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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Nudity
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0539.  Friday, 17 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Cary M. Mazer <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jun 1994 09:15:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0536  Re: Nudity
 
(2)     From:   E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 13:29:53 EDT
        Subj:   RE: [Nudity]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary M. Mazer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 17 Jun 1994 09:15:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0536  Re: Nudity
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0536  Re: Nudity
 
I agree with Jon Enriquez when he writes, "If we are going to present more
nudity, for whatever valid dramatic reason, we must also account for our
audience and how they will interpret it."  I'd take that even farther: given
the role of the audience (in today's theatre at least) as potentially
scopophilic voyeurs, we can create theatre pieces from existing early modern
scripts and make them ABOUT how the audience sees and interprets the events on
stage; and such spectacles as nudity and (I'd like to suggest) violence,
because they are most culturally charged as problematic objects of display, can
raise questions about spectatorship in the theatre most profoundly.  Much of my
work (with student casts) in this repertoire here at Penn has been designed to
raise these questions:  am I supposed to ENJOY watching the Duchess of Malfi
get strangled (not to mention watching it every night of the run), especially
when all the other men in the play spend much of the play TRYING to watch women
(Ferdinand so much so that he vows NOT to watch)?  I gather that this same
question was raised via nudity in the recent Duchess of Malfi at ACT in San
Francisco, in which (I'm told) the Duchess was naked from the waist DOWN while
she was murdered, generating (let's hope) all sort of cognitive dissonance in
an audience of watchers.  I also explored this question of spectatorship in the
deposition scene of _Richard II_ (Richard's line about "all of you that stand
and look upon me," like the Duchess of Malfi's line about "YOUR whispering,"
was addressed to the audience), in a production some years ago, in which
SHAKSPER's own Jon Enriquez played the Duke of York.
 
Cary M. Mazer
University of Pennsylvania
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 16 Jun 1994 13:29:53 EDT
Subject:        RE: [Nudity]
 
In regard to nudity: wouldn't a nude Hamlet provide a distracting reading for
the line a bout achieving quietus with a bare bodkin? The line might get a
laugh. ELEpstein
 

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