Category Archives: Plays and Poems

Shakespeare’s vision of apocalypse: King Lear at the National Theatre

As I write this on the afternoon of 6 June the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy are taking place. President Hollande, speaking into a microphone, has been talking about peace in Europe, in front … Continue reading

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King Lear and poverty

I’m finally getting to see Simon Russell Beale playing King Lear at the National Theatre this week. I’m not sure how much I’m going to agree with some of the interpretation, but with Beale you know, however difficult the play … Continue reading

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Celebrating Shakespeare and Purcell with the Orchestra of the Swan

Stratford-upon-Avon’s own chamber orchestra, the Orchestra of the Swan, is currently celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary by performing four concerts of music inspired by his work. The first concert, last Friday, included the lovely orchestral suite written by Henry Purcell for … Continue reading

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Henry IV Part 1: relaying the live event

Earlier this week I attended the performance of Henry IV Part 1 performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, that was being simultaneously broadcast to cinemas around the UK, and is to be shown in schools, around the world and eventually … Continue reading

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The Rape of Lucrece

Exactly 420 years ago, on 9 May 1594, Shakespeare’s long poem The Rape of Lucrece was registered before being published later that year. In the dedication to the poem he had written the year before, Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare sounds … Continue reading

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Staging the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet

In an earlier post on the subject of Juliet’s balcony, I talked about the original staging of this scene, and how the scene came to be known  as “the balcony scene” even though in Elizabethan England the word balcony was … Continue reading

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Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene

Over the past few weeks a lively discussion has been going on at the Shakespeare noticeboard SHAKSPER under the title “Balcony”. The so-called balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet is probably Shakespeare’s most famous single scene, and no wonder as … Continue reading

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Shakespeare’s sonnets

I’ve only occasionally written in this blog about Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and then mostly about possible biographical references in them, for instance to Anne Hathaway or to the death of his son Hamnet. These are hard to avoid: for hundreds of … Continue reading

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Parodying Hamlet

The best-known play based on Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is Tom Stoppard’s brilliant 1966 play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It follows the plot of Hamlet from the  point of view of the pair of hapless and confused courtiers, owing much … Continue reading

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Love’s Labour’s Won?

The Royal Shakespeare Company has just announced its plans for the season September 2014-March 2015. In the main Royal Shakespeare Theatre a beautifully put-together programme will contribute to the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. There will be two Shakespeare … Continue reading

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