Episode 21: The Convent of Pleasure

We’re back after a long, foolish, unplanned hiatus. Did you miss us? We missed you! To celebrate our return, we’re reading the delightful Covent of Pleasure by restoration playwright Margaret Cavendish. This play is notable for being the shortest play we’ve ever discussed on the podcast, and also the latest (published 1668). It’s also only our second-ever episode discussing a play with a woman author (check back in the feed to hear our episode about Elizabeth Carey‘s The Tragedy of Mariam). We both loved this one, and highly recommend that you give it a read.

maggie cavendish
Maggie Cavendish, throwing shade at marriage

Talking Points:

  • Perils of being an early modern woman.
  • Concepts of female freedom and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Competing ideas about nature
  • Is this play the Early Modern Vagina Monologues?
  • Obviously we talk about Wonder Woman.
  • The Poem “A Married State” by Katherine Phillips (full text below)
  • This article by Theodora Jankowski: “Pure Resistance: Queer(y)ing Virginity in William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure” Shakespeare Studies 26 (1998): 218-56

Stayed tuned to the end of the episode, where we weight on the controversy about Julius Caesar and Donald Trump. 

 

“A Married State” by Katherine Phillips

A married state affords but little ease:
The best of husbands are so hard to please
This in wifes Carefull faces you may spell,
Tho they desemble their misfortunes well
A virgin state is crown’d with much content,
It’s allways happy as it’s inocent
No Blustering husbands to create your fears,
No pangs of child birth to extort your tears,
No children’s crys for to offend your ears,
Few worldly crosses to distract your prayers
Thus are you freed from all the cares that do
Attend on matrymony and a husband too.
Therefore, madam, be advised by me:
Turn, turn apostate to love’s Levity.
Supress wild nature if she dare rebell,
There’s no such thing as leading Apes in hell.

 

Episode 20: The Malcontent

I can’t believe we’ve been at this for 20 episodes! This one is about Marston’s The Malcontent (1603).

Child Actors
A poster from the Globe Young Performers production (2014) featuring child actors.

Talking Points:

  • What’s a Malcontent anyway? And other thoughts about the Humours.
  • Boy players and their role in satire, with reference to this article from the Times Higher Education
  • April Ludgate, from Parks and Recreation is one of our favourite pop-culture Malcontents. We discuss others.
  • The academically interesting “induction scene” and meta-theatre
  • TROPES GALORE!

Episode 19: Cymbeline (The Movie)

Hey folks! This episode is a film review. Remember when we did that film review episode about MacBender? That was probably the most that Cat and Yoli have ever disagreed with each other, and it got a little #awkward. This won’t be like that, we promise.

cymbeline-poster
Film Poster

Talking Points:

  • Michael Almereyda’s approach to modernizing Shakespeare
  • The best and worst performances in this generally strong cast. (See the full cast list here.)
  • How does this compare to Almeryda’s other well-known modernized Shakespeare adaptation, Hamlet (2000) ?
  • We also compare it to lots of other Shakespeare film adaptations
  • Visual language/ visual puns (ahem. Baz Luhrmann did it best.)
  • Music. (Speaking of music, Yolana makes a mistake and incorrectly identifies this song as being by Bob Marley. The song is actually by Toots & The Maytals. Apologies.
  • Cat quotes from this Entertainment Weekly review.
  • Ed Helms and Ed Harris are totally different people.

Episode 18: The Island Princess

Are you sick of current events in the United States, the UK, or wherever you are right now? Take a 40 minute break from reality with this episode. Bard Times podcast will whisk you away to an Early Modern vacation in a tropical paradise! Bodice-ripping thrills and swash-bucking adventure awaits you in this romance by John Fletcher.

(Full disclosure: this “paradise” is still chock-full of Islamophobia, cultural appropriation, and imperialist politics… so it really isn’t that different from real life in 2017.)

island-princess
This 2012 edition of the play by Clare McManus is soooo good

Talking Points:

  • Clare McManus’s exceptionally wonderful edition of this play (Arden series)
  • This one scene from The Princess Bride, another classic from the romance genre.
  • Do these characters have any psychological depth? Does it matter if they don’t?
  • This play is obsessed with masculinity and honour.
  • The politics (and sexiness) of religious conversion.