1994

Re: Macbeth and Leontes; P. Stewart; RTC's *Rom.*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0253.  Sunday, 20 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Lonnie J Durham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 16:41:59 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Psycho Macbeth, Leontes, etc.
 
(2)     From:   James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 18:05:58 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
(3)     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Mar 1994 09:01:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lonnie J Durham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 16:41:59 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Psycho Macbeth, Leontes, etc.
 
I was tempted to respond to BG's parting remarks on Macbeth as a serial killer
not with *BULLSEYE* as someone else did, but with a word very near that, but
the fact is, we all work in different ways to give our readings the weight and
dignity that we feel such a revered author deserves.  In that respect, W.S. is
something of a mandala.
 
Here's my own rationale, though, for resisting these pathological descriptions
of motive:  I find these interpretations tainted not only with Protestant
literalism, but with modernist Literary Realist assumptions.  Here--in Macbeth
and Leontes--we have two characters who act in strict accordance with
well-known symptoms brought on by disordered imaginations brought on by
what?--chemical imbalance?, infantile sexual abuse?  Whatever it is, it is an
inert datum.  It has no meaning beyond itself, except that such accidents
happen randomly in nature all the time.  Some readers are thrilled by such
correspondences between fiction and REAL LIFE because of a misplaced reverence
for what they perceive as experiential truth.  The tendency, though, is toward
fundamentalist reduction: the Bible is great because it is historical FACT.
 
But the interpretive habits of SH. and his contemporaries were still fully
allegorical.  Yes, Leontes is full of jealousy and sexual nausea just as Hamlet
is, and for similar reasons: the women central to their lives are engines of
TIME, of generation, birth and death, as against the timeless, non-heterosexual
paradise of boyhood described by Polixenes before he and his friend were drawn
into the fallen world by the women who were to become their wives.  Of course
it is sick to want to stop time (or even to make it run backward), but that is
a sickness we all share, especially in the tragic mode, where the rage to
overcome the past is represented as more guilty than the rage to preserve it.
 
All I'm saying, I guess, is that I'm for any interpretation that can lead
elegantly and productively into the great traditional topoi.  If you can do
that with pathology, fine.  But if it  is simply in the name of realist
causality or interpretive fundamentalism, hoh-hum.
 
Cheers, everybody. Lonnie Durham This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 18:05:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0247  P. Stewart
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
TO:  Elizabeth Schmitt
SUBJECT:  Gasping -- TWICE!
 
So here we've been having a trans-world conversation about textual ambiguity --
in the abstract -- when a real-world example tripped up many of us --
completely unawares!
 
I hope someone out there is a friend of a friend of Patrick Stewart, and can
pass this story along!
 
Jim Schaefer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(202) 687-4478
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Mar 1994 09:01:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0251  Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*
 
"All Star Casts" do not productions make, I'm afraid. They work best in music,
in chamber ensembles. The key word, of course, is that: ensemble. It worked
with Olivier's Granada LEAR where so many well-known faces brought their own
backgrounds to the roles which of course became an ineluctable part of OUR
interpretation. The OLD MAN, for instance, was the celebrated Esmond
Knight--for a while president of British Actors' Equity and the only totally
blind actor to be a success.
 
But what do we want? Jacobi playing one of the dazzling parts in his
mid-fifties? So? These plays are not mirror-naturalism. At least Jacobi is
capable (as you rightly point out) of uttering the lines with clarity and
intelligent emphasis and focus, thereby creating a Mercutio out of the
playwright's score he is working from.
 
But I do hope the star system never dies. The performers, as I said, bring what
we know of themselves to the parts: Olivier's Lear was to a certain extent
Olivier, thus providing us with what Arthur Koestler described as the perfect
theatrical response. ("The Act of Creation", 1963?)

Re: Hey Nonny Nonny; A Frog; Welsh; Glorianna

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0252.  Sunday, 20 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Patricia Palermo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 17:50:37 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; A FROG . . .
 
(2)     From:   Joan Hartwig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 94 19:06:12 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; "A Frog . . ."
 
(3)     From:   Michael Dobson <U63495@UICVM>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 94 17:19:10 CST
        Subj:   Re: Videos; Welsh; Leontes; *Tempest*; P. Stewart
 
(4)     From:   Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
        Date:   Sunday, 20 Mar 94 00:07:16 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0244  Re: Imagining Gloriana
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patricia Palermo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 17:50:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; A FROG . ..
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; A FROG . ..
 
In response to Edward Dotson's query about the meaning of "hey nonny nonny":
I always thought that such lines were simply nonsense syllables used to round
out song meter, rather like the "doo-wops" of the 1950's, or the Beatles' "yeah
yeah yeah's."
 
Anyone else?
Patricia Palermo
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joan Hartwig <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 94 19:06:12 EST
Subject: 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; "A Frog . . ."
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0248  Qs: Hey Nonny Nonny; "A Frog . . ."
 
To Edward Dotson: in English and Scottish Balladry, "hey, nonny, nonny" is
called a "nonsense phrase."  It isn't supposed to mean anything.
 
To Simon Morgan-Russell: the definitive essay on the frog/toad emblem and
its particular application to the suit of the Duc d'Alencon for Queen
Elizabeth's hand in marriage is by Doris Adler, "Imaginary Toads in Real
Gardens," ELR, 11 (1981): 238 and passim.  The terms "frog" and "toad" were
interchangeable during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
 
Delighted you asked,
Joan Hartwig
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Dobson <U63495@UICVM>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 94 17:19:10 CST
Subject:        Re: Videos; Welsh; Leontes; *Tempest*; P. Stewart
 
Further thanks to all those who have shown further evidence to our publisher of
the vast potential market for *Imagining Gloriana*, in which we solemnly
promise to reproduce everyone's favourite pin-ups of Glenda Jackson (the sort
of Gloriana one can *vote* for!), Bette Davis, Quentin Crisp, &c &c with the
most searching analytical captions yet seen -- a must for every cultural
materialist coffee table.
 
Meanwhile a last antiquarian note on the Welsh in HIVi -- although I stick to
my earlier guess that no British production of the Welsh scene would ever have
dared to try to fob off the punters with cod Welsh, it is perfectly true that
throughout the 18th century (expect for a few isolated productions) that part
of the scene was simply cut.  So was the rest of it, usually. The sort of
token Welshman the London stage could tolerate from Britain's National Poet was
Fluellen, the Max Boyce of the 1590s. Heigh ho.
 
        P.S. Rik Mayall
             Michael Pennington
 
                                         Michael Dobson
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <SURCC@CUNYVM>
Date:           Sunday, 20 Mar 94 00:07:16 EST
Subject: 5.0244  Re: Imagining Gloriana
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0244  Re: Imagining Gloriana
 
I can't remember the parameters of the "Imagining Gloriana" original request,
but I just remembered one of the madrigals from the celebratory publication of
pieces dedicated to the Queen: THE TRIUMPHS OF ORIANA.  Many, I think, or maybe
all, ended with the words, "Long live fair Oriana."  There's one particularly
wonderful piece from this collection in THE ELIZABETHAN SONGBOOK.  But I can't
find my copy, and I'm afraid I may even have the title of this modern songbook
wrong.
       As ever,
               Steve Urkowitz SURCC@CUNYVM

Re: RSC *Ant.* with P. Stewart

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0250.  Saturday, 19 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Martin Zacks <lalalib%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 09:39:17 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
(2)     From:   Michael Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 11:10:32 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   PSTEWART and ANT.
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Zacks <lalalib%This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 09:39:17 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 5.0247  P. Stewart
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0247  P. Stewart
 
The RSC Antony & Cleopatra can be had through Critic's Choice, (800) 367-7765.
The price is about $20. The only fault I find in an otherwise memorable
Enobarbus, is the mass of hair they've piled about Patrick Stewart's face and
head.
 
Martin Zacks
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Cohen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 11:10:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        PSTEWART and ANT.
 
We have a copy of the Patrick Stewart Antony and Cleopatra to which Elizabeth
Schmitt refers in a recent posting. Stewart plays Enobarbus, and, in my wife's
words, "steals the show." Richard Johnson is Antony and Janet Suzman is
Cleopatra. It was produced in 1974, staged for television by Trevor Nunn, and
directed by Jon Scoffield.
 
It has a bit of a video flavor (cute dissolves and montages and some electronic
effects), but it is an effective performance and well worth checking out. I
believe it is available for $19.95 (US).
 
Michael E. Cohen
a.k.a. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Renaissance Theatre Company's *Rom.*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0251.  Saturday, 19 March 1994.
 
From:           Ellen Edgerton <EBEDGERT@SUADMIN>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 15:04 ET
Subject:        Renaissance *R&J*
 
The Renaissance Theatre Company's radio production of *Romeo and Juliet* has
made it to U.S. shores on CD and cassette (it was last year's broadcast; this
year's will be/has been *King Lear*).  They are allegedly out to do uncut
performances of the entire canon on radio, at the rate of one per year, which
should have them wrapping it up, oh, around 2028 or so.
 
So far I really don't know what to make of this series. These productions ought
to be more exciting than they actually are, what with the all-star casts, and
while they're not bad, they're not all good, either.  That said, I was
pleasantly surprised by the *R&J*, which seems better than the *Hamlet*
production of 1992. Those who are looking for Cutting-Edge Critical
Interpretation of these plays had better look elsewhere, but if you can swallow
a Romeo and Juliet in their early 30's (Kenneth Branagh and Samantha Bond), a
Mercutio in his mid-50's (Derek Jacobi) and other assorted grownups playing
teenagers, this production occasionally produces some interesting turns.   I
thought Branagh would be very silly as Romeo, but he plays Romeo without a
whole lot of pretension, an impulsive teenager with bouts of lucidity, so I was
pleasantly surprised.  Wish I could say the same for Samantha Bond's Juliet,
who in the U.K. press seemed to get better reviews for playing her as
world-weary and painfully mature, than Branagh did for playing his part with at
least a little foolish passion.  (I always got the impression that Juliet was a
little more worldly than her Romeo, but this is ridiculous.)
 
A very ambitious program for Renaissance, but I still don't think it can be
anything more than an interesting series of rough drafts, as long as they're
going to record the plays uncut without any real directorial vision.  (Shades
of the BBC-TV series...)  It is, however, an approach that seems very well
suited to the comedies, and the actors' clarity of speech and meaning in these
productions are impressive.  I would hope that their 1995 project will be
something along the lines of *AYLI* or *Love's Labour's Lost*.
 
Ellen Edgerton
Syracuse University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Ambiguity

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0249.  Saturday, 19 March 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Barbara Simerka <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 18 Mar 1994 14:30:05 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0239  Ambiguity?
 
(2)     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 11:46:35 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0245  Re: Ambiguity?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Barbara Simerka <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 18 Mar 1994 14:30:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0239  Ambiguity?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0239  Ambiguity?
 
It occurs to me that, in addition to looking at the contemporary stage, an
examination of current film is also a good place to examine the question of
ambiguity within works where the author has some control over the
representation.  If ambiguity can be found in films, especially those where
the writer is also the director (ie Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, etc. etc)
that might be an indication that it could also be present in the original
stagings of Lear.
 
Barbara Simerka
Davidson College
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 19 Mar 1994 11:46:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0245  Re: Ambiguity?
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0245  Re: Ambiguity?
 
As an actor presently playing Michael in Frank McGuinness' "Someone Who'' Watch
Over Me" at the Centaur in Montreal and present as witness at last year's
unfortunate Stratford Ontario season, I think you are so right on so many
points, particularly when I consider what has so often happened in Radio Drama
in Canada when the playright has been present and also when not. It doesn't
actually make much difference. To look at the scripts as the exist in archives
and compare them to the performances is to look at two worlds. We CHANGE what
we don't like, can't say, has been ungiftedly written possible, we create
climactic patterns of which the author was often unaware. When the author is in
the booth, of course, it does become a collaboratve occasion of which usually
THE ONLY RECORD IS THE PERFORMANCE AS RECORDED, not altered on the page.
 
With Shakespeare, of course, we have the awful problem of dogmatism exacerbated
by the set and understandably canonised rhythms which are normally the ultimate
guide along with phonetic structure and texture. I think radio drama is a
reasonable analogy from which to consider the "problem". In any case, actors
have to make what we so loosely call "choices" and go with one meaning or
another, although there are of course instances in which a kind of neutral
delivery of notoriously ambiguous lines will hit an audience with the
interpretation they desire or even imagine they hear. Listen to Wolfit's "Look
there. . ." on his Caedmon Lear extracts. The South African question is of
utter fascination, but I cannot yet contribute to its richness.
 
Harry Hill

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