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.
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"
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Joe Horowitz on music
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary