Saturday, April 3, 2010

An Old Easter Poem

Good Friday, 2005

Cat, now lying languid in the sun,
it’s more complicated than you
realise - a recent English survey
revealed 50% didn’t know Easter’s
origins. Bye, bye Shakespeare. What
do you read my Lord? Images! Images!
Images! The pot may call the kettle
egotistical & snow is black. My
concern’s my language & you’ve
vomited all over the carpet thrice
& the vet’s closed over the holiday.

Harvey McQueen

In ‘Goya Rules’ there are five cat poems. This is one of them. It was written at the time one of our two cats William was being sick. What I didn’t realise at the time he was terminally ill.

When I wrote the poem I was more concerned about a news item I had just read. Half the population of the United Kingdom appeared not to know the origins of Easter. To them it was a holiday with chocolate eggs and rabbits.

Without that Biblical background much of Shakespeare becomes meaningless. This excludes that magical fantasy ‘The Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It is a dreamworld peopled by fantasy and fairies. Yesterday I watched the fifth cinema adaptation of it, 1999, directed by Michael Hoffman.

Bottom is played by Kevin Kline, Titania by Michelle Pfieffer, Puck by Stanley Tucci. It’s a film way over the top, playful, sexy. It wavers from the realistic to the slapstick to the pathetic (using the word ‘pathos’ in its true sense). Heroines mud-wrestling is very unShakespearean but I’ve a hunch he would have approved. And the rustics portrayal of the Pyramus and Thisbe legend has never been better done.

Image, language and plot combined to make a film I really enjoyed. Film adds its own dimension to theatre. Magnificent music too. An ear-feast as well as an eye-feast.

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