In her early post Belle Yang wonders if Shakespeare wrote "Coriolanus to please only yourself, throwing no bone of bawdy romance to hold the groundlings's attention but worked a play of sheer muscle and steely music" and I wonder too. Later in that same post http://www.redroom.com/blog/belle-yang/dear-mr-shakespeare-0 Belle says, Eliot admired that play's discordant tones. It helps too to remember that at the same time Orson Wells, the better showman, responded another way: he staged the more popular and sonorus Julius Ceasar in Italian fascist garb in 1938. And when you do that, what you are doing is giving the people Coriolanus via the more famous play. Belle is right: Coriolanus is the play of today's zeitgeist. But where is our Wells? I thought George Clooney would follow up his Good Night and Good Luck with Julius Ceasar--after all, he made Murrow's battle with McCarthey turn on citing Julius Ceasar: "The fault, dear Brutus, lies in us, not in the stars." The sad thing is he could still follow it up even today, and we need that kind of courage now more than ever.
Instead what we get these days is the demand to contextualize Shakespeare--to put him back with his peers. To say: if he turned his back on the crowd with Coriolanus, well then, he was just trying to one-up Ben Jonson's Sejanus, His Fall (1603), a tragedy so chilly few stage it now, and who would attend?
I'm not sure what you can do with that.
However Shakespeare is stronger than that.
He is more real to me than ever now that I know how good Thomas Middleton was. I saw his play The Witch at The New Blackfriars in Staunton VA in March and it was a revelation: the true Tarrentino of his day. No wonder the Macbeth we have is Middleton's revision and how just that Gary Taylor's Oxford Middleton includes Measure for Measure as well, where Middleton did a very fine polish, driving home that plays point that the definition of insansity is to take sex and power and do the same hypocritical thing endlessly.
But all that pales to the riches that await visitors to the Global site
Which when I just checked was down 'cause, you know, its MIT and its not ready yet. Anyway, I was lucky enough to hear the site's gurus do a walk through at a conf and it blew my mind: Asian Shakespeare is arresting. The Othello where Desdemonia and Othello are played out as the two hands of one actor . . .
Shakespeare . . . he's going GLOBAL and its a good thing.
Causes Matthew Biberman Supports