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 To read the First Part of Trixie the Cat’s Interview with Stewart Trotter….

…..click: HERE!

Trixie

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code…..

We finished the Dom Perignon at Shakespeare Code speed…….

……and Tom ‘X’ left to work on a new Sonnets’ project……….

……inspired by our visit to beautiful Titchfield.

south street 3

Your Cat then began the Second Part of her interview with  The Code’s Chief Agent, Stewart Trotter…..

…..about what it was like to play King Lear….

TRIXIE

What have you learnt about Lear…….

…….by playing the part……

Stewart Trotter as King Lear. Lear production photographs by Tim Gulliford.

Stewart Trotter as King Lear. Lear production photographs by Tim Gulliford.

…… that you didn’t know before?

STEWART

Two main things.

The first……

….how much Lear relishes life!

Not only do I think actors and directors get the last scene of the play wrong…….

(See Part One  of this interview)

….I NOW THINK THEY GET THE FIRST SCENE WRONG AS WELL!!!

It’s normally all foreboding and gloom….

scofield opening lear

…….BUT NO-ONE IN THE PLAY KNOWS WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN LATER!!!

For Lear, this should start of as the happiest day of his life……..

lear with horn cup (2)

He is retiring from the cares of state…..

…..he is bestowing the gift of his kingdom on his daughters……..

…..and he is giving away the hand of his beautiful, youngest daughter in marriage.

Goneril and Regan actually COMPETE with each other to tell the old man how much they love him….

lear and regan (2)

And it’s ONLY when Cordelia refuses to play the game that things go wrong…..

Lear is then furiously hurt by her rebellion against his authority……

…….and by the plain talking of his old friend, the Earl of Kent……..

…….whom he banishes in a fury…..

But the next time we see him he has returned from a vigorous hunt…….

 

David Lee as Lear's Attendant.

David Lee as Lear’s Attendant.

 

………can’t wait to have his dinner…….

…….. and orders up a knockabout session with his Fool.

Kevin Fraser as the Fool.

Kevin Fraser as the Fool.

Lear’s LAUGHTER at the Fool’s jokes is actually written into the script…….

lear's laughter 001

……but is never, ever played….

Rather the relationship is presented as some sort of bitter competition…..

…..and in a moment of STUPENDOUS MISJUDGEMENT……..

….. in the Royal National Theatre production of the play…..

r. beale lear

……LEAR ACTUALLY KILLED HIS FOOL!!! (sic)

At Titchfield, we tried to suggest that the Fool was a surrogate son to the King…….

fool lear kent (2)

…….the son that the King never had to inherit his Kingdom….

The other side of the King’s jollity, though, is his frequent lapses into depression…..

lear melancholy

The Fool is well aware of this………

 ……and uses to his jokes to try to cheer up the King….

Lear and fool on bench (2)

……rather in the way the jester Richard Tarleton…..

Tarleton - large

…..used to…..

……undump…..

…..Queen Elizabeth I…..

…..who notoriously suffered from…..

…..melancholy….

elizabeth sad

But the problem is that the Fool..

…..like the young George Washington…..

Youn George Washington, admitting to his father that he cut down the chrry tree.

Young George Washington, admitting to his father that he cut down the chrry tree.

 ….GENUINELY cannot tell a lie.

So sometimes, when he is trying to make the King laugh………

………the Fool makes things worse by letting slip the truth…..

……..and so, without meaning to…..

……..helps push the King into madness….

me lear mad

But even that madness brings the King happiness….

When he rushes into the storm and cries…..

Blow winds and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!

You cataracts and hurricanoes spout

Till you have drench’d our steeples, drowned the cocks…..

lear storm large

….he is not…..

……defying the storm…..

…..HE IS ENCOURAGING IT!!!

TRIXIE

So that’s another trap for hammy old actors….

STEWART

It certainly is, Trixie!

TRIXIE

Name other ways in which Lear’s madness makes him happy….

STEWART

He ADORES his new friendship with ‘Mad Tom’……

Sam Goodall as Edgar

Sam Goodall as Edgar

……Edgar in disguise…..

……whose improvised ramblings, he believes, hold ‘the meaning of life’…..

And on the heath……..

……dressed in a crown of wild flowers……..

……he becomes like a child again……

lear happy mad (2)

 

…..full of anarchic games…..

……and fresh insights into life.

He does, it’s true, go through agonies of rage and pain…..

……. as his daughters strip him of everything that he values…..

me lear distraught

But losing everything has the effect of lightening him…..

……and liberating him…….

Even the language he speaks changes in the course of the play….

At the beginning…….

……when he is improvising a retirement scheme….

 …..he says to his sons-in-law, the Dukes of Cornwall……

Tom Piercey as The Duke of Cornwall.

Tom Piercey as The Duke of Cornwall.

….and Albany….

Stuart Hibbard as the Duke of Albany.

Stuart Hibbard as the Duke of Albany.

I do invest you jointly with my power

Pre-eminence and all the large effects

That troop with majesty. Ourself, by monthly course

With reservation of an hundred knights

By you to be sustained shall our abode

Make with you by due turn.  Only we shall retain

The name and all th’addition to a King. The sway

Revenue, execution of the rest

Beloved sons be yours….

Lear is using the compact, clotted, language of politics…….

……manipulative and threadbare……

……with clauses within clauses……

……. that cannot be questioned or challenged.

But when he has gone mad….

……and is later reconciled with Cordelia…

lear reconciliation scene (2)

……. and experiences an ecstasy beyond anything he has ever felt before….

 

reconc scene (2)

 …….his language becomes transparent, sweeping, graceful and lyrical….

Come, let’s away to prison. We two alone will sing like birds i’th’cage,

When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down

And ask of thee forgiveness.  And so we’ll live

And pray and sing and tell old tales and laugh at gilded butterflies

And hear poor rogues talk of court news, and we’ll talk with ‘em too,

Who wins, who loses, who’s in, who’s out….

And take upon’s the mystery of things as if

We were God’s spies….

He concludes with the sublime…

Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, the Gods themselves throw incense…..

No wonder W. B. Yeats……..

w. b. yeats

……the most lyrical of poets, calls Lear…..

….gay….

TRIXIE

I beg your pardon?

STEWART

In the old-fashioned sense of the word, of course.

TRIXIE (not convinced)

Mmmmm……..

Now what was the second thing you learned about the play?

STEWART

Just how RADICAL its politics are.

The play is a massive critique of Kingship…

As I wrote in the Titchfield programme note…..

(To read Stewart’s note, click: HERE!)

…….Lear is in many ways a very good King.

He has kept a potentially turbulent country together….

….and is trying his best to ensure that peace will follow his death……

He has inspired complete loyalty in his close follows…..

…..has massive personal authority…..

…..and can make quick, decisive and irreversible decisions.

Now all this is great on the field of battle…..

…..BUT IT’S NOT SO GREAT IN THE HOME….

…..ESPECIALLY A HOME FULL OF DAUGHTERS!!!

Lear is a……

……man’s man…..

……happy in his rough and tumble relationships with the Fool and Kent and his knights…

……but insensitive to the feelings of Goneril and Regan……..

Zia Wheeldon as Goneril and Kirsten Carmichael as Regan

Zia Wheeldon as Goneril and Kirsten Carmichael as Regan

…..especially when he openly favours his youngest daughter, Cordelia….

Jenny Bradshaw as Cordelia

Jenny Bradshaw as Cordelia

Very early on in the play, he recognises how wrong he has wronged her…

But he cannot revoke this decision……

…..BECAUSE HE MADE IT AS A KING….

Kingship………

……for all its seeming power……

……puts Lear into a straitjacket.

IT IS ALSO DELUSORY….

King’s are vulnerable to flattery…..

…..and because they possesses the power and wealth that other people want…..

…….THIS FLATTERY HAS COMPLETELY UNDERMINED LEAR’S HOLD ON REALITY….

He has to go ‘mad’ to realise that Goneril and Regan….

……far from loving him….

flattered [him] like a dog…..

Also,  because Shakespeare deliberately sets his play in Pagan times…..

…..LEAR BELIEVES HIMSELF TO BE A PRIEST KING….

……..able to call on the powers of the Sun and Moon and the planets….

……..and even Dame Nature herself…..

…….. to enact his will….

invoking heaven lear

He needs to be exposed, bare-headed, to a furious storm……..

 ……. to realise he has no control WHATSOEVER over the universe……

……..or even the rain……

He is just a poor old man……

……..pitifully grateful for the shelter and straw of a hovel.

In the storm, though, he stops being a King…..

…..BUT HE BECOMES A HUMAN BEING INSTEAD…..

He starts to empathise, for the first time, with the poor and the homeless…..

lear looking at mad tom (2)

….. and admits……

……in one of the greatest passages in the play….

……that he has….

…..ta’en too little care of this….

The rich MUST share their wealth with the poor…..

….. and, in so doing, prove……

…….more just……

……than….

……..the heavens…..

…..  themselves.

This thought is so shocking and new to the King that it flips him into madness……

……..a place where the Fool can no longer reach him with his jokes.

TRIXIE

So what’s Shakespeare’s final position on Kingship?

STEWART

I don’t think Shakespeare has a ‘final position’ on anything, Trixie…….

That’s why we are all so fascinated by him….

But at the end of the 1608 version of King Lear…….

…..Kingship has become so degraded that Albany….

……who, as the only surviving Duke, is the rightful heir to the Kingdom……

…….doesn’t want the throne……

He offers it JOINTLY to Edgar and Kent…..

….but BOTH Kent AND Edgar refuse it……

…. and Albany is stuck with it….

…..a burden rather than a glory.

This is a society aching for some other kind of political structure…..

But what that structure might be……

……no-one has a clue……

TRIXIE

As Tom ‘X’ and I watched the Titchfield Shakespeare Festival production of the play……

……there was a real sense of growing evil….

……lustful evil…..

Marco Cristina as Oswald.

Marco Cristina as Oswald.

….. an evil that overwhelms everyone and everything…..

Brian Fitzmaurice as the Earl of Gloucester, blinded by the Duke of Cornwall and his wife, Regan.

Brian Fitzmaurice as the Earl of Gloucester, blinded by the Duke of Cornwall and his wife, Regan.

Where does it come from?

STEWART

That, Trixie the Cat, is the ultimate question of the play….

Can I think about it a bit before I answer?

TRIXIE

Of course.  Take your time, Boss….

Take your time…..

(To be continued….)

 

 

Trixie

 Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code……

Before you read Your Cat’s interview with Stewart Trotter…….

……it’s best to look at ‘The Original Ending to King Lear’ Parts One,  Two  and Three.

The Agents of The Shakespeare Code have been examining William Shakespeare’s ORIGINAL ending to King Lear..

 As part of this research, the Code’s Chief Agent actually PLAYED the part of the King….

Photos by Tim Gulliford at http://www.timgulliford.smugmug.com/

Photos of the Titchfield Shakespeare Festival production of ‘King Lear’ are by Tim Gulliford at http://www.timgulliford.smugmug.com/

…..at the HIGHLY PRESTIGIOUS Titchfield Shakespeare Festival…..

king lear programme 001

….to find out how this ending works in performance.

Stewart is now back……

…..recovering…..

….. in The Code’s Headquarters in West London…..

…..where he finally consented to give…..

…..AN INTERVIEW TO YOUR CAT!!!

AND HERE IT IS…….

(Stewart is the Chief Agent, so this Interview is rather more verbatim than is Trixie’s wont…..)

TRIXIE

So, Boss….

…..you don’t mind me calling you that, do you?

STEWART

Not at all, Trixie…..

TRIXIE

Tom ‘X’ and I LOVED your new ending to King Lear…..

…or should we say your OLD ending as it hasn’t been performed since 1608…..

Can you please explain to people who weren’t there what happens?

And how it differs from the ending that is normally played….

STEWART

Well, the BEGINNING of Lear’s last scene is exactly the same..

..It’s only at the end that it’s radically, gloriously different.

TRIXIE

Talk us through the whole scene….

STEWART

Offstage, Lear discovers a soldier is hanging his daughter, Cordelia, in her cell….

He kills him and cuts down Cordelia…. 

But it’s too late…..

In one of the most shocking moments in the whole of drama…….

…..Lear enters with Cordelia dead in his arms…..

Lear with dead Cordelia

TRIXIE

Not bad for an eighty year old!

What’s he on? Celtic spinach?

STEWART

Remember, Trixie, the King is ill…..

….with a disease called ‘The Mother’.

It’s his illness gives him supernatural strength….

lear with mother

TRIXIE

Of course! You mentioned that in your programme note!

(To read the note, Brothers and Sisters, please click: HERE!

To read more fully about Lear’s illness, please click: HERE!)

STEWART

Another symptom is suffocation in the chest…….

……. and choking in the  throat…..

That’s why, when Lear enters……

……..he commands the men on stage to…..

Howl, howl, howl, howl…..

This is because…..

……HE IS TOO ILL TO HOWL HIMSELF!!!

When  this command is met with shocked silence…….

…….he attacks the soldiers for being…....

…..men of stones…..

…..and adds….

Had I your tongues and eyes I’d use them so that

Heaven’s vault should crack…..

TRIXIE

So all those hammy old actors…….

….. who come on bawling their heads off…..

…… have got it wrong!

STEWART

You might say that, Trixie the Cat….

…..but I couldn’t possibly comment…..

TRIXIE

What happens next……

STEWART

Lear, trying to accept that his daughter is dead, says…..

I know when one is dead and when one lives…..

She’s dead as earth……

But as T.S. Eliot says in The Four Quartets…….

t.s. eliot

TRIXIE (showing off)

Humankind cannot bear very much reality…..

STEWART

Brava, Trixie the Cat!!!

Lear’s sick, old mind instantly rejects the truth…..

……and he asks the soldiers for a looking glass…….

TRIXIE

…..about the last thing a soldier would ever take into battle…..

STEWART

……to see if Cordelia’s breath will…..

……mist or stain the stone….

Instead he finds a feather…….

……in our production, part of Cordelia’s dress….

lear with cord feather (2)

TRIXIE

Looks a bit like Ginger Rogers’ dress in Top Hat…..

ginger rogers feather

STEWART

Trixie!

TRIXIE

Sorry, boss…

STEWART

Lear holds the feather to Cordelia’s mouth and cries…..

This feather stirs…..

But the feather only stirs because Lear’s own hands are shaking so much……

The loyal Earl of Kent…….

……..who has followed the King in disguise as his servant Caius….

Ron Long as Kent

Ron Long as Kent

…….tries to introduce himself…..

But Lear thinks he is one of the ‘murderers’ and ‘traitors’ who have plotted to kill Cordelia…

He then begs Cordelia to…..

…….stay a little….

…..and imagines she is talking to him…

But when no-one else can hear her, he explains….

Her voice was ever soft, gentle and low….

An excellent thing in woman…..

TRIXIE

Bet the feminists love that!

STEWART (ignoring Your Cat)

Lear then boasts to Cordelia that he has……

……killed the slave that was a hanging thee…..

……and immediately becomes a proud, young warrior king again….

I have seen the day with my good biting falchion [short sword]

I would have made them skip……

But then……

……in a moment of heart-breaking pathos…..

…….confesses…

I am old now, and these same crosses spoil me….

For a moment he recognises Kent……..

…..but cannot understand that Kent is the same man as his servant Caius…..

……a good fellow….

……who will…

……strike and quickly too….

Then he confuses Caius with Cordelia….

……and says….

He’s dead and rotten…

Lear then goes on to confuse the Fool with Cordelia as well…..

And my poor fool is hanged……

In his bewildered state, all the people he has loved……..

……..and who have loved him…….

……..are present in the dead body of his daughter.

Lear finally accepts that Cordelia has…..

…..no, no, no life….

……..then asks the great, unanswered……

……..and unanswerable……

……..question of the play…..

Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life

And thou no breath at all?

lear cord feather (2)

In an act of SUPREME MORAL HONESTY…..

……Lear admits to himself that he will never see his daughter again….

Thou’llt come no more,

Never, never, never, never, never…..

He then asks Kent to undo a button on his tunic……

And it’s at this crucial point that our version of Lear…..

…… and the one that’s usually played……

……. part company…..

TRIXIE

What happens in the usual version?

STEWART

The King suddenly reverts to his old delusion that Cordelia is alive……

……and believes he can see her lips moving….

lear looking at Cordelia's lips

Do you see this? Look on her! Look her lips,

Look there! look there.

He then dies……

Like the Earl of Gloucester, earlier in the play, Lear’s heart has….

…burst smilingly…..

TRIXIE

Now tell our Brothers and Sisters what happened at Titchfield!

STEWART

As Lear utters those hammer-blow words to his soul…..

 Never, never, never….

…..it provokes a final attack of The Mother…..

….which Shakespeare’s contemporaries believed was a fatal disease.

The King, suffocating and choking……

…..asks Kent to undo the button at his neck…..

He then gives a great cry of agony as he collapses on the body of Cordelia….

….indicated in the text by an extraordinary…..

O,o,o,o,o….

 

1608 Quarto version of 'King Lear'.

1608 Quarto version of ‘King Lear’.

Edgar cries: 

He faints! My lord! My Lord’….

Then the King raises himself up and says….

Break heart, I prithee break…..

He has spent the whole of the play trying to CONQUER his illness….

When he sees his servant has been put in the stocks by his daughter and son-in-law…..

….. he cries out….

O how this Mother swells up towards my heart….

Historica passio, down thou climbing sorrow,

Thy element’s below….

Now, in the full, dreadful, knowledge that his daughter is dead……

HE LETS HIS ILLNESS CONQUER HIM!!!

He CONTROLS his destiny by SUBMITTING to it……

As he COURTEOUSLY ……

……but HEROICALLY……

…..IMPLORES HIS HEART TO BREAK…

It is a suicide which is NOT a suicide……

It follows the flow of the universe itself……

 At this point there was a knock at the door…

..It was Tom ‘X’….

thomas 'X' 2

 …..brandishing a print out….

TOM ‘X’

Thought you might like to read this, Chief….

It’s Ian Burleigh writing in The Portsmouth News….

STEWART

Tom! You know it’s very unprofessional to read reviews…..

….you might start to believe them!

As dashing Theatre Colossus, Sir Peter Hall……

peter hall

…….once remarked to me….

…….when I was working as his ‘Assistant’ on productions at the National Theatre and Glyndebourne…..

Today’s review is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper….

…….except, of course, no-one wraps up fisn’n’chips in newspapers any more…

TOM ‘X’

But this is NOT like a review, Chief.

It’s more an appreciation…..

TRIXIE

Let Tom read it to you…

…..pleeeeeeeease Boss!!!

STEWART (reluctantly)

If it makes you happy, Trixie…

TRIXIE

Hooray!!!

TOM ‘X’ (reading)

Where has Mr Trotter been hiding all these years?

He is obviously made to be on stage! His anguish came from the heart and I have NEVER been reduced to tears by Shakespeare before.

I expect to see much more of him on the London stage.

me lear distraught
This Fool played by Kevin Fraser is not to be missed either……

…he really understands what he is saying and knows how to interpret it for us.

fool horns (2)
The fight scene between Josh Coates and Sam Goodall as brothers Edmund and Edgar is truly spectacular – I have not seen better in a live performance.

edgar edmund fight

[To see a video of the fight filmed from the audience, click:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=926678037351929&set=o.812371435457710&type=2&theatre ]

 

The production is staged in a barn that Shakespeare almost certainly knew.

barn interior

Were he in the audience today, he would be amazed and alarmed by the lighting and the sound effects…..

……but he would certainly have recognised the honesty of the set……

….. and the passion of the company of players.

curtain call lear 2
There is so much that is good and not to be missed about this production.

TRIXIE

Well, Boss, it seems to me that Ian Burleigh  ‘got it’…..

STEWART (brushing away a tear)

I’ll drink to that Trixie….and to him. He’s a real professional.

TOM ‘X’

Thought you might say that Chief!

 That’s why I’ve got a bottle of Dom Perignon outside…..

dom perignon

TRIXIE

Time for a little break, Boss?

Stewart nodded.

So it was….

‘Bye, now…

Paw-Print smallest

(To read the second part of Trixie’s interview with Stewart, click: HERE! )

 

Trixie

As Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code well know…..

……The Code will always put its money where its mouth is!!!

We have all been examining Shakespeare’s original, 1608 ending of King Lear……

[See: Shakespeare's Original Ending to King Lear Parts: One and Two]

……and many of us began to speculate about how this ending might work in performance.

There was only one way to find out…..

……TO PERFORM THE PLAY ITSELF…..

……..WITH THE ORIGINAL ENDING INTACT!!!

To that end, our Chief Agent, Stewart Trotter…..

………in an act which Shakespeare Code Fellow,  Charles Sharman-Cox……

charles sharman cox 1

…..branded as…….

….. fearless…

……undertook the role of King Lear…..

Stewart Trotter as King Lear. All photographs of this production are by Tim Gulliford at http://www.timgulliford.smugmug.com/

Stewart Trotter as King Lear. All photographs of this production are by Tim Gulliford at http://www.timgulliford.smugmug.com/

……for the Titchfield  Shakespeare Festival…..

…in the Great Agincourt Barn….

barn interior

As Brothers and Sisters of the Code well know……

…….Titchfield in Hampshire is where Shakespeare really fell in love…..

…..both with the Dark Lady,  Aemelia Lanyer….

(See: How Shakespeare’s Dark Lady Found God)

…and with the wayward, gay, teenaged, cross-dressing Third Earl of Southampton…..

Henry Wriothesley…..

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

(See: Just how Gay was the Third Earl of Southampton.)

The Titchfield Shakespeare Festival is run by the dynamic Kevin Fraser……

….who also played the Fool in the production.

kevin as fool

Stewart first played King Lear in a school production…..

……SOME TIME AGO!!!

Here he is on the right – with John Lyall, F.S.C., playing Gloucester on the left.

stewart and john in King Lear

Agent Tom ‘X’ and Your Cat biked it down to Titchfield…..

……..MOTORBIKED it down….

harley davidson

…….to catch Stewart’s Lear…..

…and stayed in the village’s beautiful South Street…..

south street 3

As we waited, expectantly, for the performance in the Great Barn, we read Stewart’s Programme Note…..

‘Historica Passio’ – the King’s Disease.

There are two different versions of King Lear: one is a ‘pirated’ Quarto-sized version printed in 1608…….

lear pide bul quarto 001

…….and the other is from the ‘authorised’ Folio-sized collection, published in 1623, seven years after William Shakespeare’s death……..

firrst folio frontispiece 001

For this production we have drawn on both versions. The Folio version cuts the ‘trial’ of Goneril in the storm scene when the King is going mad and we’ve done the same.

We have, though, restored the original ending to the play – which probably hasn’t been seen since 1608! We don’t want to spoil your experience, but warn you that this ending is even MORE uncompromising than the Folio ending.

It does, however, display the King’s final, Stoic control of his own destiny.

We have also emphasized a theme that was more readily understood by Shakespeare’s audience. The King, as well as ‘suffering’ from old age, is suffering from an illness called ‘The Mother’ – or what Shakespeare calls ‘historica passio’ (though everyone else called it ‘hysterica passio’).

The symptoms of ‘the Mother’ were: acute pain in the stomach, a feeling of suffocation in the chest, choking in the throat, mania and superhuman strength. Michael Drayton….

drayton michael 2

…….(the poet friend of Shakespeare’s) compared to illness to the Severn bore – a huge wave that bursts into the river from the sea and, as its force is constricted by the narrowing banks, smashes all before it.

severn bore violent

This illness was very ‘fashionable’ when Lear was written….

Catholic priests (‘massing’ in England illegally) had interpreted the symptoms as demonic possession and had performed exorcisms on recusants…..

‘Scientific’ Doctors had argued that the ‘the Mother’ was not the work of the Devil – it was simply a disease.

Shakespeare, in the play at least, goes along with this.

It is fashionable to present the King as a fascistic, mittel-European tyrant…….

lear statue

– but this production sets the play where Shakespeare intended it – in Celtic, pre-Christian Britain.

celtic britain

We’ve also tried to see events from Lear’s point of view (as well as everyone else’s!) He IS in many ways an impossible, unpleasant old man. (Would YOU want him turning up at your home with a hundred knights?)

But he has managed to hold his turbulent kingdom together by the force of his personality and, in doing so, has earnt the undying love of his followers, Kent, Gloucester and the Fool.

Like King Henry VIII at the beginning of his reign………

henry VIII 2.

…….Lear does not have a son to inherit the kingdom

me lear

This stress, we believe, has soured his relationship with his daughters, Goneril and Regan, who must have known their father wanted a boy………

Zia Wheeldon as Goneril and Kirsten Carmichael as Regan

Zia Wheeldon as Goneril and Kirsten Carmichael as Regan

……..By the time Cordelia came along, Lear had given up hope. So she got all the love….

Jenny Bradshaw as Cordelia

Jenny Bradshaw as Cordelia

Lear is old and he is ill, probably terminally ill as ‘the Mother’ was thought to be fatal.

Unlike Henry VIII’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth……..

old elizabeth

……Lear does all he can to avoid Civil War at his death. He divides his Kingdom, with meticulous fairness, between his three daughters and their husbands.

A war can only occur if two daughters make an alliance against the third. However, Lear suddenly decides on a silly –and in our production, drunken – game: he suddenly decides his daughters must all tell him how much they love him.

In reality, the kingdom, as Shakespeare makes clear, has already been divided.

Cordelia, full of love for her father, but as stubborn and as spoilt as he is himself, refuses to play this game.

And the rest is ‘The History of King Lear’.

And then we stopped reading the notes as the devastating play began……

Stewart is now  back at Code Headquarters in West London……

…. where Your Cat found him sprawled on The Code’s famous sofa…..

sofa

….comatose from his Thespian exertions…..

Your Cat pounced on him…..

……and pinned him down….

……… till he finally agreed to be interviewed….

(His modesty is legendary)

To read his extraordinary interview…..

CLICK: HERE!

 

‘Bye, now…

Paw-Print smallest

As Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code well know…..

 …..Your Cat Trixie…..

Trixie

…..DEMOLISHED Shakespeare in Love: the Play……

shakespeare in love play 2

…..in her now celebrated…..

….feared…..

…..and HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL….

…..review….

A DREADFUL WARNING FROM TRIXIE THE CAT!!!

Sadly, the majority of English reviewers……

(…..we cannot in all honesty describe them as…..

critics….)

……fell for the tosh…..

Bouncing Czech, Tom Stoppard…….

tom stoppard

….who collaborated on the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love………

shakespeare in love poster

…..which re-told Caryl Brahms’s story from No Bed for Bacon

no bed for bacon

…… is still revered in some middle-brow circles…..

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN, BLESS HER, EVEN AWARDED STOPPARD THE ORDER OF MERIT!!!

order of merit

(It might look trashy, but it’s highly coveted in Britain!)

So perhaps it’s not surprising that the obsequious hacks went down like nine-pins….

HOWEVER, THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL……

light at end of tunnel

AND IT’S NOT – IN THE WORDS OF ROBERT LOWELL…….

The light from an oncoming train…..

TIM WALKER…

st-543.jpg

…..A TRULY INDEPENDENT THINKER…

(he refuses to join the Critics’ Circle……..

…….. or take ‘expenses’ from Producers for out-of-town assignments the way members of The Circle do)

…..wrote a brilliant attack on the production in last Sunday’s Sunday Telegraph  (26th July, 2014)…..

……entitled……

Do we really need this production of Shakespeare in Love?

He likens the show to…..

………a group of old bores in a pub laboriously re-enacting an all-too-well-remembered film – scene by scene…..

….and adds….

…..it seems to go on for hours….this show is far too long and far too boring and needs to be cut. And a lot.

Walker describes how the actors seem to have been chosen simply…….

………..because they look a bit like the characters in the film……

…….and describes the Director’s staging of a scene between Will and a Boatman on the Thames as….

frankly pathetic…..

He concludes……

I found myself wondering what on earth the real Shakespeare would have made of it all…..If there were a cabbage to hand, I have a pretty shrewd idea of what the Bard would have done with it.

(To read Tim Walker’s complete review, Click: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/10986397/Do-we-really-need-this-production-of-Shakespeare-in-Love.html )

THERE IS ALSO INTELLIGENT LIFE OVER THE WATER IN AMERICA……

statue of liberty

BEN BRANTLEY

ben brantley

……THE CELEBRATED, DAZZLINGLY BRIGHT AND OPENLY GAY AMERICAN CRITIC…

…….writing in the New York Times on 23rd July 2014…….

……..observed…..

Many people, it must be said, prefer the idea of Shakespeare’s plays to the reality of them. Whether they admit it or not, such souls feel that Shakespeare is great for seasoning but indigestible as a main course. They’re often the ones you hear promiscuously peppering their conversation with the canon’s best-known lines or speaking of failed politicians as “truly Shakespearean.”

[Shakespeare in Love: the Play] seems to have been created expressly with this audience in mind. It might best be described as Shakespeare-flavored, in the way that some soft drinks are advertised as fruit-flavored. Like many such beverages, this show is moderately fizzy and leaves a slightly synthetic aftertaste…..

The imitation Shakespeare dialogue now sounds more of Hollywood manufacture than it ever did in the movie. The presence of the line-feeding Christopher Marlowe in the balcony scene where a tongue-tied Will courts Viola now feels less like a harbinger of Romeo and Juliet than a steal from Cyrano de Bergerac….

Shakespeare in Love is Shakespeare for Sophomores……

And there is a remarkable stylistic coincidence between Ben Brantley’s review and mine…..

On 3 July 2014 Your Cat wrote…..

[Shakespeare] is writing Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter (big laugh from knowing groundlings….)

On 23rd July 2014 Brantley wrote:

Shakespeare has promised the script for a new play, tentatively titled Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter (more knowing laughs)

IT JUST GOES TO SHOW…..

…..GREAT MINDS DO THINK ALIKE!!!

 ‘Bye now…..

Paw-Print smallest

To read Ben Brantley’s complete review, click: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/theater/shakespeare-in-love-the-play-in-london.html?_r=0

If you would like to read Trixie the Cat’s game-changing review of Shakespeare in Love: the Play, please click: HERE.

…….FROM THE AGENTS OF THE SHAKESPEARE CODE…..

Brothers and Sisters….

Many of you have RIGHTLY complained to Head Office….

 ….that the……

…..INTELLECTUAL RIGOUR….

……of the Code’s pages has been sullied with…..

NAFF, INAPPROPRIATE ADVERTISING.

Whilst the Agents of the Code well understand the…..

 ….COMMERCIAL APPEAL….

…..of The Code’s pages to Advertisers…..

…..(It has enjoyed over 156,000 Views)…..

…..they have decided to take…..

DRACONIAN ACTION.

At an EXTRAORDINARY, MIDNIGHT MEETING of The Code’s BOARD…

….it was decided to go ahead and….

….PURCHASE THE BLOG’S DOMAIN!!!

From this moment…..

ALL ADVERTISING ON THIS SITE WILL BE IN THE HANDS OF THE AGENTS AND FELLOWS OF THE SHAKESPEARE CODE!!!

…..AND WILL BE WORTHY, WE SWEAR, OF ITS AUGUST PAGES….

IN VINCULIS INVICTUS!!!

Here’s a start:

To Read Part One of ‘The Original ending to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To Read ‘The Background to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To read Trixie the Cat’s review of ‘Shakespeare in Love Live Onstage’, click: HERE!

To read ‘The Code’s Top TWENTY POSTS’, click: HERE!

In PART ONE

……of SHAKESPEARE’S ORIGINAL ENDING TO ‘KING LEAR’…….

……The Shakespeare Code argued that the 1608 Quarto version of the play……

lear pide bul quarto 001

 

…..represents Shakespeare’s original intention.

Lear, filled with grief at the death of Cordelia, kills himself…..

……BY AN ACT OF WILL!!!

He begs his heart to break….

……and his heart obeys.

my poor fool - pide quarto 001

THIS POST WILL SHOW HOW SHAKESPEARE PREPARES US FOR THIS EXTRAORDINARY ENDING……

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PLAY CONTINUALLY DRAWS OUR ATTENTION TO THE KING’S HEART….

HE USES THE WORD….

‘HEART’

…..FIFTY-NINE TIMES!!!….

………..MORE THAN IN ANY OTHER OF HIS WORKS….

Richard III

olivier richard III

…… comes closest with 53……

….but even Romeo and Juliet..

romeo and juliet kissing hands

…. has only  27….

For Shakespeare and his contemporaries………

……the heart had more of a ‘poetic’ function than it has today…..

It was the seat of the emotions…..

……and held the ‘essence’ of a man or woman’s ‘personality’.’

One of Lear’s most profound questions is about ‘the heart’ of his daughter Regan…..

Then let them anatomize Regan, see what breeds about her heart. Is there any cause in nature that make these hard hearts?

And other characters in the play, experiencing extreme emotions…..

……CONSTANTLY REFER TO THEIR HEARTS!!!

In the storm scene, when Kent begs Lear to enter the hovel…..

…..the King says….

Wilt break my heart?

….and Kent replies….

I had rather break mine own…..

Gloucester, learning of the supposed treachery of his son Edgar, says to Regan….

O, madam, my old heart is crack’d, it’s crack’d!

And a Gentleman describes how Cordelia…..

once or twice….heaved the name of ‘father’

Pantingly forth, as if it press’d her heart.

Edgar, witnessing the spectacle of Lear’s insanity……

lear mad

….says….

I would not take this from report; it is,

And my heart breaks at it….

And Albany says to Edgar….

Let sorrow split my heart, if ever I

Did hate thee or thy father!

Edgar also wishes…...

……that my heart would burst!

But for Shakespeare in this play…….

……and his contemporaries……

……there is no difference between the ‘poetic’ function of the heart……

…….AND ITS LITERAL FUNCTION AS AN ORGAN OF THE BODY.

For Shakespeare, emotions and thoughts can affect the heart just as much as disease can!!!

 Edgar describes how, when he presented himself to his father……

…….the blinded Gloucester’s…..

gloucester blind

flaw’d heart,

Alack, too weak ,conflict to support!

‘Twixt two extremes of passion, joy and grief,

Burst smilingly.

And, earlier in the play, Edgar is worried that Gloucester’s……

…… mere THOUGHT….

…….that he has jumped off a cliff…..

……would be enough to……

…..rob the treasury of life……

….i.e. kill him…..

 The play shows King Lear himself a under massive pressure…..

….both intellectual and emotional….

…….BUT IT ALSO SHOWS HIM SUFFERING FROM A POTENTIALLY FATAL DISEASE……

….CALLED…

The Mother…..

….A DISEASE WHICH ATTACKS HIS HEART!!!

 In the First Act, furious that his servant Caius (the Earl of Kent in disguise) has been put in the stocks…..

kent in stocks

……Lear cries…..

O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!
Historica passio, down, thou climbing sorrow,
Thy element’s below!

 ‘The Mother’…..

……was the common name for the disease…..

…..but its ‘medical’ name was generally….

…hysterica passio…..

……i.e. suffering which eminates from the womb….

….. from the Greek ὑστέρα –  hystera or uterus.

King Lear, however, in all the Quarto and later Folio editions…

……calls it…...

……historica passio….

historica passio 001

……..because (1)…..

……hysterica passio…..

….. was a version of ‘the Mother’  which was, strictly speaking, confined to women……

…..and because (2)…

……Shakespeare wanted to imply that Lear’s illness was  a long-established one….

[Modern editors of Shakespeare, with no justification at all, have replaced 'historica' with 'hysterica'.....

.....thereby loosing a flood of Freudian analysis on the play......]

freud and lear

Shakespeare, we know for certain, read about……

……the Mother……

…..in a pamphlet by Richard Harsnett entitled A Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures….

egregious

……published in 1603…..

(We know this because……

….. being a ‘snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’….

……Shakespeare lifted many words and phrases from it for King Lear)

Harsnett, a Protestant, attacks Roman Catholic exorcisms……..

…… carried out on English recusants in the mid-1580’s…….

….. by Catholic missionary priests…..

exorcism eliz

Harsnett describes how one of the exorcised, Richard Mainy……

……himself a Catholic priest manqué …..

…..had a spice of the hysterica passio, as seems, from his youth; he himself terms it the Mother (as you may see in his confession) and saith he was much troubled with it in France, and that it was one of the causes that moved him to leave his holy order whereinto he was initiated, and to return into England.  

In his Confession to the Privy Council in 1602, Mainy himself said:

Whether I do rightly name it the Mother or no , I know not. But it is well known to the Physicians of London  that may be alive and were then of any name, that my eldest brother Thomas Mainy had the same disease, and that he died of it; and Master Edmund Peckham (as I have been credibly informed) was like wise troubled with it. When I was sick of this disease in France, a Scottish Doctor of Physic  then in Paris called it , as I remember, Vertiginem capitis [Vertigo of the head]. It riseth (as he said, and I have often felt) of a wind in the bottom of the belly, and proceeding with a great swelling, causeth a very painful colic in the stomach, and an extraordinary giddiness in the head. With this disease  I am still once in four or five years troubled, and I do greatly suspect that it will end me, as it did my brother.

……Then they, the exorcists, told me what extraordinary strength I showed in one of my pangs which moved me little. For the nature of that disease is to cause one’s belly to swell in such sort as two or three are not able (using any good discretion) to keep down the wind that seeketh to ascend, as is very well known to those who have seen either a man or woman in that fit.

In 1602, there was also a famous witch trial……

A fourteen year old girl called Mary Glover accused an older woman, Elizabeth Jackson, of bewitching her….

witch feeding toads

….and claimed that Jackson had used her supernatural powers to give her choking and fits….

 But Edward Jorden – a Doctor – stated at the trial that Glover’s symptoms were not those of possession……

 …….they were symptoms of a disease called…..

……..Suffocation of the Mother…..

Jackson, controversially, was found guilty of witchcraft……

……..and sentenced to a year in jail…..

…….but was released shortly after her imprisonment.

Dr. Jorden, to prove he was right, published a book called……

A Brief Discourse of a Disease called the Suffocation of the Mother…..

suffocation

……in the following year, 1603.

Jorden wrote:

The disease is called by diverse names amongst our authors, Passio Hysterica, Suffocatio Priefocatio, and Strangulatus uteri, Caducus Matricis i.e. in English, the Mother or the Suffocation of the Mother, because most commonly it takes them with choking in the throat; and it is an effect of the mother or womb, wherein the principal parts of the body by consent do suffer diversely according to the diversity of the causes and diseases therewith the matrix is offended.

He also states that the symptoms could be brought on by….

…….the stirring of the affections of the mind.

Four years after the 1608 production of Lear…..

Michael Drayton……..

drayton michael 2

……….refers to the Mother…..

…….in the VII Song of Polyolbion…

…..a topographical, anthropomorphic poem….

polyolbion 2

…..which describes Wales and England…..

…….and was going to cover Scotland as well…..

(But no trace of the Scottish section survives.)

Drayton began the work in in 1598…..

……..but the first section was not published till 1612.

According to the journal of John Ward…..

john ward's diary

……who became the Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1662…….

…….(less than fifty years after Shakespeare’s death)…..

…….and who mugged up on the local folklore about the Bard.

…..Drayton, he wrote, had been at the…..

…..merry meeting…..

…..with Shakespeare and Ben Jonson….

ben jonson colour

…..when the three men….….

…drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.

So, it is highly probable that Shakespeare, as a friend of Drayton, saw the Polyolbion poem in manuscript.

Drayton, in Book VII,  refers to the famous Severn Bore…..

……or…..

…higre….

……a gigantic surge wave that comes in from the sea and up the Severn river at certain times of the year…..

severn bore 4

……and becomes ferocious and noisy as its makes its way from the estuary of the Severn…..

 severn bore violent

……through the narrowing channels and bends of the river….

severn bore turbulent

 

Drayton describes how when the…

…….tumultuous waves……

…are…

…….shut up in narrower bounds, the higre wildly raves;

And frights the straggling flocks [of sheep] the neighbouring shores to fly,

Afar as from the main it comes with hideous cry,

And on the angry front the curled foam doth bring,

The billows ‘gainst the banks when fiercely it doth fling;

bore hitting bank

Hurls up the slimy ooze, and makes the scaly brood [fish]

Leap madding to the land affrighted from the flood;

O’erturns the toiling barge, whose steersman doth not lanch,

And thrusts the furrowing beak into her ireful panch…

boat on bore

The Severn Bore seems more sedate now than it was in Drayton’s time….

bore bore

……but the bore on the Qian Tang River in China still erupts with terrifying fury…..

bore chinese

Drayton, in Polyolbion, goes on to use an epic simile to describe the Severn bore…..

…..and choses for his imagery a woman in the throws of ‘the Mother’….

As when we haply see a sickly woman fall

Into a fit of that which we the Mother call

When from the grieved womb

She feels the pain arise

Breaks into grievous sighs with intermixed cries

Bereaved of her sense: and struggling still with those

That ‘gainst her rising pain

Their utmost strength oppose

Starts, tosses, tumbles, strikes, turns, touses, spurns and sprawls

Casting with furious limbs her holders to the walls

But that the horrid pangs

Torment the grieved so

One well might muse from whence

This sudden strength should grow….

So, from Mainy, Jorden and Drayton we learn that ‘the Mother’…

(1) Can be brought on by situations of stress and emotion…..J.

(2) Manifests as an acute pain and swelling in the stomach or the womb….J. M. D.

(3) Travels upwards…M. J. D.

(4) Produces a suffocating sensation in the chest….J.

(5) Produces a choking sensation in the throat……M. J.

(6) Leads to acute dizziness….M. J. D.

(7) Leads to loss of reasoning powers….D.

(8) Brings on fits, groans and cries….D.

(9) Brings on an extraordinary increase in physical strength…..M. D.

….and…

(10) Often culminates in death….M.

IN ITS NEXT POST….

…..THE SHAKESPEARE CODE WILL SHOW HOW KING LEAR…..

……DISPLAYS EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM….

……OF…..

‘THE MOTHER’

lear with mother

…..AND FINALLY KILLS HIMSELF BY ENLISTING…..

……THE POWER OF HIS OWN DISEASE!!!

To Read Part One of this Series, click: HERE!

To Read ‘The Background to ‘King Lear’, click: HERE!

To read Trixie the Cat’s review of ‘Shakespeare in Love Live Onstage’, click: HERE!

To read ‘The Code’s Top TWENTY POSTS’, click: HERE!

Trixie

Brothers and Sisters of The Shakespeare Code……

BEWARE, BEWARE…..

Just when you thought the dread movie……

….. Shakespeare in Love…..

 shakespeare in love rom com 2

….was dead and buried….

….it morphs into an even more dreadful….

…..PLAY FOR THE STAGE!!!

shakespeare in love play 2

TWENTY-EIGHT actors and musicians have been hired to tell the story…..

28 actors

…….first told by Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon in their 1941 novel, No Bed for Bacon….

no bed for bacon

……..repeated by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard in the movie, Shakespeare in Love….

 shakespeare in love poster

……..and now repeated AGAIN by Lee (Billy Elliot) Hall in his stage adaptation of the movie….

……..of Shakespeare’s affair with the stage-struck aristocratic Lady Viola…….

viola as girl

……..who dresses up as a boy and acts in Romeo and Juliet…..

viola as boy

What’s wrong with that, Trixie?

 …..Your Cat hears you cry…..

What’s wrong with a bit of romantic tosh in the West End of London?

NOTHING!!!

……except for one thing…..

…..the Producers are palming the whole thing off as an……

…. EDUCATIONAL EVENT……

…..as though the whole preposterous story were somehow…..

 REAL!!!

They are even producing Educational Packs for schools…..

…..and have inveigled a SERIOUS ACADEMIC, Dr. Natalie Mears….

Mears Natalie

……a Senior Lecturer at Durham University….

…..to produce an essay for the programme……

….. portentously entitled……

 Elizabeth I and the World of Shakespeare in Love….

(THE WORLD OF SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE!!!)

The programme also provides us with a thumb-nail gallery of

 The REAL LIFE FIGURES AND PLACES in Shakespeare in Love…..

real names and places 001

But perhaps the story IS real, Trixie!

……Your Cat hears you desperately cry…..

Let’s examine the facts….

Dr. Mears tells us that the play is set in 1593…..

……something the programme itself confirms….

setting 1593 001

…..and adds that it’s LONDON, 1593….

It HAS to be 1593……..

……because that is the year in which Christopher Marlowe….

Marlowe, Christopher

…..who plays a big part in the evening’s proceedings…..

…..was killed in a tavern brawl in Deptford….

(In the movie version, Shakespeare is responsible for Marlowe’s death……

In the stage version, he is more honestly exonerated……

The Producers must have been thinking about their Education Packs)

But by FIXING the date as 1593……

…which neither the novel nor the play does….

……you are IMMEDIATELY into problems….

As Dr. Mears admits, there was a plague raging in London which killed thousands of people….

What she DOESN’T say is that……..

 ALL THE THEATRES WERE CLOSED!!!

NONE OF THESE EVENTS COULD HAVE HAPPENED IN LONDON AT THAT TIME!!!

Worse, we are shown a Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet……

BUT NO SERIOUS SCHOLAR PUTS THE PLAY BEFORE 1595……

TWO YEARS AFTER MARLOWE WAS STABBED!!!

Poetic Licence!…..

…..Your Cat hears you cry….

…..with even more desperation….

But believe her, it gets even worse….

Shakespeare isn’t writing Romeo and Juliet …..

He is writing Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter…

(Big laugh from knowing groundlings….)

It is Marlowe who gives Shakespeare the idea for the play we now have…..

But as ANY Shakespeare Scholar knows..

…..and most A-Level students…

SHAKESPEARE WAS RE-WRITING AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED STORY…..

Arthur Brooke had written HIS version……

…… called The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Iuliet……

…….in 1562.

And William Painter had written his……

…….included in The Palace of Pleasure……

……..sometime before 1580.

Shakespeare’s habit was to work from old plots…..

….and even from old plays…..

But though he was in the habit of collaborating

…..Shakespeare in Love….

…..(or this play version, anyway)…..

…..DOES SHAKESPEARE A MASSIVE, PHILISTINE DISSERVICE.

IT IMPLIES HIS SONNETS

sonnets

WERE WRITTEN BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE!!!

No-one can BEGIN to understand the complex nature of Shakespeare’s emotional life without reading his 154 Sonnets……

…..indeed, William Wordsworth……

william wordsworth

……said the Sonnets were….

…..the key with which Shakespeare unlocked his heart…..

So to have the sublime love Sonnet 18…..

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day……

…..presented on the stage as a piece of plagiarism…..

…..is a vulgarity of such wickedness…..

YOUR CAT IS ALMOST SPEECHLESS…..

EDUCATIONAL PACKS INDEED!!!

YOUR CAT WOULD SEND THEM PACKING!!!

And it gets WORSER….

The Sonnet, in both the play and the film, is inspired by the beauty of Lady Viola…..

viola again

……and addressed to her….

There is not a serious Shakespeare scholar ON EARTH who believes that Sonnet 18 was written to a woman…..

It was written to a man…..

…..or at least a….

….lovely boy

…..and MORE and MORE Scholars…….

…..around the world….

…. are coming to agree with The Shakespeare Code…….

….that this man was……

Henry Wriothesley, the Third Earl of Southampton

henry_wriothesley_3rd_earl_of_southampton

 

a.k.a.Harry Southampton…….

See: Just how gay was the third Earl of Southampton.

Harry was Shakespeare’s patron….

And on good evidence gave him the colossal gift of £1,000 to….

make a purchase

Dr. Mears has the good grace to write:

There is no evidence of court ladies having affairs with poor players…..

…….and at least she mentions the Earl of Southampton…….

…….even if she does claim…….

……. WITH NO EVIDENCE AT ALL…….

……..that Elizabeth Vernon deliberately made herself pregnant……..

vernon elizabeth comb

…..to MAKE Southampton marry her.

Indeed, there is every evidence that Harry and Elizabeth adored each other…..

…..so much so that there is an oral tradition in Titchfield……

…..the Earl of Southampton ‘s stately home….

place house 2

 ……that their love was the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet….

….and the ambiguity of Mercutio’s reaction to the events in the play……..

mcenery mercutio

….. would certainly have mirrored Shakespeare’s OWN ambiguity about the courtship of his lover, Harry, and Elizabeth….

See: Shakespeare in Titchfield.

But there is also LITERARY evidence that links the Southampton family to Romeo and Juliet……

  …..an entertainment for a wedding celebration in 1572……

….written by George Gascoigne.

gascoigne george

Harry Southampton’s mother was Mary Browne, the 2nd Countess of Southampton…..

Mary Browne

Her father was Anthony Browne…..

anthony browne, first viscount montague.

…..who became Lord Montague when he was elevated to the House of Peers in 1554.

Two of his children got married in 1572 ……

…..Anthony, Mary Browne’s twin brother –

…..and Elizabeth, her half sister…..

…..and Lord Montague commissioned Gascoigne to produce an entertainment……

…..BASED ON THE MONTAGUES…..

….AND THE CAPULETS…..

Two Famous Italian Families…

In the story, a Lord Montague……

……who in this version of events lives in Venice rather than Verona…..

 ……saves a little boy……..

……..(who wears a token of the Montacutes in his cap)……

……  from the clutches of the Capulets…..

……and a wind blows them to England and the wedding celebration…..

As the ‘pretty boy’ says:

This grave Venetian….

Gan straight with many courteous words in arms me to embrace.

And kissed me on the cheeks, and bade me make good cheer

And thanked the mighty hand of God, for that which happened there…

Originally all the wedding guests were to dress as Venetians…..

But this proved too costly, even for the Montagues…..

So the Romeo and Juliet story was dear to the Southampton family…

….especially the Countess of Southampton……

…..who may even have commissioned it…..

…..and it was, in all likelihood, first performed at Titchfield….

…..as local legend says.

It was, after all, Mary Browne who commissioned Shakespeare to write seventeen sonnet for her son’s seventeenth birthday….

TO TRY TO GET HIM INTERESTED IN GIRLS!!!

See: The Birthday Sonnets.

She could well have re-inforced the message of the Birthday Sonnets with a decidedly HETEROSEXUAL play!!!

romeo nude 1

 

At the end of Shakespeare in Love, Queen Elizabeth………

dench as elizabeth

….. commands Shakespeare to write Twelfth Night…..

Shakespeare must have suffered another writer’s block…..

In reality, Twelfth Night did not appear till eight years later…….

…. in 1601!!!

But by this stage in the evening, reality is abandoned altogether……

The entire company perform a patriotic jig to the words of…..

…Vivat Regina….

….Long live the Queen…..

…..to the roaring delight of the modern groundlings….

Again, pure hokum……

Dr Mears insists that…..

Shakespeare in Love does not obviously reflect many of the tensions and problems of Elizabeth’s later years…

But as Brothers and Sisters  of The Shakespeare Code well know….

Shakespeare, a Catholic, loathed Elizabeth, a Protestant……

…..even in 1593!!!

But if Shakespeare COULDN’T have been in London in 1593…..

….because of the Plague which claimed 20,oo0 lives….

(thanks for this figure, Dr. Mears)

– …..where was he?

Click: SHAKESPEARE IN ITALY  to find out!

Bye, now.

Paw-Print smallest

 

To read about equally dazzling, subsequent reviews of Shakespeare in Love: the Play by Tim Walker and Ben Brantley –  please click: HERE!

THE SMART MONEY FOLLOWS TRIXIE THE CAT!!!

Note: To read Part Two of ‘The Original Ending to ‘King Lear’ – ‘The King’s Disease’ – click: HERE.

To read The Shakespeare Code’s new ‘Top Twenty Posts’…..

….click: HERE!

 

 

 

 

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