The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 4: Henry VI, Part 3

*week 4 of the (roughly) chronological read-through of #Shakespeare’s plays: Henry VI, Part 3. …

The Scenic Route

Date:  1591-ish.

First read: 2005-ish.

 

Productions seen: No full productions, just scenes at drama school.

 

Productions worked on: As above.

 

Edition I’m using: Signet Classics. Same book, different week.

Cheating by having one book for all three plays. Don't tell anyone. 

Observations:

 

  • I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III. I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III. I will not get over-excited and make this all about Richard III.
  • Earlier on today I was replying to comments on the last post and something that Bee Dice said prompted me to start thinking about where this play comes not only in the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays, but also of Elizabeth I’s reign. By the time this play was written Elizabeth was well into her 50s and it would have been very clear that she wasn’t going to produce an heir. She also hadn’t named one, nor would she. The…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-Read Week 3: Henry VI (Part 2)

*to part/no. 3 of the Roughly Chronological read-through of the ‘complete’ #Shakespeare plays… —Henry VI (Part II). …

The Scenic Route

Date: Probably 1591.

First read: 2005-ish.

 

Productions seen: No full productions, just scenes at drama school.

 

Productions worked on: As above.

 

Edition I’m using: Signet Classics. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Signet before.

Cheating by having one book for all three plays. Don't tell anyone.

 

Observations:

 

  • There are people who believe that this is Shakespeare’s very first play. While it’s clearly an early work, I find it hard to believe that it could be the first. The language and characterisation are much better developed than Comedy of Errors or Two Gents.
  • It was suggested to me when I started this project that the Henry VIs should be read in story order, but in light of the argument mentioned above I preferred to go 2-3-1. I’ve tried to put Part 1 out of my mind for the purposes of the Re-read.
  • Back when I first started reading Shakespeare I assumed that as I grew more…

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The Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 2: The Comedy of Errors

*Wk. 2 of The (Roughly) Chronological #Shakespeare read-through 2017: The Comedy of Errors…

The Scenic Route

Date: Around 1594.

 

First read: In 2007. I don’t think I ever re-read it.

 

Productions seen: One at the Edinburgh Fringe, some time around 2003/4 (I think). I’m fairly sure it was a student production.

 

Productions worked on: None.

 

Edition I’m using: An elderly Arden.

comedy-of-errors

 

Observations:

 

Couplets. COUPLETS. Good god, Shakespeare, what are you doing to me? Why must everything rhyme? (All right, not everything. Not quite. Just most of the first three acts.) Why do you hate me, Shakespeare?

I’m not inherently anti-couplet. Used sparingly and judiciously they can be effective. Great at the end of sonnets, for instance. Useful for comic purposes, in their right place. But there’s such a thing as excess, and I think we hit that point about three pages into The Comedy of Errors.

I remember not being mad keen on this play when I first saw…

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Roughly Chronological Re-read Week 1: The Two Gentlemen of Verona

*Jen McGregor’s thoughts-reponses on play no. I: The Two Gentlemen of Verona. …

The Scenic Route

Date: Between 1589 and 1592.

 

First read: In 200…5, I think? At some point in my early 20s I read my Arden Complete Works cover to cover. Then I re-read it in 2011 when I worked on a couple of scenes from it at Mountview.

 

Productions seen: None – just that couple of scenes at drama school.

 

Productions worked on: As above.

 

Edition I’m using: Good old Dover Thrift.

She's just not that into you, Pro

 

Observations:

 

  • I read the play aloud with Mark and Flavia. We noticed that the locations weren’t consistent across the editions – sometimes one of us had Milano and another Verona, sometimes one had Mantua and another Padua. I wish we’d actually noted the differences, but we didn’t… What I can tell you is that I was using the Dover Thrift pictured above, Mark had the Arden Complete Works and Flavia was using the text from…

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The Roughly Chronological Reread: The Chronology

*part I of new project… —the (roughly chronological) order in which Shakespeare’s plays will be read…

The Scenic Route

As I launch into my first big personal project for 2017, the Roughly Chronological Re-read, I’d like to acknowledge the amount of guesswork that’s going into this. There is no clear chronology for Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t claim to have discovered one. What I have done is read a lot of other people’s suggestions and drawn up a reading order. I don’t claim that my decisions are anything other than arbitrary. You’re welcome to argue the toss with me. I’ll probably argue it with myself as I go.

So here’s the order I’m planning to use:

Week 1: Two Gentlemen of Verona

Week 2: The Comedy of Errors

Week 3: Henry VI Part II

Week 4: Henry VI Part III

Week 5: Titus Andronicus

Week 6: Richard III

Week 7: The Taming of the Shrew

Week 8: Henry VI Part 1

Week 9: Love’s Labours Lost

Week 10: Romeo & Juliet

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A Project for 2017

*interesting project for 2017… —a (roughly) chronological read-through of Shakespeare’s plays. …

The Scenic Route

Hello again, internet. 2016 wasn’t one of my more talkative years online, and much of my blogging was devoted to the mental health side of things. While I plan to continue that, I want to get back into writing a bit more about the arts.

Ermagherd Sherksper Gotta catch ’em all!

One of my projects for 2017 will be a complete chronological re-read of all of Shakespeare’s plays. While I’ve read them all at some point or other, there are several that I haven’t revisited for over ten years and the order of reading was quite haphazard. I’m interested to see whether there are any insights to be gained from a chronological read. So here’s the plan:

  • I’ll be using a rough chronology based on the RSC’s timeline. Want to talk about disputed chronology? Be my guest!
  • Each week I’ll read one play and post whatever thoughts I have about it.
  • By…

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