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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: January ::
Q: *Two Gentlemen of Verona*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 7.  Wednesday, 6 January 1993.
 
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jan 1993 12:54:09 +1300
Subject:        TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
 
I am curently directing a production of _The Two Gentlemen of Verona_
outdoors in Wellington, New Zealand (which to anybody who knows the climate
in Wellington might seem foolhardy, but this is the 11th consecutive annual
production and the weather hasn't been too much of a problem so far). I'd
be interested in hearing any ideas anyone has on the play, and any
references to any little-known published material would also be helpful.
Jonathan Goldberg's work in _Voice Terminal Echo_ has been useful to us so
far.
 
I believe the script is much more interesting and substantial than most
commentators give it credit for--we are playing it not at all as a Romantic
Comedy but as a savage satire of a world of spoilt rich brats for whom rape
is an internalised part of their conceptual framework--both Julia and
Valentine say expressly that when women say no they really mean yes, Silvia
says yes by seeming to say no, and Proteus notoriously tries the real
thing. All four of them constantly relate to one another (as conveyers of
status and/or wealth) through various mediating devices--letters, pictures,
messages and so on, and Launce's use of Rent-a-Bride is only a more
up-front example of the same thing. We're going deliberately anachronistic,
using costume elements from both now (or more specifically the '80s) and
the Elizabethan period, and making the fullest possible use of status
symbols from both times.  Verona 90210.
 
I've also heard about a recent production in England which was set in a
kind of Brideshead Revisited world--has anyone on the list seen this, and
if so, how did it work?
 
I look forward to any information/suggestions/etc.
 
Adrian Kiernander
English Department
The University of Queensland
(but currently operating out of Theatre and Film, Victoria University of
Wellington.)
 

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