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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Groups; Similarities; Stratford; Deaths
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0575.  Monday, 27 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Saturday, 25 Jun 1994 14:54:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0570  Qs: Comparable Groups
 
(2)     From:   Jean Peterson <
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        Date:   Sunday, 26-JUN-1994 12:17:51.81
        Subj:   Simpson
 
(3)     From:   Duke Pesta <
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        Date:   Sunday, 26 Jun 94 13:52:47 EST
        Subj:   Stratford Shakespearean Festival
 
(4)     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jun 94 12:39:00 BST
        Subj:   [Deaths of Cleopatra and Othello]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 Jun 1994 14:54:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0570  Qs: Comparable Groups
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0570  Qs: Comparable Groups
 
For Kathryn Anderson, try "RENAIS-L@ulkyvm.bitnet" for Renaissance or Early
Modern History. And you may want to try "FICINO@utoronto.bitnet".  There's not
much going on now in these groups, but you might get in there and ask a few
provocative questions, e.g., "Is John Calvin in hell or Brazil?" Or you could
start a "most provocative question" contest.
 
Yours,
Bill Godshalk
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jean Peterson <
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Date:           Sunday, 26-JUN-1994 12:17:51.81
Subject:        Simpson
 
I have been holding back from entering the O.J./Othello debate in the hopes
that if I ignored it long enough it would disappear, but I can no longer
refrain from pointing out a few things that the O.J.-as-tragic-hero-camp seem
to be missing:
 
There's nothing noble, uplifting, or even extraordinary about men who brutalize
their lovers/wives, not in this country, where what we now euphemistically call
"domestic abuse" puts more women (and children!) in hospitals than anything
else.  What is striking about the Simpson case is not that it is a tragic
aberration, but its horrific ORDINARINESS, when one considers the number of men
who beat up and or/kill women (fully a third of women homicide victims are
killed by their spouse/lovers, fully a quarter of domestic abuse situations end
in homicide). Leaving aside the fame issue, the race issue (Thank you, Naomi
Liebler, for pointing out that white men DO kill their wives, in fearsome
numbers--by the way, Iago kills his, which no one has mentioned), and even for
a moment the guilt issue (no conviction yet, folks, let's show some restraint),
and what you have is horrifyingly common: a bully who brutalizes the woman he
"loves."  Even the emotional/psychological connundrums involved are common as
dirt: the outward "nice-guy" persona, the delusional lack of self-awareness,
the inverted--perverted?--sense of grievance ("I'm the battered husband"), the
self-pitying rage, and especially the if-I-can't-have-her-no-one-will
mentality, (paid any attention lately to the phenomenon of "stalking"?--the
increasing numbers of men who follow, threaten, rape, batter, and/or kill women
who leave them).
 
The sick truth is that what Simpson did to his ex-wife is what thousands of men
do to women every day, and what he MAY have done to her ultimately is only
slightly less common. Just don't try to tell me there is anything noble,
heroic, or aesthetically pleasing about it.
 
Jean Peterson
Bucknell University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Duke Pesta <
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Date:           Sunday, 26 Jun 94 13:52:47 EST
Subject:        Stratford Shakespearean Festival
 
To interested Shakespeareans:
 
Having attended the Stratford Shakespearean Festival for the previous five
seasons, I can offer the following observations.  I hope they are helpful.The
company itself is touted as "North America's Premier Classical Repertory
Theatre."  My modest exposure to live classical theater has included plays in
New York, California, Cleveland, Washington and Chicago, but for my money the
Stratford Festival is tops. The Festival's three theaters offer a wonderful mix
of classical theater, Canadian drama, musicals, and modern drama.  Surprisingly
(considering that this is the Festival's 42nd season), one never knows what to
expect from one performance to the next.  Last season, for instance, I saw a
matinee performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that included secret service
agents, day-glo sets and rapping fairies (I was sceptical at first, but the
enthusiasm and accessibility of the performance won me).  The same evening I
saw a riveting performance of "King John" that, except for the Edwardian dress,
 was as compelling as it was conventional.  The very next afternoon I saw
Euripedes '"Bacchae," a performance that utilized modern dance and classical
Greek costuming (complete with exaggerated masks), to create an incredibly
sensual, powerful dramatic experience.
 
The town of Stratford is charming.  Scattered along the banks of the meandering
Avon you will find quaint antique shops and remarkably well stocked book stores
(I realize I'm starting to sound a bit like a travel agent!).  The dining is
generally not extraordinary, but this only becomes a concern if you are
planning a prolonged stay.  Unfortunately, as government funding has dwindled,
prices have risen dramatically.  Five years ago, ticket prices were about one
third of what they are now!  Local businesses, sadly, have raised prices
dramatically as well on everything from books to the price you pay to park.
Don't be fooled by a favorable exchange rate (though this, too, is dwindling),
that has been more than compensated for!  The Festival Book Store (located
opposite the Festival Theater) is a MUST visit.  Stratford is not the place to
go if you crave a lively night life.
 
This transmission is really too long already, but I must include the following
caution, for whatever it's worth.  The park area that surrounds the Avon river
is lovely, and it had been my custom, after evening performances, to take a
walk around the river.  Unbeknownst to me, the river area, after dark, has
become a notorious pick up area.  Twice last year, walking home from evening
performances, I encountered local youth, who frequent the park after dark.
Because I was alone, they obviously assumed that I was there looking for a
liason of some sort.  They weren't violent, but they were very verbally
abusive.  But this episode is NOT indicative of my experiences in Stratford.
The people have really been great, and the kind of incident reported above,
alas, is all too common everywhere.  Finally, for those interested, here is a
list of this season's productions:  Twelfth Night, Othello, Hamlet, The Comedy
of Errors, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Moliere Double Bill (The School for Husbands
and The Imaginary Cuckold), Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Pirates of
Penzance, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and In the Ring.  I would be happy
to address any individual queries about the Festival.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jun 94 12:39:00 BST
Subject:        [Deaths of Cleopatra and Othello]
 
Sorry Bill,
 
Your ascriptions of "romantic" won't wash.  My comments about the deaths of
Cleopatra and Othello were designed to counter a romantic and essentialist
notion of "character" to which you evidently subscribe.  You will insist on a
hierarchy of identities for characters, grounded on the groundless grounds (if
I can put it like that) of character as personality. Similarly, your curious
question about "which Cleopatra", is a shade disingenuous, since it wants to
disguise a rather naive empiricism.
 
All the more surprising then that you should come to a "cynical" reading of
A&C. Especially in view of the fact that your own reading of Cleopatra's
"character" (sic) depends upon an acceptance of her "deception"; I guess that
you need that kind of aunt sally to make your point about "Cultural
Materialists".  If this is a story about power- and I suppose that in some ways
it is- then you might want to consider the AFFECTIVE power of the play's
"poetry", the conditions within which it is produced, the curious aporias which
result from those productions, and the very complex politics within which a
universalized (and imperial) peace may be secured at the end.
 
As for Americans believing only half of what they see, and nothing of what they
hear...let me draw your attention to Brian Friel's play TRANSLATIONS where the
representative of imperialism is more ignorant than those over whom he would
seek to establish rule. Rest secure in your myths of intellectual virtue!
 
The purple nights must finally be catching up with you!
 
Cheers, John Drakakis
 

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