Plain English: August 2012 Archives

I am an EastEnders addict. Anybody reading this who doesn't have access to BBC television will probably be at a loss to understand this reference to the long-running TV soap opera, which takes place in "Albert Square," a fictional postal address in London's East End. I, like millions of other middle-class Brits (though I'm only half Brit, and that by dint of passport only, not birth), go slumming in Albert Square four times each week for a half hour starting at 7.30 or 8.0.

        And I mean "slumming." The whole point of the series is that the highest moral type you encounter in EE is the lovable rogue. Otherwise the dramatis personae consist of an entire catalogue of villainy, from Falstaffian slightly bent to Iago-like pure evil. There are no virtuous women living in Albert Square, and no honest men. Even the children, though charming, are adept at calculating the odds.


Janine Butcher

August 31, 2012 12:21 PM | | Comments (0)

The Tempest is a play for which it is possible to feel real affection. In this it is, of course, unlike the tragedies: you can't imagine having warm, happy, cheerful or loving feelings about Macbeth, Hamlet or Othello. (There was a famous American Yiddish theatre production of King Lear - the moral of it being, "You bring them up, feed them, clothe them; then look what they do to you in your old age!" You can perhaps conceive of feeling affectionate in a superior, amused way about such a staging.) It's possible to love the tragedies, as it is The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet and several of the comedies and histories - and as it is not, say, the Taming of the Shrew or Timon of Athens.

         Why am I fond of The Tempest? Not because it suits my political feelings. I can see merit in the interpretation that says the play's point is anti-colonialism - it's a reading that fits.  But it can't be the whole story, and making it so has resulted in any number of poor productions that I've seen. The Tempest is too much a tale of the natural order being subverted and restored - of dukes being dukes and princes, princes, and of Miranda being a natural aristocrat, though all the home she knows is the desert isle - to impose a single ideological straitjacket on its plot and subplots.

Kirsty Bushell as "Sebastian"

female sebastian.png

August 31, 2012 11:52 AM | | Comments (0)

Me Elsewhere


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Plain English in August 2012.

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
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rock culture approximately
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Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
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Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
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Martha Bayles on Film...

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Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
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Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
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Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
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Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

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Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
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