1994

Re: *shrew* Productions: *Twelfth Night*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0963.  Tuesday, 29 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 1994 09:42:45 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0956 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 1994 21:12:49 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Fahrenheit's TWELFTH NIGHT
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 1994 09:42:45 -1000
Subject: 5.0956 Re: *Shrew* Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0956 Re: *Shrew* Productions
 
In his posting, John Perry responded in the following manner to my suggestion
that Kate's submission speech at the end of the play should remain un-candy
coated because it continues to be socially recognizable and relevant to many
people today.  He writes:
 
"Most of us, I think, are able to view *Shrew* in its own context, and
recognize that Kate starts out as a severely disturbed young woman in serious
need of help, which she gets from Petruchio."
 
1) Who is "us"?  Which of us are not colored by our beliefs and conditioning to
the extent that we can objectively watch (or read) and judge Kate's situation
without our own baggage, to say nothing of the baggage of our society?
 
2) What, if anything, is gained by viewing *Shrew* in its own context? It may
be interestring to watch as a museum piece portraying the mores of its time and
place, but in producing it today, aren't we, perhaps, looking for other
qualities?
 
3) How do you figure Kate to be a severely disturbed young woman in serious
need of help?  What actions does she take that categorize her so strongly for
you?
 
4) In what way has Petruchio helped Kate, and can we really call his actions
helpful?  Denying a person nourishment?  Browbeating a person into brainwashed
submission?  Some would argue that this constitutes torture, but then again,
many of the world's greatest villains have claimed to do what they've done "in
a good cause".  To what extent do you allow the ends (which in this case are,
at best, dubious) to justify the means?
 
Shirley Kagan.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 1994 21:12:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Fahrenheit's TWELFTH NIGHT
 
I was impressed by Nicholas Rose's production of TWELFTH NIGHT which I saw on
Friday, 25 November. With the exception of Richard Arthur who plays Sir Toby,
the cast is young, and the young actors give this production a great deal of
vitality. Jasson Minakadis plays Orsino as the Godfather in a double-breasted
suit, with no sign of foppishness. This Orsino is definitely NOT "in love with
love."
 
Marni Penning's Viola is sprightly and well-done, and her "courtship" of Olivia
has an interesting sexual ambivalence. Olivia, played by Sharon Polcyn, shows
no sign of passivity. She is dominant and dominating. Since Olivia is much
taller than Viola, the contrast in height tends to emphasize Olivia's power.
 
Fabian disappears from this production, possibly because it is done with only
eleven actors -- and a good deal of obvious doubling. Stephen Skiles plays
Feste as an ironic, guitar strumming man for all seasons. With a few cuts, he
subsumes Fabian's words and actions.
 
Dick Arthur's Sir Toby and Glenn Becker's Sir Andrew are suitably rowdy and
drunken, and Jason McCune's Malvolio reminded me of Phil Hartman playing a
middle manager. Miriam Brown as Maria (and Priest!) is excellent, truly
first-rate.
 
If you live close enough to Cincinnati, I encourage you to see this production.
It's youthful; it's rollicking; it's fun. I laughed. And Ralph Cohen is
obviously lurking somewhere behind the production since he has provided program
notes. Fahrenheit is Cincinnati's Shenandoah Express!?
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0962.  Tuesday, 29 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David Joseph Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 94 18:47:18 CST
        Subj:   Authorship
 
(2)     From:   Don Foster <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 1994 12:58:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Authorship: Happy Trails, Pat...
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Joseph Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 94 18:47:18 CST
Subject:        Authorship
 
I've been on an e-mail-inaccessible Thanksgiving holiday for most of the last
week, so I haven't been able until now to respond to Bradley Berens' queries.
First of all, I understand the weariness this latest authorship thread has
engendered; I've been getting tired of it myself, and my tolerance for this
sort of thing is, I think, much higher than most people's. Pat Buckridge and I
had pretty much decided that it was time to take it to the sidelines and just
e-mail each other directly, as we did when last spring's authorship thread
petered out, but since other people have started contributing comments again, I
guess we can keep this thing going for a while at least.  Anyone is free to
delete these messages.  I do agree, though, that it would be a good idea to
take it in some new directions. So, as for Bradley Berens' questions:
 
1) I had not read Leah Marcus' book, but last night I took a look at it, or at
least at the first chapter.  I agree that she has some interesting things to
say; she's clearly not sympathetic to anti-Stratfordians (I think "corrosive"
counts as criticism), but on the other hand I can see Pat Buckridge taking some
of what she says and trying to turn it to his own advantage.  I've tried to
avoid getting into the sociology and psychology of anti-Stratfordianism in
favor of sticking to the facts, but I do have some thoughts.  I think Marcus is
right that Oxfordians want to "save" Shakespeare by reassigning the works to
someone with a more comforting pedigree and life story; her observation that
anti-Stratfordian activity has increased when the British national identity has
been threatened, as during and after the two World Wars, is interesting if
maybe a little oversimplified.  (Baconianism flourished most widely when the
British Empire was at its peak, but I think there were other factors at work
there.) I don't particularly feel like getting too deeply into this
sociological/ psychological stuff at the moment, since it tends to make both
sides hostile very quickly, but let me just say a few things.  The Oxfordian
theory is in fact a conspiracy theory, and the conspiracy required is fairly
massive and widespread, despite what people like Charlton Ogburn would like you
to think.  Anyone is free to believe in this conspiracy if they want to, but
your belief in that conspiracy must be a matter of faith, since the external
evidence for it is exactly nil.  Ultimately, the Oxfordian theory is
unfalsifiable --- both the considerable evidence that the plays were written by
William Shakespeare and the complete lack of evidence that they were written by
Oxford, plus the unflattering personal picture of Oxford which the historical
record has left us, are dismissed as the result of the conspiracy.  Our reasons
for believing that William Shakespeare wrote the plays and poems which were
published under his name are the same as our reasons for believing pretty much
any historical fact from 400 years ago. Similarly, our reasons for believing
that the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford was a selfish, unpleasant man who dabbled
in poetry when it was in vogue at court but then wasted away his considerable
estate by the age of 40, spending the last 15 years of his life not doing much
of anything except complaining, are of a similar nature.  If anyone wants to
believe otherwise, be my guest, but please don't tell me I'm turning a blind
eye to the "truth", because I don't want to argue about religion.
 
2) As for the second question, namely "Who cares who wrote Shakespeare?", it's
one that's been asked many, many times, and answered in many, many ways.  Since
I'm tired right now from my answer to (1) above, I won't try to go into any
depth.  My main purpose in these various authorship threads has been to keep
the facts straight, because I think the discussion at least deserves that much.
 It would be theoretically possible to present the Oxfordian case without any
factual distortions, but I don't know that I've ever seen it done.  Another of
my purposes, I think, has been to establish exactly what it is that the
Oxfordian theory requires one to believe.  The Oxfordian literature is filled
with claims which make the theory more palatable to a newcomer (e.g. "The
Oxford theory is not a conspiracy theory"; "There is a mysterious lack of
information about William Shakespeare of Stratford") but which do not stand up
to scrutiny. If, once we get all the facts straight and we establish just how
extensive the conspiracy is required to be, people still want to believe this
theory, fine.  At that point, my work will be done, because as I said above I'm
not interested in arguing about matters of faith.
 
There's more I could say, but I've gone on long enough.  I'm not sure how long
I'll be interested in this, but if people have comments on the above I'd be
glad to hear them.
 
Dave Kathman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Foster <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 1994 12:58:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Authorship: Happy Trails, Pat...
 
Dear Pat,
 
Thanks for your interest in SHAXICON.  I'm sorry not to have been more clear.
Thus, one last note--and this the last that you'll hear from me, since we both
have more important work to do than to continue this unfruitful discussion:
 
As I have already noted (and as you seem to understand) SHAXICON only supplies
probable "sequence." By way of metaphor, let's say that there's a ten-car wreck
on the freeway.  All ten cars are towed to the same gas station, but in no
particular order. A wrecked white Mustang is lacking its radiator ornament.
White paint and a little chrome mustang are found on the crunched rear bumper
of a green Cadillac. Green paint and GMC headlight-glass are found on the
crunched rear bumper of a blue Dodge van. Our best bet, given the available
evidence, is that the ten-car pileup included the sequence "white Mustang >
green Cadillac > blue Dodge minivan (and so on for the remaining wrecks). We
don't yet know anything particular about "chronology." We don't know at what
minute each car was hit. Intervals between collisions may have varied. We
cannot even be CERTAIN that the actual historical sequence is that which we
have established by means of material evidence. But if our established sequence
matches that of an eyewitness, then we're in reasonably good shape. Now let's
suppose that someone comes along, noisily insisting that the wreck cannot have
happened at all because he happens to know that half of the damaged cars, at
the time of the pile-up, were safely parked in an Oxford garage...well, what
can I say?  One wishes to be diplomatic. One also wishes to inspect the poor
fellow for head injuries, just in case he needs assistance.  If the skull seems
whole and sound, we shall do well to thank the man for his interest, and then
to carry on with the business at hand.  The so-called "Shakespeare
establishment" has not wished to be rude to Dr. Looney or to his followers, but
neither is there a conspiracy among us to silence the anti-Stratfordians as the
anti-Stratfordians have sometimes wished to believe.  I mean, hey, it's a free
country...
 
SHAXICON's sequence for Shakespearean texts is similarly derived fr. "material
evidence"--from the lexical debris deposited by each Shakespearean text upon
other Shakespearean texts. SHAXICON by itself cannot tell us whether the plays
and poems were written from 1590-1613 or from 1950-1994. Chronology is made
possible, in the case of Shakespeare, only by collating SHAXICON's record with
external data, such as records of actual performance.  As it happens, the
periodic peaks of lexical influence for each play precisely match what we know
from archival records concerning the performance of Shakespeare's plays.
Unfortunately, we lack a complete record of early performance and revivals, but
what we do know corresponds quite nicely with the evidence of SHAXICON.
 
"But keep your way, i'God's name; I have done." Benedict-like, I shall end with
a jade's trick, by simply disengaging myself from this unprofitable debate.
Good bye. I wish you all the best in your research. If, someday, you are able
to prove that "Shakespeare" was merely a conspiracy, I will be the first to
applaud your achievement, since there shall then be no more call for idle chat
about these matters.  In the meantime, pardon me for not joining the fray.
 
Best wishes,
Don Foster

Qs: *Ham*: Stage History/Dumb Show; Icarus

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0958.  Sunday, 27 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Dom Saliani <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 12:44:54 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   [*Hamlet* Stage History]
 
(2)     From:   Michael Harrawood <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 13:05:33 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Icarus
 
(3)     From:   Wes Folkerth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Nov 94 23:53:28 EST
        Subj:   Dumb Show in Hamlet
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dom Saliani <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 12:44:54 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        [*Hamlet* Stage History]
 
In my efforts to research the stage history of *Hamlet* I have had difficulty
reconciling the claim on the title page of Q1 that "it was latelie Acted by the
Lord Chamberleyne his servants." To my knowledge there is no documentation
anywhere that would substantiate this.
 
The claim on the title page of Q2 is equally frustrating in that there would
appear to be evidence to the contrary that the play *Hamlet* hath been diuerse
times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London; as also in the
two Vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and elsewhere." It is my
understanding that in 1593 the Royal Privy Council passed an act which
prohibited any kind of play to be "sett forthe either in the university or in
any place within the compasse of five miles" thereof. This prohibition was not
lifted till well after Shakespeare's death.
 
I did find a reference in Henslowe that on June 11, 1594, *Hamlet* was
performed at Newington Butts and that the box office receipts totalled but a
few shillings. This does not sound like the kind of reception that a great
tragedy by Shakespeare would receive.
 
According to O.J. Cambell's *Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare* the
"earliest recorded but improbable performance is that given on board the H.M.S.
Dragon at Sierra Leone on September 5, 1606."
 
I had always believed that the play would have been a popular one during the
Elizabethan period. It appears that it was not. I am inclined to agree with
Lillian Winstanley that the play contains too many topical allusions to events
and details in James' life. If such is the case why was Shakespeare never taken
to task for this as Jonson and the other prominent playwrights were for far
more innocuous material in their plays?
 
I would appreciate any elucidating input regarding the stage history of the
play in the period before 1603.
 
Dom Saliani (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Sir Winston Churchill High School
Calgary, Alberta
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Harrawood <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 13:05:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Icarus
 
Does anyone know of any work on the Icarus-Dedalus allusions in 1 and 3 Henry
VI?  These come in the death scene of the Talbots, father and son, and in the
scene where Richard kills Henry.  I'd like to get an idea of Icarus's currency
in Elizabethan poetry and drama in order get an idea of the moral spin
Shakespeare would have understood the allusion to carry.
 
Thanks in advance.
 
Michael Harrawood
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Wes Folkerth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 26 Nov 94 23:53:28 EST
Subject:        Dumb Show in Hamlet
 
Season's greetings to everyone.  I would like to know what list members make of
the dumb show in *Hamlet*.  My main query is, why does it take Claudius so long
to react?  Wouldn't he recognize the accusation as it appears in the dumb show?
I realize this is a fairly old question, but I'd like to hear what list
members have to say on the subject.  If anyone can suggest any published
material on this subject, I would be interested in hearing about that as well.
I'm presently working on aurality in Shakespeare.  Thank you for your time.
 
Wes Folkerth
McGill University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Qs: *Pericles*; Falstaff's Age

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0960.  Tuesday, 29 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Robert F. O'Connor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 1994 09:15:44 +0700
        Subj:   Pericles
 
(2)     From:   E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 28 Nov 1994 08:50:05 EDT
        Subj:   [Falstaff's Age]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert F. O'Connor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 1994 09:15:44 +0700
Subject:        Pericles
 
Dear everyone,
 
With all of the word circulating about various productions, I thought I'd pass
on some info and use the opportunity to make an inquiry.
 
The Bell Shakespeare Company, Australia's only touring Elizabethan drama
troupe, have announced their schedule for next year; they are going to be
touring with productions of 'Twelfth Night' and 'Pericles'.
 
Now, it's been a while since I saw a performance of TN, but I have never seen
'Pericles', and I believe that it is one of those plays that has never much
been in fashion, and I'm curious to know about any recent or notable
productions.  If anyone is interested, I will post more information about the
production as it becomes available.
 
Ta
 
Robert F. O'Connor
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
English Department
Australian National University
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. L. Epstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 28 Nov 1994 08:50:05 EDT
Subject:        [Falstaff's Age]
 
Is there any evidence for the age of Falstaff? I seem to recall that he was
once page to the Duke of Norfolk. Or am I wrong? I ask this because I just now
realized that both Don Quixote and Goethe's Faust were respecively pushing
fifty and somewhere in the mid fifties. And both of them are presented as if
they were tottering oldsters. ELEpstein

Re: Rose and Globe; Reduced Shakespeare Co.; Casting

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0957.  Sunday, 27 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 25 Nov 1994 17:03:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0948  Rose and Globe Excavations
 
(2)     From:   Thomas Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 11:39:20 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0948  Reduced Shakespeare Company
 
(3)     From:   Thomas Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 27 Nov 1994 01:19:55 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Women as men.
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 25 Nov 1994 17:03:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0948  Rose and Globe Excavations
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0948  Rose and Globe Excavations
 
In response to Fred Wharton's call for information on the New Globe project,
I'll call attention to Paul Nelsen's article "Transition and Revision at the
Globe" in the Spring 1994 issue of *Shakespeare Bulletin*, which gives a very
detailed account of the current state of affairs.
 
                                                        Michael Friedman
                                                        University of Scranton
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Ellis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 26 Nov 1994 11:39:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0948  Reduced Shakespeare Company
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0948  Reduced Shakespeare Company
 
I first saw the Reduced Shakespeare Company perform, well before they made it
big, as one of a variety of mime shows, jugglers, and street performers who
gravitate annually to the Oregon Country Faire (sic), an annual hippiefest held
outside of Eugene, Oregon. At that time, they had only two parodies in their
repertoire--Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet. Both were hilarious; I remember in
particular when the guy who played "Juliet", during the balcony scene, ad
libbed on Romeo's line "Call me but love..." by taking him literally...as both
cast and audience burst into hysterics.
 
Later I saw their show "The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)" and
though it was mostly taken up with the Hamlet/R&J parodies (the rest of the
plays were brief sketches or mere mention, such as a "Rap" Othello and a Julia
Child routine for Titus), it was still quite entertaining. During their Hamlet
routine, for example, they had various parts of the audience enact the
conflicting voices in Ophelia's psyche during the "Nunnery" scene by chanting,
first separately and then in unison, the following: (1) "Maybe, Maybe not!" (2)
"Paint an Inch Thick" and (3) "Cut the crap, Hamlet; My biological clock is
ticking and I want babies NOW!"
 
I haven't seen their "History of America" but they do put on an entertaining
show. But unfortunately, I have no way of contacting them. Check with the
Folger.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 27 Nov 1994 01:19:55 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Women as men.
 
Marty Jukovsky,
 
I have never seen _Lear_ done like that, but I have seen _Twelfth Night_ done
with women playing male roles. Both brother and sister were played by women,
and they actually looked related. (I had trouble telling them apart) Sir Toby
was also played by a woman and with great success. The actress who played Sir
Toby has played other male roles at Northeastern before. I think she has a
flair for it. I'm afraid there wasn't any sort of philosophy given for the
gender swap. I think it came down to a paucity of talented male actors. In any
case it didn't detract from the performance. I thought of it a turnabout, and
as such, fair play.
 
Thomas Hall
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

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