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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: May ::
Re: Teaching *Ant.*; Iachimo
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0480.  Tuesday, 31 May 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 May 1994 11:22 ET
        Subj:   Teaching A & C
 
(2)     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 31 May 1994 10:20:44 -0500
        Subj:   teaching A&C; Iachimo in a box
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 May 1994 11:22 ET
Subject:        Teaching A & C
 
Elise Earthman wonders about teaching <Antony and Cleopatra>.  It's always a
problem, certainly with conventional 20-year old undergraduates, and often,
indeed, with returning students readier than Hamlet to believe in the
possibility of middle-aged grand passions.  Karen Walter's proposal to pair
the play with <Romeo and Juliet>, asking what might become of people like them
who survive into middle age works well if you use Susan Snyder's
comic/tragic//evitable/inevitable//improvise it/play the script ideas to get
at the nature of the conflicts, both internal and external.  Here's a question
(not that largely explored in the criticism): Why (really) does Cleopatra fly
from the battle at Actium? And why (really) does Antony follow her?  Thing to
consider: What would it actually mean for them to win?  That gets you into
some other issues, like Antony's agreeing to marry Octavia and his botched
suicide.On the production thing, there's a stimulating essay by Steven Booth,
8 or 10 years back?, arguing that no satisfactory production of the play is
possible because no satisfactory performance of Antony is possible.  I'm not
sure I agree with him but it's the case that I've seen several Cleopatras I
liked (most especially Goldie Semple at Stratford, Ont.) and not one Antony.
 
                                                        David Evett
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 31 May 1994 10:20:44 -0500
Subject:        teaching A&C; Iachimo in a box
 
Thanks to Rick Jones for reminding us about the multiple ways and places that
Shakespeare is taught. My own teaching of *A and C* has been similar to that of
Karla Walters. But I also try to incorporate a theater-friendly perspective
while teaching in a literature department, so I find it valuable to ask the
students to attempt to visualize a production, and to suggest ways in which
set, props, and costumes might cue the audience about the differences between
the two worlds of the play (much like Rich does in his Intro to Theater
course). Such a discussions often leads into a more careful discussion of the
myriad riches of the play's other aspects.
 
To Bill Godshalk: without looking back at the play, or even thinking about it
too hard (it was a holiday weekend, after all), I love the idea of "Iachimo in
a box" and its multiple possibilities. I can see some wonderful production
opportunities here.
 
Chris Gordon
 

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