Living with Shakespeare Essays by writers, actors, and directors

Book - 2013

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Subjects
Published
New York : Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc 2013.
Language
English
Physical Description
xxviii, 500 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780307742919
0307742911
Other Authors
Susannah Carson (editor of compilation)
  • A little monkey business / Bill Willingham
  • Speaking Shakespeare / Sir Anthony Sher
  • Teaching Shakespeare to actors / Camille Paglia
  • The architecture of ideas / Sir Ben KIngsley
  • King Lear in retrospect / Cicely Berry
  • Method and madness / Tobias Menzies
  • Character and conundrum / Rory Kinnear
  • In know a hawk from a handsaw regardless of the weather, but that's pretty much it / Matt Sturges
  • The sun god / James Earl Jones
  • Othello in love / Eamonn Walker
  • Othello: a play in black and white / Barry John
  • Re-revising Shakespeare / Jess Winfield
  • "I say it is the moon" / Brian Cox
  • The question of Coriolanus / Ralph Fiennes
  • Trial by theatre, or, Free-thinking in Julius Caesar / Richard Scholar
  • Saying in The Merchant of Venice / Stanley Cavell
  • Searching for Shylock / F. Murray Abraham
  • Boldness be my friend / Fiasco Theater
  • Killing Shakespeare and making my play / Karin Coonrod
  • Playing Shakespeare at the Globe / Dominic Dromgoole
  • Tolstoy and the Shakespearean gesture / Angus Fletcher
  • The red scarf / J.D. McClatchy
  • Spring imagery in Warwickshire / Germaine Greer
  • What's in a name? or, Unnamed in the forest / James Prosek
  • The sea change / David Farr
  • Looking for Illyria / Alan Gordon
  • Shakespeare's siblings / Eleanor Brown
  • "A star danced" / Eve Best
  • Two loves, or, The eternal triangle / Dame Harriet Walter
  • Odd man out / Jane Smiley
  • The living drama / Dame Margaret Drabble
  • The tragedy of imagination in Antony and Cleopatra / Joyce Carol Oates
  • War and love / Maxine Hong Kingston
  • On the terrible and unexpected fate of the star-crossed lovers / Peter David
  • Shakespeare and four-colour magic / Conor McCreery
  • Rough magic / Julie Taymor
  • My Own Private River / James Franco
  • Enamoured with Shakespeare / Isabel Allende.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Novelist Isabel Allende keeps a volume of Shakespeare on her nightstand, where other people would keep a Bible. Literary critic Harold Bloom regards Shakespeare's poetry as the holy text for a secular religion, with Shakespeare himself as God. If Shakespeare has indeed become a deity, the exalted figure in a literary-cultural faith, then Carson has done readers a great service by collecting these 38 essays, revealing in their astonishing diversity how capacious, how protean, that faith has become. It is, as readers learn by listening to actor James Earl Jones, a faith that inspires us with the celestial force of Othello, whom Jones has nicknamed the Sun God. But is also a faith filled with ­frightening devils, as actor-director Ralph Fiennes reminds us, when he discusses the boundless wrath and withering misanthropy of Coriolanus. It is a faith compelling actor Brian Cox to wrestle with existential questions, yet one that allows author Jess Winfield to indulge in facetious wordplay. A cornucopia of delights for lovers of the Bard. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Carson (editor, A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Authors on Why We Read Jane Austen) has recruited pieces from prominent individuals on their personal and/or professional engagement with Shakespeare. It's an appealing collection, with a dozen essays by actors, eight by directors, ten by writers (e.g., Margaret Drabble and Joyce Carol Oates), and seven by academics, including physicist Brian Cox. They cover a range of topics but principally two: why Shakespeare still appeals and how one goes about "doing" him—acting, directing, adapting, even simply reading his work. The quality of the essays ranges from above average to excellent. The best include Germaine Greer writing about floral imagery in Shakespeare and Royal Shakespeare Company voice director Cicely Berry on presenting Lear. There are lively and informative essays by actors Anthony Sher, Rory Kinnear, Eamonn Walker, Jess Winfield, Ralph Fiennes, and James Earl Jones, and a fascinating essay by the codirectors of New York's Fiasco Theater Company on staging the virtually undoable Cymbeline. VERDICT This collection is a must for anyone interested in reading, acting, or directing Shakespeare. A good selection for most libraries. Enthusiastically recommended.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA [Page 75]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Carson (editor, A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Authors on Why We Read Jane Austen) has recruited pieces from prominent individuals on their personal and/or professional engagement with Shakespeare. It's an appealing collection, with a dozen essays by actors, eight by directors, ten by writers (e.g., Margaret Drabble and Joyce Carol Oates), and seven by academics, including physicist Brian Cox. They cover a range of topics but principally two: why Shakespeare still appeals and how one goes about "doing" him—acting, directing, adapting, even simply reading his work. The quality of the essays ranges from above average to excellent. The best include Germaine Greer writing about floral imagery in Shakespeare and Royal Shakespeare Company voice director Cicely Berry on presenting Lear. There are lively and informative essays by actors Anthony Sher, Rory Kinnear, Eamonn Walker, Jess Winfield, Ralph Fiennes, and James Earl Jones, and a fascinating essay by the codirectors of New York's Fiasco Theater Company on staging the virtually undoable Cymbeline. VERDICT This collection is a must for anyone interested in reading, acting, or directing Shakespeare. A good selection for most libraries. Enthusiastically recommended.—¬David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Prominent actors and authors, for example, Joyce Carol Oates, James Franco, James Earl Jones, and Ralph Fiennes, talk about the influence of Shakespeare on their lives and careers. (LJ 3/1/13) [Page 48]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this lively volume, an esteemed (and in many instances, famous) group of actors, directors, authors, academics, and others share insights and experiences about their relationship to Shakespeare's literary and dramatic inheritance. Editor Carson's eclecticism aims to break down the usual disciplinary borders and reduce the intimidating distance that often yawns between Shakespeare experts and general readers. The volume succeeds at this admirably across a compelling range of biographical accounts, actor's insights, and production notes. Minor and major contradictions across essays, rather than dismaying, tend to be thought-provoking. The essays include much justified reverence, but also some healthy questioning, as well as limited forays into cross-cultural dialogues. Contributors overwhelmingly skew to American and British practitioners, with the odd Canadian, Australian, and South African. As the editor's stated goal includes bringing together as many perspectives as possible, the nearly complete lack of non-native English speakers (Isabelle Allende proves the sole exception) is all the more disappointing. It would have been nice, for example, to hear from famed German director Tomas Ostermeier, whose extraordinary 2008 Schaubühne production of Hamlet receives passing mention. That said, the collection is a consistently stimulating read, which goes a great way toward illuminating the degree to which we all live already—and can live even further—with Shakespeare. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Collects essays from actors, directors, and writers, including Brian Cox, James Earl Jones, and Joyce Carol Oates, about their appreciation of the famed playwright.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites forty actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.We hear from James Earl Jones on reclaiming Othello as a tragic hero, Julie Taymor on turning Prospero into Prospera, Camille Paglia on teaching the plays to actors, F. Murray Abraham on gaining an audience’s sympathy for Shylock, Sir Ben Kingsley on communicating Shakespeare’s ideas through performance, Germaine Greer on the playwright’s home life, Dame Harriet Walter on the complexity of his heroines, Brian Cox on social conflict in his time and ours, Jane Smiley on transposing King Lear to Iowa in A Thousand Acres, and Sir Antony Sher on feeling at home in Shakespeare’s language. Together these essays provide a fresh appreciation of Shakespeare’s works as a living legacy to be read, seen, performed, adapted, revised, wrestled with, and embraced by creative professionals and lay enthusiasts alike.F. Murray Abraham ? Isabel Allende ? Cicely Berry ? Eve Best ? Eleanor Brown ? Stanley Cavell ? Karin Coonrod ? Brian Cox ? Peter David ? Margaret Drabble ? Dominic Dromgoole ? David Farr ? Fiasco Theater ? Ralph Fiennes ? Angus Fletcher ? James Franco ? Alan Gordon ? Germaine Greer ? Barry John ? James Earl Jones ? Sir Ben Kingsley ? Maxine Hong Kingston ? Rory Kinnear ? J. D. McClatchy ? Conor McCreery ? Tobias Menzies ? Joyce Carol Oates ? Camille Paglia ? James Prosek ? Richard Scholar ? Sir Antony Sher ? Jane Smiley ? Matt Sturges ? Julie Taymor ? Eamonn Walker ? Dame Harriet Walter ? Bill Willingham ? Jess Winfield

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Why Shakespeare? What explains our continued fascination with his poems and plays? In Living with Shakespeare, Susannah Carson invites forty actors, directors, scholars, and writers to reflect on why his work is still such a vital part of our culture.We hear from James Earl Jones on reclaiming Othello as a tragic hero, Julie Taymor on turning Prospero into Prospera, Camille Paglia on teaching the plays to actors, F. Murray Abraham on gaining an audience’s sympathy for Shylock, Sir Ben Kingsley on communicating Shakespeare’s ideas through performance, Germaine Greer on the playwright’s home life, Dame Harriet Walter on the complexity of his heroines, Brian Cox on social conflict in his time and ours, Jane Smiley on transposing King Lear to Iowa in A Thousand Acres, and Sir Antony Sher on feeling at home in Shakespeare’s language. Together these essays provide a fresh appreciation of Shakespeare’s works as a living legacy to be read, seen, performed, adapted, revised, wrestled with, and embraced by creative professionals and lay enthusiasts alike.F. Murray Abraham ' Isabel Allende ' Cicely Berry ' Eve Best ' Eleanor Brown ' Stanley Cavell ' Karin Coonrod ' Brian Cox ' Peter David ' Margaret Drabble ' Dominic Dromgoole ' David Farr ' Fiasco Theater ' Ralph Fiennes ' Angus Fletcher ' James Franco ' Alan Gordon ' Germaine Greer ' Barry John ' James Earl Jones ' Sir Ben Kingsley ' Maxine Hong Kingston ' Rory Kinnear ' J. D. McClatchy ' Conor McCreery ' Tobias Menzies ' Joyce Carol Oates ' Camille Paglia ' James Prosek ' Richard Scholar ' Sir Antony Sher ' Jane Smiley ' Matt Sturges ' Julie Taymor ' Eamonn Walker ' Dame Harriet Walter ' Bill Willingham ' Jess Winfield