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review 2016-12-02 19:29
Love and Intrigue by Friedrich Schiller
Shiller's Early Dramas: Love and Intrigue/Wallenstein's Camp/The Piccolomini/Death of a Wallenstein - Friedrich von Schiller

Love and Intrigue* is a play from the German Classicism era, although its tone is more that of Romanticism. Ferdinand von Walter, a premier’s son, and Louisa, a music teacher’s daughter, fall in love; their love, however, stands little to no chance against their vastly different social statuses and political intrigues.

Therefore, Love and Intrigue is a tragedy, something akin Cinderella meets Romeo and Juliet. The young sweethearts are sacrificed at the expense of the premier’s past sins and their cover-ups which demand ever more convoluted intrigues for him and his accomplices to retain their positions, their hopes resting on Ferdinand doing his father’s bidding.

Thus, upon Ferdinand’s refusal to comply due to his affection for Louisa, a plan is set in motion to break them apart. Alas, the way Ferdinand handles the knot of intrigues he finds himself in left me with mixed feelings about him, mostly because of his blindness to the possibility of the said intrigue.

Unlike Ferdinand, the sixteen-year-old, innocent Louisa, is anything but ignorant and blind, and I loved her for how astutely she sees through people and their intentions and how she strives to do right by people she deems she must do right by, which is – as it was meant to – her very downfall.

Of the other characters, Lady Milford was intriguing and rather likeable, while the play also employed your typical assortment of villains and more or less stock supporting characters.

All in all, Love and Intrigue is a good enough read for a work that really should be seen in a theatre, and its themes give food for thought at the present time just as they did when it was written.

This review was originally published on my book blog.

 

* I only read Love and Intrigue of the plays in this book but I couldn't find a stand-alone edition to shelve on here.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-15 17:09
Fiesco, or the Genoese Conspiracy: A Republican Tragedy- Friedrich Schiller
Fiesco; or, the Genoese Conspiracy - Friedrich Schiller

This is Schiller still in his younger throw-in-everything-and-the-kitchen-sink phase (cross-dressing, republicanism, oaths, assassination plots, adultery, betrayal, rebellion!), recounting the twists and turns of the titular "Genoese Conspiracy." Highly entertaining, though I keep reading Schiller to find something that matches the brilliance of Don Carlos and yet again I was disappointed. Because the play has two different endings,  I was left guessing how it would end even though I basically knew the plot- this is the tragic ending and I liked it.

 

Fiesco's motivations can be a bit hard to follow as at one point he says that to throw away a diadem is divine, planning not to make himself Duke, but then the next scene he's changed his mind.

 

Verrina's last line is one of those typical wham lines that end a Schiller play- "I go to join Andreas." Wait! You were the most ideological republican of the conspirators, and now, after Fiesco's betrayal, which you knew was coming and avenged, you go over to the side of the autocrat? How does that make sense? Verrina is a pain, especially in his melodramatic imprisonment of the innocent Bertha to manipulate the other conspirators, but his politics make sense until that last line. It sounds like I'm complaining about that line, but really it makes you think and has an emotional impact and I think it would work on stage. It's just hard to make sense of.

 

The scene (one of two variants, and the better of the pair) in which Bertha cross-dresses and goes out into the streets, rescuing herself, is fantastic, and the tragic consequences of Leonora's similar action have a sickening inevitability.

 

Andreas Doria is a fascinating character, a magnanimous tyrant who disarms Fiesco by his refusal to react to his treachery, leaving himself open to whatever Fiesco does. I like that the play argues that tyranny is a problem even when the tyrant is basically a good ruler (not that Andreas will or can reign in his horrible heir).

 

The character of the Moor (referenced in Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate) is cheerfully villainous in a Richard III way, with the humor coming from his incompetence. Fiesco casually uses him until he no longer needs him, then disposes of him (thus the Grossman reference) but this is complicated by the Moor's betrayal of Fiesco at one point and Fiesco's mercy then.

 

Pretty sure this review makes no sense unless you have read/are familiar with the play, but whatever. In conclusion, everyone should read Don Carlos, but if you like The Robbers, this is for you as well. I think this would work pretty well on stage.

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review 2014-01-21 18:02
Sometimes you have to see or hear the play
Mary Stuart - Friedrich Schiller Mary Stuart - Friedrich Schiller

I have to admit that it was LA Theater Work Productions that turned me on to Audible.  I picked this one primary because of Kingston.  The performances are wonderful in this audio version of the play.  This newer translation than the one that Dover publications used (for many good reasons), and I found this more enjoyable.

 

                However, it is an interesting play because of the idea of punishment.  It is true that by executing Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I created a martyr.  Yet, Stuart was not an entirely innocent victim, and the sub-plot of her love for Dudley is rather laughable for its historical inaccuracy.  It also limits the battle between the women to simply a battle for a man.  (Honestly, the best dramatic difference between Mary and Elizabeth is done in Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave.  This occurs when Elizabeth sends both Dudley and Darnley to marry.  Go watch). 

 

                The play also punishes Elizabeth for being a woman in man’s world, and for a modern feminist reader this is somewhat disquieting.  It is unfair, I will not, to judge Schiller based upon today’s standard in regards to gender, but it is still difficult as  a feminist and Elizabeth I fan not to do so. 

                Still I enjoyed it.

 

 

(Jackson and Redgrave from the movie)

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review 2013-10-24 19:06
Der Geisterseher: Erfolgreicher Genrerundumschlag
Der Geisterseher. Aus den Memoires des Grafen von O... - Friedrich von Schiller,Mathias Mayer

Wer hätte gedacht, dass es mich so nerven würde, dass die Geschichte keine Auflösung hat und einfach mittendrin aufhört?!

Diese Story hat alles, was zu ihrer Entstehungszeit hip war: Geisterbechwörungen, Italien, philosophische Diskussionen, anonyme Prinzen mit dunklen Geheimnissen, Geheimgesellschaften. Auch der thematische Dauerbrenner Love Interest fehlt nicht.

 

Der Prinz von *** gerät in Venedig scheinbar in ein groß angelegtes Komplott gegen ihn. (Der Untertitel rührt von der damals scheinbar obligatorischen Rahmenstory her.) Erst gaukelt man ihm ein Treffen mit einem toten Verwandten vor, und obwohl dieser Spuk schnell aufgelöst werden kann (durch phantastisch aufklärerische Diskussionen, wie die Betrüger nun genau vorgegangen seien) bleibt doch immer der Eindruck, im Hintergrund arbeite etwas gegen den Prinzen.

Dieser einzige Roman - dummerweise unvollendete - von Schiller ist eine Lektüre wirklich wert. Eine Prise Grusel wechselt da ab mit Suspense, Schmacht und sprachlichem Raffinement. Wer kein Problem mit veraltetem Deutsch hat, kann hier getrost zugreifen.

Source: elektrischersalon.blogspot.de
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review 2013-10-13 17:40
Five Plays: The Robbers, Passion and Politics, Don Carlos, Mary Stuart, Joan of Arc by Friedrich von Schiller
Five Plays: The Robbers, Passion and Politics, Don Carlos, Mary Stuart, Joan of Arc - Friedrich von Schiller

bookshelves: fradio, radio-3, play-dramatisation, autumn-2012

Read from September 23 to 30, 2012


Just Mary Stuart from this collection. Seeing as I forgot to locate the details at the time, I owe the following via the sleuthing skills of flister Nick:



Mary Stuart

Duration:
1 hour, 30 minutes

First broadcast:
Sunday 23 September 2012

by Friedrich Schiller.

in a version by David Harrower, adapted for radio by Robin Brooks.

One of European theatre's major plays, Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart is a thrilling account of the extraordinary relationship between England's Elizabeth I and her rival cousin, the imprisoned Queen of Scots. David Harrower is one of the most attuned, most talented playwrights working in Britain today. This is the second in Drama on 3's series of classic and new plays that portray the ruthlessness and uncertainties of absolute power.

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