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(41 Posts)
susiecb Sun 18-Mar-12 12:58:55

Like many people my age we were force fed Shakespeare for O Level and it rather out me off other than a couple of films notably Al Pacino in the Merchant of Venice and a couple of Ken Branagh adaptations. I went to see the RSC in Taming of the Shrew (trying to get out more) at Nottingham last week and it was wonderful!!! A very physical and funny production. This has encouraged me and now cant wait to see something else hopefully at Stratford. If like me you were put off by school Shakespeare give the RSC a go they do a marvellous job.

jeni Sun 18-Mar-12 13:05:17

I used to love going to Stratford, unfortunately, dh didn't like it! Perhapsishould try and reorganise myself to visit again? Perhaps teamed with a weekend break at a hotel? Now there's some thing to aim for in the summer. I wonder what the disabled facilities are like at the theatre now? Does anyone know?

Mishap Sun 18-Mar-12 14:02:54

The problem with Shakespeare is, that beautiful though the language might be, it is hard to get our heads round, and in many performances (including Lenny Henry in Taming of the Shrew which I saw on a live feed) people simply speak too fast. We need time to decipher archaic language in order to get the best from it.
School Shakespeare was dull - all I can remember is "Tennis balls, my liege" from Henry V1

Jacey Sun 18-Mar-12 15:54:31

Or Jeni perhaps go to the Globe in London (day trip?) ... saw one of the comedies there a few years ago ...wonderful afternoon.

jeni Sun 18-Mar-12 16:56:59

Haven't been to London since the last boat show I went to with dh.probably about 12years ago. Too difficult these days as I can't get on and off trains.
But Stratford I can drive to. Remember seeing Olivier as Coriolanus with Sybil thorndike as his mother. Also Vanessa Redgrave as rosalind in 12th night.
Must go again. I live Shakespeare!

bagitha Sun 18-Mar-12 17:08:28

I got a lot out of the Shakespeare plays we studied at school, which we also went to Stratford to see performed. Went a few times from Oxford too. In particular, I remember the Stratford version of Julius Caesar which we took DD1 to see as she was in a performance of it at school. Amazingly (and totally unbiassed of course!) we thought the school version was better! There was a certain bright enthusiasm in the 'raw' kids that the 'well cooked' actors were lacking that time.

Awesome stage at Stratford too. Go for it, jeni!

em Mon 19-Mar-12 00:35:30

Looking forward to a trip to Stratford in July. I just hope that Twelfth Night and The Tempest measure up to the wonderful Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate in London last summer. That was probably my most enjoyable theatre experience ever (apart from my son's performance locally as Thenardier in Les Mis !) Always enjoyed Shakespeare at school.

numberplease Sun 01-Apr-12 18:40:38

I loved Macbeth, Hamlet, and Henry V, hated A Midsummer Night`s Dream, and could never quite get myself around Julius Caesar (not literally!)

Annobel Sun 01-Apr-12 19:13:40

My favourite is Anthony and Cleopatra though I have never seen it on stage. Loved teaching it too. Romeo and Juliet is about romance, puppy love. A&C is about mature love - and sex.

absentgrana Mon 02-Apr-12 09:37:31

jeni By chance I was thinking about Vanessa Redgrave today and remembered her magical performance as Rosalind. As You Like It - one of my favourite comedies - I think. Twelfth Night would have been Viola, whom she may also have played but I never saw.

Annobel Mon 02-Apr-12 09:50:16

The first Shakespeare play I saw on TV was As You Like It, way back in the '50s, with Vanessa Redgrave as Rosalind. It had me hooked. Perhaps the worst Shakespeare performance I've seen was Donald Sinden playing Lear at Stratford in the '70s. He hissed and spat his way through the king's speeches and the production was amazingly realistic with gallons of water pouring onto the stage in the storm scene. I remember that a young Cherie Lungi was Cordelia, so long before her amazing performance of the rumba on Strictly!

jeni Mon 02-Apr-12 10:45:49

absent you're right it wasAs You Lke It! I also saw12th night! Also Christopher Plummer as Richard! A fantastic performance witha unforgettable opening scene!

Ariadne Mon 02-Apr-12 10:50:24

My great love is "A Winter's Tale" -another one I had to teach for "A" Level. It is a story of mature love, jealously and regeneration.

But I also used the Leonardo de Caprio "Romeo and Juliet" which I can wholeheartedly recommend as a real eye opener! Needless to say, the kids loved it, so it was wheeled out as a treat.

gracesmum Mon 02-Apr-12 12:52:12

We always took our daughter to the theatre as soon as they were old enough not to cry (!) and like to think it was a particular RSC production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Stratford where the fairies were punks in DMs with bicycles ,which ignited a spark in middle D. At the interval she turned to us, eyes shining and said "I don't know Shakespeare could be FUN!"
She is now a successful theatre designer with her second RSC production (first one 2 years ago with Jeremy Irons in leading role) opening next weekend (King John ) at The Swan!

gracesmum Mon 02-Apr-12 12:56:39

Should have read DDs as we have 3! Youngest had her first visit to thatre in Mile End Road strapped to me in a Snuggly at about 8 weeks!
She also used to go to amdram productions as our neighbour was a keen amateur actor. These were pretty awful and the highlight was probably the raffle at the interval. Which is probably why when we took the girls to The Merchant Of Venice at The Barbican , a certain 5 year-old asked in a piercing voice which convulsed those around us "Is there going to be a waffle now?"

jeni Mon 02-Apr-12 13:52:26

I saw G&S Iolanthe at Stratford just as it came out of Doley carte copyright!
The fairies goose stepped in across the stage. It was hilarious!

Humbertbear Thu 19-Apr-12 20:53:21

Watch Coriolanus - the recent movie by Ralph Fiennes. It takes place in Bosnia and has a superb cast including Vanessa Redgrave. It makes Shakespeare relevant and is a fabulous - if violent - introduction to Shakespeare.
Don't be put off by the language - I find that I don't even notice it after a while.

jeni Thu 19-Apr-12 21:26:03

I saw Corialanus at Stratford when I was young! Olivier played Corialanus and I think Dame Sybil as his mother!
He did a spectacular fall from the top of the three tiered stage in the death scene, being caught by his ankles!
A gasp went up from the audience, I still remember it now!
I can't remember what year it was! But it was amazing!
I wonder if anybody would be interested in a GN trip to stratford?
Perhaps GNHQ could organise some group discount?
Could this be done?

Seventimesfive Thu 19-Apr-12 21:44:09

As part of the Cultural Olympiad the Globe on the South Bank, where I am a volunteer steward, is putting on all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in 37 different languages - Julius Caesar in Italian, Macbeth in Polish, Coriolanus in Japanese, Troilus and Cressida in Maori, Twelfth Night in Hindi etc. It should be really inspiring to see how different companies from around the world will interpret Shakespeare. I've got a ticket which allows me to see all the plays standing in the yard, so I hope my legs hold out! The usual season starts at the beginning of June and Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry will be in Twelfth Night, which should be great! I think it will be a very special season.

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 20-Apr-12 13:26:18

jeni, can't make any promises, but we will try our best to sort something out.

jeni Fri 20-Apr-12 13:30:18


Ariadne Fri 20-Apr-12 14:27:42

"if 'twere done, 'twere better it were done quickly.." [ smile]

Love "Coriolanus" - "Oh mother, mother, what hast thou done to me?" (Same old - blame your mum!)

jeni Fri 20-Apr-12 15:05:12

Macbeth! A real tongue twister of a speech. Could catch with its surcease success.

Maniac Fri 20-Apr-12 17:24:15

jeni I would definitely be interested in a GN trip to Stratford for a Shakespeare production.
There have been some excellent Shakespeare productions at The Tobacco factory in Bedminster, Bristol.They have recently finished a run of 'King Lear'.
I saw a couple of productions there but not since I moved 5 yrs ago.
I've seen Othello at Chichester,'King Lear' in Bath,Richard 3rd at Roundhouse in London (Dustin Hoffman in next row!) but I've never been to Stratford.

jeni Fri 20-Apr-12 17:30:48

You don't know what you've missed then! Perhaps we could organise something together? Later on in the year though, as I've got a lot on at present. 2cruises and lots of work to pay for them. I really, really want to go on the QE Xmas cruise as well in princess class, so I'm waiting to see if they drop the price. Or I may book while I'm on the QM?