1. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    The Cult of Shakespeare?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Goldenclover179, Oct 2, 2016.

    No easy way to go about it. Shakespeare writes a good story like a dead rat speaks English.
    His writing is the penny dreadful of his day, the characters are base, one dimensional. They're simply boring. And his plots? Please, done to death thousands of years before he was born. His "humor" is about as funny as a sitcom; you may giggle at the moment, but it's gone in five minutes. And get rid of all the arts and the thous, the thees and the dramatic medieval proclamations, and you have in your hands another airport romance.
    If Chekhov is the gourmet of writing, William Shakespeare is the cheap subway sandwich of literature. And yet, teachers around the world, theater owners nationwide, playwrights across the planet, they shove it down people's throats like it's the greatest dish ever created.
    Shakespeare is a religion, and the world is his following.
    Why?
     
  2. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Well clearly he's got something, regardless of all the things you don't like about him.
    Clearly he did something right.

    I constantly wonder why so many people think many of the modern popstars are amazing when they're really not...just the way of the world I guess.
     
  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Me thinks, less than fair lady thou mayhaps too promptly judge the man sans sagacity, sans humour, whereupon my begging to differ doth dwell in stout manner and gainly with rebuke. Indeed fie upon you I say to blaspheme a soul which fails by its passing the chance perchance to reply.
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm curious: How many Shakespeare plays have you seen?
     
  5. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    Sadly, due to the education system's adoration of Shakespeare, about four or five.

    Just because someone's famous doesn't mean they're good. Hitler was adored. Margaret Thatcher was adored. Does this mean they're amazing?
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    So, not enough for a fully informed opinion. What theater? A well-regarded live theater?
     
  7. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    Jesus Christ. Guess if I haven't seen all 38 of Shakespeare's plays in the Broadway theater starring the greatest actors of all time, I suppose I don't know a thing about him. Yes, it was at some Shakespearean convention, the theater was very well put together. But that shouldn't matter; a good play is a good play. If Shakespeare needs London theater and Robert De Niro for his plays to be good, they really aren't all that.
    Four to five seems more than enough to me, I reckon you could tell a lot about J.K Rowling's writing style and talent by reading four of her books. Don't see why those standards are any different for Shakespeare.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    When someone creates a thread for the sole purpose of slamming something that a lot of other people clearly like, you know what you're getting into :D
     
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  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nope. A good play needs a good production. A good play that comes from a much older culture is especially dependent on a good production.
     
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  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I know. I'll get bored soon.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In fact, leaping about as far from Shakespeare as one can get: The British series Coupling is hilarious. Some American network tried to duplicate it, and used essentially the same script--or at least used it for as long as I could bear to watch, before I turned it off. The writing is just a beginning.
     
  12. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    TV shows and plays are very different things, and essentially is not the same thing as exact. I don't mean one of those Shakespeare plays where they try and put a "twist" on it and set it on Mars in the year 3000 B.C, that would definitely mess with the quality of a play. There's only so much a theater can screw up by acting Shakespeare word for word, using conventional blocking and not adding their own little bits and pieces. Like I said, a good play is a good play. Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard could be acted out by a band of idiots in the crappiest theater int he world without any props at all, but it would remain a good play because the writing is good, the characters are good, everything's good. Apparently, the same can't be said for Shakespeare. He needs a good theater to be good?
    The writing isn't just the beginning. It is literally the entire play, all a theater does is act it out.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good heavens, you're so very wrong.
     
  14. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    The last sentence, yes, over the top. But how am I wrong?
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    A claim that acting and directing talent are irrelevant to one's enjoyment of a play? How can you find even a scintilla of "right" in that claim?
     
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Resist the temptation - don't engage!

    I know, too late. But... yikes. This can't end well.
     
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  17. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    When was the last time you heard of a theatre company performing Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard? Aside from my complaint with most of the Russian Classics, that the writing is overwrought and the emotion melodramatic, The Cherry Orchard is not timeless nor does it welcome interpretation.
    Shakespeare wrote plays that were both accessible to the common person, and sophisticated enough for the well educated. A Midsummer Night's Dream can be performed as written, or completely deconstructed and given a different life. I studied Shakespeare one Summer in Cambridge England, thinking this was the worst thing my then girlfriend had got be involved in... turned out I loved the class, and I had completely underestimated the genius of his work.
    Shakespeare gives me a hard-on.
     
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  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw The Cherry Orchard a few years ago. I wanted to smack all the characters across the face with a rotting fish. I did, oddly, enjoy The Seagull, even though I wanted to smack some of those characters, too. Chekov is not my favorite playwright. Returning to Shakespeare, I'd like to also rotting-fish-smack King Lear. Just that character; many of the others are fine.
     
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  19. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    The point is, the Shakespeare plays I saw were very elegantly put together and no corners were cut, but you can decorate and bedazzle a pile of dog crap all you want, but it won't make it smell any less.

     
  20. Goldenclover179
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    The point is, the Shakespeare plays I saw were very elegantly put together and no corners were cut, but you can decorate and bedazzle a pile of dog crap all you want, but it won't make it .

    Not even close to accessible to the common person, who the hell relates to Shakespeare's characters? They're about as human and as believable as a collection of pine cones. And this is an honest question, but if you don't like overwrought, melodramatic writing, where does Shakespeare appeal to you?
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who cares about elegance? This isn't about purdy costumes and backdrops. It's about acting.
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I want to know what Shakespeare plays you saw, and where. I suspect that they were played as spoken poetry, rather than plays.
     
  23. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    We studied A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, and of course King Lear. I was alright with King Lear, it was Macbeth I could have passed over. Hamlet was a bit infuriating... bloody hell, just kill the king and get it over with already. Also, that last scene of Hamlet... pretty ridiculous. However, I loved A Midsummer Night's Dream.
     
  24. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    By elegant, I mean no corners were cut and the acting and the way the play was carried out had a very smooth flow to it. Not the appearance of the stage.

    Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Tempest, Othello, and Hamlet. And yes, they were plays, not spoken poetry. I may not like Shakespeare, but that doesn't mean I haven't got a clue about theater. I know the difference between spoken poetry and an actually acted out play.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, the thing that really matters in a performance of Macbeth is Lady Macbeth. Macbeth seems to be her sword-swinging puppet.
     
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