Shakespeare Fans discussion

2017 Group Readings? Ideas?

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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Hello Shakespeare's Fans...

We are still working through Troillus and Cressida...however does anyone want to start to plan some more reads coming up?

One of our members had the very interesting idea of not only reading one Act of the play per week....but then posting each group reading of the Act in it's own topic heading. I've begun to separate some of the T and C see if that helps.

I also think the different threads for each Act would make it very convenient for research or going back into the discussions to either continue discussion...or find relevant posts and research.

Any ideas for a new play to read?

message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 161 comments I do not know if you guys have read this one yet, but Twelfth Night should be good.

message 3: by Lucinda (last edited Jan 19, 2017 03:29AM) (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments I do recall an excellent group discussion of Twelfth Night a couple of years ago, Jonathan, not sure if it's about now? There were some really good comments on the ending particularly, as I remember. Of course, you may want another, and its always fascinating.
I was wondering myself about 'Two Gentleman of Verona'. That's so silly I love most of it, though obviously not the bit where Sylvia becomes oddly silent at the end...Then there's 'As You Like It'. I haven't read that since i was at school, though.

message 4: by DavidE (new)

DavidE (shaxton) | 358 comments I'd prefer "Two Gentleman of Verona." Or (if people are more interested in a history), "Henry VIII." Or (if tragedy), "Antony and Cleopatra."

message 5: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 97 comments I'd like a reread of Hamlet- it's been a long time.

The plays I'm most interested in reading would be rereads for many members of this group- Othello, Much Ado, and Taming of the Shrew.

message 6: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
These all sound like great proposals!

Why don't we try lining them up?

What about starting with Two Gentlemen of Verona? Say....February 5th or so?

I'll set up the dates once we decide if we like this line up....

Henry VII (March-ish?)

Much Ado About Nothing (April-ish)

Antony and Cleopatra ( June-ish)

Twelfth Night (July-ish)

how is this for a start?

message 7: by DavidE (new)

DavidE (shaxton) | 358 comments Perhaps Much Ado and Antony & Cleopatra could be reversed? I'll be very busy in June (and think I might just skip Much Ado since I read it just a few months back).

message 8: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Of course! We will do that David

Ƥαʋℓα Я. ♏❥ (paula_r) | 2 comments I haven't been in the site for a while...can someone tell me if you have read Julius Caesar already? It's a New Year Resolution for me and I would love to read it in a group...

message 10: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) I'd be interested, especially if the group reads were posted well in advance. I only joined quite recently.

I would throw in some very heavy hitters for consideration: I second Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Othello. My personal favorite is King Lear.

I think that Henry VIII is one of his weakest plays: he wrote it, if I recall correctly, as a sort of pageant or masque in honor of QEI, the daughter of Henry VIII. There's nothing wrong with reading it, however.

I like the plays that are heavily character driven--which include the great tragedies and Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Richard III, Richard II, and "As You Like It" and "Twelfth Night". I think it's because most of Shakespeare's most eloquent speeches belong to those characters and they stir us most.

message 11: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) Another way to look at it is to look at the plays as being parts of a larger umbrella division of the Tragedies, Comedies, and Histories and further subdivide them as:

Roman plays
Problem Plays
Great Tragedies
Romance plays
Tragicomedy Plays
English History

Of course there is some overlap. "Merchant of Venice," for example, could be seen as a tragicomedy, a problem play, or simply a comedy.

message 12: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 161 comments Natalie wrote: "Another way to look at it is to look at the plays as being parts of a larger umbrella division of the Tragedies, Comedies, and Histories and further subdivide them as:
Roman plays
Problem Plays

I would call Merchant a comedy for sure. But, I do think it carried a message to both sides, Christians and Jews. One of my favorites.

message 13: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Sounds good, Candy and everyone. 5 February for 'Two Gentleman of Verona' for the first , then?

message 14: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Yes, Lucinda Feb 5 for Two Gentlemen

All sounds good.

I'll try to get a schedule up about plays shortly.

Here is a rough plan based on comments here...

Two Gentlemen From Verona (Feb 5-March 16)
Henry VIII (March 30 ish)
Antony and Cleopatra (April-14 ash)
Much Ado (May 25 ish)
Julius Ceasar ( July 7 ish)

And then....we can sort these out as options if we are still motivated in the fall....Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Richard III, Richard II, and "As You Like It" and "Twelfth Night",Merchant Of Venice, Othello, Much Ado, and Taming of the Shrew


message 15: by DavidE (new)

DavidE (shaxton) | 358 comments I wonder if we might attract more interest if we substituted one of the more canonical plays. Natalie well notes that Henry VIII is hardly one of Shakespeare's greatest plays (and I suggested it for purely selfish reasons--as an excuse to force me to read it again). Someone else had suggested Hamlet, and certainly such a play just might bring in more discussion--partly because it's simply a better play and partly because far more members of the 'Shakespeare Fans' group will already have read it and perhaps want to share their views on the play.

message 16: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 161 comments David wrote: "I wonder if we might attract more interest if we substituted one of the more canonical plays. Natalie well notes that Henry VIII is hardly one of Shakespeare's greatest plays (and I suggested it fo..."

I'm game for Henry VIII. We did Hamlet so much in College, I am dog tired with it. I don't want to read that again for at least 5 years. I could read MacBeth again though.

message 17: by Candy (last edited Jan 22, 2017 05:45AM) (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Okay...I am totally open to any of these....I feel like I will read anything that YOU all want...LOL.

I mean I'm just so darned glad that any one wants to share this experience.

And perhaps if we get some discussion leaders lined up...that helps because it's nice to have a motivating force...someone who is able to post at least two or three times a week to keep us moving.

So why not choose between...these...AND what about if we did Henry 8...that Jonathan or David be the discussion leader?
Perhaps Phil could be discussion leader for HAMLET and Lucinda discussion leader for Two Gentlemen?

Henry VIII
Henry IV
King John
Romeo and Juliet
The Merchant of Venice

If you all feel strongly...say so...and then I'll make sure we have a rough schedule...and then a final schedule and I'll program the books into our "shelves".

I think we are close to a great reading list coming up....

We generally have loose expectations and easy going style for "discussion leader"...different people have approached it fellow started promoting his own book...and I would say thats about the only thing we don't want the discussion leader to do LOL

Mostly, just showing up to the posts and topic really helps...

I actually am looking forward to seeing how having the topics divided into five different ACTs in the positions...will play out. I feel like it's going to be a lot easier to keep up with the discussions...

message 18: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda Elliot (lucindaelliot) | 583 comments Candy, I'm happy to be group leader if no-one else wishes to do it for 'Two Gentlemen of Verona'. No danger of me using it to promote my own works, but I've got two anxieties - one is that usual one of mine about shortage of time. I am not anything like as good a discussion leader as you or some others, in that I never seem to have (or find, a s you do it somehow) enough time off from writing to unearth those fascinating online articles you manage to track down, so my role as discussion leader will consist of fairly brief and unimaginative posts: this happened, that happened, this is the way I see it myself, I believe this or that well known critic says this, performances handle it this way or that way.
I must be being really obtuse because I don't understand how the new system of posting works. Will you be creating an appropriate thread for each act, or what?

message 19: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod

Look down at "group readings"...Can you see....I created an example with the Troillus and Cressida ?I will start a thread (or the group leader can) for each Act. So the week long attention on one act....can be responded to in that appropriate tread.

I think checking in and what you describe is perfect for discussion leader....we all have different demands on our time...and that is what is so convenient about online...coming in to the discussion when time allows.

I hope no one would feel too stressed about being a discussion leader. I hope it might even be....dare I!

message 20: by Phil (new)

Phil Jensen | 97 comments Candy, I'm reluctant to sign up as discussion leader unless it's in June, July, or the first half of August. My reading time is very unpredictable when school is in session.

message 21: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
That's totally fair Phil.

We often do these discussions without a formal commitment for a discussion some of us are in the same situation as you...we just have overwhelming commitments to work and family and stuff.

Once I put together our basic reading schedule....and after a chance to anticipate personal schedules...then who ever feels like they might want to play that role...let me know....

message 22: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 161 comments I would be happy to lead any discussion for which you want me or need me to step in.

message 23: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod

message 24: by Natalie (last edited Jan 25, 2017 07:42PM) (new)

Natalie Tyler (doulton) I would be glad to be a discussion leader for many of the plays. Some of them not. Probably about 30 I am enthusiastic about.
At the rate of one play a month, you would have 3 more years worth and you could alternate comedies, tragedies, and histories perhaps. Another group is doing very close to a chronological reading.
I vaguely think that there should be some sort of organizing principle that makes people want to keep coming back and have an idea of what is ahead.

I just see people saying "I don't want to read Hamlet" or "I want to read King John" and that is fine, but with a finite group of plays there will always be somebody who wants to do Hamlet but only when it's July or never read Hamlet. You can't please everyone all of the time. I used to read all of the plays annually but gradually stopped reading some of them because I felt that they had less claim to greatness. All the plays deserve a chance but some of them are a difficult sell.

message 25: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
Yes, good ideas Natalie, thanks for sharing them.

I will make a rough schedule. We usually read a play every couple of months...having breaks and coming back. Much less than one play a month. I look forward to seeing if having a schedule posted and ready will inspire more participants...or make it easier for people to order the plays from a library or buy them etc etc.

message 26: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 161 comments If anyone has an e-reader, like Kindle Fire, you can get all the plays for free. I purchased the Delphi Classics editions and have every word S wrote for $2.99. I also have the Norton Shakespeare, which I found at a second-hand store for $1. I think you can get it from Amazon for about $35. It has everything S wrote, complete with gloss and footnotes.

message 27: by Candy (new)

Candy | 2638 comments Mod
That's great to know.

(I actually don't have an e-reader....but often I will read a novel or play online on my phone.)

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