1993

Re: Performance Criticism Issues

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 74.  Thursday, 11 February 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Bernice Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Feb 1993 19:15 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0073  Assorted Rs Re: Performance Criticism
 
(2)     From:   Steven Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 23:22:31 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Feb 1993 19:15 EDT
Subject: 4.0073  Assorted Rs Re: Performance Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0073  Assorted Rs Re: Performance Criticism
 
Without the nudity, the television version of MM, 1979, had a brothel scene out
of the wild west, as I am sure everyone recalls. Nudity -- no.
 
David Richman says it so well that I think I'd like to quote him again: Why one
set of people, trying to do the impossible, wants to throw nasturtiums at
another set of people, also trying to do the impossible, continues to baffle
me, says David.  Me too.
 
Cheers,
 
Bernice
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steven Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 23:22:31 EST
Subject: 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
 
For David Banks and the differences between performance criticism and
performance research:
 
Yes, yes, yes.  The protocols of empiric research are vastly different from the
self-consciously individualistic interpretive acts described by theatre
historians or script readers or folks who interview actors or decipher the
annotations of stage managers or directors.  For a while in the 1970s I used to
read through American journals from various "speech" organizations; some gave
results of close surveys of audience responses in performances.  Unexpected
spectra, inexplicable null responses, swarths of data and charts.  But we need
not grant sole title to "performance criticism" to them.  Need we?  (Or as we
said in the bars in the Bronx, "Do we gotta?")
 
Thanks for bringing in the gamesome dimension of how we define and use data and
nomenclature.
                                Steve (shut-up-already) Urkowitz
                                SURCC@CUNYVM

Assorted Rs Re: Performance Criticism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 73.  Wednesday, 10 February 1993.
 
(1)     From:   David Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Feb 1993 10:35:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
 
(2)     From:   Kay Stockholder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 08:21:08 PST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0068  Performance Criticism
 
(3)     From:   NAOMI LIEBLER <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 09:47:00 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0072  Sex Acts and Performance Criticism
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Feb 1993 10:35:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0071  Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism
 
David Bank's delicious story supports, and refutes, all sides in this dust-up.
 
All criticism, in all modes, is impossible, if one is responding to enormous
inadequacies and imperfections.  We have a meagre body of fact, and imperfect
tools.  (By "we" I mean all those who try to respond with spoken or written
words to other people's spoken or written words.  We are all trying to lift
up Olympus, or roll the ceaseless stone.  The alternative is to fall silent.
 
Why one set of people, trying to do the impossible, wants to throw nasturtiums
at another set of people, also trying to do the impossible, continues to
baffle me.
 
Cheers,
David Richman
University of New Hampshire
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kay Stockholder <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 08:21:08 PST
Subject: Performance Criticism
Comment:        SHK 4.0068  Performance Criticism
 
If what you have described is performance criticism, it is hardly impossible,
but is rather a slightly different version of trying out ideas. It is no
different from having an idea about the significance of a scene, such as the
opening one of Hamlet, and then seeing how that version of it fits in with
one's idea of the rest of the play. And of course any idea about the scene,
whether articulated in terms of one's imagination of its performance, or of
critical articles about it is related to what aspect of the reality we know we
find represented in it.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           NAOMI LIEBLER <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Feb 93 09:47:00 EST
Subject: 4.0072  Sex Acts and Performance Criticism
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0072  Sex Acts and Performance Criticism
 
To Cliff Ronan:
 
Re: whether Barry Kyle's staging of *Measure* influenced Akalaitis's production
of *1H4*--I have no clue. If your recollection of a 1978 date for the
performance you saw is correct, chances are that it didn't. The Akalaitis thing
happened sometime within the last 2 years. There wasn't much nudity in the
latter event: the image received suggested (to me at least) that Quickly's
tenants were too hurried, or perhaps too ill, or perhaps too bored, to bother
removing their clothes altogether. Only the necessary apparata. You get the
point. In any case, the audience watched a simulation, not necessarily a
stimulation. As Steve Urkowitz would say--and HAS said--Go know. Perhaps
someone who is more of a performa than I can elevate this event to some
intelligent critical interpretation. I thought it was just tacky--memorable,
but tacky. Made me want to run home and take a bath, and perhaps some
precautionary penicillin as well.
 
On that lovely note--best wishes,
Naomi Liebler

Re: Impossibility of Performance Criticism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 71.  Tuesday, 9 February 1993.
 
From:           David Bank <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 9 Feb 93 20:41:59 GMT
Subject: 4.0064 Re: The Impossibility of Performance Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0064 Re: The Impossibility of Performance Criticism
 
RE: Steve Urkowitz, John Drakakis and Friday nights. A few years ago,
a large group of English Department colleagues used to gather at an
insalubrious tavern in order to salute the departure of yet another
week of lectures, tutorials etc etc. A U.K. brewery had put out one of
those scratch-card games where the prize for getting all the questions
right was a free drink. The questions all related to moral situations
easily mapped on to Renaissance drama ("You are having an affair at
the office. Your wife is suspicious. Do you lie to her?"). The "right"
answers were those which tallied with the results of an attitudes
survey conducted in Britain among three different age groups, and the
questions each had three parts, one for each group. So one was being
asked to anticipate the responses of fellow-citizens (a) young, (b)
middle-aged, (c) old, to questions as above. Naturally, the quiz was
somewhat more sophisticated than I have so far managed to suggest;
for the results of the survey were *percentages* of each group
answering Yes, and what one had to do in the quiz was pick the right
percentage from a range offered offered on the card.
 
Now, part of the point of this little story is that we *weren't*
judging situations in Renaissance plays. Another part is that
*no individual* among us was able to get every question right in
all its parts. And (finally) we didn't do very well as a group
either, though the odd pint was won to roars of vindication.
 
Of course a quiz is neither a text or a performance in the usual
senses. What was upset was one's far too casual notions about
audiences, moral and other consensuses and convergences.
Does anyone in the current debate want to claim the story as
support? My own view is that Performance Criticism doesn't even
get near the starting blocks, but there are other grounds for
this which shouldn't lengthen this EM.
 
   David Bank
    University of Glasgow

Sex Acts and Performance Criticism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 72.  Wednesday, 10 February 1993.
 
From:           Cliff Ronan <CR06%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 09 Feb 1993 21:23:25 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Sex Acts and Performance Criticism
CC:             Ed Pechter and Naomi Liebler
 
When the serious and fascinating debate on Performance Criticism dies
down, perhaps you, Ed, might check reviews of Barry Kyle's *Measure
for Measure*, which opened on June 21, 1978, at the RSC in Stratford.
My memories of it (which I saw at the very start of the run) are a
little dim, and I am not positive that I got my seat before the play
began.  At any rate, the audience gasped at the first sight of the
Overdone establishment (which might have been the first set seen
onstage):  there was one or more bare backed males, prone and grinding
on cots behind a low balcony.  I thought it worked all right.
 
Naomi, would the dates and staging suggest that Kyle inspired the
onstage fornication at Quickly's in the Joanne Akalaitis production of
*1H4*?
 
Another, and I think less successful, feature of the Kyle production
was having the escaped prisoner Barnardine (played by Conrad Asquith)
streak onto the stage in his birthday suit.  He stood effectivelly
awkwardly midstage, frontally naked while he manically explained
something or other -- presumably why at that moment he was unprepared
to meet his Maker.  Did anyone else in SHAKSPER see this?  Was it a
veiled allusion to the prison of the flesh?  Or a structure-enhancing
bilingual attack on the disorder at the jail, where everything
seemed/seems *commed un bordel*?
 
Cliff Ronan
Southwest Texas SU

Re: Performance Criticism

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 70.  Tuesday, 9 February 1993.
 
From:           Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 08 Feb 93 21:36:31 EST
Subject: 4.0068  Performance Criticism
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0068  Performance Criticism
 
Sean Kevin Lawrence's imagined production of HAMLET 1.1 jarred a memory of a
production I saw in a NYC storefront theatre three or four years ago.  The
opening watch patrolled the "ramparts" with WW II rifles, walking SCARED.  His
reaction to the next actor's entry was an eruption of "Agh-this-might-be-that
ghost-again" terror.  A chilling enactment, vivid after several years.  Alas,
everything after was sharply downhill from there, and we snuck out somewhere
after Polonius was blurbling incoherently to his son.  Unfulfilled performances
have as much guilt to bear as unfulflled performance criticism.  Ah, but THEORY
. . . or  POLITICS . . .
                                      As ever,
                                      Steve Urkowitz SURCC@CUNYVM

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