Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shakespeare References in Air Guitar by Dave Hickey

Air Guitar, a collection of essays on the arts by Dave Hickey, contains a few Shakespeare references. Hickey mentions A Midsummer Night’s Dream three times in this book. The first is in a piece titled “My Weimar,” where he writes, “So there will be no cabaret, no pictures, no fantasy or flashing lights, no filth or sexy talk, no cruelty, no melodies, no laughter, no Max Reinhardt, no Ur-Faust, no A Midsummer Nights’ Dream” (page 86). The other two times this play is mentioned are both in a piece titled “Lost Boys.” The first of these two also mentions The Royal Shakespeare Company: “Created by the two illusionists in collaboration with production designer John Napier (Cats, Starlight Express) and writer-director John Caird of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the show is at once a seamless spectacle and a plausible, subversive conflation of Wagner, Barnum, Houdini, Rousseau, Pink Floyd, Fantasia, Peter Pan, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (page 173). Later in that same piece, Hickey again mentions Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the same sentence, along with The Tempest: “It is hardly surprising, then, that the dynamics of Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage would evoke other late Victorian celebrations of metamorphic theatricality: works like Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland and The Jungle Book – and earlier predecessors like The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (page 179). In all three instances, Hickey uses A Midsummer Night’s Dream to end a sentence.

There is one other Shakespeare reference in this book. In a piece titled “The Little Church Of Perry Mason,” Hickey writes, “I have probably spent roughly three times as many hours in front of old Perry Mason episodes as I have spent listening to Mozart and reading Shakespeare combined” (page 138).

This book was published in 1997.

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