Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Hollow Crown

"For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!"

I have been watching Shakespeare on TV because there has been a lot of it on TV recently. Some of it has been documentaries with Jeremy Irons or Derek Jacobi in them - I still don't understand documentaries, even ones about Shakespeare; at one point I thought Derek Jacobi was saying that Shakespeare's plays weren't written by Shakespeare but that can't be right because that would be very silly indeed.
I am only a cat but even I know that this theory was only put forward by Horatio Smith in the film Pimpernel Smith to annoy the nazi baddy, nobody watching was supposed to believe him.

Anyway, not all of the Shakespeare on TV has been confusing documentaries. There was a new version of Richard II which didn't have Derek Jacobi in it. It was called The Hollow Crown and had Ben Whishaw as King Richard and Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt. James Purefoy was wasted in a small role which meant he wasn't in it nearly as much as he should have been. He played Mark Antony in Rome and I hope he will be in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra one day.

The second part of The Hollow Crown was Henry IV - Part 1, which had Jeremy Irons in it as King Henry IV, but my favourite character in that is still Harry Hotspur, who was played very well by Joe Armstrong. Unlike the other version of this play that I have seen, the northern lords had accents. Duncan says this is because they are from The North, which is to the south of where we live. Confused cat is confused.

The internets tells me that there will be two more parts of The Hollow Crown, which I am looking forward to watching already.

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