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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Bottom, Titania, Oppression
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0525.  Saturday, 11 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Phyllis Rackin <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Jun 1994 11:54:40 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0523  Re: Bottom, Titania
 
(2)     From:   Ron Moyers <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Jun 1994 13:48:16 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Bottom, Titania, and stuff
 
(3)     From:   Thomas L. Berger <TBER@SLUMUS>
        Date:   Thursday, 09 Jun 94 16:26:02 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0523 Re: Bottom, Titania
 
(4)     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Saturday, 11 Jun 1994 16:56:04 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0508  Qs: Titania and Bottom
 
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Rackin <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Jun 1994 11:54:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0523  Re: Bottom, Titania
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0523  Re: Bottom, Titania
 
> Enough of that, but I do have something to take up with Ron Moyer:
> Wittgenstein, in discussing the limitations of Frazier's *Golden Bough*, says
> that the chief defect in Frazier's thinking was his tendency to treat earlier
> and less technologically advanced cultures as if they were fumbling, each in
> its own benighted way, toward the perfection of 19th Century English society
> (and always getting it wrong!)  I must say that I feel something like
> Wittgenstein's skepticism whenever I read remarks that seem to congratulate
> 20th C. Western culture for its superior understanding of gender roles and
> sexual equality--ESPECIALLY when those remarks represent other periods and
> cultures as pathological in their social organization. They weren't sick and
> we aren't all that healthy. Shirley Garner's work consistently assumes the
> superiority of modern hindsight.
 
I hope Lonnie Durham will amplify these remarks.  Does he mean that the
oppression of women isn't pathological?  As a woman, I'd certainly want
to disagree.  Or, does he mean that modern scholars often overestimate
the extent of women's oppression in earlier periods in order to
overestimate the extent of their equality today?  In that case, I'd agree.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Moyers <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Jun 1994 13:48:16 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Bottom, Titania, and stuff
 
Lonnie Durham,
 
I certainly don't want to get in a tiff with Wittgenstein; I basically agree
with you; and I am not proposing that the Ciulei production and/or Garner
article excerpt reflect all (or the majority) of my views of MND.  As we
sometimes criticize past eras for their culturally limited/limiting views, our
own "enlightenment" is conditioned/limited by our culture.  I sometimes wonder
at the irony of folks who attack place-centrism while promoting era-centric
views (I am not suggesting Garner does this, but, oh, it does happen).
 
I don't care to characterize (not that dread word!) Garner's article too
harshly, however, because I've read only an excerpt and because many of her
ideas are stimulating.  I think she taps a pattern in the script that has
special resonance *in our era*.  To me, her exploration damns neither the play
nor the era, but illuminates characteristics of Shakespeare's and many other
times, including our own.  Like Ciulei's production, which had a strongly mixed
reception, her article serves to broaden my awareness of the potentials for a
rich script to speak with multiple tongues, and--in a stew of theatre, reading,
and life experiences--of the potential for an auditor simultaneously to
appreciate multiple, often conflicting, interpretations: thus, one's personal
apprehension of a play develops.
 
Both productions and articles must address contemporary audiences
playing/discussing imperfectly understood works; sometimes the terms of address
are irritating and rejected, sometimes...a pearl.... I keep reminding myself
not to become too exasperated at a production/ writing pretending to be The
Interpretation (or, even, The Method of Inquiry), but as an interpretation
needing to be tested and assimilated in order to enrich appreciation of the
script, past eras, and present times. Likewise, your labyrinthine descent to
the Bottom of foolish fathers is delightful, illuminating, will be part of my
future readings/viewings of these scripts, and may inform production if I get
the opportunity to direct them again.
 
--Ron Moyer
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas L. Berger <TBER@SLUMUS>
Date:           Thursday, 09 Jun 94 16:26:02 EDT
Subject: 5.0523 Re: Bottom, Titania
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0523 Re: Bottom, Titania
 
I had always thought the two had had sex in the bower, if only because Bottom
wants some food and sleep after sex.  Food, and sport (in this case, sex) and
life-preserving rest are what the Abbess prescribes in COMEDY OF ERRORS, after
all.  Men, gotta hate 'em.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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Date:           Saturday, 11 Jun 1994 16:56:04 +1000
Subject: 5.0508  Qs: Titania and Bottom
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0508  Qs: Titania and Bottom
 
If in a post-Brook world we believe that MND is has something to say about
sexual awakening, then I'm sure that Oberon has his eye on more than one fairy:
male or female. I'm also sure that Bottom's request for Hay could be
post-coital. In a production of the play that I am directing, the fairies
embody sexuality and the lovers discover that in losing their clothing, they
also lose the civilised trappings of Athens. Titania and Oberon are the sexual
libidos of Theseus and Hippolyta a la Brook. I am really surprised that it took
around 300 years for the sexuality in the play to be recognised.
 
Regards,
Scott Crozier
 

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