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Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: December ::
Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet* (Con't)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 369. Friday, 11 December 1992.
 
(1)     From:   Gus Sponberg <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Dec 1992 11:18:18 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 3.0364  Q: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
(2)     From:   Steve Schrum <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Dec 92 13:50 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 3.0365  Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
(3)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Dec 1992 14:53:28 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 3.0368  More Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
(4)     From:   William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 11 Dec 92 18:46 CST
        Subj:   Directors' Rights
 
 
(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gus Sponberg <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Dec 1992 11:18:18 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 3.0364  Q: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 3.0364  Q: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
I find it interesting that almost every reference to this movie refers to
it as Mel Gibson's *Hamlet*, and not Franco Zeffirelli's (it was Zeffirelli's
was it not?). It's always Zefirelli's *Romeo and Juliet*. I suppose this
is testimony to the prestige of the role and the theatrical custom of
identifying any production of it by the name of the performer of the
title role. I suppose it is a tribute, too, to the impression Gibson made
in the part. I can testify to this: he certainly got quite a few of my
students interested in *Hamlet* and Shakespeare - student who I can verify
had given little attention to the play or the playwright prior to seeing
Gibson's performance. So purely from a pedagogical point of view, I would
answer Gary Davis by saying that yes, it was justifiable. But we ought to
remember that Gibson probably had little to say, finally, about what went
on the screen. Zeffirelli (or whoever the director was) called the shots,
literally.
 
Gus Sponberg
Valparaiso University
 
(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Schrum <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Dec 92 13:50 EST
Subject: 3.0365  Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 3.0365  Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
Re: the cutting of the Fortinbras subplot--doesn't this create a problem
with the whole of HAMLET? We have Hamlet working to restore order to the
kingdom, and finally, when he has taken action, we see the stage
littered with the usual complement of bodies. But who shall rule now?
The chaos seems to have ended, but who will take over in the aftermath?
 
Steve Schrum
Penn State Hazleton
 
(3)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Dec 1992 14:53:28 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 3.0368  More Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 3.0368  More Rs: Mel Gibson *Hamlet*
 
I'm more of an actor and director than a Shakespeare scholar -- at least
relative to most members of the SHAKSPER fraternity -- I take a slightly
different view of authorial intent. It strikes me that what Shakespeare (or any
other playwright) intended tells us part of the story -- but that the text also
exists independent of the author.  I know from my own one not terribly
successful attempt at playwriting that even lousy playwrights (such as myself)
often create tonal richness that isn't at least consciously intended. I'd want
to give directors who make honest and informed attempts at interpretation every
possible leeway: as I tell my directing students, a critic can talk about
ambiguity, but a performance must take sides.
 
Perhaps a corollary point is the way we look at certain characters: e.g.
Petruchio does some things that we in 1992 find offensive, but we're clearly
supposed to like him.  Which is more important?  I don't know, and I tend to
distrust those who say with confidence that they do.
 
-- Rick Jones
Cornell College
 
(4)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 11 Dec 92 18:46 CST
Subject:        Directors' Rights
 
Right on, about Directors' rights.  Any Director should have the right to
produce the play she/he sees in the text.  But the text should still be
paramount.
 
TB0WPW1@NIU
 

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