Thursday, May 21, 2009

Slings and Arrows: The Dagger Speech

“Fallow Time.” By Susan Coyne and Bob Martin. Dir. Peter Wellington. Perf. Martha Burns, Paul Gross, Don McKellar, Mark McKinney, Oliver Dennis, Susan Coyne, Stephen Ouimette, Catherine Fitch, and Geraint Wyn Davies. Slings and Arrows. Season 3, episode 2. Movie Central: Canada. 31 July 2006. DVD. Acorn Media, 2006-2007.
I'm fairly certain that, no matter how much I write, I will be unable to say enough good things about Slings and Arrows. It's fabulous.

The dagger speech in it is extraordinarily interesting because of its meta-theatrical nature. The season is about a group of players putting on a Macbeth. When those players get their Macbeth, they start a read-through, but their Macbeth wants to do the dagger speech first—as a way of warding of the Makkers curse. When Macbeth sees the dagger, there's no dagger there—which is to be expected. But when he draws his real dagger to compare it to the imagined one, there's no dagger there, either! Of course the imagined dagger has a form as palpable as that which now he draws—they're both imaginary! Wow.

video

Links: Episode List at IMDB.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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