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I now have the complete works of Shakespeare on my Palm, in one 3.2Mb Mobi file from Project Gutenberg. I had to go through and bookmark the titles of the individual plays myself, but that was probably still easier than downloading one play at a time.

What brought this on was seeing a community-theater type production of Richard II last night. I think I read the play once, long ago, but it wasn't one I'd studied in school or ever seen acted before. My experience with live theater is somewhat limited, so my impressions of the production don't count for much, but here they are.

It was ... well, nobody egregiously forgot their lines or tripped over their feet on a stage that consisted mostly of steps, so it would be unkind to say it was bad. Apart from the fact that a lot of the smaller parts were played by women, probably for practical reasons, it was a very straightforward production, with minimal sets and somewhat generically medieval costumes. The acting was somewhat minimal also; so much so that it wasn't always obvious, if someone's voice wobbled or they fidgeted during another actor's speech, whether they were registering in-character emotion, fumbling for the next line, or just trying not to crack up. Richard got some laughs for his whinier lines, and I think that may have been intentional, both on the actor's part and probably on Shakespeare's too.

I recognized Gaunt's 'sceptered isle' speech, but I'd forgotten or never realized that in context it's a complaint about the budget deficit!

Suspension of disbelief wasn't really possible, but is it ever, with Shakespeare these days?



Incidentally, I learned something on Wikipedia today that I didn't know before, and which I'm surprised had escaped my notice for so long (if true; I'll have to check an actual book when I get home); the King Henry who had Thomas a Becket killed wasn't any of the numbered Henrys, but a Henry who co-ruled as "junior king" with his father, Henry II, but pre-deceased him.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-06 12:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrissa.livejournal.com
It's the understanding of every historian I've ever read that Henry II, not Henry the Young King, was the person at indirect fault for Thomas a Becket's death.

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