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I love the quote I found to illustrate today’s #ShakespeareSunday theme of Doctors, Medicine & Mortality, chosen this time by @teenytinyflame for event creators @HollowCrownFans.

"Your doctors ... thought it good you hear a play And frame your mind to mirth and merriment, Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life." Messenger, Taming of the Shrew - Prologue

The full section this quote is taken from reads:

“Your honour’s players, hearing your amendment,
Are come to play a pleasant comedy;
For so your doctors hold it very meet,
Seeing too much sadness hath congeal’d your blood,
And melancholy is the nurse of frenzy.
Therefore they thought it good you hear a play
And frame your mind to mirth and merriment,
Which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”

In other words, Shakespeare is prescribing the arts to combat depression – a great prescription and one which we can all do with being aware of in our times!

Of course, he – being a playwright (and I an actress) – could be said to have a vested interest in prescribing plays for the good of our health, but that makes them no less effective as wonderful medicine.

Plays have long been known as cathartic, uplifting and enlightening – and long may that continue!

 

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@HollowCrownFans are celebrating their 5th anniversary, and this Sunday tweeted:

“Good morning and welcome to another #ShakespeareSunday! Today’s theme: THE HOLLOW CROWN PLAYS! (Rich II, Henry IV, V, VI & Rich III)”

The Hollow Crown is a televised series of Shakespeare’s plays from the BBC – this banner has covered Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 & 2, and Henry V (first series) and Henry VI part 1, Henry VI parts 2 & 3 amalgamated, and Richard III (second series, subtitled The Wars of the Roses). The high profile actors involved are far too numerous to fully list (including – to name but a handful – Judi Dench, Julie WaltersSophie Okonedo, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch & Jeremy Irons), so do check out the above link!

@HollowCrownFans began #ShakespeareSunday and it has taken on in a big way – yes, it ‘trends’! Part of the fun of getting involved is finding new people to interact with on Twitter via the likes and follows gained when tweeting a quote inspired by the weekly themes put forward.

Here’s my offering for this five year anniversary…

 

 

5 year, congrats - Henry IV, pt 1 9th July 2017, Shakespeare Sunday

The quote comes from a time that Prince Hal (later Henry V, ‘the warlike Harry’) is joking / teasing Francis, ‘a drawer’ (tapster, barman). I like to think he’s also pictured here, along with Falstaff (wielding the sword), Bardolf (rednosed behind the sword, probably with Pistol and Nym), Hal, and likely Poins (the fine gentlemen watching).

I like to think Francis is the boy just in front of Falstaff – with those 5 years still to serve his apprenticeship – but he could be the chap coming up out of the cellar.

What think you?

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Studying Shakespeare is made overly complicated by assuming that it is too difficult to understand, Professor David Crystal says…

How Shakespeare invented ‘unfriend’ 400 years before Facebook – Telegraph.

How Shakespeare invented 'unfriend' 400 years before Facebook - Telegraph

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Interesting article by Maria Popova about a book by Dan Falk…

 

Article by Maria Popova on book by Dan Falk: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/06/02/the-science-of-shakespeare-astronomy-dan-falk/

William Shakespeare, Astronomer: How Galileo Influenced the Bard | Brain Pickings

 

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Sam Wanamaker’s vision for two theatres comes to fruition – the indoor theatre has now joined the famous Globe, and opens this month with Gemma Arterton as The Duchess of Malfi (by John Webster).

Candlelit performances, companies of boys, a radio programme and various historical titbits can be found here:

BBC News – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse: A Jacobean theatre on Bankside

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Includes mention of documentary currently available as well as thoughts on playreading and Shakespeare…

Why so many people hate Shakespeare | Players-Shakespeare.com.

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Well, it has been a while since the last post!

This has to do with directing ‘As You Like It’ for Arkle Theatre Company, on in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Royal Scots Club, and reviewing many Shakespeare-related shows during the Fringe.

Edinburgh Spotlight – news, reviews and ‘things-to-do’s in Edinburgh

For those reviews, here’s a search for ‘Shakespeare’ on www.edinburghspotlight.com – most of those reviews will be mine, but of course all are worth a gander.

A few of the best shows:

No Holds Bard – a solo show where various tragic characters fight for possession of an actor’s body

Titus Andronicus: an all-female production – an energetic and imaginative staging well-presented by The Smooth-Faced Gentlemen

Repertory Theatre – a would-be playwright gets caught up in a Hamlet-ian world on presenting his first play to the rep theatre artistic director who was ‘as a brother’ to his late father

You can also find the entertaining ‘Shit-Faced Shakespeare’, where one actor has deliberately become drunk for the performance.

As for ‘As You Like It’, reviewers and audiences happily commented on finally ‘understanding Shakespeare’ when seeing this production – a great accolade, methinks!

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