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Even A Blind Squirrel…

Sunday 12 August 2012

In the land of Olympics broadcasting, NBC has clearly been the blind squirrel this year. Endless commentary, far too much of it insipid, tasteless edits of the opening ceremony, and a monotonous focus on Team USA that provoked a panelist on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” to joke about how it used to be the case that lots and lots of countries used to come to the Olympics, but this year it was apparently just the US in London (listen here).

But even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut (or else it dies.) In NBC’s case, it came vis à vis Ashland in a segment late on Saturday night, in which they had a former American tennis pro discoursing on Shakespeare. I guess all the actual Shakespearian experts–you know, those who study Shakespeare as their profession–along with the entire professional theater community, were busy washing their collective hair that night.

Because the Olympics were staged in London, which is the original site of the performance of Shakespeare’s works (sort of; see below), NBC in their “we’re not just about sports” Olympics coverage did a segment on Shakespeare’s life and the staying power of his works. Being TV, they needed pretty pictures, and video from OSF’s recent productions of “Henry IV, Part II” were part of the imagery, although not credited directly. Actors definitely recognizable were Kevin Kenerly, Richard Howard, John Tufts, and Richard Elmore. Props to all (and to those I couldn’t recognize).

The Globe, London, and Shakespeare: The Globe was not built in London, it was built in what is now Bankside. When it was built, it was outside the jurisdiction of the City of London, so it had all the good stuff: brothels, bear-baiting, and theatre.

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