Shakespeare Solved® versions of these plays solve the mysteries surrounding them by taking us back in time to see the plays as they were performed for the first time in history.


This blog explains these new versions, and explores the life and times of Shakespeare, in order to build support for my new TV series versions of the plays.


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Articles Written For:


The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library & The Royal Shakespeare Company


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Monday, May 21, 2012

A great quote about Shakespeare


Hi everybody,

I thought you might like this quote, from the Introduction to The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works, about the process of printing of plays during Shakespeare's time, a process which Shakespeare himself "seems to have taken no interest in":

"John Marston, introducing the printed text of his play The Malcontent in 1604, wrote: 'Only one thing afflicts me, to think that scenes invented merely to be spoken, should be enforcively published to be read.' Perhaps Shakespeare was similarly afflicted."

It begs the question why Shakespeare would not have taken fuller advantage of printing and publishing his own plays in his lifetime.

The only works he took an interest in publishing were his narrative poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, which were meant for an audience of readers.

In my adaptations of the plays, I wanted to get right back to the moments when they were seen for the first time. If Shakespeare did not publish his plays, then perhaps they were meant only for his London audience. If they were meant only for his London audience, then perhaps the plays are not for any other audience, including us.

Therefore, I thought it was critical to take us back in time. And yes, in that context, they are very different plays, unlike any Shakespeare we have come to expect.

Cheers,

David

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shakespeare's Plays Old-fashioned, Dull and Coarse?

Hi everybody,

I wanted to share with you a funny thing. I have been re-reading the brilliant book Shakespeare: For All Time by Stanley Wells, and there are some fascinating quotes about how Shakespeare's plays were updated, and changed in the late 1600's -- only 60 years after Shakespeare died:

"... the plays had come to seem old-fashioned."

"Those who went to the theatre hoping for music, dancing, and spectacular stage effects were liable to find him dull."

"... his language seemed dated."

John Dryden wrote in 1679 that "... the tongue in general is so much refined since Shakespeare's time that many of his words and more of his phrases are scarce intelligible, and of those which we understand, some are ungrammatical, others coarse, and his whole style is so pestered with figurative expressions that it is as affected as it is obscure."

I added emphasis to the key words here to make the point -- only 60 years after Shakespeare had died, even the audiences in London (!) didn't understand him!



Today, almost 400 years after his death, I think you would agree with me that so much time has passed that it is all but impossible to understand how his plays were performed on stage for the first time, and for their original audiences.

I wanted to try at least. I wanted to try and go back to that time 400 years ago.

His plays were very popular. His audience must have thought the plays were fresh, in fashion, and all the rage -- and the coarser the better!

It is with this approach that I wrote my adaptations of Hamlet, Richard III, and The Merchant of Venice.

Cheers,

David

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another 400 Year Old Elizabethan Mystery Solved!


Here is further proof that we live in an era when many mysteries, puzzles and questions are being solved and answered for the first time.





Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony