No country for Shakespeare

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Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern but impossible to enslave.
Henry Brougham, Speech to the House of Commons (January 29, 1828)

An evening like so many others. The homepage of Yahoo right in front of me; I check my emails. My eyes notice the main article, with the headline “After the controversy, Belen returns to Maria”. Belen Rodriguez, of course. She’s a showgirl. And Maria De Filippi, I suppose. An Italian anchor of trash tv shows. My brain, trained to defend itself from the constant barrage of nonsense generated by every boob tube in my house, decides to go further and ignore everything.

The quiet is pretty short, because I take a heavy knock on Twitter. In UK, BBC is currently broadcasting the third episode of The Hollow Crown.
And what would it be? I explain for the uninitiated: for London 2012 Olympics, BBC decided to celebrate the Cultural Olympics, adapting four historical dramas created by William Shakespeare’s Pen (there is a surplus of capital letters, but I can’t help it). For the record: Richard II, Henry IV – Part 1, Henry IV – Part 2 and Henry V. Everything produced by Sam Mendes, director of Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition and American Beauty, for which he won an Oscar.

This project caught my attention two months ago, and I had resolved to sell my soul to Satan just to enjoy this juicy tidbit. Well, now I dash myself with the heat of a general during a battle on the BBC website, hoping to soothe my soul, unable to enjoy the episode actually aired, Henry IV – Part 2, with the vision of previous episodes. I open the page, I click on play. And here, the drama takes place:

Currently BBC iPlayer TV Programmes are available to play in the UK only, but all BBC iPlayer Radio Programmes are available to you.

Translated: you can whistle for it. You’re a damn Italian girl and you will be punished for it.

My brain rebels at this injustice. Mind you, I did not go on at the BBC. Maybe it deserve the exclusive (at least temporary) of these products; if these episodes had been sent on an Italian channel, they would reach the share of telesales. I reflect on what Italian series offer to me and mentally retrace the great literary classics adapted for Italian television. A sad series of bad actors, bad actresses and bad directors.

My brain continues to process this information, and assumes an outrageous scene with an Italian version of Henry IV, starring Claudio Amendola with a beautiful son, Gabriel Garko, in the role of Hal, the future Henry V. If you are not Italian, you do not know who I’m talking about. I can assure you that they are awful actors. Incidentally, in the BBC’s version these roles are played by that giant of Jeremy Irons (did you see Mission? Or The French Lieutenant’s Woman? Or Reversal of Fortune?) and the talented omnipresent Tom Hiddleston (an actor who gave value, with his performances, to every film he was in). I would not venture to go further and find corresponding Italian actors to  the stars who took part in The Hollow Crown, most notably John Hurt, Julie Walters, Ben Whishaw, David Suchet, Patrick Stewart and Simon Russell Beale. If these names do not tell you anything, the advice is to make a spin on Google or IMDb, because you probably know them all.

People we usually see on the big screen, but that do not despise television. For in Queen Elizabeth’s nation, tv is not synonymous with trash. There is no distinction between movie actors and tv actors: all the stars hired in The Hollow Crown come from the theatre. Not from Big Brother, from questionable talent-show or from YouTube. They come from the stage, they chewed Shakespeare’s words for years before going in front of a camera. All things that we are now over in Italy: our theatre has provided faces to television and to cinema for years, when Italian television and cinema could compete with foreign ones. But, as I say, it is history.

At this point, my brain has taken my mood by the hand and the state of intellectual vacuum in which I risked to fall is partly illuminated by the awareness of meritocracy. In UK, ok, but at least somewhere there is meritocracy. Somewhere, Shakespeare can be adapted for tv without becoming a vehicle for somatically paralyzed starlets. Not in Italy, but now I don’t read that limitation on the BBC website as an unfair deprivation. I will wait a few months, a dvd box set will be released in October. I will buy it, because it is only right and proper. We do not deserve all this culture. Not now, not until it is normal for us to want nothing more than trash tv. Well, some lightness is good for the heart. But if it becomes the only option, it eventually takes the brain to atrophy.

Informazioni su questi ad

  1. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be
    on the internet the easiest thing to keep in mind of. I say to you, I
    certainly get irked while other people think about concerns
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  2. I tend not to drop a ton of comments, but i did a few searching
    and wound up here No country for Shakespeare Ciak, si
    scrive. And I actually do have a few questions
    for you if it’s allright. Could it be just me or does it look like a few of the responses come across as if they are written by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on other social sites, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of your social sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

    • Aww, thank you very much! I’m very flattered by your kind comment and I’m happy you added my blog to your favourites! Unfortunately, I do not write in English as much as I would like (or fortunately, since my English is not perfect of course).

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