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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0502.  Monday, 6 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Monday, 06 Jun 94 12:42:00 BST
        Subj:   SHK 5.0485 Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean P
 
(2)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Jun 1994 10:05:41 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0499 re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(3)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Jun 1994 11:06:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
(4)     From:   Stephen Orgel <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Jun 1994 10:49:50 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Jun 94 12:42:00 BST
Subject: Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean P
Comment:        SHK 5.0485 Qs: Nudity in Shakespearean P
 
Dear Douglas Lanier,
 
I understand that there was a Wilson Knight production of King Lear some years
ago in Exeter, where he stripped off completely: "Off, off you lendings"(!)  He
was, I think, 85 at the time.  One person I know who saw it was Professor Peter
Thompson of the Drama Department at Exeter.
 
Sorry I don't have any more information on that.  Also what about Jody Dench's
topless Puck in Peter Hall's film of MND, and (of course) Francesca Annis's
nude walkabout dream scene in Polanski's Macbeth.
 
Cheers,
John Drakakis
University of Stirling
 
PS. Keith Hack's 1976 production of Measure For Measure had Barnadine bearing
his buttocks to the audience- one of which (Kenneth Muir!) Shook his fist
at the actor!
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Jun 1994 10:05:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0499 re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0499 re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Dear Lonnie, Your message about the Jarman TEMPEST reminded me of the time in
summer school that I booked it on 16mm for campus-wide screening. After I
pre-viewed it, I had to station guards at the door to prevent earnest young
faculty mothers from dumping their children for the afternoon at the
performance. We quietly moved the children into another classroom for a
screening of the BBC MND, while we adults contemplated the TEMPEST "as seen
through the eyes of" Derek Jarman. The latter qualification is important
because you can't view this film as it was meant to be viewed if you have the
mentality of a policeman alert for violations of the "text." It includes what
is surely one of the most revolting scenes ever filmed in depicting Sycorax
nursing her Caliban, who is the famous Jack Birkett. On the other hand, in its
"open" treatment of Shakespeare's text, it recontextualizes the play for the
post-colonial period. I recommend Sam Crowl's Review in SHAKESPEARE ON FILM
NEWSLETTER 5.1. (1980): 5+, available in your better university libraries, or
from the current editors of SHAKESPEARE BULLETIN. The vocalist was not Cleo
Laine but Elizabeth Welch, and Derek Jarman, a committed filmmaker, tragically
died of AIDS. There's a moving tribute to him in SIGHT AND SOUND (April 1994).
His TEMPEST was a box office failure, so much so that I'm not sure that it can
be booked any longer even on 16mm in the United States. Ken Rothwell
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Jun 1994 11:06:40 -0400
Subject: 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
I seem to recall the National Theatre in London doing a WT in 1988 (I think) in
which Perdita wore a virtually transparent blouse during Act IV.  Not exactly
nudity, but close.
 
W. Russell Mayes Jr.

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University of Virginia
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Jun 1994 10:49:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0499  re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Re Lonnie Durham on the Jarman TEMPEST: it featured not only a topless Miranda,
but a topless and bottomless Ferdinand, who has lost every stitch of clothing
in the wreck, and spends his first scene with Miranda entirely naked. The film
was intermittently interesting, though Caliban as a Charles Addams butler
didn't work for me. I saw it on British tv, and I sort of suspect that it will
surface on video shortly, at least in England.
 
S. Orgel
 

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