Category Archives: Culture: Plays

Curculio 6: Two Adjectives in Seneca’s Agamemnon

How’s that for a boring title? As a continuation of my experiment with publishing original scholarship on this site, I have just uploaded an eight-page PDF containing two conjectures on the text of Seneca’s Agamemnon, titled as above (link). (I … Continue reading

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Anachronistic Joke

The hero of John Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, the only decent adult other than the title character, is her steward, Antonio Bologna. With a name like that, I can’t help wondering if his middle-school classmates called him ‘Tony Baloney’.

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Shakespeare Puzzle

Legal Disclaimer: There is no prize, and if there were, employees and customers of the American Shakespeare Center would not be eligible for it, since anyone who has seen the production already knows the answer. Can you identify the play … Continue reading

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Typecasting Joke

In the last two years, Patrick Earl of the American Shakespeare Center‘s touring troupe has played Giovanni in John Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Ferdinand in John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi. Each one is the brother of … Continue reading

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How Do You Make Hamlet Even More Tragic?

Do what the grad students in Shakespeare Studies at Mary Baldwin did in the performance I saw tonight (directed by Zach Brown): 1. Leave out Fortinbras entirely. 2. Have Horatio ignore Hamlet’s plea at the end of the play, drink … Continue reading

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Best Unintentional Pun Ever

Volume II of The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, edited by Fredson Bowers (Cambridge, 1955), contains these five titles: The Honest Whore, Parts I and II The Magnificent Entertainment Westward Ho Northward Ho The Whore of Babylon Four out of … Continue reading

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Blackfriars Quiz

The following eight foodstuffs represent eight different plays presented at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia in the last three years. Can you identify them all? These are not verbal jokes, and the quantities (such as the three apples in … Continue reading

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The Charms of the Irrelevant

Call me a pedant, but I thought the most interesting thing about Terry Teachout’s Youtubed clip from a BBC film of The Cherry Orchard is that it seems to be subtitled in Catalan.

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Shakespearean Riddle

A very easy one, I’m afraid. Which play did I see at the Blackfriars Playhouse tonight? One that reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in many years. Back in 1985 or so, I was working for a ‘beltway … Continue reading

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Pedantry Pedantically Denounced

On a Latin play about Richard III by the master of Caius College, Cambridge (1579): . . . Legge’s was a poverty-stricken mind; his Latin versification might crimson the cheek of a preparatory schoolboy, and but for the sad fact … Continue reading

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BBC Shakespeare On Sale

Since I wrote about the BBC Shakespeare DVDs two and a half years ago, prices have dropped on both sides of the Atlantic. You can now get the American discs for $99.99 per set, down from $149.99, but that still … Continue reading

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The Merry Wives of Windsor (ASC vs BBC) I

Like everything else they’ve done, I’ve immensely enjoyed the American Shakespeare Center‘s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, playing through the end of November, along with Much Ado About Nothing and Titus Andronicus (more about them later). 1 Henry … Continue reading

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The Merry Wives of Windsor (ASC vs BBC) I

Like everything else they’ve done, I’ve immensely enjoyed the American Shakespeare Center‘s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, playing through the end of November, along with Much Ado About Nothing and Titus Andronicus (more about them later). 1 Henry … Continue reading

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Shakespeare at the Blackfriars Theatre in Staunton

I moved to Staunton, Virginia a year ago last week for a number of reasons, but primarily so I could go to plays at the Blackfriars Playhouse. I’d been driving 4 1/2 hours each way from Raleigh every few months … Continue reading

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Racine: Phèdre (UK National Theatre)

I drove to Charlottesville today to see an HD broadcast of Racine’s Phèdre by the UK National Theatre, with Helen Mirren in the title role. Some desultory thoughts: At 56, I was probably younger than the median audience member. I … Continue reading

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Quotation of the Day

An English English professor — I mean an Englishman who is also a professor of English — mocks the hard sciences to a mathematician: A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There’s no rush … Continue reading

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I Wonder

When Orson Welles was filming Macbeth, Othello, and Chimes at Midnight, did the crew call him Horson Welles? Behind his back, or to his face, it would have been a thoroughly Shakespearian pun.

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Little-Known Fact: BBC Shakespeares

Amazon and other retailers offer four BBC Shakespeare DVD box sets, of five plays each: Comedies, Histories, Tragedies, and Tragedies II. The list price is $149.99 per box, and Amazon doesn’t discount them nearly as much as most of their … Continue reading

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Frederick the Great on Shakespeare

This is Richard Stoneman’s paraphrase of a German source: Frederick the Great . . . has strong views as to how these improvements to the German language shall be effected. For a start, something has to be done to prevent … Continue reading

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