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kenmorefield

Shakespeare Uncovered

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I got a screener for Volume 3, and I dig it. The episode on The Merchant of Venice is hosted by F. Murray Abraham and features clips from film and stage productions, interviews with actors and academics. (I always wondered what Stephen Greenblatt looked like.) 

it's the same model as A&E's old "Great Books" but with higher production values and some real talent. Yes, the themes should be pretty familiar to Shakespeare students, but it is still fun to hear those more knowledgeable than us (or than me anyway) discuss them: is Antonio gay? is Shylock sympathetic or a caricature? why is this called a comedy?

Helen Hunt hosts Much Ado, Brian Cox does Julius Caesar, etc. 

It's on the PBS label, so I assume Series 1 and 2 have been broadcast, but I don't remember seeing them. I enjoy when PBS does educational--there is enough there to keep the academics engaged while really laying out the plays for the beginners.

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Volume 3 has been or is now being broadcast on WUNC--PBS for North Carolina. I made a point of recording the Much Ado episode, as it is one of my favorite plays, and enjoyed it very much. The Campbell Library has vols.1-2 on DVD, and I own vol. 2 (Hamlet/Richard II/Macbeth/Twelfth Night & As You Like It/The Tempest/Henry IV & Henry V) if you want to borrow it. The weak point of vol. 2, unfortunately, is Derek Jacobi on Richard II, as he spends too much time on largely discredited "Shakespeare was really someone else" hypotheses.

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