Ryan Winkles and Caroline Calkins in Shakespeare and Company's 'Henry V'. Photo by John Dolan

A Singer’s Notes 111: Two at Shakespeare and Company

For me, Shakespeare’s Henry the Fifth is as much about Falstaff as it is about Henry. Why the author’s abrupt bellicose turn to begin with? I think the playwright was afraid of Falstaff. He had already devoured two plays, Henry IV parts 1 and 2. Something had to be done.

The Sydney Theatre Company's Pygmalion, Act V, Andrea Demetriades as Eliza and Marco Chiappi as Higgins. Photo by Brett Boardman.

The 100th Birthday of Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion: The Sydney Theatre Company Celebrates With Something Different

Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton as artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company saw fit to bring out a new, modern, almost experimental approach to Shaw’s most popular play for its 100th birthday. To speak of the birth of a play, or any piece or performing art, is tricky. Shaw wrote the play in 1912, but the words on in the script are no more the play than those of a poem are the poem or a score the piece of music. Even in Shaw’s case where the sounds of the words are so important and the characters’ accents are all precisely set out — the drama depending almost as much on the raw sounds than their words’ meanings — not to mention Shaw’s preface to the play and his (I think purposefully prosaic) postscript-sequel, there is still room left for at least subtle variations in interpretation. With all these pieces of information specifying Shaw’s intentions and the precise and definite stage directions, the play is already especially alive on the page, but still much of the gestural and body language and movement, which is very important to language, is left open. For all this definiteness, the end is so ambiguous, and as a “romance”, itself a very broad term, it is more akin to, say, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s species of romance. From a character’s point of view it is almost easier to find oneself in a tragedy and leaving one’s problems behind at the end.

Landscapes of the Mind at the Williams College Museum of Art

For the second time in as many years, Williams College Museum of Art is presenting a cross-disciplinary exhibition and symposium that challenges the conventional compartmentalization that has characterized educational and aesthetic definitions of math, and art or, in this instance, neuroscience, psychology, and art.

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