now

This past Saturday five intrepid Oberon members braved the weather ("The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold"-Hamlet, Act I, scene 4) to attend a double-feature at the Hilberry Theatre in Detroit. First up was Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead , then after a leisurely dinner it was off to Hamlet (by Shakespeare). It was a most enjoyable day.  Stoppard's play is quite funny in its way. It is a kind of retelling of Hamlet from the point of view of the "minor characters" of R & G, in which they become the main characters with a large part also for the Players, while the "major characters" of Hamlet are relegated to "walk-on parts". It's kind of like being with R & G "offstage" during a performance of Hamlet , so that whenever they are supposed to appear in a scene of Hamlet, the other actors "come on" and do the scene (or a part of it) with them. In the interim, R & G talk among the

Oberon hosts MI Shakes-fest director Robert Duha Jan. 22

Dear Oberon 2009!   Last year our January meeting got us off to a great start. This year promises the same.   In addition to discussing plans for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's sonnets and for a celebration of Shakespeare's unbirthday, our meeting this Thursday evening, January 22, at the Farmington Community Library on 12 Mile Rd. between Farmington Rd. and Orchard Lake Rd. will feature special guest Robert B. Duha, Managing Director of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival  .  We have been looking forward to being with Mr. Duha to explore the future of the Festival and ways in which Oberon can provide support.   There is the further exciting possibility that Mr. Duha will have with him the festival's artistic director John Neville-Andrews whom we hosted at our between the plays dinner at the Festival last summer.  Mr. Neville-Andrews provided us with special insights into the Festival at that time and can be counted on for even more insight into the work of the Festiv

Yes, Shakespeare WAS Right!

For years Shakespeare scholars have pointed to such passages as the following from The Tempest and Two Gentleman of Verona: 1) Prospero (formerly Duke of Milan) explaining things to Miranda: "In few, they hurried us aboard a bark, Bore us some leagues to the sea" The Tempest, Act I, scene 2 2) In Verona, Speed (the servant of Valentine) talking to Proteus: SPEED: Sir Proteus, save you! Saw you my master? PROTEUS: But now he parted hence, to embark for Milan SPEED: Twenty to one he is shipp'd already... These two passages clearly imply that Milan is a port where one can take a ship to "the sea" or can arrive by ship from Verona. But, say the scholars, Milan and Verona are inland towns! How can there be ships there? Oh well, they say, Shakespeare just made a mistake. We can excuse him for that. After all, he lived in England and never went to Italy. He just didn't know such details. And who cares anyway, he wrote good plays! Of course, readers of this blog pro