Monday, January 27, 2014

"South Sudan: To Be or Not to Be"

A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a documentary film about (I gather) the troupe behind the South Sudanese Cymbeline that played in 2012 at the Globe in London. Details and video here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Prutus fall on sord for bolitical reason"

Here is Anthony Thwaite's "Girdle Round the Earth," the poem with which I'll open my MLA paper this year. 
For a wonderful video of Thwaite reading and discussing it (and yes, he does the ethnic accents), see Francis Gilbert's interview here.

Girdle Round the Earth

'King Rear was foorish man his girls make crazy'
Says something certainly about the play.
'Prutus fall on sord for bolitical reason'
Is unambiguous, though not the way
We native-speakers might have put it, who share
A language with the undoubted global poet.
In Tokyo or Benghazi, he abides
Our questioning syllabus still, will never stay
For an answer as the candidates all stare
Into the glossaried cryptograms he hides.

O Saku Seppiya, Shakhs Bey-er, O you
Who plague the schools and universities
From Patagonia to Pakistan,
From Thailand to Taiwan, how would it please
Your universal spirit to look down
And see the turbans and burnouses bent
Above your annotated texts, or see
Simplified Tales from Lamb by slow degrees
Asphyxiate the yellow and the brown?
To pick up the quotation, 'thou art free'---

But Matthew Arnold, schools inspector, who
Saw you 'self-school'd, self-scann'd', could not have known
How distantly from Stratford and the Globe
With British Council lecturers you've flown:
Midsummer Nights in Prague and Kathmandu,
Polonius stabbed dressed in a gallabiyah,
Shylock the Palestinian refugee,
And Hamlet's father's Serbo-Croat groan,
Dunsinane transported to Peru,
Kabuki for All's Well, Noh for King Lear.

'To be or not to be. Is that a question?'
The misquotations littering the page,
The prose translations fingermarked with sweat,
You prove again, world-wide, 'not of an age
But for all time', the English Ala' ad-Din,
The Western Chikamatsu, more than both
And different from either, somehow worth
Those sun-baked hours in echoing lecture-halls,
On torn tatami or dune-drifted stage:
'Lady Macbeth is houswif full of sin',
'Prince Hel is drinkard tho of nobel berth.'

The back story is fun:

Does Asma Assad [heart] Lady Macbeth?

The Syrian First Lady's web site has been hacked, probably some time ago. They did a rather good job:
I am Asma Assad. I am the wife of a vicious war criminal.  He murders innocent civilians. He sends his henchman to torture children, snipe innocent civilians, rape women, young girls, and boys. He is currently decimating my hometown, Homs. He bombs mosques, churches, hospitals and his brutality knows no limits. He is trying to pit Alawites against Sunnis against Christians and against Kurds. I told him this will not work, but he is confident that it will. He thinks he can fool the American public with pleasant interviews.
On the list titled "My Heroes" on the right side of the bio page, nestled between Marie Antoinette and her father, Fawaz Akhras: Lady Macbeth.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hamlet to be performed in Riyadh

The Literary Club in Riyadh is resuming performances of "cultural theatre" after a hiatus of many years. Any guesses which play they're opening with? Details here (in Arabic).

Hamlet on world tour

An article reprinted by the Sharjah-based Arab Theatre Authority here (in Arabic) promises a world tour of the Globe's Hamlet, to something like 200 countries, including the island of St. Lucia. But no mention of performances in the Arab world. I imagine there will be some. You can follow @worldhamlet.  It seems Dominic Dromgoole is approaching this with his customary feistiness; as he told the Guardian:
"I think having a lunatic idea is a very good thing, it's a great way to keep everybody focused and dazzled and delighted by the ambition and energy of the company," said the artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole. "If we're going to do every country in the world it has to be every country, we're not going to leave anyone out. All the 'Stans, South and North Korea – we're very keen to get into North Korea. Antarctica? Fuck yes."

"Nasser wants to be the modern Julius Caesar of the Mediterranean"

Google News is amazing. Was searching for something else and found this report about the Shakespeare-infused worries of US Ambassador Hank Byroade, from page 3 of the Tuscaloosa News of April 22, 1956:

Page of 28