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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Hollow Crown: Richard II

Just started watching it, starring Ben Whishaw. The style is WEIRD! I looked it up and saw that Richard II was directed by Rupert Goold, not Richard Eyre. Well, yeah, Duh! As Valley Girls would say. While Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 are reasonably solid and conventional, except a few choices clearly intended to appeal to the 师奶 viewers, Richard II seems ... experimental. Richard II is portrayed as a flaming homosexual, delivering the flowery verses with a strange flat tone, giving various male characters under 40 "the look." And then, what's with all the St. Sebastian references?! Oh, wait, that's also a homosexual thing ...

Nevertheless, all the treachery and usurping and conspiracies and personal grudges that toppled the throne, oh my! The brain screams out, "Robert Baratheon!" "The Mad King Aerys!" Sigh. Some people mash up Stephanie Plum with Urban Fantasy. Some people mash up Shakespeare's history plays with Wagner with ... dragons.

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On a more general note about Shakespeare. Well, I mean, how much have people changed? How much have they learned about what the fuck politics is all about? Yes, we now have flushing toilets and electricity and YouTube, but our understanding of the world has hardly moved an inch. I thought I'd never be surprised by good ol' Willie again, but here I am again. I mean sometimes it just makes you weep, doesn't it? What is the point of all the literature in the past 400 years? He's said it all already. The relationship between Prince Harry, Falstaff's little Hal, and his grimy drinking buddies and the dying footsoldiers with missing limbs writhing in the cold French mud. What's changed? Modern suckers are still dazzled by the glorious glitter of power and tell themselves that they are the King's brother by bleeding on his battlefield. "Yet herein will I imitate the sun..."

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