Mike Vickers' Blog

April 30, 2019

Hamlet – In Our Time

Filed under: Hamlet, In Our Time, Literature, Shakespeare — derryvickers @ 6:03 pm

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the play’s context and meaning, and why it has fascinated audiences from its first performance.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Shakespeare’s best known, most quoted and longest play, written c1599 – 1602 and rewritten throughout his lifetime. It is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, encouraged by his father’s ghost to take revenge on his uncle who murdered him, and is set at the court of Elsinore. In soliloquies, the Prince reveals his inner self to the audience while concealing his thoughts from all at the Danish court, who presume him insane. Shakespeare gives him lines such as ‘to be or not to be,’ ‘alas, poor Yorick,’ and ‘frailty thy name is woman’, which are known even to those who have never seen or read the play. And Hamlet has become the defining role for actors, men and women, who want to show their mastery of Shakespeare’s work.


  • Sir Jonathan Bate Provost of Worcester College, University of Oxford
  • Carol Rutter Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Sonia Massai Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London
  • Producer: Simon Tillotson.

For me Melvyn Bragg’s colleagues reveal so much more about Hamlet than just the revenge of Hamlet against his father in law and his compliant mother. Even Polonius comes to life and Othelia is a real person. As to poor Yorick ‘I knew him well’.

March 6, 2019

Goethe’s Advice

Filed under: Literature, Music, Strindberg, Writing — derryvickers @ 10:47 pm

Further to my blog earlier today

Every day at least to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words” – Goethe

Well this evening it was August Strindberg’s Miss Julie at the Studio Edinburgh (the Studio is a little theatre at the back of the Festival Theater) put on by Perth Theatre.

More than a little song and if possible, a few reasonable words.

Miss Julie is 1.5 hours of hard listening and viewing; very much in the style of Ibsen and Chekhov though much more direct and painful; Miss Julie cuts her throat in the finish. Just three characters; Julie daughter of the big house, Jean, the valet and Christine the kitchen maid, but also the lord of the big house, who is the grey eminence.

You can read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Julie.

Or if you have time you can see it at the Studio till Saturday 9 March.

July 7, 2013

East Neuk – The Johns, Lister-Kaye and Adams

Filed under: Literature, Music — derryvickers @ 7:09 am

The East Neuk Festival – that’s at the east end of Fife.

It’s a weeklong event but to yesterday Sunday – probably the hottest day this summer (and likely to stay that way)

Held at Cambo  a late Victorian estate.  Just three events: the first a nature literary talk by a famous guy who I admit I had never heard of till today –John Lister-Kaye.  A great reader – many from his own work but non-the worse for that.  His thesis is that there are few literary writers in the UK – a genre mainly taken over by the Americans (he did not mention but I can’t help giving a plug for Stephen Jay Gould).  I not in a position to dispute this – the only one I am familiar with is Gilbert White – the History of Selborne – a classic of its time  – some odd bits when White assumed the conventional wisdom that swallows hibernate over winter here. Giving his thoughts  Lister-Kaye was passionate that we are part of nature – not outside of it and he railed against ‘Growth’.

The second event was percussion music by John Adams –- Inuksuit – held in the magnificent walled garden – the players (25 in all) were distributed with their percussion instruments throughout the garden

The final was again John Adams – songbirdsongs – just two flutes and 3 percussions – again distributed around a large barn – and again only a few seats for the elderly and the rest of us just strolled around the players as we felt like it – just watching them play – interesting to read thie scores – just scraps of notes and notes on what Adams expects.

You either like Adams or you don’t – we do – it grows on you.


Waiting to play PICT0108med

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