Well, Shakespeare, he’s in the alleyThat's just me, quoting a Bob Dylan song. That's not from the speech. Here's the speech, the part I want to show you:
With his pointed shoes and his bells
Speaking to some French girl
Who says she knows me well...
I would reckon [Shakespeare] thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”...That bit about the human skull got me thinking about something in "My Dinner with Andre," a movie in which 2 men talk mostly about theater. At one point, Andre Gregory is talking about directing the Euripides play "The Bacchae":
But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years. Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?”
Pentheus has been killed by his mother [Agave] and the Furies, and they pull the tree back, and they tie him to the tree, and fling him into the air, and he flies through space and he's killed, and they rip him to shreds and, I guess, cut off his head. My impulse was that the thing to do was to get a head from the New Haven morgue and pass it around the audience. Now, I wanted Agave to bring on a real head and that this head should be passed around the audience so that somehow people realized that this stuff was real, see, that it was real stuff. Now, the actress playing Agave absolutely refused to do it.And the songwriter Bob Dylan refused to show up and receive the prize. There are always questions about life’s mundane matters.
Am I recording in the right studio? ≈ Is this speech meant for reading out loud in a Swedish ceremonial hall?
You've got to think about the right thing in the right place...
Well, he can be fascinating, he can be dull/He can ride down Niagara Falls in the barrels of your skull...