January 6th, 2010

In Search of Shakespeare Michael Wood

I just finished watching the 4-part PBS documentary In Search of Shakespeare. It's really in-depth and well-done, as host Michael Wood scours England for every instance of Shakespeare's name popping up in the historical record. (If you have Netflix, it's an instant download.)

Here's one story from the movie: The Earl of Essex was hoping to overthrow and replace Queen Elizabeth. Theater was the popular entertainment of the day, and was heavily censored because of its power to incite the mob to violence. Essex paid Shakespeare's company a large sum of money to resurrect Richard II and to add in a key scene making explicit that a bad ruler should be deposed. The plan was that at the end of the play Essex would march out on stage and call for an uprising. Unfortunately, when the time came, he spent too much time trying decide which shirt to wear, and by the time he finally appeared and made his rabble-rousing speech, the crowd had mostly dispersed, and Essex was promptly arrested and executed. Shakespeare's company was hauled before Elizabeth's inquisitors, and the players all took the line that they were just simple actors who had been hired to put on a play and they didn't know anything about any plot. Elizabeth knew they were lying, but by that point -- elderly, unpopular, and without an heir -- she didn't much care, but just to send a message and scare them straight she commanded that they perform their seditious play again -- just for her. Talk about stage fright.

Fan Art 1/6/10

Here's some more fan art from Blazeblackwing, for my short story "The Skull-Faced City."

So here we have Dustin (the skull-faced boy), Jack (now a decapitated head), Ashley (Dustin's bride), and Park (a former scout sniper who works as a sort of bounty hunter for Dustin and who goes masked when outside the city to hide his skull face):

the skull-faced city david barr kirtley

And here's Park without his mask:

the skull-faced city david barr kirtley