Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fry, Shakespeare, and Laurie

The Cambridge University Footlights Revue. Dir. John Kilby. Perf. Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, and Emma Thompson. 1982. A Bit of Fry and Laurie: Season Two. Special Feature. DVD. BBC Warner, 2007.

This intriguing, early, and Shakespeare-related clip from the masterful comedy duo Fry and Laurie has been around for a long time, but it took me nearly all of that time to track down its origins (to cite it properly) and its location (so that we can all purchase it legally).

The sketch speaks for itself. Welcome to . . . "Shakespeare Master Class: An Actor Prepares (Part Three)."

It's certainly true that nearly every word in Shakespeare can carry enormous weight, but (of course), it can be overdone. This sketch serves as a warning to me—whenever I find myself asking the equivalent of "And what sort of spelling of the word 'Time' is that?" I'll stop, remember Fry and Laurie, and carry on along different lines.

The speech in question is from Troilus and Cresida. Ulysses speaks:
Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes. (III.iii.151-53)

Links: The Revue at IMDB.

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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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