I had a bit of a surprise e-mail yesterday. Apparently the Prof has had an accident and been signed off work for three weeks, so my Shakespeare course will not be starting next week after all. Instead it’ll begin in mid February, and there’ll be an unscheduled extra weekend in April.
This involved quite a lot of phone calls and rearrangements, since I’d already booked my train tickets and hotel. Also I hadn’t realised how much I was looking forward to it, and the news temporarily tipped me into a bit of a depression. However, on the plus side, it does give me more time for reading and other preparation. After a couple of days getting to grips with “Titus Andronicus” I need that.
TA is Shakespeare meets Tarantino. There are twenty-seven murders in it, some quite arbitrary and all violent. People have been known to vomit and pass out in some productions – the audience, not the cast. A female character, Lavinia, is raped and has her tongue cut out and her hands chopped off. The two guys responsible eventually get baked in a pie and fed to their mother.
It’s difficult to know how seriously to take this stuff. Extreme violence wasn’t uncommon on the Elizabethan stage and this was one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays in its time. But it’s unsurprising that for about 200 years it wasn’t performed at all, and before then the Restoration versions were heavily censored. It also contains Shakespeare’s first real villain, who happens to be black, and almost steals the show from the tragic hero, Titus Andronicus.
So, a good few nightmares for the modern producer there. I’m not sure I’d want to sit through it.
However, I’ve now tacked a couple of days in London onto my February course weekend. I’m going to see Derek Jacobi as Malvolio in “Twelfth Night” and that’s on a Wednesday evening. Rather than go straight to Stratford and kick my heels there out of season, I decided to look up a relative in Surrey and stay a second night in London. I discovered that it happened to be the first night of the RSC’s “Taming of the Shrew” at the Novello Theatre, so I’ve booked for that. It happens to be the first play we’re looking at on the course.
I want to wake up in a parallel universe and find David Tennant and Catherine Tate playing the leads. Not gonna happen, though. On a similar note, I’m very disappointed and rather cross that the hoped-for deal to make a DVD of “Hamlet” has fallen through. It’s particularly disappointing for the people who travelled many miles to see David and were unable to do so. I’m really sad on their behalf, and very glad I got the chance to see the show last year, and grabbed it.
Any contact with DW fandom at the moment just seems to depress me, filling me with a sense of chances squandered and hopes unrealised. Normally good fic can pull me out of that kind of gloom, but although there’s plenty around it seems to leave me feeling miserable. Already, the good times seem very long ago and I can’t imagine staying interested beyond the Specials at all. But we shall see.
I backed up my fiction journal and was rather horrified to discover I posted 128 entries to that alone in 2007. So much for claiming I wasn’t obsessed!