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Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: December ::
Role Splitting
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 386. Tuesday, 15 December 1992.
 
From:           Lyn Tribble <ETRIB@TEMPLEVM>
Date:           Tuesday, 15 Dec 92 09:48:32 EST
Subject:        Role Splitting
 
Given the discussion of doubling recently, I thought the list might be
interested in an instance of role *splitting* I witnessed recently.
The Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware
produced *Henry V* and cast five different actors (three men, two women)
in the title role.  According to the program note, the reason for this
decision was pragmatic: this is the first play the group has produced,
and they wanted to give several young actors and actresses the chance to
play this role.  The transition to the "new" Henry worked rather like
passing the baton in a relay race--the actor who was about to take the
role emerged from group of attendants and began speaking the lines with
the "old" Henry.  After a line or two, the transition was complete and
the new Henry put on his or her crown and took the scene from there.
 
The effect was quite interesting--questions of interiority seemed
entirely irrelevant (no unified subjectivity here).  Instead,
narrative was foregrounded; the actors were telling the chronicle
history of Henry V--and doing a very good job of it, by the way.  The pace
of the production was very brisk; the play ran under two hours with
no intermission.  (It was also fun to see women playing Henry).
 
To those living in driving distance of Delaware, I recommend this group
highly.  They'll be doing *Romeo and Juliet* and "As You Like It" in the
spring.
 
Lyn Tribble
etrib@templevm
 

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