Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shakespeare By George - Complete With Torture

I would like to point you to the posts of my colleagues Thom Garvey and Ian Thal, who both attended a Federalist Society event here in the Hub that was co-sponsored by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. The evening, entitled Shakespeare's Henry V and the Law and War, included Andrew Card and the now infamous John Yoo.

Thom Garvey:

Now to my mind, bending Shakespeare to the service of this kind of thinking is an atrocity in its own right. But I was still game, in a sporting kind of way, to entertain a little sympathy for the devil, largely because the Federalists had enlisted a few libruls to speak on its panel and act in its drastically abridged version of Henry V. I didn't even mind that director Steven Maler had tailored his text to avoid too deeply discomfiting his guests of honor. After all, I figured, if you're going to get Goering and Goebbels to your production of The Merchant of Venice, you've got to play Shylock a certain way.

Of the performance itself, let no more be said; there's a popular impression that lawyers are akin to actors, but based on this experience, I'd say that may be a delusion. Fans of bipartisanship can take heart, though, in the fact that the Democratic actors were just as bad as the Republican ones.

And here is Ian Thal:

Of course, in the interests of the "civility" that the Federalist Society maintains for its panel discussions, crushing children's testicles wasn't discussed, while the sadomasochistic techniques seen at Abu-Ghraib were only alluded to and waterboarding, whose use by the Spanish Inquisition was widely condemned by 16th century English writers as barbaric, was only mentioned in passing.

Read them both for what a taste of this strange evening was like, and for their takes on the participants' readings and analysis of Shakespeare.


Thomas Garvey said...

Thanks for the plug, Art! We even sat next together; I think Ian even held me down when I almost clambered out of my seat to give Yoo a little interrogation of my own. But then I've never been known for my "civility," have I?

Ian Thal said...

Thanks for the plug, Art!

Ian Thal said...

I did not hold you down, Thom! Perhaps you were just on slightly better behavior with a chaperone!

Thomas Garvey said...

I felt a psychic pressure.