The second episode of the new Shakespearean miniseries, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, makes clear that the producers concretely thought about what the television serial medium can offer these plays beyond production values. While the first episode employed the editing technique of cross-cutting to underscore the ways in which a king might be slingshot between factions (thus rendering his decisions always in terms of a lesser evil), the second episode, “2 Henry VI,” uses point-of-view (POV) framing to suggest the consequences of a government dictated by personal motivations rather than that of the commonwealth.
The second season of the award-winning series, The Hollow Crown, opens with a dramatic birds-eye view of the English Channel and the Cliffs of Dover as we follow a soldier’s furious ride through red and white eglantine. Dover happens to be the closest point between England and France. The roses and geography are visual aids alongside Dame Judi Dench’s voice-over: Henry V has taken France and married its princess, securing England’s legacy legally and militarily. Dench isn’t a cast member in this production, but her inclusion reinforces the sense that there are certain actors who (to film and television audiences) verify what Andrew Higson calls English heritage cinema. The three-part series focusing on William Shakespeare’s War of the Roses tetralogy capitalizes on such casting strategies as well as crosscut sequences to emphasize the threat of a managed monarch to the commonwealth.
Laura Kolb (Baruch College) Walking into the Barrow Street Theatre to see Coriolanus is a lot like going to vote. In part, that’s a conscious choice on the part of the Red […]
Marsha S. Robinson A collection of 25 essays, The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography (eds. Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells, Cambridge UP, 2015) was written as part of the international commemoration of […]
Elizabeth E. Tavares (Pacific University) In the wake of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, it is easy to lose sight of other early modern productions on offer in the Pacific Northwest. One such […]
Kelly Newman O’Connor For performances of Doctor Faustus, a sign posted outside the RSC Swan Theatre advises audiences that “This production contains fire and scenes that some may find distressing.” Such as the […]
Fiona Hartley-Kroeger (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) The Steep and Thorny Way (2016) by Cat Winters joins a long list of recent Hamlet re-imaginings published for teens, including John Marsden’s Hamlet (2008), Dot […]
Laura Kolb (Baruch College) Lear’s final speech begins with a sorrowful declaration: “And my poor fool is hanged.” The “poor fool,” here, is usually understood to be Cordelia, whose body he has […]
Scott L. Newstok (Rhodes College) Class of 2020, welcome to college. Right about now, your future professors are probably sitting in a faculty meeting, rolling their eyes at their dean’s recitation of […]
Lauren Rollins (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) At a recent lunch with one of my oldest and best friends—a very established, corporate executive-type at a major bank—she shared that she’d recently thought of me […]