1991

The Death of Susan Wright

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 336. Tuesday, 31 Dec 1991.
 
 
From: 		Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 	The Death of Susan Wright
Date: 		Tue, 31 Dec 91 8:23:20 EST
 
Some tragic news from Stratford, Ontario yesterday: 44-year-old actress
Susan Wright and her parents perished in a house fire there Sunday night.
 
One of Canada's most prominent actresses, Wright played leading roles with
most major companies across the country, including the Shaw Festival,
Vancouver Playhouse, Neptune Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Robin
Phillips' Grand Theatre Company.  She won Dora Mavor Moore Awards as
best actress for her performances in *New World* and *A Lie of the Mind*.
Wright was also Co-Founder and Associate Director of the Persephone
Theatre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  Wright's film and television work
included principal roles in *Thick as Thieves*, *The Wars*, and the series
*Adderly*, and she won a 1985 ACTRA Award as Best Actress for the role
of Elizabeth in CBC's *Slim Obsession*.
 
Wright had just completed her seventh season with the Stratford Festival,
playing Mrs. Webb in *Our Town*, Germaine Lauzon in *Les Belles Soeurs*, and
the Citizen's Wife in *The Knight of the Burning Pestle*.  (The latter two
performances, in particular, were the highlights of the respective
productions).  In past seasons, Wright has performed Mistress Quickly in
*MWW*, Queen Margaret in *R3*, the Countess in *AWEW*, Paulina in
*WT*, and the Queen in *Cymbeline* (among many other roles).
 
Wright had already been cast to play Mistress Overdone in next season's
*MM*, Denise in Michel Tremblay's *Bonjour, La, Bonjour*, Shirley in
Willy Russell's one-woman show *Shirley Valentine*, and three parts in
Robertson Davies's *World of Wonders*.  (Stratford has not yet made any
announcement, but it seems at least a possibility that *Shirley Valentine*
will be cancelled or postponed in response to Wright's death.)
 
Susan Wright was delighted to play opposite her sisters, Anne Wright and
Janet Wright, in this season's *Les Belles Soeurs*, arguably the season's
best production.  Anne Wright has just completed her sixth season with the
Festival, playing Viola in *12N*, Gabrielle in *Les Belles Soeurs*, and
Georgette in *The School for Wives*.  In previous seasons she has
performed Helena in *MSND*, Alice and Mistress Quickly in *H5*, and
Lucetta in *2GV*, as well as appearances in *Macbeth*, *TC*, and
*MAAN*.  Janet Wright debuted at the Stratford Festival last season in *Les
Belles Soeurs*, and has been cast as Maria in next season's *Uncle Vanya*,
and Gilberte in *Bonjour, La, Bonjour*.
 
I am sure many other SHAKSPEReans will share my sense of loss and
concern for the family.  I will remember Susan Wright's Mistress Quickly,
Germaine Lauzon, and Citizen's Wife, as long as I read those plays,
and I very much regret missing the work she might have accomplished in
the years ahead.
					Ken Steele
					University of Toronto
					

Stratford (Ontario) Festival 1992

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 335. Monday, 23 Dec 1991.
 
 
From: 		Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 	Stratford (Ontario) Festival - 1992
Date: 		Mon, 23 Dec 91 14:44:15 EST
 
Thought I'd distill the stack of press releases I've accumulated from
the Stratford (Ontario) Festival in the past month, regarding their
40th Season, 1992.  (Those not likely to travel to Ontario for
Shakespeare can stop reading any time).
 
On December 7th, Stratford announced a deficit of $1,351,271 for the
1991 season, perhaps because of a 5% decline in attendance from 1990.
The Festival also announced that the search for an Artistic Director to
replace David William for 1994-7 has begun.  Most disturbing of all,
because of the "continuing difficult economic climate" Stratford has
cut the playbill from 14 to 11 productions for 1992, shortened the
Avon Theatre's season by a further two weeks, cut the acting company
from 105 to 90, and is planning to "rigorously monitor" budgets for
next year.
 
On December 11th, David William announced the particulars of the 1992
playbill.  *The Tempest* will open June 1st, directed by David William
and starring Edward Atienza (Trinculo), William Needles (Alonso),
Nicholas Pennell (Stephano), Claire Rankin (Miranda), Alan Scarfe
(Prospero), and Mervyn Blake (Gonzalo).  I'd expect strong comic
performances from Atienza, Needles, Pennell, and Blake (all
established veterans of the Festival), particularly considering
William's demonstrated talents for directing comedy (in *The
Shoemaker's Holiday* two years ago).  Hopefully the production, to be
designed by Susan Benson, will not be as dull as the *Hamlet* William
directed this past season.
 
*Romeo and Juliet* will open June 3rd, and will be directed by Richard
Monette and designed by Debra Hanson.  (This sounds like a winning
combination already!)  The production will star Barbara Bryne (Nurse),
Antoni Cimolino (Romeo), Colm Feore (Mercutio), and Bernard Hopkins
(Friar Lawrence).  Monette has directed a string of first-class hits
in recent years, including *The Comedy of Errors* and *As You Like
It*, the former broadcast by CBC and the latter in production as a
major motion picture.  Bryne and Feore's abilities speak for
themselves.  This is going to be a must-see, I suspect.
 
*Love's Labour's Lost* will open June 5th.  It will be directed by
Marti Maraden, and will star Peter Donaldson (Armado), Colm Feore
(Berowne), Lucy Peacock (Princess), Douglas Rain (Holofernes), and
William Needles (Nathaniel).  Maraden has recently demonstrated her
abilities directing Canadian and British contemporary playwrights
(David Storey's *Home* in 1990, Michel Tremblay's *Les Belles Soeurs*
and Elliott Hayes' *Homeward Bound* in 1991) and should do better at
*LLL* than Hopkins did several years ago.  The cast is strong and I have
high hopes that Stratford will be able to pull off a good production of
this play at long last.
 
*Measure for Measure* will open mid-season, on August 14th, directed
by Michael Langham and designed by Desmond Heeley.  It will star Brian
Bedford (Duke Vincentio), Antoni Cimolino (Claudio), Colm Feore
(Angelo), Nicholas Pennell (Lucio), Peter Donaldson (Abhorson),
Bernard Hopkins (Pompey), Brian Tree (Elbow), and Susan Wright
(Mistress Overdone).  This looks like it has the potential to be a
very strong production too: I look forward in particular to the
performances of Feore and Pennell.
 
Marti Maraden has been appointed Director of the Young Company for
1992, a position which Bernard Hopkins held with reluctance this season.
*The Two Gentlemen of Verona* will open August 2nd at the Tom
Patterson Theatre (formerly the Third Stage), directed by Maraden and
designed by Debra Hanson.  The members of the 1992 Young Company will
appear in *The Tempest* and *Romeo and Juliet* early in the season,
and in larger roles in *The Two Gentlemen* at mid-season.
 
David William has also continued his quest for younger audiences.
Stratford's "Family Experience" discount tickets will apply to 154
performances in 1992, expanded from 65 in 1991, offering children's
tickets (18 and under) for $13.50 when accompanied by a paying adult.
(Limit two children's tickets per adult.)  Furthermore, Stratford has
announced a new "Under Thirty Theatre Club" for those 29 and under.
For a $25 entrance fee, members will receive ten discount coupons for
50% off tickets for any Tuesday evening or Sunday evening performances.
 
1992 looks like a promising season for Stratford, and I'll try to keep
you posted as news comes in.
 
						Ken Steele
						University of Toronto
 
						

Season's Greetings

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 333. Sunday, 22 Dec 1991.
 
 
From: 		Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 	Season's Greetings
Date: 		Sun, 22 Dec 91 10:52:18 EST
 
 
Dear Fellow SHAKSPEReans;
 
The drop in network traffic of all kinds is the surest sign that the holiday
season is upon us.  Although I will be leaving town for Christmas, through
the miracle of the network (and a few connections at the University of
Western Ontario) I will be able to continue moderating SHAKSPER without
interruption, for those still reading or writing.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for a wonderful year,
and to wish you all the best for the holidays and throughout the new year
(which will be Volume 3 of SHAKSPER).
 
						Yours,
 
						Ken Steele
						University of Toronto

Astral Navigation & Francis Drake

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 334. Monday, 23 Dec 1991.
 
 
Date: 		Sun, 22 Dec 1991 13:15:01 -0500
From: 		"Tad Davis" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 2.0332  Astral Navigation & Sonnet 166
Comment: 	RE: SHK 2.0332  Astral Navigation & Sonnet 166
 
[In SHK 2.0332, Ron Dwelle said:]
 
>> It does seem a little surprising that Shakespeare understood navigation
that well, though perhaps he just picked up the concept and the language,
as he did with so many other areas of knowledge and experience. <<
 
I appreciate the confirmation, as if any were needed, and I will with your
permission use it in my forthcoming monograph demonstrating that
Shakespeare collaborated with Francis Drake on many of his early plays and
poems.  This theory is impossible to impugn, because it is (now) founded on
correct navigational method.  It puts out of court all previous theories on
the sonnets and answers all questions, as of course I knew it would before
I began.  The only outstanding question is the identity of the Dark Lady,
who may have been a mermaid (remembered by Shakespeare -- the magpie as
ever -- in his glancing reference to the "fair vestal throned by the
west").  These creatures are known to be of Italianate disposition and
therefore dark, or at least brave.  The Shakespeare establishment, of
course, filled as it is with levellers and other demagogues who are unable
to acknowledge the certainty provided by authority, will take its time
catching me up.
 
(Sorry.  With the holidays coming on, I couldn't resist the temptation to
caRowse a little bit.)
 
Tad Davis
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Astral Navigation & Sonnet 166

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 332. Sunday, 22 Dec 1991.
 
 
(1)	Date: 	Sat, 21 Dec 91 11:11:22 EST
	From: 	Ronald Dwelle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Subj: 	SHK 2.0331  Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
 
(2)	Date: 	Sat, 21 Dec 91 16:40:48 PST
	From: 	This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
	Subj: 	SHK 2.0331  Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
 
	
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 		Sat, 21 Dec 91 11:11:22 EST
From: 		Ronald Dwelle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
Comment: 	SHK 2.0331  Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
 
 
          A most interesting question, Geoff, on 116, and one that
          I've contemplated frequently. Most memorable for me was six
          hours I spent reading and re-reading the sonnet, while
          becalmed in the Atlantic ocean about 200 miles from Bermuda.
          I frequently had to interrupt my reading to grab the sextant
          and shoot the sun through breaks in the overcast.
 
          To a contemporary celestial navigator, the lines can make
          sense in this way: a good star sight is always difficult,
          since in order to get the "height" or elevation of the star,
          you need to see the horizon and the star at the same time.
          The "height" is, by definition, the angle between the
          horizon and the star. The difficulty comes because at night
          it's often hard to identify the horizon accurately enough to
          get a precise angle--or, occasionally because of overcast or
          ship motion, it's hard to identify which star you're
          shooting.
 
          It is not unusual for a navigator (in poor conditions) to
          "shoot" any star he can. When you do that, you have a height
          (read off the sextant, or astrolabe), but you don't have a
          "worth"--that is, the navigator still has to calculate his
          position, to "reduce" the sight and convert it into a
          geographical position on the globe. Or simply guess which
          star he's working with.
 
          This is pretty sophisticated navigating for 1594, unless the
          star referred to is the North star or Pole star. By
          measuring the angle between the horizon and the North star,
          the navigator can make a fairly easy reduction to determine
          his latitude. Think of it this way: If the North Star were
          dead overhead, the height (angle) between the horizon and
          the star would be 90 degrees. And the ship would be at
          90-degrees north latitude (or the North Pole). If the North
          Star were dead on the horizon, the height (angle) would be
          0, and the ship would be located at 0-degrees latitude (or
          the equator). If the height (angle) were 45-degrees, the
          ship would be at latitude 45 degrees. Etcetera. This is a
          bit oversimplified, because several corrections have to made
          to the raw sight (defraction in the atmosphere, sextant
          mirror error, the fact that the pole star is not exactly
          over the pole, etc.) before the "worth" (accurate latitude)
          is known.
 
          This is all sensible in Shakespeare's time, since "latitude
          sailing" was the common way to traverse the ocean.
          (Longitude couldn't be easily determined until Captain
          Cook's time, since an accurate timepiece is required for
          that.) What the shipmaster did was sail "up" or "down" to
          the latitude of the home port or landfall (for example, the
          southern tip of Ireland), and then sail due east by compass
          until landfall was made. Frequent checks of the height of
          the north star had to be made, of course, to be sure the
          ship was not being set off course by currents or steered off
          course by poor helmsmanship, or forced away by contrary
          winds.
 
          So the sonnet's lines seem to be to be good navigation, or
          good navigational terminology.  Love is like the North Star
          to every wandering bark, but it's not a sure simple easy
          thing, because you have to work at it, taking heights and
          calculating worths, and you're always in the sort of medial
          stage that the navigator finds himself in--confident yet
          anxious--between the taking of the sight and its reduction.
          When you do finally get the reduction right (when you know
          the star's worth), it is heaven, man. (Don't take my
          word--ask any navigator at sea!)
 
          It does seem a little surprising that Shakespeare understood
          navigation that well, though perhaps he just picked up the
          concept and the language, as he did with so many other areas
          of knowledge and experience.
 
          Ron Dwelle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) (Sorry the preceding is a
          little incoherent--my local e-mail system has an unusable
          text editor, so what you get is my rough draft.)
 
	
(2)--------------------------------------------------------------------------
	
Date: 		Sat, 21 Dec 91 16:40:48 PST
From: 		This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
Comment: 	SHK 2.0331  Q: Sonnet 166 & Astral Navigation?
 
 
I thought that was the point, that is, that the worth
of a star is beyond navigational knowledge, as the value
of love is beyond calculation. No?

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