Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 115. Tuesday, 2 June 1992.
Date: Monday, June 1, 1992, 14:55:59 -0400
Subject: Apocrypha Produced
Speaking of the apocryphal plays, may I put in a word for *Arden of
Feversham* which I find a delightful play onstage. I have seen two
productions, an excellent RSC production in the old Other Place with
Jenny Agutter about 10 years ago (sorry to be vague on details) and
another about two years ago in London. Both were compelling. The
combination of the humourous and serious is strange, but fine. It
strikes me as being unlike anything I know by Shakespeare.
In about the last decade, I have seen in Britain productions of six
of the fourteen apocrypha plays mentioned. Some, including TNK,
have been produced more than once. If Tucker Brook were collecting
today, probably his list would look different. We must expect to
see *Two Noble Kinsmen* and *Edward III* appearing in future collected
editions of Shakespeare's plays(?)
While I agree with Michael Dobson that Imogen Stubbs was good in the
Stratford *Two Noble Kinsmen* the production was weak, I thought. I
can remember little of *The Yorkshire Tragedy* seen at the Old Half
Moon, probably in the early 80s. *Sir Thomas More* was done a few
years ago at the Shaw Theatre in London, a curiosity in its better
moments. *The Birth of Merlin* struck me as a strange old romance
which I saw at the Theatre Clwyd. A touring production of
*Edward III* was produced in England perhaps five years ago. I
remember it as worthy. I have not specifically sought out
apocryphal plays, but there are productions. The one I most prize,
though, is *Arden*.
P.S. I too am glad to see Steven Urkowitz and Michael Dobson pointing
out some of the flaws in the Branagh *Henry 5* though in many respects
I thought it better than his RSC version, which temporarily made me
think that the play was a bore. (It is not.) While Branagh's free
and easy attitude toward the text is perhaps to be expected in such
a production, the triumphalist music to the slog through the battlefield
infuriated me. To me the epilogue to the play sums things up beautifully.
It is near to being perfect. The way it turns in the middle is very moving.
King's College London