Category: Drama

  • Dualisms in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

    In a central episode in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the hero defines to a group of visiting actors the ‘purpose’ of drama: ‘…whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold as ’twere the mirror up to nature’ This is the central theme of the play, which abounds in dualities (I count three […]

  • Culture Club: Theme for August – November 2010

    It’s not so long since we last did a work by William Shakespeare (we did Shakespeare’s Sonnets back at the beginning of the year), but you can never have enough Shakespeare, right? We’re back at him, and this time it’s Hamlet, one of his best known works for the theatre and the single most highly […]

  • Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and the Theme of Romantic Love

    In her excellent book Reading Chekhov – A Critical Journey, Janet Malcolm discusses Chekhov’s attitude to romantic love and beauty. She refutes Gary Saul Morson’s view, as expressed in his essay ‘Prosaic Chekhov: Metadrama, the Intelligentsia, and Uncle Vanya’, which reads the play as the apotheosis of the prosaic. Morson understands Chekhov to be faulting […]

  • How To Avoid Getting Chekhov Wrong – A Short Guide

    Richard Gilman has written a very good introduction to the Penguin edition of Chekhov’s plays. I always read introductions after I’ve got myself thoroughly familiar with the works in question, and I found the following passage illuminated some of the issues I was grappling with around the two Chekhov plays we’re looking at (The Seagull […]

  • Audiobooks of Chekhov’s Plays at iTunes Store

    When we read drama we’re really only getting half the experience, and to fully appreciate a play one must see it performed. Having two children, one only two weeks old, has meant that my time is heavily restricted at the moment. So I’ve unhappily not been able to see the highly rated production of The […]

  • The Musical Structure of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream is surely the most musical of Shakespeare’s plays. In its verse, its rhythm and even its structure, it is never far from musical forms of expression. One of history’s greatest Shakespearean interpreters and critics, Harley Granville Barker said of this piece, ‘it is less a play… than a musical symphony’, and […]

  • The Argument Between Law and Love – A Common Theme

    When we picked the works for this month’s Culture Club, we chose them based on the concept of the supernatural, and the idea of ‘moving between different worlds’. But I’ve discovered another common theme among the major works we’re discussing (Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Powell & Pressburger’s […]

  • Video: The Beatles Perform Pyramus and Thisbe

    Two of my favourite artists, The Beatles and William Shakespeare, combined in an unexpcted way. Here’s the full clip of the fab four performing the Pyramus and Thisbe play-within-a-play from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on one of the many television shows they did in the early days of Beatlemania (I’m not sure which one). It’s […]

  • Heptameters in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    Stephen Fry, in his book The Ode Less Travelled, discusses meter in some detail, and provides this interesting angle on the ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ segment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nabokov, in his Notes on Prosody, suggests that the hexameter [i.e a six-stress line] is a limit ‘beyond which the metrical line is no longer […]

  • Download The Classics With Google

    Google Book Search now enables you to download PDF versions of out-of-copyright books and print them out for yourself. Examples of books available include: Ferriar’s The Bibliomania A futurist from 1881’s 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century Aesop’s Fables Shakespeare’s Hamlet Abbott’s Flatland Hugo’s Marion De Lorme Dunant’s Eine Erinnerung an Solferino Bolívar’s Proclamas […]