Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Discount Tickets to The Guthrie Theatre's Production of Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing. Dir. Joe Dowling. Perf. Robert O. Berdahl, Raye Birk, Michael Booth, Dennis Creaghan, Bob Davis, Laura Esping, Nathaniel Fuller, Daniel Gerroll, Peter Michael Goetz, Emily Gunyou Halaas, H. Adam Harris, David Manis, Bill McCallum, Ron Menzel, Dearbhla Molloy, Michelle O'Neill, and Max Polski. Guthrie Theatre Company. Minneapolis. 10 September—5 November 2011.
We're very pleased to announce that The Guthrie Theatre has arranged an offer for Bardfilm's readers: Half-Price Tickets! Here are the details:
SAVE 50% ON TICKETS TO ANY TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, OR THURSDAY EVENING PERFORMANCE OF MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING NOW THROUGH OCTOBER 27.

Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare
directed by Joe Dowling
Wurtele Thrust Stage
September 10 to November 5, 2011

Is falling in love only for the young? Not according to Joe Dowling’s take on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. The play center on two couples: young lovers Claudio and Hero and middle-aged Benedick (played by Daniel Gerroll, A Christmas Carol) and Beatrice (Irish stage and screen actress Dearbhla Molloy), sworn enemies who become the victims of a clever scheme. In a world where everyone eavesdrops, meddles and minds others’ business, Benedick’s friends fool him into believing Beatrice loves him and the women do the same for Beatrice. Thus begins their inevitable and entertaining journey to finding true love late in life. This charming exploration of love and marriage, friendship, and honor, delivers music, dancing and merriment, proving that falling in love is for everyone, you and old.

Call the Guthrie Box Office at 612.377.2224 and mention “Bardfilm” to receive this offer. Offer not valid on Area 1A seating, online, on previously purchased tickets or with other offers. Handling fees may apply.
Do so at once! And thank you, Guthrie Theatre, for making this offer available!
Links: The Play at the Guthrie Theater.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Guthrie Theatre Presents Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing. Dir. Joe Dowling. Perf. Robert O. Berdahl, Raye Birk, Michael Booth, Dennis Creaghan, Bob Davis, Laura Esping, Nathaniel Fuller, Daniel Gerroll, Peter Michael Goetz, Emily Gunyou Halaas, H. Adam Harris, David Manis, Bill McCallum, Ron Menzel, Dearbhla Molloy, Michelle O'Neill, and Max Polski. Guthrie Theatre Company. Minneapolis. 10 September—5 November 2011.
On Saturday night, thanks to the immeasurable kindnesses of some long-time Bardfilm devotees, I was able to see the Much Ado About Nothing currently in production at the Guthrie Theatre.

Since the show was in previews, this is not a review. Let it serve, rather, as a notice that the play is on and that you should all go see it.

When I return to the theatre in late October, I'll post a review!

Links: The Play at the Guthrie Theater.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On Directing Much Ado About Nothing at an Elementary School

Jones, Keith. "The Immeasurable Rewards of Directing Shakespeare in a Grade School." Making a Scene: Shakespeare in the Classroom. 6 September 2011. Folger Shakespeare Library, 2011.
Having directed two grade-school productions of Shakespeare plays, I naturally count myself the definitive expert in the field.

And, naturally, by “definitive expert,” I mean “dedicated amateur.”

It was in that light that I agreed to participate in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s “Teacher to Teacher” program. In essence, I wanted to encourage other amateurs to take the risk of directing Shakespeare in elementary schools.

You can hear what I said on the topic here:


And you can read a more extensive account of “what this amateur learned from directing Shakespeare in a grade school” on the Folger Education blog.

Finally, you can hear what one student had to say about one part of the experience in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s “Student to Student” segment. She addresses the issue of whether reading or performing Shakespeare is preferable:


Links: The Folger Education Blog.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Which Psalm in the King James Version of the Bible did Shakespeare Translate?

Franson, J. Karl. "Shakespeare in the King James Bible." Notes and Queries 16 (1977): 21.
Note: An update to this post may be found here. The conclusions are the same, but the updated post covers additional information about the evidence.
I'm sorry if the question above is a bit misleading. The correct answer is "None of them," but the story frequently makes the rounds that he contributed to the aruguably-most-influential translation of the Bible into English and that he left a clue about his work for future generations to discover. Since this year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of the King James Version and since a great deal of attention is being paid to that translation this year, I've heard the argument several times.

The facts are clear enough. The forty-sixth word of the forty-sixth Psalm is "shake." And the forty-seventh (or the forty-sixth, if you leave out the closing "Selah," which seems like cheating) word from the end of the Psalm is "spear." Below, you'll find a convenient chart that shows this to be true (click on the image to enlarge it):


The problem is not the fact. The problem is its interpretation. Did Shakespeare, near the end of his dramatic career, turn his hand to translation? Did a Shakespeare fan cleverly work in this reference to a favorite dramatist?

And that is why the world rests in the debt of J. Karl Franson of the University of Maine at Farmington. He helps us to see that it was neither Shakespeare nor an admirer of Shakespeare who arranged these words in these locations. After pointing out that Shakespeare was both forty-six and forty-seven years old in 1611 (the year of the King James Version's publication and part of the set of "clues" that the Psalm has something to do with Shakespeare), he takes us back to 1539 to show us another set of facts. In the Tavener's Bible of 1539, the two words occupy exactly the same positions
[Note: They actually occupy similar but not identical positions—see the update] in Psalm 46. He points out that the Bishop's Bible of 1568 and the Great Bible of 1539 have similar—but not identical—positions.

My own research shows that the words are placed at 47 from the beginning and 45 from the end in the 1560 Geneva Bible—one of the translations with which Shakespeare was most familiar. That's very close; indeed, the average works out to 46 in that instance! Additionally, the 1549 Matthew's Bible has "shoke" at word 55 and "speare" at line 48 from the end (47, if you leave out the closing "Selah"—which, again, seems like cheating).

In the end, what seems like an amazing and conspiratorial coincidence turns out to be merely an intriguing correspondence of two relatively-common words.

The moral is that we should remember to check notbyshakespeare.com or some other reputable source before claiming for the Bard things he didn't write.
Links: Psalm 46 in the King James Version at Bible Gateway.
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.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2012 by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest