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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Character; Masks; Double-Casting
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0429.  Friday, 13 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 12 May 1994 09:52:11 EDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0423  Re: Masks; Character; Double-Casting; Doubling
 
(2)     From:   Michelle M Fortunato <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 May 1994 10:56:50 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   masks/character
 
(3)     From:   Matthew Smith <MASMITH@HWS.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 12 May 1994 13:15:49 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   masks
 
(4)     From:   J F Knight <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 May 1994 05:59:28 +1000 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0420 Re: Doubling; Double-Casting; Polonius
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <epstein@QCVAXA.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 12 May 1994 09:52:11 EDT
Subject: 5.0423  Re: Masks; Character; Double-Casting; Doubling
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0423  Re: Masks; Character; Double-Casting; Doubling
 
Re Schaefer on character: yes, the actors give meat to the soul, but for *real
*people, the meat is already there, and does not change with each production of
the work. E.L.Epstein
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michelle M Fortunato <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 12 May 1994 10:56:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        masks/character
 
It is perhaps not coincidental that the discussions of masks and character have
come together (David Schalkwyk).  The word "persona" as I understand it
originates in the idea of the sound of an actor's voice (sona) coming through
(per) the mask he wore on stage during Greek tragedy.  (I think this has
something to do with projecting the voice, too, the mask serving as a
megaphone.)  In this sense, character most certainly is a sort of mask, even
when no physical mask is worn.  The question of using masks in a production
becomes more interesting with this in mind, especially in terms of the way
Shakespeare often tantalized his audience with the idea of the actor beneath
the character (ie. does the use of a mask call increased attention to that
actor?).
 
Amusedly musing,
Michelle Fortunato
Univ. of Pennsylvania
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Smith <MASMITH@HWS.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 12 May 1994 13:15:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        masks
 
When I was in Japan a couple of years ago I ran across a woodshop which
had a rather handsome display of masks.  I asked the shopkeeper what they
were and he explained to me in great detail about each mask and the Shinto
god which they represented.  Considering the masking question, originally
raised by Sarah Gannon at William Smith, I thought that there is something
to be said for masking a character by his or her archetype.  For example,
there is a trickster god with a rather phallic nose that could be worn by
Feste.  There are gods and goddesses whose love goes unrequited. And so on
and so forth.  Perhaps masking can help production crews to bridge culture
gaps by connecting the Elizabethan characters to a commonality with a
traditional Japanese (or whatever other culture to which one might try to
connect) character with a mask.  Perhaps masking can also help with
doubling.  It could prove as a barrier to one trying to impose some kind
of connection between Cordelia and the Fool, for example.
 
p.s.  Kimberly Nolan:  I take great offense that you blame fraternities
for your students' in-class sleep.  I am in a fraternity and I have yet to
force anybody to stay awake and drink beer.  Next time, please be
sensitive to the fact that even "frat guys" read, understand, and enjoy
Shakespeare.
 
p.p.s.  Seeing as we have a Shakepeare bulletin board, I was wondering if
anyone out there is on a James Joyce bulletin board.  Does one even exist?
Please advise! Thank you.
 
Matthew Vail Smith
Hobart College
MASMITH@HWS.BITNET
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J F Knight <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 13 May 1994 05:59:28 +1000 (EST)
Subject: 5.0420 Re: Doubling; Double-Casting; Polonius
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0420 Re: Doubling; Double-Casting; Polonius
 
I really can't see the problem.  Don't make the poor women share the meagre
women's roles, which will mean you'll probably never get round to doing Henry
V.  Just cast all the men's roles with women.  It really is TOO conservative of
you to think that women have to play women's roles and men have to play men's
roles.  Compelling supporting evidence:
 
1.      At the Globe all the women's parts were played by men
 
2.      The Australian Theatre for Young People has about 20 girls for
        every boy.  A couple of years ago they did a stunning Tempest
        in which Prospero, his brother, practically everyone was a girl.
        The only males (as I recall) were the love interest, what's-is-name,
        and Caliban - the only two male stereotypes which the new feminism
        will support, as it happens.
 
3.      Round most university English Departments these days women have
        a lot of trouble seeing any use for men at all.  The concept
        that you can't play Shakespeare without them is dead and gone.
 
4.      I myself was a Thisbe to die for when I was at school, and
        schoolboy Juliets in boys' boarding schools are terribly
        romantic figures.
 
Enough.
 

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