sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I watched a movie of Merchant of Venice like two and a half months ago and dashed off just the most obscure of brief notes for myself, intending to expand them into an actual post in the next day or two while I still remembered everything. I can expand them somewhat so that they make sense, but can't give them the full weight of context and thoughtfulness that they deserve. Here's what I can provide:

- Okay so like, I'm super on Shylock's side for a great deal of the play. He is treated terribly and it is not cool.

- And the text constantly calls him "Jew" instead of his name which is further not coolness.

- I lurve that the ladies saved the day and crossdressed! And played a trick on their husbands! Buuuut the way Portia drew out the trial was super unnecessary and cruel.

- Obvs the conclusion is a not-quite-sedoretu with Portia and her maid and Bassanio and Antonio.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Okay so last night I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream as performed by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. And let me clarify, because they are currently running two different takes on the play: the one I saw was NOT the "chamber play" version, which I hear is the sort of thing Darren Nichols would direct.

Anyways! I'd looked up some reviews before going and they were pretty mixed in opinion. And oh hey looks like I too am mixed in opinion just in my own self! Overall it was a very charming and funny and enjoyable performance, though there were some things I didn't like about it and there were some things I don't like about the play itself.

Let me expand.

First of all: I loved the concept, that this is a backyard production of A Midsummer Night's Dream put on by the friends of these two dudes who just got married, in celebration of their wedding. It meant that throughout the show there were bits and pieces of fourth-wall-breaking in the most charming ways. And you know how much I am into a) people being friends and b) fourth-wall breaking!

One of the other things I loved was the cross-casting: the most obvious examples of which were Lysander played by a woman, and Titania played by a man. What was interesting here was what they chose to do with the pronouns - Lysander's pronouns got changed to she/her, and she was obviously intended to be read as a cis woman. Titania, though. Titania's pronouns were not changed. And she was dressed in traditionally feminine clothing. But the actor playing her did not modulate his voice to sound more feminine, and he is a tall and solidly-built guy who does not come across as androgynous, and basically it was great genderqueering. (here's a picture of Titania and Oberon) BUT. The entire audience obviously thought that a dude playing Titania was HI-LAR-I-OUS. Urgghhhhhhhhhhhh.

But going back to Lysander! Lysander being a woman meant that Lysander/Hermia were suddenly THE MOST ADORABLE QUEER COUPLE IN EXISTENCE, at least for the first act before everything goes horribly awry. (in the second act when Lysander's been spelled to love Helena, Lysander's behaviour gets rather unacceptable, to the point of grabbing Helena's boobs without consent. I stopped liking Lysander so much at that point. Dammit.)

Another inclusivity thing: Hermia's dad is deaf and speaks in ASL and it's great - I liked how it was handled, though I'd also be curious what a deaf person would think of how it was done. And also it's frustrating that the director only made that decision after casting was completed so they didn't cast a deaf actor in the role.

Okay now it's time for me to start arguing with the play itself. Above all: WOW THIS IS A PLAY FULL OF TERRIBLE LACK OF CONSENT THAT IS NOT TREATED PROBLEMATICALLY :( Like - it is a HAPPY ENDING that Demetrius has been love-potioned into loving someone and proceeds to marry her? And it is a HAPPY ENDING that Oberon played a nasty trick on Titania in order to get his way on something? NOOOOOOOOO.

Like, I don't even like Demetrius? His self-assurance that of course he deserves to have Hermia even though she doesn't want him is terrible. But that doesn't mean he deserves what the fairies do to him.

And if I ignore what he does, I really do like Oberon, at least this Oberon! He's really charming. Butttttt his behaviour towards Titania (and also his high-handed behaviour with the love-flower towards the humans) is completely unacceptable and makes me not like him at all. I WANT to be able to like him, because he's great and Titania's great and they're great together, but no. Maaaaaaybe if I headcanon things such that Titania and Oberon have a longstanding practice of enjoying playing tricks on each other and neither of them finds the sort of thing Oberon did to be outside of their normal standards of behaviour to each other, then maybe I can be okay with it. But as it is? No.

Continuing with things I don't like about the play, the entire subplot of the Mechanicals (Bottom et al). As far as I can tell, the point of their subplot is that it is UTTERLY HILARIOUS for uneducated tradespeople to attempt something like acting because they are so completely without skill at anything requiring thought and without any ability to tell that they're bad at it. Basically it's "haha they're so stupid and oblivious isn't it funny." Um. No. I am not into laughing at people for those kinds of reasons. It doesn't help that in this production one of them (Snug the joiner) has a lisp and we're encouraged to laugh at him because of that as well.

Moving on to other things about this production in particular.

I wanted to like Helena, because for a while I thought the clear answer to the love quadrangle was Helena/Hermia/Lysander with Demetrius off being sad by himself in a corner, but the actor did not sell me on the character of Helena at all.

I don't know enough about costuming to be able to speak much in specifics, but I thought it was generally well done.

The dance party on stage at the end, where the fourth wall gets blurred further and the two married dudes who this production was being done for end up on stage dancing about too - I really liked it. It was fun and charming.

Okay fine yes all the child fairies were adorable.

There was a water feature on stage with actual water on it - which I could easily see was real because I was on the balcony so I could look down into it. And I had two immediate thoughts: a) wondering whether staging would ever involve characters stepping/jumping over it instead of constantly going around it, and b) wondering whether anyone ever accidentally ended up in it. People did occasionally step over the corner of the water feature, but only once did someone step over it somewhere near the middle, and there was no jumping over it. And also IT TURNS OUT that there are lots of scripted instances of characters ending up in the water feature BUT ALSO the night I saw it Oberon accidentally fell in when he wasn't supposed to :P

In conclusion: I had a lot of fun watching this performance, but the play itself is rather problematic and that got in the way of enjoyment in a number of places. And my endgame ships are Hermia/getting the hell away from these assholes, and Titania/getting the hell away from these assholes. I could probably be convinced of Hermia/Titania, actually.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Continuing my thoughts from yesterday - the other thing is, Coriolanus is such a political play! And I'm not sure how I'm supposed to interpret its politics either. cut for spoilers )


Feb. 10th, 2014 09:41 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Last night I started watching that new production of Coriolanus that Hadley Fraser’s in, because Coriolanus is one of those plays I don’t know enough about so I thought I should give it a try - and then I discovered I’d somehow missed that Tom Hiddleston’s in the lead role??? wow I’m really impressed that either a) the internet managed to keep this a secret for this long or b) I’m that oblivious. I was willing to bet it was the latter. (I was right.)

Tonight I finished watching! And then I was all HUH.

Going into this play the only thing I knew about it was that it had the gayest speech in the entirety of Shakespeare - and dudes, it's true, that speech is pretty damn gay. It's an odd experience, watching a shakespeare play that I don't actually know anything about. For the most part shakespeare is part of popular culture, such that you at least know SOMETHING of it when going in - and heck, when I saw Hamlet the first time I knew pretty much ALL of it already going in without ever having read it or studied it or seen a single bit of it before. But Coriolanus? Nothing. It's just...not a popular play.

And it's really frustrating! Because it means I don't have any previous knowledge of various interpretations to hang my understanding of the play on! I like knowing what other people think about things - because at the very least, even if I strenuously disagree, I at least know where I stand in relation to other interpretations. I have a lens through which to approach the work and say "yes" or "no" or "hmmm" to. But here? I am as a blank slate - and a bit of googling around has only turned up some shallow newspaper reviews, nothing really interesting or thoughtful.

and okay to start off with, for this particular production, I was really impressed - the acting was all excellent, the staging was really interesting, I liked how they did pretty much everything. Tom Hiddleston was magnetic as usual and Hadley Fraser was also fantastic. And I liked that this production cast some women and people of colour - including some cross-gender casting.

but the play itself...idk! I think most of my trouble is that I'm having trouble parsing the character of Aufidius. What are his motivations in everything he does? He's rather opaque! (unless I'm just being particularly slow in understanding.) Coriolanus himself is rather clearer - even though he doesn't ever have a proper soliloquy to explain his thoughts like most Shakespeare leads. But what the heck's going on with Aufidius?cut for spoilers )

maybe I should just go read through the Aufidius/Martius tag on ao3. Gay fanfiction always has the best Shakespeare meta, right? Right. (OOH IS THERE ANY SLINGS & ARROWS FIC INVOLVING CORIOLANUS? RECS PLS IF YES)

(and if you have any other thoughts/meta/scholarly analysis to send my way on the subject of Coriolanus, please do!)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Romeo e Giulietta Act Two! again in comparison with Rome es Julia because that’s the only production I’m familiar with!

I should state for the record, by the way, that I don't speak a word of italian and the stream I'm watching does not have any subtitles. MY LIFE, MY CHOICES, ETC.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So there's a new production of Romeo e Giulietta out! This being the Italian version of the musical Romeo et Juliette (the same one the Hungarian Romeo es Julia is based on). SO OF COURSE I HAD TO WATCH IT.

Tonight: just act one, as that's all I've had time for.

cut for spoilers or something I guess )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I AM BACKKKK! Well actually I returned late sunday night but then I was exhausted and also I have work and also catching up on the real life things I wasn't doing while on vacation, so. I am still exhausted but I am at least nominally kind of here! AND I COME WITH LOTS OF BOOKS.

Look, my vacation was CANOE TRIPPING, which when you do it right (which obvs I do) leaves you lots of time to hang out in the beautiful wilderness with a book. So. I read NINE BOOKS while on vacation! Plus I had a couple I didn't post about from before the trip. Plus I read a book yesterday. So. Let's go!

Wired Love: a Romance of Dots and Dashes, by Ella Cheever Thayer )

Mable Riley: A Reliable Record of Humdrum, Peril & Romance, by Marthe Jocelyn )

Monks-Hood, by Ellis Peters )

Complete Fairy Tales of George MacDonald )

The Confession of Brother Haluin, by Ellis Peters )

The Android's Dream, by John Scalzi )

The Wisdom of Father Brown, by GK Chesterton )

Psmith, Journalist, by PG Wodehouse )

A Matter of Oaths, by Helen S Wright )

Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy L Sayers )

Strong Poison, by Dorothy L Sayers )

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale )

Gaudy Night, by Dorothy L Sayers )

Poor Yorick, by Ryan North, William Shakespeare, and YOU )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Last night I went to see Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing with Essie! And it was FANTASTIC. My favourite thing about it is how much fun it was clear everyone involved was having. Also it did a really great job of highlighting the hilarity of this play. The audience (me included!) was constantly cracking up, which is as it should be! Also the actors are all great at their parts and did a good job of not falling into the trap of declaiming their lines, as well as doing a lot of excellent nonverbal characterization work in between the lines. Also, as Essie leaned over to whisper to me partway through, wow yes the events of this play makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE when you assume everyone is drunk, as this movie posits.

Also I am feeling very smug about my facial-recognition prowess right now because I successfully recognized Riki Lindholme out of the context I'm used to seeing her in! They cast Conrade as a female part, played by Riki Lindholme of the musical comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates, and the whole time she was onscreen I was like, "that actress looks so much like Riki, but it can't be her, there's no way it's her, I must just be doing that thing where I confuse people who have similar hair and body types," and then the credits came up at the end AND IT WAS HER. Aw yeahhhhhh.

(I cannot review Much Ado without mentioning Beatrice and Benedick: they are super super adorable and their verbal sparring is the besttttt the end.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Romeo es Julia is the Hungarian version of the French musical based on Shakespeare's play based on earlier versions of a similar story. I have never before in life cared at all about this story or the characters in it but either I am a sucker for musicals or the Hungarians did an exceptional job (or both) because SO MANY FEELS OVER EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. AAAAAAAHHHHHH.

cut for spoilers? I suppose? Or something? )

In vaguely related news, I really want to watch the Hungarian version of the musical Elisabeth now. Apparently one of the main characters is a darkly sparkly bisexual personification of death? WOW I AM SO THERE. I would worry over how into personifications of death I am except for how I have no desire to actually meet any of them myself....
sophia_sol: Hamlet, as played by David Tennant, reading a book (Hamlet: Hamlet reading)
Is it -- is it *GASP* a post that's not about Les Miserables? IT IS! (reposted from my tumblr from last night.)

Last night Essie and I were hanging out, as one does, and we were talking about the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as one does, and about what other classic literature one could plausibly turn into video blogs.

and we were saying we need a main character who would vlog all about their life OF THEIR OWN ACCORD

and I was like




we weren’t sure how the final scene where everyone dies would go



“So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.”


(also from tumblr from last night: I, perfume-hater to the degree where I don't even like mildly scented soap, review perfumes! And somehow manage to refrain from ever using the word "gross", unlike the last time I did this! Click here to read more!)
sophia_sol: Hamlet, as played by David Tennant, reading a book (Hamlet: Hamlet reading)
I saw a university student production of Macbeth last night with Essie. It was really interesting! Especially the decision to have Macbeth played by a woman. See, this is a play that is REALLY REALLY INTERESTED in gender roles: Lady Macbeth is as unwomanly as you can get, and DELIBERATELY so (cf: her "unsex me" speech); while Macbeth is really really bad at being a manly man.


Lady M is IN CONTROL and IN CHARGE and ORDERS HER HUSBAND AROUND, and her husband obeys what she tells him to do.

(reminds me of a fairy tale I was reading the other day, where the husband's having trouble thinking of what to do when he gets himself into a mess, so the wife says, OKAY I'LL FIGURE THINGS OUT, BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ORDERS BECAUSE I CAN'T DO BOTH. And the husband's like, YES'M. Good fairy tale!)

When [personal profile] justice_turtle and I were talking about Macbeth a while back, we were talking about how you really really can't genderswitch Lady M and have the play work. Because then it's just a play about a dude being dudely! I'm still trying to decide my opinion on whether genderswitching Macbeth works. I do like that they didn't genderswitch BOTH of them -- so it was this excellent lesbian relationship! And hey, it was about the super-femmey lesbian being in control and the butch lesbian being weak and wishy-washy, so there was still the non-mapping of gender roles onto gender presentation. Though on the other hand it kind of made Lady M read as an Evil Seductress, especially considering how they played the scene where Lady M convinced Macbeth to go through with the king-killing.

Idk, I feel like I had further thoughts, but whatever, I do not have the energy to devote to figuring them out and writing them up coherently. This will have to do!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Damnit, Wikipedia calls Henry IV Part 2 a "less successful play" than Part 1, and from reading other people's reviews of it (specifically of the new The Hollow Crown version) it seems that the ways in which it is less successful are ways I will not enjoy? PLUS oh dear, the scene where spoilers happen )? I DON'T THINK I'LL BE ABLE TO STAND THE NARRATIVE TENSION. EVEN THOUGH I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Maybe I should just skip this one, even though I've got it sitting open in a VLC window on my computer at this very moment.....
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I HAVE NO TIME right now so here let me throw this post up and run away. Henry IV Part One! My thoughts!

I, um, possibly have seen this twice already? WHAT. I had to watch it immediately ere I acquired it because OMG EXCITING, but my sister Mara wasn't available at that point to watch, so then I had to watch it again last night so that she could see it too. Such a hardship! :P

It's really interesting to compare my reactions to this production to how I reacted to the play when I read the text. I read it last fall in one of the shakespeare-reading parties Mara and Essie and I sometimes have, and the following is what I recorded of my thoughts in my list of books read:

Lololol so tonight I read Henry IV Part I, as is reasonable to do after having read Richard II relatively recently. Richard II had some interesting bits but was mostly meh as a play. [nb: clearly my opinions on Richard II have changed since I wrote this!] Henry IV on the other hand? LAUGHING OUT LOUD. A LOT. I mean, okay, the plot was totally boring, but the hijinks, and the sheer volume of insults, and the hilarious characters... yeah, GOOD TIMES. But come on, did Henry IV really need to be a character in the play? His scenes were all the most boring scenes. :P Probably because he was only involved in the Actual Plot. (Best line/insult: "Do thou amend thy face, and I'll amend my life." LOLZ)

Which. Is nothing like my reaction to watching the play performed! Because okay, the plot is ACTUALLY INTERESTING? And I still did enjoy the hijinks, but thought there was too much Falstaff? SO YEAH, there's that.

So, my thoughts!

To begin with, Tom Hiddleston: amazing or AMAAAAAZING?

I think you'll find it's the latter.

cut for spoilers and length )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
So last night Mara and I watched the new Richard II. And GOSH THAT WAS INTERESTING. I've read the play before, and of course since I'm me I read fanfic of Richard II before I had any idea what the play was even about. And now I have seen a filmed version of it! It makes a bit more sense now that I can actually SEE what's going on, and when I don't have to work so hard to keep track of people's names.

Back like TWO YEARS AGO my fandom-of-the-week was Shakespeare and I wrote fic (King Lear) and did podfic (Richard II) and watched Hamlet for the first time in my life, and if this new bbc production had come out then I would have been OVER THE MOON. This is feeling weirdly like a mini fannish revival for me, this whole business with The Hollow Crown! I JUST HAVE ALL THESE FEELS NOW, FEELS I'D FORGOTTEN.

So okay I already knew I find this play rather interesting but HUH. Particularly: RICHARD. THAT DUDE OKAY. He just -- he absolutely steals every single scene he's in, and not just for those of us watching from the other side of the screen, but for the other characters who are there with him.

Cut for length and spoilers )

AND NOW NEXT IS HENRY IV PART 1 FEATURING TOM HIDDLESTON. Hopefully I get to watch it soon! I am excite.

Othello! <3

Apr. 4th, 2011 12:56 am
sophia_sol: Hamlet, as played by David Tennant, reading a book (Hamlet: Hamlet reading)
OH YEAH I was going to say! I saw a production of Othello the other night, and it was fantastic. Othello's one of those Shakespeare plays I've never actually been introduced to. So I went into it knowing a) it's a tragedy, b) Iago's evil, and c) there's a black character. Only, I was under the misapprehension that it was IAGO who was the moor. Oops? Othello being the moor is much more interesting! Under my misapprehension, the play was just another "oh look, people of other religions/races are EBIL." Like this, it's actually nuanced and interesting.

The production I saw was fantastic. The guy playing Iago pulled it off so well. And since Iago's the biggest part? That was pretty awesome.

And Iago's so interesting, too! I was talking with one of my friends afterwards, who says that Othello's long been his favourite Shakespeare play, and part of why is because Iago's motivations are so opaque. We're really told very little about WHY he's carrying out his evil plots! But he mentioned one theory, which apparently is pretty well-known, that Iago's acting as he is because he's in love with Othello. OKAY! I actually really buy that! But I bet you could argue a thousand other motivations for him as well.

But Iago isn't the ONLY interesting one! I am also fascinated by Emilia. And by Desdemona and Othello. And actually a LOT of the characters. Basically, it's a very interesting play all round!

It hasn't displaced other plays from the top of my Favourite Shakespeare list, but it has taken a place PRETTY HIGH UP on that list.

Also it reminds me that I kind of want to see ALL of Shakespeare's plays at some point. Because really I'm familiar with so few of them! And he's written a lot! And he's GODDAMN SHAKESPEARE.
sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Remember how yonks ago I promised I'd share with you my final essay from my course on Queer Theory, the one that I wrote about fandom? I told you I would post it after the new year? Yeah, um, a month and a half it is in all its glory. I have not edited the content at all from the when I submitted it. Um, sorry about all the footnotes; they're a lot more readable when they go at the end of the page instead of the end of the entire essay!

Also, I realized belatedly that the polite thing to do would have been to ask the authors of the fics and posts I cite whether it would be okay for me to do so. So, um, I'm very sorry to anyone who discovers this and is offended by my use of their writing. There's not much I can do after the fact except to apologize and say that at least the only audience for my essay was my relatively fandom-friendly prof?

Anyways, I hope at least someone finds this interesting. I had fun doing it. (though I could not make myself reread it, even for posting it here - I can hardly ever bear to reread my essays. I only skimmed enough to put in the necessary formatting...)

In Your Media Queering Your Characters )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Hamlet: Hamlet: reading)
And now, for All Hallows Day, a fic about the dead.

This one is inspired by, of all things, something my Queer Theory prof said while explaining Butler's "heterosexual melancholia". (No, the fic has nothing to do with heterosexual melancholia!)

Title: To Be King
Fandom: Shakespeare (King Lear)
Characters: Edgar, and most of the other major characters
Rating: PG
Length: 876 words
Summary: The problem with the dead is that you can't shut them up.

No, Goneril says, a whisper in his ear, a voice nobody else can hear from a woman nobody else can see. )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Hamlet: Hamlet: reading)
So, darling flist, somehow I found myself writing King Lear fic. Um. And I haven't studied Lear for, oh, FOUR YEARS, so I'm feeling a wee bit shaky on my characterization. So.... Is there anyone out there who is familiar with Lear and willing to beta a less-than-one-thousand-word fic about Edgar being king after the end of the play? I would be very grateful!
sophia_sol: Geoffrey with his head resting on a podium, with text saying "headdesk" (S&A: Geoffrey: *headdesk*)
The problems with the fact that, apparently, Shakespeare is my latest fandom-of-the-week:

Problem one: EVERYONE HAS TOO MANY NAMES, AND TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE THE SAME NAME. Which Henry is Hal? Which Richard is being talked about now? People keep mentioning Aumerle, but that name never shows up in the fics! (I think he's Edward? But WHICH EDWARD? I'm pretty sure there's multiple Edwards too!) How is everyone related to each other? Who's married to whom? Who killed whom, and who defeated whom in battle? And who likes whom, and who doesn't, and how can I keep all of this straight when EVERYONE HAS THE SAME NAMES? AAAAAUUUUGH.

Problem two: To properly get a grasp on all the characters and their interrelations and their motivations and everything, I need a LARGE fandom's worth of fic. LOTS AND LOTS of fic to plow through, in order to sort everything out. It is my normal mode of operation! That's how I'm figuring out Smallville right now, despite being entirely unfamiliar with the show. But it won't take me long to RUN OUT of good Shakespeare fic, I think, and I'm definitely going to run out before I've got everything sorted in my head! Especially since there's way more characters than Smallville has (Smallville: Clark, Lex, Lionel, Jonathan, Martha, Jor-El, Chloe, Lana, Lois, Pete. Get these down and you're golden. Shakespeare: That's not even the length of a cast list for a SINGLE PLAY, much less the entirety of his body of works...even if I just cut it down to the plays that the fandom seems interested in.)

Problem three: Speaking of plays fandom is interested in, why does nobody write King Lear fic? KING LEAR IS AWESOME OKAY. I've been looking everywhere I can think, and I am seeing NO KING LEAR LOVE. Which is a crying shame. Even Yuletide doesn't have any Lear fic. I have been able to discover exactly two fics, one of which is incest (not my thing), and the other of which is lovely but extremely short. And that is ALL. I think I need to request Lear for Yuletide, but that means GETTING RID OF one of the other things I've decided I want to request! Oh, the horror!

sophia_sol: Blair Sandburg, with text that says "this is my Serious Academic face" (TS: Blair: Serious Acaface)
Because podficcing always makes me overthink things, here is some blathering about the subject of my most recent effort.

Why does that fic fascinate me so much, when I'm not even familiar with its source material? The first blush of love was, of course, that DVD commentary, because I am easy for intelligent commentaries on things. But the fic itself fascinates me too.

And I want to talk about it more, but I don't even know how accurate my interpretations of the characters are, since, after all, I have not read the play. As I keep saying.

But I'm going to talk about it more ANYWAYS. Because I'm awesome like that.

It's the relationship between Henry and Richard that has me so fascinated -- well, that should be obvious, since that's the main subject of the fic: their relationship and how thoroughly messed up it is. Because Henry deposed Richard from his throne and is going to kill him, and yet is going to him to make nice after his coronation to make himself feel better. And Richard is being all sneaky and provoking, and pushing all of Henry's buttons to bring out his worst side (and his worst side is pretty bad), because luring Henry in the direction of being a terrible king is the best revenge. Basically: two rather nasty people being nasty to each other.

But if that was it, I wouldn't be caring all that much. The thing is, there's also this connection between them, because they understand each other so well, and if either of them were actually a decent human being they'd have a chance of being decent human beings together. But being nasty, they drag each other further and further down.

It is, I think, something of a mirror-image of one pairing-type I rather enjoy, which is exemplified by Doctor/Master. Two people with a strong, inexorable connection between them. Two people who are deeply interested in one another and yet are enemies who do everything they can to foil each other's plans. And because of that deep interest and connection, the better of the two is capable of redeeming the other -- or at least distract him from falling farther and farther into darkness.

The Master is totally Richard, and -- I think Henry would like to think of himself as something like the Doctor. Saving England from a nasty king who deserves to be deposed. And because the Doctor's the Doctor, he is at his heart a decent person, so he's able to pull the Master out of it all. But Henry's not, and at Richard's every provocation just grows more like him. Instead of the Doctor redeeming the Master, it's the Master...unredeeming the Doctor. It's the Master taking every bit of the Doctor's darkness (and he does have quite a bit) and dragging it out into the sun for a chance to play. Now, the Doctor's inherent desire to do (be) good is strong enough that this wouldn't work on him. But Henry is not the Doctor. His darknesses are too large, too deep-seated, and bringing them out to play is kind of disastrous. And so Richard wins, even in his defeat.

(Also, my interest probably isn't harmed by the fact that Richard is really good at what he's doing and I LIKE COMPETENCE OKAY, even when what he's competent in is being a total manipulative bastard.)

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