Jack Cade… the great-great-not-so-great grandson of Jack Falstaff (or is that the other way around?)

When we meet the rebellious Jack Cade for the first time, in Act Four, Scene Two of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, he is a purely comic figure.  Something completely different from any other character in this play (and quite honestly unlike any character we’ve seen thus far in the Canon… no other character thus far has had Cade’s bizarre combination of charm, bravado, ego, and self-deprecation (the closest we come in the plays we’ve studied thus far are Petruchio [charm, bravado, ego, but no self-deprecation], and possibly Titus (bravado, ego, slight self-deprecation, but certainly no charm).  Cade’s unlike anything to come before, but in him we get a glimpse of the future in another great anti-hero: Sir John Falstaff.
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Who, Part Two

Last month, we took a day to discuss who might be the main character of 1HenryVI… and to no success, leaving us pretty unsatisfied by the play as a whole.  So this month, as we lurch toward Thanksgiving, let’s see if we can give thanks for having a protagonist in The Second Part of Henry the Sixth.

We have quite a few characters to choose from, as this play has SIXTY-SEVEN (count’em!) characters, the most of any play in the Canon.

Let’s take the major characters in order of the number of speeches each has…
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A Trip to Bawdy on the Soul Train

Every month, I delve a little deeper into my sophomore boy-mind, and pull out the bawdy stuff from the play of the month, usually focusing on a particular scene or character.

This month, with The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, I’m going to approach it a little differently.  I want to start off with a quick catalog of the “naughty bits” then pull them together for a more generalized statement about the use of bawdiness in the play.
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Pericles, Prince of Tyre… at California Lutheran University

it’s great… I was able to catch two Shakespeare plays within a week of one another… that hasn’t happened since our pre-Kyle days up in Ashland… but it will happen again next summer when we–as a family–head up to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a mini-week play-going vacation

OK, a couple of days back, I caught a local college’s production of Pericles.

Now, like Love’s Labor’s Lost nearly a week earlier, Pericles is a play I’ve never seen on stage (that’s the reason why I chose to go, mid-week, on a school night, no less).  It is a play I’ve read (and taught back in my high school days… though that year is now nearly two decades past, and, well, until I read the synopsis in the program I was a little unclear on the plot [I remembered the gap in time and the lost daughter… but hell, with the tragicomedies/romances, that was a pretty safe bet]).  So off we went (yeah, I dragged Lisa along with me) to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks… about 20 miles or so from my neck of the woods.  Cal-Lu is also the home of the Kinsgmen Shakespeare Company (which presented the Macbeth which was the subject of our second-ever podcast back in July).
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Podcast 20: The Second Part of Henry the Sixth DVD Reviews

This week’s podcast includes a continuation of our discussion of The Second Part of Henry the Sixth, including DVD reviews of two different productions, as well as a stage review of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater touring production of Love’s Labor’s Lost; plus, our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
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Buddy, Can You Spare a Quarto

A couple of days back, while doing my usual scan of Shakespeare news stories for the Facebook page, I came across an item of interest in the Hindustan Times (yeah, from India) about The Shakespeare Quartos Archive project.

The effort, a joint project of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, attempts to reproduce and display on the web “at least one copy of every edition of William Shakespeare’s plays printed in quarto before the theatres closed in 1642” (http://quartos.org/info/about.html).  Tied to this is the creation of a brand new interactive interface, which allows users to (among other things): mark and tag text images with user annotations, search full-text, download and print text and images, and compare images side-by-side.

It’s pretty damn cool.
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As we noted last month, according to most critics, the source material for most of Shakespeare’s histories (including The Second Part of Henry the Sixth) was Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland.  Holinshed was only one of a three main authors of the work (the other two being William Harrison and Richard Stanyhurst), and their work was first printed in 1577, about fifteen years before the composition of 2HenryVI.
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