Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1990 :: November ::
Shakespearean Spinoffs
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 100. Thursday, 15 Nov 1990.
 
 
(1)   Date:   Wed, 14 Nov 90 23:52:03 EST                     (9 lines)
      From:   James O'Donnell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
      Subject: SHK 1.0099  Shakespearean Spinoffs
 
(2)   Date:     Wed, 14 Nov 90 10:59 EST                     (73 lines)
      From:     <DORENKAMP@HLYCROSS>
      Subject:  Shakespeare knock-offs
 
(3)   Date:   Wed, 14 Nov 90 12:56:06 EST                    (28 lines)
      From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
      Subject:      Anthology of works with Shakespeare
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Wed, 14 Nov 90 23:52:03 EST
From:   James O'Donnell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Subject: Shakespearean Spinoffs
Comment: SHK 1.0099  Shakespearean Spinoffs
 
Let us not forget Barbara Garson, *Macbird*, the wicked satire on LBJ that
appeared in 1966. Perhaps more at this point for nostalgia buffs than
Shakespeareans, but some of us will fall in both categories. It was published
by Grove Press in the age when that was a cachet of outrageousness.
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------77----
Date:     Wed, 14 Nov 90 10:59 EST
From:     <DORENKAMP@HLYCROSS>
Subject:  Shakespeare knock-offs
 
Among Shakespearean spinoffs, borrowings, etc., I have to list
Tom Stoppard's two complementary one-act plays, *Dogg's
Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth*, as particular favorites.  The
latter, a "closet" production of *Macbeth* in a totalitarian
country also brings to mind a scene in Leslie Epstein's
novel, *King of the Jews*, in which is chillingly depicted a
production of *Macbeth* in a concentration camp.
 
*Dogg's Hamlet*, concludes with a fifteen minute *Hamlet*
(which certainly bests Maurice Evans' GI Hamlet of WWII)
which I have found not only fascinating in itself but also
very useful in teaching how we read.
 
The fifteen minute version consists of three parts. The
first is a prologue (spoken by "Shakespeare") which goes as
follows:
 
        For this relief, much thanks.
        Though I am native here, and to the manner born,
        It is a custom more honoured in the breach
        Than in the observance
        Well.
        Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
        To be, or not to be, that is the question.
        There are more things in heaven and earth
        Than are dreamt of in your philosophy--
        There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
        Rough hew them how we will
        Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.
        I must be cruel only to be kind;
        Hold, as t'were, the mirror up to nature.
        A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
        (LADY in the audience shouts 'Marmalade'.)
        The lady doth protest too much.
        Cat will mew, and Dogg will have his day!
 
Then proceeds the body of the play, with the lines of the
Prologue appearing again, this time in context.  The whole play
is, of course, a further reduction of the original, which
the reader or viewer understands according to his or
her knowledge of, familiarity with, or recollection of the
original.  Indeed, the play calls for a (re-)constructive
reading. (This epistemological theme has been in large
measure the concern of the play up to the fifteen minute
Hamlet.)
 
The third part is an Encore in which the play is reprised in
shorter form, which is effective and understandable in
relation to our understanding of the "fifteen minute"
version, which is understandable in relation to our
knowledge, familiarity, recollection, etc., etc.
 
I find it useful to have students read the Stoppard before
reading Shakespeare's *Hamlet* and again.  It helps
illustrate the way our own experiences and knowledge enter
into any of our reading.
 
This, I know, is getting interminably long, but let me add
one more thing--a recollection of my own from over
twenty-five years back.  A floating theater called The
Showboat, specializing in "mellerdramas," (It still exists,
I believe; at least it did seven or eight years ago) moored
in St. Louis, on the Mississippi, presented *Hamlet and
Yeggs*, a comedy about a bunch of convicts who planned an
prison break using a production of *Hamlet* as cover--the
old play within a play trick.  My memory is vague, but I do
recall that Claudius, having pronounced Hamlet crazy in the
head, decided to send him to England for his "weak end."
 
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------50----
Date:   Wed, 14 Nov 90 12:56:06 EST
From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
Subject:      Anthology of works with Shakespeare
 
How strange to see interest in this subject which I had just begun to
look into myself.  While researching for my project in adapting
Shakespeare's Sonnet sequence to dramatic form I came across two
earlier attempts, one by Shaw entitled *The Dark Lady of the Sonnets*
which includes Shakespeare as a character, and the other a piece
entitled *Shakespeare and his Lover* by Frank Harris.  I have been
unable to locate the Harris piece, but the Shaw is usually found in
any of his collected works.  The Harris piece was copyright in 1910
so there should be a Library of Congress version of it, if nothing
else.  However, besides these two plays we have recently been getting
poems about Shakespeare or his plays read to us in lecture which made
me begin to wonder if there was an anthology like the one under
discussion in existance.  Thoughts of a possible paper on the bard in
other people's works, as well as other people who rewrite the bard's
works (Shaw being the first to come to mind).  (Ken - This might be
related to your project, if only incidentally.)  I think it is a
worthwhile project and one worth pursuing.  Ken, you proposed this
but if no one else wishes to take the initiative....  I'd be willing
to compile a list of any such I find independently and those that
other people bring to my attention.  It might be an easier way, than
to overload the system, but again in the interest of a free conference
we might wish to do so.  Well, it leaves us with much to think about.
A further update later.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.