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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0490.  Friday, 3 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Timothy Dayne Pinnow <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 10:48:58 -0500
        Subj:   Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(2)     From:   Stephen Orgel <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 09:23:51 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(3)     From:   Douglas Green <
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        Date:   Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 12:25:05 +0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0485  Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(4)     From:   Jung Jimmy <
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        Date:   Thursday, 02 Jun 94 17:04:00 edt
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(5)     From:   Katherine West <
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        Date:   Friday, 3 Jun 1994 09:00:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Timothy Dayne Pinnow <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 10:48:58 -0500
Subject:        Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
To Douglas Lanier--
 
Several years ago I saw a production of *Lear* at the Missouri Rep. in Kansas
City that used a nude Fool (take that phrase however you like). Although my
first reaction was "hmmm interesting" it turned into "What is the Point?" by
the final curtain.  You may be able to find a review or two in the Kansas City
papers.  It would have been the fall of 91.  Best of luck.
 
                                               Timothy Dayne Pinnow
                                               St. Olaf College
                                               
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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 09:23:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Other nude productions: there was a ravishing T&C that the RSC did around 1973,
at a time when everyone in the company seemed to me gorgeous; costumes
consisted only of the briefest of g-strings for the men, though Helen had some
nice drapery much of the time--the company was very sexist in those days. The
problem, however, was that Nestor and Ulysses also had to be naked, and that
seemed a little unfair--one felt the oldies-but-goodies deserved something as
glamorous in the way of clothing as the bodies of the kids. I remember feeling
by the end of the performance that it was really the costumes I liked about
theater.
 
S. Orgel
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Douglas Green <
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Date:           Thursday, 2 Jun 1994 12:25:05 +0600
Subject: 5.0485  Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0485  Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Regarding Douglas Lanier's query about nudity in Shakespeare, there was much
ado in the 70s about Polanski's MACBETH for its nude sleepwalking Lady M. and
other scenes.
 
Douglas E. Green, 
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  / (612) 330-1187
Campus Box #13, English Dept., Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN 55454
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jung Jimmy <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Jun 94 17:04:00 edt
Subject: 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Doug,
 
Perhaps someone can tune you into a recent Othello at Center Stage, Baltimore.
Desdemona is more less in the nude in the final scene (she wears her sheet).  I
couldn't decide if the nudity increased the sense of her vulnerability and the
precariousness of her situation.  For me it was a very powerful scene, but I
wonder if it also didn't distract by playing on our voyeristic tendencies.  It
may or may not be an issue, but the play was directed by a woman, Center stages
artistic director, if I recall correctly. The play was set in the 50s (Othello
dressed in a marine uniform, Des wears Jackie O style fashion).  As I recall
the director said she believed the 50s was the last time a woman's chasity
could be considered critical.  E-mail if you wanna know more.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Katherine West <
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Date:           Friday, 3 Jun 1994 09:00:23 -0400
Subject: 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0485  Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
The current RSC production of _Merchant_ at the Barbican includes a brief scene
of partial male nudity.  The production is set in the late 80s/early 90s
business world (with sounds of modems, faxes, computers, etc).  As Shylock
realizes that Jessica has left, a disco-type dance is occurring behind him on
the set, with a male in a g-string flaunting his bare bottom amid the crowd of
dancers.  In theory, this would have made an interesting contrast to the
seriousness of Shylock at this moment in the play.  In practice, the
performance I saw was a matinee with 90% of the audience from school groups; it
took them almost 15 minutes to get over the excitement of this dancer's bare
bottom, and they doubtless missed many important parts of the play.  The nudity
was effective for more mature members of the audience, but should have been
left out of matinee performances with mainly student audiences.
 
Hope this helps!
 
Katherine West
U of Toronto

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