楊憲益先生翻譯蕭伯納（George Bernard Shaw）著的 Caesar and Cleopatra【網路上有主文】 採中英對照，「另一序幕」（AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE PROLOGUE）【網路上主文稱為Act I】對話開始，許多字看似簡單，然而還是得多查辭典（用【】表示）。
Belzanor. By Apis, Persian, thy gods are good to thee.
the Persian. Try yet again, O captain. Double or quits! 隊長，再來一次。要麼輸雙份，要麼兩不欠。
double or quits いちかばちかの勝負. high stake games
Belzanor. No more. I am not in the vein. 不來了。我手氣不好。
the Sentinel (poising his javelin（標槍）as he peers over the wall). Stand. Who goes there?
They all start, listening. A strange voice replies from without.
Voice. The bearer of evil tidings.
Belzanor (calling to the sentry). Pass him.
【vein (MOOD) noun [S or U] v. tr. - 使成脈絡, 像脈絡般分佈於。日本語 (Japanese) n. - 静脈, 血管, 気質, 葉脈, 翅脈, 気分, 鉱脈。a style or a temporary mood: 兩例
The opening scene is very violent, and the rest of the film continues in (a) similar vein.
After laughing over the photo, they began to talk in (a) more serious vein about the damaging effect it could have on his career.】
【start之中文「v. intr. - 出發, 起程, 發生, 開始, 著手, 啟動v. tr. - 使開始, 開始, 發起, 引起, 創辦n. - 出發, 出發時間, 出發點, 起始, 最初」，似乎都未將A sudden and involuntary movement: bolt, jump, startle. See move/halt.和A startled reaction or movement.翻譯。】
【tiding n. - 一條新聞, 消息, 音信； (Japanese) n. - 便り】
At a Celebration of Shakespeare, Some Rare Shaw
“MY way hither was the way of destiny,” the man says, standing awestruck before the great stone paws of the Sphinx, the black silence of a great desert providing an appropriately cosmic backdrop. “For I am he of whose genius you are the symbol: part brute, part woman and part god — nothing of man in me at all.”
The high-flown oratory belongs to Bernard Shaw’s Julius Caesar, in a rare moment of rapture, and here it is delivered by a man possessing his own wondrous attributes, the great actor Christopher Plummer. Mr. Plummer, returning to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for the first time in six years, plays the mythic conqueror stripped of his legendary dressing in Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra,” the climactic event in the company’s impressive current season.
The Canadian-born Mr. Plummer has himself become a more or less historic figure at this renowned festival. His résumé here stretches back more than half a century, to the early years of the founding Tyrone Guthrie regime, when he made a seismic debut as Shakespeare’s Henry V in 1956. Mr. Plummer’s career at Stratford could be said to have reached a climax in 2002, when he played King Lear, a role he reprised in the same Jonathan Miller production on Broadway. His return this summer provides what one hopes will be the first of many codas to that classic performance, in Des McAnuff’s sumptuous staging of one of Shaw’s more rarely seen major plays.
For the occasion the company has spared no expense in splashy stagecraft. Mr. McAnuff, the Canadian-born director of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” (and a planned “Guys and Dolls” revival) and now the festival’s artistic director, surrounds Mr. Plummer with enough kitschy ornament and hieroglyphically posing figures to supply a major mounting of “Aida.”
But the eye-popping scenery could be dusty old flats from a stock opera production. The memorable magic here is provided by Mr. Plummer, who embodies the role of Caesar with an ease that is surely deceptive. (Mr. Plummer is now 78, and the role is the dominant one in the play.) Shaw’s Caesar was consciously written as a rebuke to the glorifying impulse that often coated celebrated heroes in wax on the stage. His Caesar refuses to act in a manner befitting an august figure. Weary of the games of imperial politics, he relies instead on wit, a hard-won knowledge of human nature and simple common sense in trying to settle the fate of a mischievous queen (Nikki M. James, lovely and amusingly petulant but lacking sparkle), a country and a people with minimal loss of blood and self-respect.
An odd, complicated figure — rhapsodizing when we meet him, wisecracking a few minutes later — Caesar is made to seem a wholly natural man in Mr. Plummer’s richly layered performance. He presides over the squabbling Egyptian court and his bellicose allies like a suburban dad trying to keep the peace at a children’s birthday party. Caesar has seen through the false glory of his own achievement and has no more taste for violence or pomp or the animal satisfaction of vengeance.
Mr. Plummer movingly conveys Caesar’s heart-sore disgust at the story of his rival Ptolemy’s murder, and his summary speech denouncing the cycles of revenge — “And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand” — brings the play to a stirring climax. As always, one need look no further than current headlines to register the idea’s sorry, eternal truth.
Mr. Plummer’s weary Caesar is not the only exhausted fellow treading the boards at Stratford this season. The other star attraction is Brian Dennehy, making his debut at the festival in a double bill of Eugene O’Neill’s one-act “Hughie” (directed by Robert Falls) and Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” (directed by Jennifer Tarver), complementary portraits of men confronting or avoiding the harrowing truth of their wasted lives.
Mr. Dennehy is ideally cast as O’Neill’s Erie Smith, the amiable blowhard who stumbles home to his fleabag hotel and gradually cajoles the new night clerk into playing the role of conspirator in his self-delusion, once so competently filled by the clerk’s predecessor, the deceased title character. Mr. Dennehy’s windy, desperate bonhomie is both comic and pathetic, his tales of past glory as obviously threadbare as his rumpled white suit.
An ingratiating, mechanical smile affixed to his face as if stapled in place, Mr. Dennehy embodies with saggy physical grace this failed gambler who knows in his bones that not only are his best days long gone, but that they weren’t so good to begin with. As the night clerk, the blank mirror in which Erie searches pleadingly for the self he wants to see, Joe Grifasi is terrific, a hollow-eyed fellow long since emptied of the will to believe that Erie clings to by his fingernails.
The play’s pat ending betrays O’Neill’s streak of sentimentality, a flaw Beckett can hardly be accused of. “Krapp’s Last Tape,” in which the seedy title character celebrates a birthday with the playing of a taped testimonial from an equally gloomy yesteryear, is a quick immersion in Beckett at his most economically bleak. Mr. Dennehy is almost unrecognizable as the tattered but still natty figure of “Hughie.” His Krapp is a dazed, grubby man of mechanical movements and saucer eyes that seem permanently fixed on some inward horizon. The morose relish with which Krapp listens to the musings of his younger self darkens slowly into something more devastating as Mr. Dennehy’s performance gains in concentration.
Beckett, O’Neill and Shaw might seem oddities at a Shakespeare festival, but the Stratford repertory often encompasses a broad spectrum: Greek tragedy (a well-received “Trojan Women” this season), American musical comedy (an inventive “Cabaret,” directed by Amanda Dehnert, and a sellout “Music Man,” directed by Susan H. Schulman) and newly commissioned work too. The company produces about 15 shows each year in a season running from May into November. One of the great pleasures of the festival is this dizzying abundance. With matinees Tuesday through Sunday, you can see several shows in a long weekend or take in almost all of the season’s offerings in a week.
In a four-day visit, I sampled a wide range of this year’s work. The two new plays — a dance-theater adaptation of “Moby-Dick” by Morris Panych and “Palmer Park,” a drama about integration in upper-middle-class Detroit in the late 1960s by Joanna McClelland Glass — were both disappointing, in almost diametrically opposed ways.
It was hard not to admire Mr. Panych’s audacity in choosing to use words only sparingly in translating Herman Melville’s doorstop novel to the stage. But the glory of “Moby-Dick” resides largely in the abundance and dazzling scope of its language and its thought, which accrue a majesty and metaphysical weight as the novel progresses. The man-chases-whale narrative, even when translated effectively into movement, makes no special claim to greatness.
The exhaustingly verbose “Palmer Park,” on the other hand, has an engaging, provocative subject that still resonates today. Too bad Ms. Glass has not worked sufficiently hard to dramatize her narrative. Both the black and white characters seem to be schlepping reams of statistics and talking points around with them as the story unfolds, resulting in a play peopled less by palpably real characters than by amateur lecturers.
The classical rep at Stratford this season comprises five Shakespeare productions and a Spanish play from roughly the same period. Lope de Vega was the first great playwright of the Spanish Golden Age, and his “Fuente Ovejuna” is one of hundreds of plays he wrote to earn the nickname “Monster of Nature.” Laurence Boswell, the British director perhaps best known on this side of the Atlantic for his Broadway staging of Peter Nichols’s “Day in the Death of Joe Egg” in 2003, has become a specialist in Spanish writing of the 17th century.
His new adaptation of this drama about a village that rises up against its feudal overlord has a sweep and polish that make a cogent case for its inclusion in a classical season. I have to confess, however, that “Fuente Ovejuna” is a play I am glad to have seen but perhaps not wildly eager to re-encounter. My tolerance for peasant comedy is limited, and while the peasant tragedy that forms the core of the play has its gripping, even gruesome moments — and a sniveling villain worth hissing — the lack of psychological depth and the simplicity of the dramatic thrust left me pining for the richer pastures of Shakespeare.
Perhaps that was why I found it so hard to choose among the Shakespeare productions, an eclectic assortment that includes an “All’s Well That Ends Well” with Mr. Dennehy making his Shakespeare debut in a small role opposite the estimable Stratford stalwart Martha Henry; “Love’s Labour’s Lost”; and “The Taming of the Shrew.” With limited time I concentrated on the two standard classics: “Hamlet,” directed by Adrian Noble, the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Mr. McAnuff’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
This “Romeo” is a clear reading that unobtrusively stresses the piteous process by which a story of a blooming young love is gradually transformed into a senseless tragedy. The story seems to darken as quickly and casually as the characters shift from Paul Tazewell’s contemporary costumes into his Elizabethan ones. Ms. James’s Juliet is fresh and bewitching, although in the final scenes she makes the mistake common to young actors of slathering feeling on top of the verse instead of letting the writing itself reveal the emotion embedded in it. Gareth Potter played Romeo with a fine ardency and intelligence.
One major reward of established Shakespeare festivals with repertory companies is the depth of casting that allows for revelatory performances even in minor roles. Evan Buliung, who plays Petruchio in “Shrew,” was the most compelling Mercutio I have seen, and a similar surprise was in store for me at Mr. Noble’s “Hamlet.”
Ben Carlson, a Canadian actor whom I saw as Hamlet in a Chicago Shakespeare Theater production two years ago, is a well-trained classicist whose performance in the role remains compelling. Hands thrust deeply into his pockets, Mr. Carlson’s Hamlet is a permanently seething fellow whose reluctance to act gradually comes to seem inexplicable. This Hamlet is less an anguished philosopher than a tortured player in a fraught domestic drama.
That is in keeping with Mr. Noble’s production, which presents the play as a family saga from the Edwardian era set in dainty parlors, tea houses and gambling rooms. Surprisingly, one of the most engaging players in the drama turned out to be dreary old Polonius, portrayed by the superb Geraint Wyn Davies as a man of true tender feeling for his family.
One of the play’s most touching moments finds Mr. Davies’s Polonius sitting down at the piano with Ophelia, performing a little duet to soften the blow of his fatherly advice. In place of the doddering, buffoonish stock figure we are used to seeing, Mr. Davies provides a man whose mistakes were made not out of cluelessness but from a thoughtful regard for the welfare of his family. His killing is therefore not an afterthought — a bit of gruesome comic business — but an act of terrible consequence, a link in the dark chain that leads ultimately to Hamlet’s own. It serves as a reminder that long before Shaw created his Caesar as a comic riposte to Shakespeare’s, Shakespeare was revealing the ugly patterns in the histories of men, the killing that begat killing, always in the name of right and honor and peace.