Posts Tagged ‘shakespeare’

Heinlein Month: Bad shape

July 18, 2011

Cloistered SWF seeks poetic SWM, age not important, balcony-climbing skills a must. Send carrier pigeon to Villa Capulet. Your pic gets mine. No bots please.


You’re in bad shape when your emotions force you into acts which you know are foolish.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. 1958.)

The Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful, faithful classic. But — keep this under your hat because I don’t want to be kicked out of the super-cool smart kids’ club — the Baz Luhrmann hamfisted crazy-go-nuts adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is actually my favorite, because I unapologetically love his juxtapositive imagination and didn’t think it defiled the play particularly. A little excess never killed nobody. (Get it? A little excess? Oxymoron? Yes?) I like over the top lushness in a movie — I’m a decaphile and I’m not sorry for that. But I went with the picture of Olivia Hussey to illustrate this idea because she is so exponentially hotter than Claire Danes that Claire Danes just now suddenly got sad, purely from all of us nodding silently, and she doesn’t know why.


Left: Amateur hour. Right: Holy hell.

The mise-en-scene of Luhrmann’s R&J dazzles me, but compared to the chemistry in Zeffirelli’s 1968 version? There is no comparison. Absolutely none. By the way, am I the only one who read that thing where Zeffirelli claims to have totally been hit on by Aristotle Onassis? Still wrapping my mind around that one and weighing its potential truth. (Verdict so far: Depends. Was Onassis trying to get Zeff away from Callas once and for all? Or just bombed on some really good shit?) More on that story here, and don’t skip the comments for the full scope of the debate.

Wednesday Wednesday: “Dangerous conceits are, in their nature, poisons.”

December 8, 2010


via.

Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons.
which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But, with a little act upon the blood,
burn like the mines of Sulphur.

(Iago, Othello. Act Three, Scene 3, 1999-2002.)

Auden October and Fight Club Friday: All that we are not

October 22, 2010


When I woke in to my life, a sobbing dwarf
Whom giants served only as they pleased, I was not what I seemed;
Beyond their busy backs I made a magic
To ride away from a father’s imperfect justice,
Take vengeance on the Romans for their grammar,

(Auden, W.H. The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 1944.)


Usurp the popular earth and blot out for ever
The gross insult of being a mere one among many…

… I am that I am, your late and lonely master;
Who knows now what magic is; — the power to enchant
That comes from disillusion.

(Ibid.)


All that we are not stares back at what we are.

(Ibid.)

The speaker is Prospero, addressing Ariel.

Mean Girls Monday: It Happens — Gretchen Weiner edition, redux

May 10, 2010

Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smooshed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody? Because that’s not what Rome is about. W–We should totally just stab Caesar!

Gretchen, Mean Girls.

It also happens: an imaginary scene that just happened in my head.

A Marketplace in Rome. Citizens are gathered in the dusty streets beneath a balcony, on which a man in a white toga and a purple cape draped across his shoulders stands with one arm raised up. He is clearly a snappy dresser, but he is also, it seems from the expectant mood of the crowd, reputed to be a powerful orator.

I am standing next to an ordinary citizen, waiting to hear what the man on the balcony has to say. After greeting the crowd, his opening salvo shocks the audience:

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

The assembled friends, Romans, and countrymen are all puzzled and going, “Well, yeah. Did we not just assassinate that dude, like, yesterday?”

Marc Antony draws back a little for dramatic effect, and, in the interim, I leap to my feet and address the stirring crowd calmly.

“Settle down, you guys — yes, we stabbed the everloving crap out of Julius Caesar, but you’re about to hear what is widely regarded as just about the most thumping-good rhetorical masterpiece evah: you will be thunderstruck and agog as you are lead on a journey challenging and surpassing all the expectations you hold about typical conventions of speech.

“Everything you think you know about eulogies is about to change. Hush, now, Citizens, and let Marc Antony blow ya mind.”

Won’t you please let Marc Antony blow ya mind?

Scene.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: The course of true love

March 22, 2010

Wisely and slow: they do stumble that run fast. (Friar Laurence, Romeo and Juliet, 2.3.97)

Or, hurry up and say screw you to the non-plungers. Not to mention that you should basically not at all listen to advice from clergy in Shakespeare plays. Like, just almost never. The dude held little to no truck with religion.


Olivia Hussey in Zeffirelli’s R and J.

I always wanted to stop them from falling in love and pursuing what I saw to be a poorly-advised infatuation whenever I read this or saw film versions of this play (in the Baz Luhrmann version I all but shriek at Juliet to choose Paris instead, because Paris is Paul Rudd plus he is approved of by her father and Daddy’s Opinions Matter) but you know what? I was Dead Wrong. Fuck their families. They don’t always know what’s best. These two kids love each other: how many people can say that, honestly, and not be lying to avoid the uncomfortable truth that they settled. Sure, it ends badly. But, hey. At least Romeo and Juliet had happiness for a little while. I bet this is what other people have always thought about this play/film, huh? Wow. I am going to bring a whole different, probably-originally-intended level of interest to this material the next time I read or watch it.

It happens: Gretchen Weiner edition

September 13, 2009

Gretchen: [in her English class essay, after being humiliated by Regina] Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Hm? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody, huh? Because that’s not what Rome is about. We should totally just *stab* Caesar! —Mean Girls


It also happens: an imaginary scene that just happened in my head.

A Marketplace in Rome. Citizens are gathered in the dusty streets beneath a balcony, on which a man in a white toga and a purple cape draped across his shoulders stands with one arm raised up. He is clearly a snappy dresser, but he is also, it seems from the expectant mood of the crowd, reputed to be a powerful orator.

I am standing next to an ordinary citizen, waiting to hear what the man on the balcony has to say. After greeting the crowd, his opening salvo shocks the audience:


“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

The assembled friends, Romans, and countrymen are all like, “Well, yeah. Did we not just assassinate that motherfucker, like, yesterday?”

Marc Antony draws back a little for dramatic effect, and, in the interim, I leap to my feet and address the stirring crowd calmly.

“Settle down, you guys—yes, we stabbed the everloving crap out of Julius Caesar, but you’re about to hear what is widely regarded as the most thumping-good rhetorical masterpiece evah; you will be thunderstruck and agog as you are lead on a journey challenging and surpassing all the expectations you hold about typical conventions of speech.

“Everything you think you know about eulogies is about to change. Hush, now, Citizens, and let Marc Antony blow ya mind.”

Won’t you please let Marc Antony blow ya mind?

Scene.