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Shakespearean Reservations

As I alluded to in a previous post, I currently have some reservations about the Shakespeare plays I’ve seen.  Admittedly, I don’t have a great depth of knowledge on the subject, and I’m pretty new to it all, so I may revise these thoughts at some point. Anyway, it’s based on the current state of things – and I’m seeing a lot more over the next year, so we’ll see.


At the moment, while I enjoy seeing the plays, I do find myself thinking that they’re a bit… am-dram. Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch had (in my opinion) quite a weak cast, Cumberbatch excepted. No-one else was up to scratch – I saw it twice, once live at the Barbican, and once at the cinema from much further into the run. Both times, that was how I felt.

Seeing King Lear in Manchester over the weekend I felt the same – while it was good, and engrossing, a number of the actors were again very am-dram, over-enuniciating and so on.

It might be that I’m expecting too much from the actors, that I’m mixing ‘am-dram’ for just ‘theatrical’. I don’t yet know.  I didn’t get the same feeling with Faustus though, so the jury really is out.

Over the next few months I’ve got a number of theatre things lined up – not just Shakespeare (although I’ve got Romeo and Juliet, and Tempest on that side) but others from all walks, including Jesse Eisenberg’s new one, Jonson’s The Alchemist, and a Pinter play with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

So there’s going to be a lot more thought going into this, as I figure out more about whether it’s Shakespeare stuff in general, or whether I’m mixing up other terms and so on along the way.  It’ll be interesting, either way.

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2 thoughts on “Shakespearean Reservations

  1. Is it the difference between classical acting and modern acting perhaps? Not sure how King Lear was staged, but we saw Alan Cummings in MacBeth but it was a re-imagined one (same words, but set in a more modern time in a mental hospital). He dropped the ‘classical’ leanings that I think are jarring with you?

    Ohh and if you get a chance, Michael Fassbenders MacBeth movie was stunning.. again, same story and dialogue but delivered in a much more modern tone, even though it’s set in the original time.

    For me I prefer these ‘takes’ on Shakespeare as it makes them much more relatable in my cultural view.

  2. Lyle on said:

    Yep, saw the MacBeth movie, and liked it a lot – although weirdly, it missed the whole “When shall we three meet again” speech, which was a bit odd.

    Lear was staged in the round, with people running in and off from all points of the compass, and was very good. It was just some of the acting was very “I am an ac-tor, see my works and marvel”, if that makes sense.

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