1993

Re: *H5* and *Ado* Videos

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 594.  Monday, 27 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           Diana Henderson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 26 Sep 1993 13:29 EST
Subject:        Henry V/Much Ado videos
 
KB's Henry V has been shown here on PBS.  Does anyone know if the Much Ado
directed by A.J.Antoon, produced by Papp, & starring Sam Waterston and
Kathleen Widdoes, is available?  It was shown on t.v. during the '70s, &
if I remember correctly the Pedro/Beatrice exchange had a richness similar
to the more recent movie version.
 
Diana Henderson,
Middlebury College

Re: Whores, etc.

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 593.  Monday, 27 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Nancy W Miller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 26 Sep 93 11:26:20 EDT
        Subj:   Re: Whores, etc.
 
(2)     From:   Lars Engle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 27 Sep 93 08:18:43 CST
        Subj:   RE: "like a whore unpack my heart with words"
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy W Miller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 26 Sep 93 11:26:20 EDT
Subject:        Re: Whores, etc.
 
This is in response to Ronald Dwelle's question about the volubility of whores.
Much of my current work focuses on the problem of women's chastity in early
modern England, and I've found a very widespread conflation between silence and
chastity (and, hence, volubility and unchastity), both of which are firmly
rooted in social order--sexuality and access to discourse are both privileges
of authority (and so denied to a large extent to women).  Shrews, scolds, and
whores often appear to be nearly interchangeable terms (it just depends upon
which aspect of aberrent behavior one wishes to emphasize).  See Joseph
Swetnam's _Arraignment of lewde, idle, froward, and unconstant women_ (1617)
for a good illustration of the misogynistic extreme of this conflation.
 
Although Hamlet's line is indicative of a common perception, Shakespeare often
separates the terms, and problematizes this conflation.
 
To Robert F. O'Connor, re Branagh: _Henry V_ was recently broadcast in the U.S.
on our Public Broadcasting System (perceived as "highbrow" by many Americans
and rife with British imports).
 
I'm the one who made the comment about American actors appealing to American
interests:  I'm not sure how well this works in terms of box office profits,
but the Americanization of Shakespeare has certainly been attempted before (Mel
Gibson's _Hamlet_, for instance, was perceived as a wholly American production
because Gibson appears in so many successful American films.)  The issue may be
less a nationalistic one, on second thought, than simply one of familiarity
with a particular face. Does anyone have some more informed ideas on this than
I do?
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lars Engle <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 27 Sep 93 08:18:43 CST
Subject:        RE: "like a whore unpack my heart with words"
 
I happened to come across a comment in Mary Ellen Lamb's *Gender and
Authorship in the Sidney Circle* (Madison: UWiscP, 1990), p. 5, citing Peter
Stallybrass's well-known essay "Patriarchal Territories," to the effect that
"a married woman who would 'chafe and scold' at her husband risked
classification as 'next to harlots, if not the same with them.'  This
classification passed into English law, so that a man who slandered a woman
as a 'whore' could defend himself by stating his meaning as 'whore of her
tonge,' not 'whore of her body.'"
 
This seems to explain what Hamlet means, though there is doubtless (as
usual) a further level of suggestion that his burst of expressive volubility
compromises his bodily integrity much in the way that whores who sell sex
might be thought to compromise theirs -- Hamlet's ranting speech includes
the nightmare of having someone "give him the lie in the throat as deep as
to the lungs," thus imagining speech as penetration.
 
Lars Engle
U. of Tulsa
thus penetrating him with speech
integrity

Re: The Chorus in Shakespeare's Plays

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 591.  Sunday, 26 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 25 Sep 93 21:49:59 EDT
Subject: 4.0571  Q: The Chorus in Shakespeare's Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0571  Q: The Chorus in Shakespeare's Plays
 
Without telling your student what the effect of a chorus might be, since
different actors and productions generate radically different effects,
you might have her look at the Q1 texts of R&J and H5 to see how
different scripts offer different possibilities.  Good luck.
 
      Steve Urkowitz SURCC@CUNYVM

MLA Tenure Guideline (Emerging Technologies)

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 592.  Sunday, 26 Sept. 1993.
 
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, September 26, 1993
Subject:        MLA Tenure Guidelines
 
The following, which appeared on HUMANIST, may be of interest.
 
 
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 7, No. 0211. Friday, 24 Sep 1993.
 
Date:    Fri, 24 Sep 1993 14:42:09 -0500 (EST)
From:    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: Guidelines for Software Reviews for Tenure?
 
     REQUEST FOR INFORMATION ON EXISTING
     GUIDELINES FOR SOFTWARE REVIEWS
 
The Emerging Technologies Committee of the Modern Language
Discussion is gathering information on any existing guidelines for
evaluation of computer-related work during tenure and promotion
reviews.  If you know of such guidelines please send an email
message to James Sosnoski
 
          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
If you happen to be in possession of a copy of such guidelines it
would be much appreciated if you sent a copy to
 
          The Emerging Technologies Committee
          % Bettina Huber
          The Modern Language Association
          10 Astor Place
          New York, NY 10003

Film Casting; Color-Blind and Color-Aware Casting

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 590.  Sunday, 26 Sept. 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 25 Sep 93 13:43:29 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
 
(2)     From:   Phyllis Gorfain <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 25 Sep 1993 17:39:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nina Walker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 25 Sep 93 13:43:29 EDT
Subject: 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
 
To all those who responded to my commentary on Denzel Washington and the
casting issue, I'm appreciative. Although I disagree that there has been
too much discussion of the subject, I have had my say and would like to
move on to another subject that seemed to develop as a result--the issue
of popular appeal in film casting. I certainly agree with Celene Gura
that Branaugh probably has this on his agenda, and I agree
wholeheartedly with its huge value. However, I can't resist saying that
I think Branaugh is not an original here but rather following in the
footsteps of Franco Zeffirelli who has done this with such great
success. The casting of American screen idols who can give reasonable
performances, as Mel Gibson does, is incredibly important in introducing
young, otherwise disinterested, audiences to the world of Shakespeare.
For that we should all be grateful. Having said this, I would like to
undermine the argument somewhat by saying that more is needed to achieve
this popular response than just a popular American screen star and both
Zeffirelli and now Branaugh seem to understand this completely.
 
Both have emphasized action and location as much as stardom in their
productions. Taking the action  and location off the stage environment
and out of the enclosed and restricted settings we are used to is an
intergral feature of their productions that appeals to the resistant
novice as much as the star. I can guarantee that Kevin Kline on video in
*Hamlet* puts my students to sleep regardless of their fascination with
Kline. By the way, a good number of my students do not come willingly to
Shakespeare (as someone suggested.) They come in an Intro to Lit class,
required in all majors. I use the Zeffirelli and Gibson film to plant the
seeds which I hope will bring them voluntarily to the elective British
Lit class later on. It works. I expect *Much Ado* will as well.
 
When I saw *Much Ado* there was spontaneous applause from the
audience--the "base, common and popular" audience. This is a rarity
in the movies and it gives me heart.
 
Note to Timothy Bowden: When, if ever, Tom Hanks appears as *Othello*
you can be sure I'll see it.
 
To Ellen Edgerton: Thanks for the bit of Branaugh history.
 
Nina Walker
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Gorfain <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 25 Sep 1993 17:39:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0581  Re: Color-Blind Casting and More Ado
 
Just to add a few more anecdotes about color-blind and color-aware (a
term?) casting:
 
Denzel Washington played a terrific -- not great, but very fine -- Richard
III in a Shakespeare in the Park production about three or four years ago.
In the same production, a very fine black actor, whose name has slipped
my mind, played Queen Margaret; in these cases, I believe, color was not
a body-trait which we were to take as significant, as semantically rele-
vant. But when Josette Simon played Rosaline in LLL, or when other black
actors do so, as one did last year at the Stratford Festival in Canada,
I believe this is not "color-blind casting." Too many references are
made to Rosaline's dark eyes and brow (though Berowne instructs Costard
to deliver his letter to "her white hand," III.i.168) that the actor's
own coloring will be not be relevant. Finally, the teasing that Berowne
endures from his mates, once they learn he has joined them in forswearing
his vows but has taunted them as if he hadn't, centers on Rosaline's dark
features. The king's first put-down to Berowne is: "By heaven, thy love is
black as ebony." (IV.iii.243) and the repartee continues for another 35
lines, with many insults and paradoxes bandied to praise and dispraise
"black." I have been fascinated, in the theatre, as to how to take these
very cruel remarks, which, in the context of having not just a woman with
dark hair and eyes as Rosaline, but a black woman of African descent,
seem to me racist. Yet we seem not to be asked to see the King and the
other young men as racists, at the same time that the lines cannot be
taken in a "color-blind" context, for color clearly matters.
 
How have other people interpreted and judged some moments in the theatre?
It is clear that the contest between the men becomes an occasion for
Berowne to prove his wit, his ability to excuse anything, paradoxically
praise the apparently unworthy term "black," and "prove her fair, or
talk till doomsday here," (IV.iii.270), just as he will be asked to
provide proof that their "loving [is] lawful" and their "faith not torn."
But what does this behavior "mean" in the theatre with a black actor
playing Rosaline in our time? I find the theatrical signals confusing
and morally perplexing. What have others felt and thought?
 
Incidentally, I am teaching a colloquium for first and second-year students
called "The Performative Impulse," co-taught with Prof. Roger Copeland,
a theatre historian from our Theatre program. We have one class for
"Problematic Pleasures" and another called "Beyond Performance," where we
deal with questions of gaze, limits to willing suspension of disbelief,
that which cannot be framed as representation, etc., and there deal with
questions of casting. Any good readings or theory along these lines would
be welcome! Thanks.
 
Greetings from Oberlin.
Phyllis Gorfain,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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