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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Re: *Ado*s, including Zefferilli
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 1019. Thursday, 22 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Kathleen Campbell <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Dec 94 15:35:24 EST
        Subj:   Re: *Much Ado* production
 
(2)     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Dec 1994 16:05:52 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
 
(3)     From:   Matthew Henerson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Dec 1994 13:13:04 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathleen Campbell <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Dec 94 15:35:24 EST
Subject:        Re: *Much Ado* production
 
Roger Gross's mention of his recent *Much Ado* reminded me of a production I
designed many years ago for the Dallas Theater Center.  The director, an
Australian, wanted a setting which might have particular resonances for the
Texas audience.  We set the play in San Antonio in 1836, just following the
Texas Revolution.  The Spanish influence was a successful replacement for
Shakespeare's Italy and provided wonderful local color.  The story transferred
easily to the new setting with no loss of charm or nuance.
 
Kathleen Campbell

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Dec 1994 16:05:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
 
In reply to Roger D. Gross,
 
All of the sources I have consulted about Zeffirelli's *Much Ado* list Maggie
Smith as Beatrice, rather than Joan Plowright.  Perhaps there was a change in
casting later in the run, but if so, none of the reviews I have seen mention
it.
 
                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Henerson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 21 Dec 1994 13:13:04 -0500
Subject: 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.1017  Re: Zefferilli *Ado*
 
I think we are talking about different casts of the same production
(Zeffereli's *Ado*), and I think the earlier cast pressed the Columbia LP. This
cast had Stephens as Benedick, but Maggie Smith was the Beatrice. Jacobi was
present but as Don John..  Don Pedro was Albert Finney.  Ian McKellen was
Claudio, Frank Finlay was Dogberry, and Lynn Redgrave was either Ursula or
Margaret.  Anthony Hopkins was not in evidence, but it doesn't surprise me to
learn that he joined a later cast.  Every now and then I run across production
shots of him as Audrey (!!!) in Clifford Williams all-male *As You Like It*
which ran at the National in '67 or '68. Anthony Hopkins in a house dress and
Brunhilde wig--let that rattle around your dream center for a couple of days!
 
I also have observed that audiences seem to be less inclined to laugh at
Dogberry than--what?--than they used to be?  I remember laughing like crazy at
my two favorite Dogberrys (-berries?): David Ogden Stiers for the Old Globe in
1982 (?) and Christopher Benjamin in the production which the RSC toured to Los
Angeles for the Olympics in 1984.  But I've seen several productions since, and
most of the laughs have been in response to shtick rather than to language.
Now, I have no problem with shtick beyond my own tendency to overindulge (like
with rich desserts), but I remember laughing at Dogberry's language.  And I
remember, particularly at the Globe, laughing with the audience.  Stiers
somehow managed to manipulate the audience like a good stand-up comic.  Every
line seemed to be the punch line of some wonderful joke which nobody could
remember him setting up.  My ribs ached at the end of the evening.  I must say
one thing in defense of more recent audiences, however.  I was in a production
of *The Rivals* about five years ago, and nobody had any problems laughing at
Mrs. Malaprop.
 
Matt.
 

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