Tag Archives: Laurence Olivier
Photo: Christoph Muller

Hamlet through Hoops?

Hamlet, Max Beerbohm famously wrote, is ‘a hoop through which every very eminent actor must, sooner or later, jump.’ By the same token King Lear is a mountain up which every very eminent actor must, sooner or later, climb. Many have made the ascent in recent years – Greg Hicks and Ian McKellen for the […]

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Photo by Christopher Mueller

Verse Speaking

How should actors speak the verse in Shakespeare’s plays? Are there any reliable rules for doing so? Do the forms in which the plays were first printed offer guidelines in their use of punctuation, capital letters, line division, and layout on the page?  Should actors stress the ti-tum ti-tum ti-tum ti-tum ti-tum rhythm of the […]

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Doing Something about ‘Hamlet’

  February 4 And now.   The play has been read. It’s so compact! It’s so complete!  Each line is so…significant! So…powerful!   Calm down.  Yes, it’s a powerful play. More so with each reading. So what else is new?   The available spin-offs have been watched, some not previously seen. Star Trek?? Oh yes. […]

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Richard Council Window

Leicester’s Richard III

Living in Leicester has never been more exciting. Between people eager to see a car park, the influx of the international press conference, the portraits filling the windows of the City Council building, and the queues wrapping around the cathedral over the past two weeks, it is hard to ignore the atmosphere of delight and […]

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Photo by Christopher Mueller

Digging for Richard

Though Shakespeare was not mentioned, there was a manifest and contrived theatricality about the press conference announcing that the skeleton unearthed in a Leicester car park was indeed that of King Richard III. Not that anyone could have doubted what the conclusion would be. How could the University, clearly pulling all the stops out to […]

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Laurence Olivier as Othello (1965)

Olivier’s Othello

On Sunday evening, as part of the Shakespeare Film Festival, there was a special screening of Laurence Olivier’s Othello. Perhaps, like me, you’ve been a little put off this film because one of the first things that people say about it is ‘Olivier’s performance is too big for the screen.’ Having seen it, all I […]

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Embracing Shakespeare

This webinar is a conversation I had about different aspects of Shakespearian study with the two general editors of The Oxford Shakespeare Topics series, Professor Peter Holland (McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, University of Notre Dame) and Professor Stanley Wells, C.B.E. (Honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust). We talk about Shakespeare and America, […]

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Henry V

Year of Shakespeare: Henry V on the BBC

This post is part of Year of Shakespeare, a project documenting the World Shakespeare Festival, the greatest celebration of Shakespeare the world has ever seen.   Henry V, dir. Thea Sharrock, 21 July 2012 on BBC 2 By Pete Orford Hmm. Henry V was always going to be a bit of a deal breaker here. While […]

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The R.S.C. at Fifty

The editors of The Stage newspaper have asked me to write a piece commemorating fifty years of the RSC. This has made me delve into memories of more than half a century’s Stratford theatre-going. I came here first for a short holiday in 1954, when I saw four plays. My main memories are of Barbara […]

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