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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Re: *Pericles*; Falstaff's Age
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0975.  Tuesday, 6 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Cary Mazer <
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        Date:   Sunday, 4 Dec 1994 20:23:57 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0971  Re: *Pericles*
 
(2)     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
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        Date:   Monday, 5 Dec 1994 15:09:03 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0971  Re: Bell Shakespeare Co/*Pericles*
 
(3)     From:   Michael Best <
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        Date:   Sunday, 04 Dec 94 20:24:39 PST
        Subj:   Falstaff and *Pericles*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary Mazer <
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Date:           Sunday, 4 Dec 1994 20:23:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0971  Re: *Pericles*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0971  Re: *Pericles*
 
For Matt Henerson,
 
The reason the SMT could not get Paul Robeson for the role of Gower in 1958 was
because the United States State Department, in their wisdom, had taken away his
visa.  Unable to travel to Canada, he once gave a concert at the US/Canada
border, so that his Canadian admirers could still hear him sing in person.  But
even a voice as large and as magnificent as his could not carry across the
Atlantic.
 
Cary M. Mazer
Univesity of Pennyslvania
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
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Date:           Monday, 5 Dec 1994 15:09:03 +1100
Subject: 5.0971  Re: Bell Shakespeare Co/*Pericles*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0971  Re: Bell Shakespeare Co/*Pericles*
 
In answer to Matthew Henerson's query, the Bell Shakespeare Company will be
performing in Sydney from 27 February to 13 April at the Footbridge Theatre.
The company was founded four years ago and is based around John Bell, one of
Australia's most distinguished (though far from pompously so) actors and
directors. He was one of the founders of the Nimrod Theatre which had an
enormous effect on Australian theatre, especially during the 1970s.
 
John's own work as an actor has been linked with Australian rereadings of
classic texts, especially but not exclusively Shakespeare. One of his great
achievements as an actor was a performance as Cyrano in 1980 which is still
talked about, but in terms of Shakespeare productions his greatest moment
was probably a production (which he directed but did not act in) of _Much
Ado_ in 1975 which had nothing to do with Branagh-like prettiness, but
instead was performed at high energy and loud volume entirely in cod Italian
accents of the kind that had relatively recently become culturally prominent
in Australia as a result of massive immigration from southern Europe.
 
The accents were originally intended only as a rehearsal technique designed
to break the actors' habit of using the English voice-beautiful and an
over-reverential attitude towards "The Bard", but when, at a late stage in
rehearsals, John suggested dropping the accents and keeping the energy, the
actors said that the accents had become part of their performances. John
agreed, and the production, with its highly-charged irreverence, went on to
become a smash hit and a legendary moment in the history of Shakespeare
performance in Australia.
 
Matt Henerson also mentions the Prospect Theatre Company production of
Pericles. I saw that in 1973, and remember an exciting, modern-dress
production which was entirely set in the brothel, with most of the play done
as flashbacks if I remember right. Few specific details have remained in my
memory (I was relatively young at the time), but I recall a kind of mean MC
figure played by a woman wearing what seemed at the time like a daring
maroon trouser suit with a matching Spanish-style hat (the ones that look
rather like boaters in form--I don't know the name of them) and a BIG whip.
 
Adrian Kiernander
 
Adrian Kiernander
Department of Theatre Studies
University of New England
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
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Date:           Sunday, 04 Dec 94 20:24:39 PST
Subject:        Falstaff and *Pericles*
 
I have always assumed, since Falstaff is such an accustomed purveor of the big
lie, that even when he claims he is inclining to three score he is understating
the case -- which would put him well into his sixties. Not impossible since
Lear was still able to curse a bellyful at eighty.
 
Performances of *Pericles*. There was a wonderful production at Ashland a
couple of years ago, directed by Gerry Turner, in the indoor theatre. The set
was a flexible, stylized ship, Gower engagingly garrulous, and the whole play
deeply moving, especially the scene of the reunion of Pericles and Miranda.
 

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