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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: September ::
Re: Christopher Sly and Induction
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 539.  Friday, 10 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Jerald Bangham <
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        Date:   Thursday, 09 Sep 1993 22:21:46
        Subj:   Shrew & Sly
 
(2)     From:   John Massa <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Sep 93 09:01 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
 
(3)     From:   Timothy Pinnow <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Sep 93 10:27:28 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
 
(4)     From:   Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 10 Sep 1993 11:04 am EDT (15:04:50 UT)
        Subj:   Christopher Sly
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jerald Bangham <
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Date:           Thursday, 09 Sep 1993 22:21:46
Subject:        Shrew & Sly
 
>Does anyone know of recent  (say last 25 years) productions of
>Taming of the Shrew which included the Christopher Sly induction?
>
>Is so, what was done with him later in the play?
 
Bill Alexander's touring production for the RSC opened July 20 at the
Barbican.  The Sly subplot has "been adpted into modern English."
 
I believe that an earlier production this season at Regent's Park also made
use of Sly.
 
There are a number of reviews of the Alexander production in Volume XIII
of _Theatre_Record_.  I'm sure that the same publication carried the
Regent's Park production in an earlier issue.
 
Jerry Bangham
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Massa <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Sep 93 09:01 CST
Subject: 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
 
Regarding what to do with Christopher Sly in "SHREW," the American Players
Theater's production this summer in Spring Green, Wisconsin, started out in the
tavern, which sort of turned into the wealthy guy's house where the play within
the play (i.e., SHREW) was performed.
 
Sly and his entourage sat around and watched the play, sometimes being selected
by the traveling players for bit parts, which they botched up as best they
could.  It added another dimension to the fun, and the whole thing worked quite
well.
 
It was a rather traditional SHREW;  I don't think having Sly hang around would
have worked for a "dark" SHREW told from Kate's point of view, for example,
because seeing the "audience within the audience" on stage keeps you from
taking anything very seriously.
 
One problem to think about though: how to have Sly and his fellows in the
"audience" on stage REACT appropriately (i.e., not looking blankly into space)
to the play they are seeing without DISTRACTING the real audience from the
play.
 
          John
          
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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Pinnow <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 10 Sep 93 10:27:28 CDT
Subject: 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0538  Q: Christopher Sly
 
In response to Ronald Dwelle's query about Christopher Sly in recent
productions, I remember witnessing a *Shrew* at the American Players
Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin in 1985 which featured old Sly.  Since
American Players at that time was devoted to using unedited Norton-Hinman
Folio texts (bit of an oxymoron) you can pretty much see what they did with
the piece.  To be honest, I have to concentrate extremely intently to
remember him in anything but the opening.  This is because it is probably
the best piece of Shakespeare I have ever witnessed--Randall Duk Kim's
Petruchio was absolutely hysterical--so I sat in the front row and
distracted the rest of the audience with my guffaws.  All outdoors on a
beautiful autumn afternoon in the rolling Wisconsin coutryside.  Life
should be so good.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Loughlin <LOUGHLIN@FREDONIA.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 10 Sep 1993 11:04 am EDT (15:04:50 UT)
Subject:        Christopher Sly
 
   On  the  question  of  performance  of  *Shrew*  featuring the
induction: it  appears that the  induction is  becoming  more and
more popular to stage.  I played Christopher Sly in the Wisconsin
Shakespeare Festival  production of the  play in 1990.   We ended
the production by featuring an "addendum" to the play (the author
of which was not Shakespeare  but some other clever person  whose
name escapes my  immediate attention but  who wrote  the  piece I
believe for a  Stratford Ontario production) wherein  Sly, having
drunk himself to sleep by the end of the "play," is again put out
on the street where the lord originally found him.  He's awakened
out of his drunken sleep by the same hostess who threw him out in
the beginning  of  the  induction,  and  considers  that  all  he
experienced was a fabulous dream.  The hostess advises  him that,
if he goes home, he is sure  to face an angry wife, to which  Sly
replies that, thanks  to his dream, he  now knows how to  "tame a
shrew" (at which,  of course, we are  left to understand that  he
will fail miserably).
   This summer  the American Players  Theatre in Spring  Green WI
also staged *Shrew*  with the induction,  using the same  ending.
They added  the  interesting  innovation  that  the  "company  of
actors" ran out of actors, and so Sly was induced to  perform the
role of  the  Pedant,  with  the  lord  taking  on  the  role  of
Vincentio.  The hostess of the inn played the Widow.
   The WSF version also  featured Sly interrupting the action  on
several occasions with  other recently written inserts,  the most
notable one being the moment where Vincentio is about to be taken
to prison and Sly interrupts and takes the old man's side, loudly
and drunkenly proclaiming  that, since he  is the  "lord"  of the
manor, he decrees that the old mand shall NOT go to prison.
   I find that when the  induction is used, the overall  sense of
the Kate/Petruchio relationship  has much more  of an element  of
"play acting", and removes the tinge of realism which productions
without the induction seem  to generate in audiences.  We  really
can see  the  relationship  as  "not  real"  because   the  whole
"play-within-a-play" scenario makes it so for us (What's "real is
Sly's world), and maybe we have not been sharp enough  for giving
credit  to  WS  for using  a  convention  which very  effectively
diffuses the seeming harshness of Petruchio towards Kate.
 
      Tom Loughlin
      loughlin@fredonia.bitnet
 

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