Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 261. Thursday, 17 Oct 1991.
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 91 10:04:47 EDT
Subject: 2.0257 Staging Shakespeare's Unstaged Scenes
Comment: Re: SHK 2.0257 Staging Shakespeare's Unstaged Scenes
Kay Stockholder says that added visual scenes do the audience's homework for
them and dilute the educative properties of Shakespeare. I could not disagree
If the power of art is to educate, then limiting education to the text (as
opposed to the performance) makes Jack a dull boy. In my production of Antony
and Cleopatra, the first scene was a montage of characters walking in the
streets of Rome (actually, I set it in NYC) to the music of carmina bhurana
(sp?). As stupid as this sounds, it set the tone perfectly for the rest of
the show, and subtly established a heirarchy among the character groups.
Visual images may augment the textual message, but even if they add something
completely different, they are still valid. I cannot emphasize enough that
concentrating on the language and not the play in its entirety will put the
audience to sleep because of its non-dramatic aspect. If language is really
the focus, do King Lear as a poetry reading!
And one more thing, if someone wants to kill the Porter, they may do so
out of sheer meanness. Perhaps the army marching from the forest is in a
blind anger, or Macbeth's paranoia grows out of hand, or the porter, like
Falstaff in 1HIV gets caught in a fight. Using the power of imagination
anything is possible. Perhaps not wonderful, but possible.