Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: October ::
Re: "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 677. Thursday, 28 October 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Cary M. Mazer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Oct 93 9:02:30 EDT
        Sub:    Re: SHK 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
 
(2)     From:   William Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Oct 1993 23:19:01 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary M. Mazer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Oct 93 9:02:30 EDT
Subject: 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
 
> As soon as cuts are made (even for practical reasons)
> the interpretation of the play is changed and it is necessarily an
> interpretation favoring the remaining material at the expense of the cut or
> 'irrelevant' material.
 
Bravo Jason Hoblit.  At risk of repeating myself, let me add,
provocatively, that even if *no* cuts are made, and even if the material is
spoken at a reasonable pace, the subsequent performance (to borrow the
infelicitous Jonathan Miller's felicitous phrase) is a new, independent
"version," that may just as well be called Kemble's or Irving's or
Hoblit's, even if all the words are what's-his-name's.  That's what a
performance *is*, by it's very nature:  not a "realization" of a script, but
an independent work of art made out of a variety of raw materials, one
(but not the only one) of which is the playwright's script.  And it should
be analyzed, evaluated, and historicized as such.
 
Cary M. Mazer
University of Pennsylvania
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 27 Oct 1993 23:19:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0675  "Versions" of *Coriolanus*
 
I wish Terence Hawkes had never dragged the red herring of CORIOLANUS across
these electronic pages. Yes, we know that Shakespeare's scripts are a vexed
subject, and textual critics sometimes spend their lives studying these
scripts. We know that playwrights make changes during production, and some of
those changes are suggested by actors and, indeed, other playwrights. I've seen
it myself in drama workshops.
 
I believe that Shakespeare was a man of the theatre, that he was influenced by
the theatre, by actors, and by other playwrights, etc. But I also believe that
at a fundamental level he wrote his own plays. His plays were not written by
committee. (I've seen committees trying to write simple paragraphs.) I believe
there are authors. I believe that I'm writing this, for example. I know that
the French killed the concept of authorship in the 1960s. I remain skeptical.
 
I believe there's a difference between a production of MACBETH and a production
of McBIRD - as I've said before, and I'll probably say again. I at least can
tell the difference.
 
And finally let me assert that aesthetics, not politics, is the basis for all
human activity. In fact, we select our political affiliations on aesthetic
grounds.
 
Okay, there it is. The secret's out.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.