Skip to main content

"Cut the Boring Bits" - Excuse Me, Mr. Freeman?

In this article, the once-my-beloved-Watson states that Shakespeare has "boring bits" that should be chopped off in productions. This comment he made when he was talking about the new production of Richard III in which he plays the main tragic role.

Anyway. Is there any boring parts in Shakespeare?

Let's be honest. There are many, almost in every play we have boring bits here and there. They are plays. Shakespeare might have written them to give time for the actors to change clothes, to prepare props, or any other thing. But does it mean that they have no significance, at all? Most of Shakespeare's "boring parts" actually enrich his plays, add more roundness to his characters and plots, and cheer us up with the "useless" comedy.

If you want Shakespeare to appeal to the youngsters, watering it down is not the answer. You don't cut the half-naked women and leave the flowers in Botticelli's Primavera to attract 15 y.o teenagers to a museum. Present them the whole picture. If now they care more about the actor's handsome looks than his speeches, or Falstaff's bawdy jokes than Henry IV's complaints about his son, let them. As they watch it again and again, they'll understand more and more.

But how could they experience and appreciate the beauty of Shakespeare if only the "cut down" versions are presented to them?


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Problems with Translating Shakespeare

I've found several articles regarding this on the net. I'm new to the Shakespeare world, therefore I didn't know much about the translation issue.

In the net, there are "study guides" for Shakespeare, such as No Fear Shakespeare which provides students with modern English translation of William Shakespeare. I bet students will find it highly useful, especially those who are not well-acquainted with plays or old classical literatures or writings in verse. Apart from that, I am also aware that there are modern English editions of Shakespeare available in book stores. (I know that accidentally, because I found some quotes on Goodreads which convey Shakespeare's ideas but not in his exact words.)

On the other hand, there are people like David Crystal, which I highly respect (truly I love everything he says about Shakespeare's words and also original pronunciation), who insists that no translation is needed in understanding Shakespeare. There is even a debate …

Reasons Why I Dislike Falstaff

I understand well enough that Falstaff is a funny comic character, that he provides more jokes than any other character in whole Shakespeare's canon except Hamlet, if those gloomy jokes are still counted as jokes. I also understand how he's an important character because he promotes the view so different than those considered as virtuous in his era. Nevertheless, I never consider him as a likeable character, no matter how much I laugh on him in the two Henry IV plays.

It's just that he's such a bad friend to Prince Hal. And my term "bad friend" means neither "a friend who robs and steals and pickpockets every once in a while" nor "an indifferently good man who doesn't really care about you" which would make him a good acquaintance. No. He takes both the negatives and combines them. Let me show you why I can't like this man despite all his witty lines.

1. He's a bad association to Hal Like this one is not obvious enough(!). I m…

Henry V: Self-Punishment on the Death of Bardolph

Prince Hal, and later, the king, Henry V is a complex character with volumes to think, say, and analyse about. Following his character development from Henry IV part 1 through Henry V, it's hard not to relate to him when one comes to what people call 'conflict of interests.'

For me, the worst part of it in Henry V is when he heard that his (former) friend, Bardolph, had been executed for thievery. In many productions, the directors let Henry either see the execution, or at least the hanged man. Kenneth Branagh and Hollow Crown versions even take time for a little flashback, therefore show us that the king remembered Bardolph and all things they had done together in their former days. Both also, through acting, show that the king was sad about it, yet could do nothing.

Reading the play, however, it was quite shocking that the king made no comment upon the hanging, except that it was just and necessary.

Why didn't he say anything about it? Knowing Shakespeare, he could h…