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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: April ::
Qs: Melancholia; Shylock; Maria Ouspenskaya
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0331.  Tuesday, 12 April 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Joel A. Plotkin <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Apr 1994 18:00:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Melancholia
 
(2)     From:   Kimberly Beane <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Apr 94 18:40:27 EST
        Subj:   Shylock & the Holocaust
 
(3)     From:   Don Weingust <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Apr 1994 20:57:20 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Maria Ouspenskaya
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joel A. Plotkin <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Apr 1994 18:00:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Melancholia
 
While lecturing on *Merchant of Venice* today, I noticed how vividly and
efficiently S describes the sensation of depression or melancholia --
heaviness, weariness, wanting to die, unwillingness to take action. Later on,
of course, S. writes the consumate depression speech in Hamlet -- How weary,
stale, flat, and unprofitable...
 
Earlier in the semester, while covering Midsummer Night's Dream, I spent some
time on the use of the word >nothing< which is often used dismissively to refer
to poetry or art (>to give to airy nothing a local habitation<... Romeo
dismisses the Queen Mab speech as >nothing<.  In Lear of course, the word
become almost a talisman.
 
Does this suggest to people more familiar with S.'s work (than a prof at a
technical college) that there may be an underlying emotional tendency to
depression in the playwright?  I remember an earlier post in which a physician
commented on signs of parkinsonian palsy in some of the autographs. Of course
this is all highly speculative, and possibly mere transference from my own
experiences of depression, but I'm curious whether this strikes a chord in
other readers?
 
Joel Plotkin   SUNY Institue of Technology at Utica
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kimberly Beane <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Apr 94 18:40:27 EST
Subject:        Shylock & the Holocaust
 
Hullo, fellow Shaksperians--
 
I'm currently begining a small research project looking into interpretations of
that most-ambiguous of Shakespearian characters, Shylock, and have become most
interested in examining how the experience of the Holocaust has affected actor
choices in playing the character.  Specifically, I am wondering if anyone has
any suggestions along the following questions:
 
1) Is there any indication (and so far all my searching says a vehement "NO!",
but I thought I'd ask anyway) as to how the Bard wanted the character played or
how the original actor(s) viewed the character?
 
2) Are there any studies (or groupings of original documents) examining the
popularity of _Merchant of Venice_ during the Nazi reign in Germany?  (John
Gross's book, _Shylock_, mentions that MV was one of the most popular plays
staged in Germany at the time.  No doubting the interpretation, but I would be
interested in seeing reviews, notes, etc from such productions.)
 
3) Has anyone speculated (and if so, where can I find said speculations!) about
how the Holocaust has influenced actor/director interpretations of the
character in the post-Auschwitz years?
 
and finally, a sidelight of interest:
 
4) What is the Jewish reaction to Shylock, both pre- and post-Holocaust?
 
I'd appreciate any tidbits, speculation, confused comments, or serious
suggestions.  Many, many thanks in advance.
 
Kim Beane
Purdue University

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Weingust <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Apr 1994 20:57:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Maria Ouspenskaya
 
Though somewhat outside the purview of this particular list, perhaps a fellow
SHAKSPERean or two can provide some much sought-for information.
 
I am trying to contact persons who have studied Acting with Maria Ouspenskaya,
either in her American Laboratory Theatre days, or in Hollywood.  If anyone
receiving this message has studied with Madame, or knows of someone else who
has studied with her, I would be most grateful to hear from you.  I would also
be interested in hearing from anyone with personal anecdotes or insights about
her.  Rather than replying to the list, please contact me personally at the
following e-mail address: 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 .
 
Thank you.
 

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