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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Doubling in *MND*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0381.  Sunday, 1 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 1994 13:53:20 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0367 Re: *MND* Doubling
 
(2)     From:   Sharon Cinnamon <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 1994 14:19:31 -0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
(3)     From:   Chris Kendall <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 1994 12:19:02 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   *MND* doubling
 
(4)     From:   Chris Langland-Shula <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 1994 13:06:13 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0376 Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
(5)     From:   Sarah Gannon <GANNON@HWS.BITNET>
        Date:   Saturday, 30 Apr 1994 18:36:57 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 1994 13:53:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0367 Re: *MND* Doubling
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0367 Re: *MND* Doubling
 
I imagine that doubling is the result, in most theatrical companies including
Shakespeare's, of pragmatic considerations.  More roles than performers. Any
doubling can stir the audience's imagination--especially in *MND*, which
celebrates the imagination.  The spectators observe similarities and contrasts
among characters.  Not every doubled pair suggests an identity.  (Oberon may be
associated with Theseus, but Oberon does not equal Theseus.)  In my
eight-performer travelling version, we are doubling Helena with Oberon, Titania
with Hippolyta, and Theseus with Bottom.  The implications are interesting.
Oberon charms Demetrius to fall in love with Helena.  Theseus watches Bottom
perform Pyramus, and the Bottom-Titania couple connect with the
Theseus-Hippolyta couple.  We are in no case suggesting identity.  We are
trying to suggest association, and sometimes contrast.
 
David Richman
University of New Hampshire
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sharon Cinnamon <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 1994 14:19:31 -0100
Subject: 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
I've been in two productions of MND where T&O were not doubled with H&T and
one production where they were.  The production in which they were doubled
was last summer at Shakespeare & Co. at the Mount in Lenox, MA.    The
quick change in 4.1 (I believe) was done center stage in full view of the
audience while a Unification dance/ritual was performed by the male and
female fairies.  Maybe it actually worked.
 
My problem with the doubling is a physical one.  As King and Queen of the
Fairies, I see Oberon and Titania as physically small -- as tall as an
acorn cup or wide enough to be wrapped by a weed.  Thus each ridicules the
other for absurdly loving the large, muscular warriors.   The contrast
between the two couples rests with their differing sources of power.  The
Fairies have magical powers, but the warriors physical ones.  Titania's
petite size I think also adds to the humour of her relations with Bottom.
However, I cannot imagine a petite Hyppolyta.
 
Sharon Cinnamon

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Kendall <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 1994 12:19:02 -0600 (MDT)
Subject:        *MND* doubling
 
I don't have my Shakespeare to hand (filling an idle moment at work by
catching up on my email) but I was in a production of *MND* in which
Theseus/Hippolyta and Oberon/Titania were doubled and I believe that
Bottom's scene: "The eye of man hath not heard..." was interposed between
the exit of the fairies and the entrance of the mortals, allowing adequate
time for a costume change.
 
I like the doubling because it underscores the nature of the fairies as
abstractions.  Depending on your metaphysical view, Theseus and Hippolyta
are out of tune _because_ Oberon and Titania are, or vice versa.  The
fairies, who have existed since the beginning of time, take on the
appearance of Theseus and Hippolyta because they are the pair who are
taking their place on love's stage at the moment.
 
Regards,
Chris Kendall
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Langland-Shula <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 1994 13:06:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 5.0376 Re: Doubling in *MND*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0376 Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
As to Bill Gelber's mention of the benefits of doubling, I certainly agree that
doubling tiny roles with others is a good practice, as it reduces the number of
the cast (I've always found smaller casts to be closer to each other), but in
the case of Titania/Hippolyta and Oberon/Theseus, the thematic issues of having
the two powerful pairs being played by the same people does create some
problems, as well as audience confusion.
 
Now, normally, I don't have any problem with doubling, and as long as the
costumes and characterizations are different enough, the audience doesn't get
confused.  However, with MND, the close entrances and exits of the two pairs
(IV.i, and also in V.i) can confuse audiences not familiar with the play.  I
was in a production in Menlo Park, CA, where the roles were doubled, and
several times my guests or other members of the audience expressed confusion as
to who exactly the "two" characters were.
 
As a concept though, I greatly support doubling.  In this case, other issues
outweigh the benefits.
 
Chris Langland-Shula

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UCLA
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sarah Gannon <GANNON@HWS.BITNET>
Date:           Saturday, 30 Apr 1994 18:36:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0376  Re: Doubling in *MND*
 
I would like to pose a question that relates (somewhat) to this conversation
about doubling... How do people feel about the use of masks in performances of
Shakespeare? I have been experimenting with the use of masks in my experience
performing on the stage here at Hobart and William Smith College.  Wouldn't it
make it obviously easier to deal with the idea of doubling in productions with
the use of masks? However, I was wondering how people felt about using masks on
all characters of any given Shakespearean play?
 
Curiously,
Sarah Gannon
 

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