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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0507.  Tuesday, 7 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Jun 1994 14:43:12 +1000 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0502  Re: Nudity/Jarman Tempest
 
(2)     From:   Nick Clary <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Jun 1994 08:41:40 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Jun 1994 14:43:12 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 5.0502  Re: Nudity/Jarman Tempest
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0502  Re: Nudity/Jarman Tempest
 
In reply to Lonnie Durham, I remember first seeing the Jarman Tempest (and
thoroughly enjoying it) at a Film Festival in Auckland, New Zealand, so clearly
the film was allowed out of Britain. It also exists on video--I saw it at a
library in Cambridge while I was there briefly a few years ago--and I'm sure
it's more widely available.
 
Further to the nudity in Shakespeare issue, a production of R&J by the
Queensland Theatre Company in Brisbane last year had the two actors relatively
briefly nude as in the Visconti film. There were a few complaints but nothing
serious, and it's interesting that there was a sense that the complaints were
because it was a Shakespeare play. There has been plenty of other nudity on the
Brisbane stage, but there are still those around who seem to feel that this
violates the sanctity of the Bard and high art. The production was very
youthful and lively with suggestions of an excess of male hormone, and the
actor playing Juliet, Veronica Neave, did something which I thought very brave,
making herself look less attractive than she normally is on stage, using little
obvious makeup in an attempt to look and play a very young teenager. It's the
first time I've seen a production take Juliet's age so seriously. The
production was directed by Aubrey Mellor.
 
Adrian Kiernander
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nick Clary <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 Jun 1994 08:41:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Nudity in Shakespearean Performance
 
Reading the Wilson Knight anecdote provided by John Drakakis, I am reminded of
an anecdote provided me in the mid-70's by James Redmond, Westfield College
Drama department.  According to this story, Knight dramatically stripped down
to a gold lame g-string toward the end of his lecture on *Timon of Athens*. The
performance ended in a flurry of gold confetti the size of coins. Either
Knight's performances were several or his single one has gone over to folklore.
I sure would like to know more from anyone who was in attendance at one or
more of these extravaganzas.
 
Incidentally, I have myself given a performance essay on *Hamlet* during which
I read from a prepared text, the rhythms of which were deliberately and
relentlessly iambic.  To the bitter end, alas, I remained fully clad in tie and
sportcoat.  Surely my audience was grateful.
 
Nick Clary
 

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