1991

Shakespearean Spinoffs & Brecht

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 34. Thursday, 31 Jan 1991.
 
Date:     Thu, 31 Jan 91 15:41 EST
From:     <WRIGHTS@CUA>
Subject:  Shakespearean Spinoffs
 
     For the bibliography of Shakespearean spinoffs, let me nominate
"The Plebians Rehearse the Uprising" by Gunter Grass (1966).  Actually,
it is more like a spinoff of a spinoff.  The protagonist is Bertolt
Brecht, who is rehearsing his version of Shakespeare's "Coriolanus"
in East Berlin when the workers rise against their oppressive leaders
on June 17, 1953.  Instead of lending his support to the workers,
Brecht insists that they show him what is happening in the streets
so that he can revise his conception of "Coriolanus" accordingly.
In this regard, the play might also be of interest to participants
in the recent discussion of how Shakespearean plays get changed
during rehearsals.
 
     --Steve Wright

Shakespeare's Library / "Sow'd" in Cymbeline

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 33. Thursday, 31 Jan 1991.
 
(1)   Date:   Thu, 31 Jan 91 11:28:22 EST                    (19 lines)
      From:   Fritz Levy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Subject: [Query: Shakespeare's Library?]
 
(2)   Date:         Wed, 30 Jan 91 23:10:53 EST              (12 lines)
      From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
      Subject:      "Sow'd" - CYM 4.2.181
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Thu, 31 Jan 91 11:28:22 EST
From:   Fritz Levy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: [Query: Shakespeare's Library?]
 
I have a question about the use of "raw material" by Shakespeare (and
other Elizabethan dramatists).  This is generated by a vague sentence
in Greenblatt's "Circulation of Social Energy," in _Shakespearean
Negotiations_, p. 9: "The companies did not pay for 'rights' to stories,
so far as I know--at least not in the modern sense--but the playwright
or company did pay for the books used as sources (for example, Holinshed
or Marguerite of Navarre or Giraldi Cinthio), and the playwright
himself was paid."  I'm simply curious to know whether this means
the King's Men (or Lord Chamberlain's) had a "library," or
whether it means no more than that the playwrights went out and
bought the stuff and shared it around.  I like the image of "good old
boys" hanging around the theater reading Holinshed in the Green Room,
but somehow I don't believe it.  Any evidence?
                                                   Fritz Levy
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------16----
Date:         Wed, 30 Jan 91 23:10:53 EST
From:         Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      "Sow'd" - CYM 4.2.181
 
I have to admit I'm a little stymied by Phyllis Wright's query.  Every
edition I have consulted follows the First Folio in printing "sow'd",
although some modernize it to "sowed."  Riverside, Oxford, and Cambridge
all concur with F1.  Have I missed the point of the query?  [This and
any other responses will be forwarded to Ms Wright, who has not as yet
joined us here on SHAKSPER.]
                                              Ken Steele
                                              University of Toronto

Shakespearean Spinoffs

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 31. Wednesday, 30 Jan 1991.
 
(1)   Date:   Sat, 26 Jan 91 13:10:50 EST                    (21 lines)
      From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
      Subject:      Re: Spinoffs Biblio
 
(2)   Date:   Wed, 30 Jan 91 13:18:22 EST                    (16 lines)
      From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
      Subject:      Shakespeare Performances in other works
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Sat, 26 Jan 91 13:10:50 EST
From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
Subject:      Re: Spinoffs Biblio
 
      There was an anthology project I heard of, called Inspired by
Shakespeare, being put together by Judi-isms (a very small press).  They are
looking for poems, stories, playlets, whatever, that are derivative of o
inspired by Shakespeare and/or his works.  They probably do not pay and may be
too small a press to be of interest to most of the academics, but perhaps they
have some work that's just lying around, or which they consider less
canonical than the rest of their stuff, which they might want to send.
 
      Their address is:
 
                        Judi-isms
                        27 W. Penn St
                        Long Beach, NY 11561
 
                                           Lawrence Schimel
                                           Yale University
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------28----
Date:   Wed, 30 Jan 91 13:18:22 EST
From:   Lawrence Schimel <SCHLAWD@YALEVM>
Subject:      Shakespeare Performances in other works
 
Our discussion over lunch just now has lead me to ask the question of whther
we wish to include works in which performances of Shakespeare occur in the
bibliographies I am compiling, or if a third bibliography category should be
established.  The work in question which raised the issue was The Hamlet scene
from Huckleberry Finn.  What is the opinion of SHAKSPER on this matter?  And
please send me the names, and other relevant data, of similar works.
Thank you.
 
Lawrence Schimel
SCHLAWD@YALEVM
Yale University

Shakespearean E-Texts

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 32. Thursday, 31 Jan 1991.
 
Date:   Thu, 31 Jan 91 12:08:53 EST
From:   "Michael S. Hart" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 2.0029  Shakespeare E-Texts
Comment:      Re: SHK 2.0029  Shakespeare E-Texts
 
The Shakespeare on Disk to which I referred [yesterday] is at
1-800-446-2089.  They have the complete works, as far as I know,
in ASCII, each act is a separate file.  Ask for Sam or Niloufer
Reifler.  Please tell them they were recommended by Michael Hart
of Project Gutenberg.
 
Michael
 
P.S.  WordCruncher can be reached at 1-800-234-0546.  If you order, any
orders placed with Project Gutenberg will result in support for Project
Gutenberg by WordCrucher. All prices and discounts to you are constant,
no matter how you order.  Of course, once you call them, they might try
to get you to order right on the spot, which would not benefit Gutenberg
as we would not have placed the order for you.
 
Thanks to you and to WordCruncher for your support.

Responses: Revision in Rehearsal

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 30. Wednesday, 30 Jan 1991.
 
(1)   Date:   Wed, 30 Jan 91 01:15:00 EST                    (51 lines)
      From:   "J. JEFFERSON CARTER" <CARTERJJ@whitman>
      Subject: Re: SHK 2.0026  Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
 
(2)   Date: Wed, 30 Jan 91 09:11:56 PST                      (17 lines)
      From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Ray Lischner)
      Subject: SHK 2.0026  Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
 
(3)   Date:    Wed, 30 Jan 91 18:55 EST                      (34 lines)
      From:    "Joe Pellegrino"                            <JOEP@UNC>
      Subject: Rehearsal Redos
 
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   Wed, 30 Jan 91 01:15:00 EST
From:   "J. JEFFERSON CARTER" <CARTERJJ@whitman>
Subject: 2.0026  Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
Comment: Re: SHK 2.0026  Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
 
        Actually, I've found that some of the beauty of Shakespeare
onstage lies in how well it works *without* revision.  I'm in my second year
of undergrad work, and have only acted in four of Shakespeare's works
(Othello, Cymbeline, R&J, M-Venice), so I certainly don't have an
extensive working relationship with the material, but I have always been
impressed, during the "rehearsal process" as you put it, at the
flexibility that the text provides.
 
        One of the first things I thought when working on my first
Shakespeare play was that I didn't see how I could gain direction from
stage directions that were so ambiguous (or frequently just non-existent).
But it soon became very clear that that was to be an *advantage* for the
actor and the director, not a failing.  To clarify, I'd like to point
out a main difference between Shakespeare's texts and most of the modern
plays I've worked with.
 
        Modern plays tend to exist in a single setting,
with very little room for modification (at least not without getting
yourself in hot water with both the playwright and the Theatre Guild!).
A good example would be some of Mamet's work.  Mamet gives you almost
*everything*-- mood, lighting, the set, even physical descriptions of
the main characters.  While that may not seem outlandish, it takes away
a lot of the imagination and creativity of a director and/or his actors.
 
        Shakespeare, however, is almost absolutely unbounded.  He gives
little else besides the dialogue and who's onstage at a given point in
time.  Whereas Stoppard or Mamet, for instance, leave very little
ambiguity in their characters' speech, I've found that I can almost
always find at least two radically different interpretations for a line
(and often do, to my director's chagrin) simply by altering to whom I
say it.
 
        I don't have any directing experience at all, but I'm sure that
the openness of Shakespeare is even more of a playground for the
director than it is for the actor.  That is the whole reason so many
different productions exist for Will's work-- it is entirely possible to
retain all of the emotion and motivation that comes out of his texts,
and still move the play to wherever/whenever you want, and all the
freshness a strange context gives the play.  While I've been in a
Silicon Valley R&J, and a Cymbeline from the 1920's, it would be very
difficult to do Ayckborne's (sp) HenceForward in Elizabethan England!
 
(Sorry I talked so long.)
                                        -- J. Jefferson Carter
                                         This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------54----
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 91 09:11:56 PST
From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Ray Lischner)
Subject: Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
Comment: SHK 2.0026  Query: Revision in Rehearsal?
 
Most revisions, in my experience acting and directing in college,
were to clarify passages.  The one that sticks in my memory is from
Two Gentlemen of Verona: Launce is talking with his shoes, and the line
reads as "would woman", with much discussion by editors as to meaning:
whether it should be "wood woman" or "old woman"; our director changed
it to "woman would", with much success.
 
In general, I try to avoid revising the text, going on the assumption
that Shakespeare was a better playwright than I.  Certainly, based on
performances I have seen, he was a better playwright than some
well known film directors.
 
Ray Lischner        UUCP: {uunet,apollo,decwrl}!mntgfx!lisch
 
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------46----
Date:    Wed, 30 Jan 91 18:55 EST
From:    "Joe Pellegrino"                            <JOEP@UNC>
Subject: Rehearsal Redos
 
A few years back I played Duke Orsino in a production of 12N.  We did
the show with the audience on two sides, back and front.  This caused
innumerable problems for stage design and blocking, but the director
wanted to try this "football stadium" style.  We had a very difficult
time projecting the situational humor, let alone the wit of the lines.
All subtlety was lost.  Our Malvolio, in particular, was praised by the
other members of the troupe for his fine performance, but was panned by
the critics because they missed half of his very nuanced performance.
The rest of us, being just average hacks, got the sentiments over the
footlights without losing too much intensity.
 
It has always seemed to me that the production of a Shakespeare play
needs a kind of intimacy, a closeness between actors and audience, in
order to escape a quick descent into bombastic proclamation of the
lines.  I've been witness to one production of 1H4 where Hotspur was
portrayed as a stutterer.  Whenever he would get angry, the words just
wouldn't come.  All I can recall is acute embarassment for the actor,
for he did nothing but stand there and screw up his face when he was to
declaim a line in a fit of passion.  The pauses were unbearable, for you
could feel the audience wondering what was going on and being embarassed
for the man, whom they thought had gone up on his lines.  It wasn't
until the next day, when I discussed the matter with a member of the
company, that I found out that Hotspur was supposed to stutter.
Although it made for a great last line, either the directorial
decision was incorrect or the actor should have done more with his
body to show his infirmity.
 
Joe Pellegrino
UNC-Chapel Hill

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