…a point I proved to my coachee today as we watched that 1982 BBC production of King Lear, staged and dressed like a Rembrandt painting, in Chinatown on my laptop. I was able to bring up on my Oxford Dictionary/Encyclopedia CD-Rom Maggie Thatcher’s voice to prove the first point and Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” to demonstrate the second. “What kind of interpretation has Jonathan Miller been using?” my coachee asked. I wasn’t sure. Historicist, maybe, certainly highlighting the Jacobean in the play, aside from making Goneril sound like Maggie, that is.
We also watched a key sequence from Episode 4 of the BBC/PBS series In Search of Shakespeare. Have you ever seen it? It is fascinating. The sequence is great for elucidating the original context of Lear (and Macbeth) in the early part of the reign of James I, and the Gunpowder Plot (“a Jacobean 9/11”), and much more… Provoking links are made between James and the Papists on the one hand and George the W and the Islamists on the other. Great stuff.
My coachee, who is very good, lapped it up: an example of his work. And the lovely new laptop played all the video bits beautifully.
Then another coachee, doing Standard English, has as one of his texts (yes, I know) Billy Elliot. Again the laptop and the local video library worked wonders for us. Great movie. and a rich enough text too at many levels. A shame I have this embarrassing tendency to cry in the last few scenes, a phenomenon I decribed to my coachee rather than enact in front of him.
Yet another coachee, also doing Standard English, has been studying The Truman Show, a great work of imagination, every bit as difficult to study, in its own way, as Shakespeare. I was all set for her, but she must still be recovering from the Trial HSC — hers finished yesterday — so she wasn’t there.