My very first acting job ever, the first time I got paid to be an actress, was in 2001, right between my sophomore and junior year in college, when I was just 19 years old. I got paid $250 every two weeks, 10 shows a week, to be in the Utah Shakespearean Festival. I was Calpurnia in 'Julius Caesar.'
Shakespeare villains were extraordinary. Macbeth, Iago, Richard III... They're so richly layered that a British actor would find it almost impossible to create a two-dimensional villain, if he's explored in his early years or continues to explore his Shakespearean heritage. You can almost not judge them, if they're played really well.
It is not a biopic; it is not a trawl through the facts of somebody's life. It is more an evening with a Shakespearean clown who speaks the truth and was whipped for his pains. Writing the play made me love and loathe my country more: love it that it could create, and has always created, one-offs like Quentin; loathe it for its rejection of him.
I dozed, jolting occasionally at the driver's loud pronouncement of upcoming stops. At this early hour the bus hummed along quietly with few passengers, so the stops were infrequent. In the hazy surrealism of predawn, there really was not much to see-what I could make out was mainly countryside, though not what I would call quaint, and certainly no Shakespearean cottages or fairy folk peeping from the trees.
The suffering and calamity are, moreover, exceptional. They befall a conspicuous person. They are themselves of some striking kind. They are also, as a rule, unexpected, and contrasted with previous happiness or glory. A tale, for example, of a man slowly worn to death by disease, poverty, little cares, sordid vices, petty persecutions, however piteous or dreadful it might be, would not be tragic in the Shakespearean sense.
A. C. Bradley
It is jazz music that called me to be a musician and I have always sang the songs that moved me the most. Singers, like Frank Sinatra and myself, we interpret the songs that we like. Not unlike a Shakespearean actor that goes back to the greatest words ever written, we go back to the greatest songs.
Harry Connick, Jr.
Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don't look about and just fall into a trance as the ground zips by, ' Kerouac wrote. 'Trails are like that: you're floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly you're struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak... just like life.
TO ALL THE ambulance drivers firewatchers air-raid wardens nurses canteen workers airplane spotters rescue workers mathematicians vicars vergers shopgirls chorus girls librarians debutantes spinsters fishermen retired sailors servants evacuees Shakespearean actors and mystery novelists WHO WON THE WAR.
What a gulf between impression and expression! That's our ironic fate-to have Shakespearean feelings and (unless by some billion-to-one chance we happen to be Shakespeare) to talk about them like automobile salesmen or teen-agers or college professors. We practice alchemy in reverse-touch gold and it turns into lead; touch the pure lyrics of experience, and they turn into the verbal equivalents of tripe and hogwash.
What a gulf between impression and expression! That's our ironic fate""to have Shakespearean feelings and (unless by some billion-to-one chance we happen to be Shakespeare) to talk about them like automobile salesmen or teen-agers or college professors. We practice alchemy in reverse""touch gold and it turns into lead; touch the pure lyrics of experience, and they turn into the verbal equivalents of tripe and hogwash.
Shakespearean words, foreign words, slang and dialect and made-up phrases from kids on the street corner: English has room for them all. And writers - not just literary writers, but popular writers as well - breathe air into English and keep it lively by making it their own, not by adhering to some style manual that gets handed out to college Freshmen in a composition class.
If we are to include the outer and the inner struggle in a conception more definite than that of conflict in general, we must employ some such phrase as 'spiritual force.' This will mean whatever forces act in the human spirit, whether good or evil, whether personal passion or impersonal principle; doubts, desires, scruples, ideas-whatever can animate, shake, possess, and drive a man's soul. In a Shakespearean tragedy some such forces are shown in conflict.
A. C. Bradley
I am genuinely sorry for scientists of the younger generation who never knew Fisher personally. So long as you avoided a handful of subjects like inverse probability that would turn Fisher in the briefest possible moment from extreme urbanity into a boiling cauldron of wrath, you got by with little worse than a thick head from the port which he, like the Cambridge mathematician J. E. Littlewood, loved to drink in the evening. And on the credit side you gained a cherished memory of English spoken in a Shakespearean style and delivered in the manner of a Spanish grandee.
[Vathek] has, in parts, been called, but to some judgments, never is, dull: it is certainly in parts, grotesque, extravagant and even nasty. But Beckford could plead sufficient "local colour" for it, and a contrast, again almost Shakespearean, between the flickering farce atrocities of the beginning and the sombre magnificence of the end. Beckford's claims, in fact, rest on the half-score or even half-dozen pages towards the end: but these pages are hard to parallel in the later literature of prose fiction.
William Thomas Beckford
The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.
The true structure of the Welsh grammar will be revealed only when we look at sentences slightly more complicated than its basic VSO pattern. Welsh is no different from the rest of the world: it does involve an extra step, but even that isn't all that unusual. Welsh is like Shakespearean English on acid: the verb always - not just in questions - moves to the beginning. Alternatively, it can be viewed as taking the French grammar a step further. While the verb stops at tense in French, it moves further in Welsh to a position that traditional grammarians call the complementizer (don't ask).
So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn's conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality, ' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.
What, then, can Shakespearean tragedy, on this brief view, tell us about human time in an eternal world? It offers imagery of crisis, of futures equivocally offered, by prediction and by action, as actualities; as a confrontation of human time with other orders, and the disastrous attempt to impose limited designs upon the time of the world. What emerges from Hamlet is-after much futile, illusory action-the need of patience and readiness. The 'bloody period' of Othello is the end of a life ruined by unseasonable curiosity. The millennial ending of Macbeth, the broken apocalypse of Lear, are false endings, human periods in an eternal world. They are researches into death in an age too late for apocalypse, too critical for prophecy; an age more aware that its fictions are themselves models of the human design on the world. But it was still an age which felt the human need for ends consonant with the past, the kind of end Othello tries to achieve by his final speech; complete, concordant. As usual, Shakespeare allows him his tock; but he will not pretend that the clock does not go forward. The human perpetuity which Spenser set against our imagery of the end is represented here also by the kingly announcements of Malcolm, the election of Fortinbras, the bleak resolution of Edgar. In apocalypse there are two orders of time, and the earthly runs to a stop; the cry of woe to the inhabitants of the earth means the end of their time; henceforth 'time shall be no more.' In tragedy the cry of woe does not end succession; the great crises and ends of human life do not stop time. And if we want them to serve our needs as we stand in the middest we must give them patterns, understood relations as Macbeth calls them, that defy time. The concords of past, present, and future towards which the soul extends itself are out of time, and belong to the duration which was invented for angels when it seemed difficult to deny that the world in which men suffer their ends is dissonant in being eternal. To close that great gap we use fictions of complementarity. They may now be novels or philosophical poems, as they once were tragedies, and before that, angels. What the gap looked like in more modern times, and how more modern men have closed it, is the preoccupation of the second half of this series.
The news that she had gone of course now spread rapidly, and by lunch time Riseholme had made up its mind what to do, and that was hermetically to close its lips for ever on the subject of Lucia. You might think what you pleased, for it was a free country, but silence was best. But this counsel of perfection was not easy to practice next day when the evening paper came. There, for all the world to read were two quite long paragraphs, in "Five o'clock Chit-Chat, " over the renowned signature of Hermione, entirely about Lucia and 25 Brompton Square, and there for all the world to see was the reproduction of one of her most elegant photographs, in which she gazed dreamily outwards and a little upwards, with her fingers still pressed on the last chord of (probably) the Moonlight Sonata... She had come up, so Hermione told countless readers, from her Elizabethan country seat at Riseholme (where she was a neighbour of Miss Olga Bracely) and was settling for the season in the beautiful little house in Brompton Square, which was the freehold property of her husband, and had just come to him on the death of his aunt. It was a veritable treasure house of exquisite furniture, with a charming music-room where Lucia had given Hermione a cup of tea from her marvellous Worcester tea service... (At this point Daisy, whose hands were trembling with passion, exclaimed in a loud and injured voice, "The very day she arrived!") Mrs. Lucas (one of the Warwickshire Smythes by birth) was, as all the world knew, a most accomplished musician and Shakespearean scholar, and had made Riseholme a centre of culture and art. But nobody would suspect the blue stocking in the brilliant, beautiful and witty hostess whose presence would lend an added gaiety to the London season. Daisy was beginning to feel physically unwell. She hurried over the few remaining lines, and then ejaculating "Witty! Beautiful!" sent de Vere across to Georgie's with the paper, bidding him to return it, as she hadn't finished with it. But she thought he ought to know... Georgie read it through, and with admirable self restraint, sent Foljambe back with it and a message of thanks-nothing more-to Mrs. Quantock for the loan of it. Daisy, by this time feeling better, memorised the whole of it. Life under the new conditions was not easy, for a mere glance at the paper might send any true Riseholmite into a paroxysm of chattering rage or a deep disgusted melancholy. The Times again recorded the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas had arrived at 25 Brompton Square, there was another terrible paragraph headed 'Dinner, ' stating that Mrs. Sandeman entertained the following to dinner. There was an Ambassador, a Marquis, a Countess (dowager), two Viscounts with wives, a Baronet, a quantity of Honourables and Knights, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas. Every single person except Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas had a title. The list was too much for Mrs. Boucher, who, reading it at breakfast, suddenly exclaimed: "I didn't think it of them. And it's a poor consolation to know that they must have gone in last." Then she hermetically sealed her lips again on this painful subject, and when she had finished her breakfast (her appetite had quite gone) she looked up every member of that degrading party in Colonel Boucher's "Who's Who.