Last weekend was one of my favourite yearly-if-I-can treats: a double bill of my favourite Shakespeare company, Propeller. They are an all male company, but that isn’t, I don’t think, the main thing about them: they have a very physical, committed approach to Shakespeare. Their key focus is on the clarity of action and words. They make each play a theatrical event. That sounds like it’s obvious, but it really isn’t, and it’s not true of all Shakespeare productions these days.
Anyway, that was a fun day – a gripping production of Taming of the Shrew that I didn’t like/ agree with the interpretation of, and a fabby production of Twelfth Night which I previously saw in Coventry during its first week, and loved, although it had got even better by this weekend. So, in summary, if you can go see them, do.
Shakespeare carried on being on my mind though, when I saw a comment on the Kboards discussion forum, on a thread about how to promote indie published literary fiction. Basically the consensus was that literary fiction just isn’t going to make you the big bucks. One commenter, the indie author J Gordon Smith, had the canny idea of getting a title for your novel by simply reading through Macbeth until you’d found a short quotation you could use or adapt. I loved the cynicism of this – after all, I thought, it worked for Faulkner. But I wondered how many other people it had worked for. Turned out, more than you knew. Just try to avoid ‘the seeds of time’ and ‘all our yesterdays’. I was quite intrigued to see, however, that one of my favourite authors, Diana Wynne Jones, also had a book title attributable to Macbeth – Charmed Life. Shakespeare had all the good lines, apparently!