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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: May ::
Further Rs: Branagh's *Ado*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 284.  Saturday, 8 May 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Robert Burke <BURKE@RCKHRST1.bitnet>
        Date:   Friday, 07 May 1993 13:19:28 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0280  Re: Branagh's *Ado*
 
(2)     From:   William Godshalk <
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 >
        Date:   Saturday, 08 May 1993 16:24:35 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Bashing Branagh's "Much Ado"
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Burke <BURKE@RCKHRST1.bitnet>
Date:           Friday, 07 May 1993 13:19:28 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 4.0280  Re: Branagh's *Ado*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0280  Re: Branagh's *Ado*
 
Thanks to all for view of Branagh's Much Ado.  Today's New York Times has
a glowing review.  What disturbs me seems to be the absence of any mention
of Friar Francis.  I have been recently working on friars in Shakespeare,
and become suspect of any adaptation which omits the friar.  Since I have
not seen the film yet (it has not yet come to Kansas City), can anyone
tell me if Branagh has, indeed, omitted the friar?  Thanks.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 08 May 1993 16:24:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Bashing Branagh's "Much Ado"
 
I loved Branagh's "Much Ado." His interpretation of Shakespeare's script may
not be as you like it, but it is a defensible reading. Don John does not have
to be totally evil, and Dogberry does not have to be bumblingly officious.
Keaton's reading of the part may be offbeat, but it's interesting and well
within the range of possibility. Leonato's physical assault of Hero simply
makes clear the import of his speech: "Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine
eyes" (4.1.123, Bevington ed.). This is a pretty shocking reaction for a
"loving" father, and no amount of "contextualization" (ugh!) is going to make
it acceptable to my ears. By the way, Shakespeare is playing off Sidney's
story of  Argalus and Parthenia. Unlike Claudio, Argalus refuses to accept a
substitute for the supposedly dead Parthenia. Claudio accepts the substitute
without hesitation, especially since she comes with more money than her
"cousin." As my students recurrently tell me, Claudio is a "jerk." Shakespeare
certainly "problematizes" the Claudio-Hero relationship, and the problem is not
solved by the script as we now have it. As I watched Branagh's production, I
cheered, and laughed loudly, and, dare I admit it?, shed a tear or two. Of
course, I had a few drinks before the show!
 
Bill Godshalk
 

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