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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: July ::
Re: Metre; Red Lion; Characters
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0603.  Monday, 11 July 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Don Weingust <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 12:45:53 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 17:50:10 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
 
(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 18:23:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Weingust <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 12:45:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0602 Re: Metre and Readings
 
I once had the pleasure of spending a little time with the now late, veteran
actor Arnold Moss.  Mr. Moss was a wonderful player, unfortunately best known
for his guest appearance as the Shakespearean Actor on an episode of the
original Star Trek series, way back when.  Later in his career, he was touring
universities doing one-person readings from Shakespeare.  Over drinks after a
performance, I complimented him on his stunningly rhythmic and metrical
interpretations, and asked him about his approach to the texts.  His response
was simply, "I don't know about all that stuff.  I just read the words."
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 17:50:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0596  Q: The Red Lion
 
Rick Jones's question MAY be answered by Andrew Gurr, THE SHAKESPEAREAN STAGE
1574-1642, 3rd edition (Cambrige University Press), 117: "The first Middlesex
amphitheatre, the Red Lion, built before the players had any government
protection and probably as temporary in its playing life as in its design, was
set up to the east, in Stepney. The first durable building, the Theatre, was
built on land leased for twenty-one years in Shoreditch . . . ."
 
The words to emphasize here are "temporary" and "durable." Gurr seems to
indicate that the impact of the Red Lion was negligible -- and he does not list
it in his index! Is that worth noting in a review?
 
Yours,  Bill Godshalk
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Jul 1994 18:23:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0600  Dramatic Figures or Characters?
 
I've just been reading John Drakakis's reply to Pat Buckridge, and I wonder if
part of the problem is the ambiguity of the category "character." I take
character simply as a literary category, i.e., a human construction. Daisy,
Gatsby, Nick, Jordan, and Tom are characters in a certain novel. I like Wallace
Martin's comments in RECENT THEORIES OF NARRATIVE (Cornell, 1986), esp. 122.
 
But would it be helpful to use Manfred Pfister's "fictional figure" (modified
to "dramatic figure") (THEORY AND ANALYSIS OF DRAMA, Cambridge, 1988)? Pfister
briefly discusses "the relationship between actor and figure" (23).
 
If those of us who are interested in contesting this ground could agree on a
fairly neutral word or term (cf. Fran Teague's "roles"), perhaps we may better
understand what we are fighting about.
 
I suggest it would be helpful to begin with a text, an early seventeenth
century text: John Manningham's description of part of TWELFTH NIGHT: "A GOOD
PRATICE IN IT TO MAKE THE STEWARD BELEEUE HIS LADY WIDDOWE WAS IN lOUE WTH HIM
BY COUNTERFAYTING A LETTR/AS FROM HIS LADY IN GENERALL TEARMES/ TELLING HIM
WHAT SHEE LIKED BEST IN HIM / AND PRESCRIBING HIS GESTURE IN SMILING HIS
APPARRAILE / &c/. AND THEN WHEN HE CAME TO PRACTISE MAKING HIM BELEEUE THEY
TOOKE HIM TO BE MAD/:/" (Arden Edition, xxvi). (I do not vouch for my
transcription.)
 
To my ear, Manningham seems to be describing the actions of real humans, not
emblematic figures, and yet he is describing the actions of dramatic figures. I
would argue from this text that some early modern auditors did NOT interpret
contemporary dramatic figures emblematically.
 
Can I ask John Drakakis for his response to Manningham's account?
 
Yours,
Bill Godshalk
 

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