Paris Portingale

According to Portingale: William Shakespeare

Our favourite cream-faced loon Paris Portingale reckons that William Shakespeare definitely wrote all of his plays…if he didn’t, why are there so many statues of him around the place?

 

Shakespeare.

Some say all of Shakespeare’s work was written by Francis Bacon, others say it was Christopher Marlowe. There are also a few who say it was Edward de Vere or William Stanley, but you’ve only to look at old photographs of those two to know they’d have had difficulty writing their own name, let alone, “To be or not to be”

Someone even postulated Shakespeare was written by Ray Winstone, but then A Midsummer Night’s Dream would have been like, “All we are and all we seem, Is just a fucking dream, my son.”

Anyway, if Shakespeare hadn’t written all those plays, how come there’s statues of him all around Stratford-upon-Avon where he was born? It’s actually a river so I suppose the whole place would have had to have been built on sticks, which I’d imagine would have made getting around inordinately difficult, even if you were a world-renowned playwright with perfect balance.

No, it was Shakespeare who did it all right, and top marks to him too.

Interestingly, Stratford-upon-Avon is just down the road from the ancient Druid sight of Stonehedge, certainly a brilliant piece of engineering for the time, but as a hedge it does leave a lot to be desired.

It was probably like:

“Aren’t we going to put all the middle bits in?”
“I can’t be fagged, Mogg. You put them in, I’m going back to Stratford-upon-Thingy.”
“Okay, but how about this, how about we say it’s not a hedge, it’s a big clock. We could call it Stoneclock, nobody would know the difference.”
“Do what you like, Mogg, I’ve pretty much had it. That’s ten years of my life there and the thing looks like shit.”

And they left it like that.

Back to Bill.

The Best.

I think the best of all Shakespeare’s plays was Macbeth. It featured talking trees, for one. They were called Birnam Wood and they could walk as well. Here’s the scene where they’re heading off to Dunsinane. Macbeth is one of the few plays where actors don’t mind if they don’t get the lead, because they can always play a talking tree.

“Where are we going?”
“Dunsinane. We’re going to kill Macbeth.”
“Excellent.”

It’s not a very big scene, but Birnam Wood is a forest and provides work for a lot of actors.


The Most Stupid.

All’s Well That Ends Well is probably Shakespeare’s most stupid play because it gives away the ending in the title.


The Most Boring.

Much Ado About Nothing, based on the original concept of the TV series Seinfeld, which did it much better. I can think of nothing more tedious than having to sit through two hours of a play about fuck all, with the actors talking in Shakespearian English so you can’t understand a word they’re saying.


The Histories.

A lot of Shakespeare’s plays are histories set in ancient Roman times. The thing about plays set back then is, they’re easier to write because you can fill in a lot of the space with sword fights. Like, if you read Julius Caesar, it goes, “Blah-de-blah, blah-de-blah, sword fight, sword fight, sword fight, blah-de-blah, sword fight, sword fight,” etc.

When you look at it, it’s only about ten pages long, and most of that is just, “Sword fight, sword fight, sword fight.” A lot of people say this is cheating, but I tell them, “You try writing a play about ancient Rome without sword fights,” and they generally say, “Yes, I see what you mean.”

My favourite play about ancient Roman times is Spartacus, mainly because of the big chariot race at the end. All the chariots had knives coming out of the wheels and you could go around bashing into each other, something you could never do today, which is probably why the sport has gone out of fashion.

Shakespeare was married to a woman named Anne Hathaway, and they produced three children. None of them amounted to anything, they were certainly no Shakespeares like their father and I don’t think they knocked out a single play between them.

Anyway, they all died of the plague, bleeding from the eyes, which I think is where the Ebola virus came from, because the same thing happens with that, although I don’t think Shakespeare ever went to Africa so who knows what’s going on there.

Well, that pretty much covers Shakespeare.

Next week: Charles Dickens and his book, A Tale of Two Cities, which starts out, “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times.”

And then gets even more confusing as you go along.

See you anon.

– Paris

Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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