1994

Israeli-Palestinian *Romeo and Juliet*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0871.  Sunday, 30 October 1994.
 
From:           Bradley S. Berens <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 15:49:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        The Israeli/Palestinian R&J
 
Greetings all!
 
At long last, the epic tide of work ebbed just long enough for me to drag
out the transcription machine and render the following.
 
If anyone has further information on this production, I'm dying to know.
 
Sincerely yours,
Bradley S. Berens
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Transcript from
 
 NPR's "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED."
 
Date:  7/24/94.
 
***Please do not hold the transcriber (me) responsible for the accuracy
of proper nouns.  If anyone knows the correct spelling for something,
please email me: I'll edit, and send out an updated version.***
 
***I render this transcription freely, asking only for an acknowledgment
that you heard of it from me if anybody quotes it in print.***
 
**********************************
 
[Announcer's voice.]
 
This week's summit between the leaders of Israel and Jordan has raised
expectations that those two countries will now move closer, both
politically and economically.  Israel's peace agreement with the PLO has
produced a somewhat different result.  For many Israelis and
Palestinians, peace has meant a welcome divorce, not a marriage.  So far,
there have been few examples of the two groups working together.  One of
the few is a joint production of a play by an Israeli theater and a
Palestinian theater.
 
The play chosen was Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET, performed in both
Arabic and Hebrew.  One of the feuding families is played by Israelis,
the other by Palestinians.  The play just ended a successful run in
Jerusalem, and after a tour of Europe this fall, it will be returning to
Tel Aviv.  As NPR's Paul Miller reports now, the reality of the Middle
East adds extra drama to Shakespeare's story of violence,
misunderstanding, and the tragic death of two young lovers.
 
[Music and praying voices in background as introduction, then Paul
Miller's voice.]
 
In Jerusalem, a family grieves for another young man killed in violence
between enemies from the same city.  This time, it is only a
play--Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET-- but the production is anything but
a diversion from reality.  The Capulets mourning the death of Tybalt at
the hands of Romeo are Jews.  Romeo, and the rest of the Montagues, are
Arabs.  When the families speak among themselves, they do so in their own
language.  They communicate with each other in Hebrew, the common
language of the occupation.
 
[Voices yelling in Hebrew.]
 
When they fight, as when Romeo kills Tybalt, they use the weapons of the
Intifada:  stones and knives, instead of swords.  Aran Baniel, the
Israeli co-director, says a meeting of the two cultures--even on
stage--had to acknowledge certain realities.
 
[Baniel's voice.]
 
There's violence.  There's hatred.  All our history comes onto the stage
without one word away from Shakespeare.  We don't need--we didn't need
that.  It comes through the energies, the undertones.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
The joint production between the Israeli Kahn Theater and the Palestinian
Al-Casaba Theater is the first equal partnership.  In the past, Arabs
have worked for, not with, Israeli theaters.  Aran Baniel says this is a
true co-operative effort, and not a gimmick.
 
[Baniel's voice.]
 
You can't brush us off as one of those, you know, nice things that are
done in the name of peace.  A Jewish kindergarten and a Palestinian
kindergarten meet together and play dolls, you know?  No!  It isn't
that.  It is bloody serious stuff, this meeting of the two cultures.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
For a long time, Palestinian theater companies were NOT interested in
joint productions with Israelis, afraid that would be seen as acceptance
of occupation.  George Ebraheim, the artistic director of the Al-Casaba
theater, says perspectives changed with the beginning of Palestinian self
rule.
 
[Ebraheim's voice.]
 
As Palestinians, we feel that the--the times comes to start thinking of,
uhhh, how we can live together--together, because now we are obliged to
live together and our destiny says so.  That's why it is very important
for us to let the Israelis know us better, know our culture better, and,
of course, we will know their culture and their problems better, uhhhh,
through this production.
 
[Voices singing in the background.]
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
Creating the joint production was more difficult than anticipated.
Cultural differences--as well as artistic--required lengthy negotiations
on almost every word and gesture.  Initially, the actors were wary of
each other.  At first, the two sides rehearsed separately, with separate
directors.  Joint rehearsals had just started in February, when Baruk
Goldstein, an Israeli settler, killed 29 Palestinian worshippers in
Hebron.  The massacre caused tremendous tension among cast members.
Kalifa Natur, who plays Romeo, says he wanted to quit a production that,
suddenly, seemed frivolous.
 
[Natur's voice.]
 
It was too difficult for me and for my--uhhh--friends to continue in this
day, and two day, three days after that.  That's normal: that's love and
hate and crying and--ehhh--playing--ehhhh--and dancing.  It's too difficult.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
After long discussion, work resumed.  There were more rough moments,
after reprisal bombings by Palestinian extremists killed 13 Israelis.
Orna Katz is the Israeli actress who plays Juliet.
 
[Katz's voice.]
 
The experience was very deep, and many things happened that made it very
different, made it very very different.  Made it--ummmm, uhhhh--very much
connected with real life, much more than usually when working in theater.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
There were logistical problems as well.  Because Israel had closed the
occupied territories after the reprisal bombings, some of the actors had
to be smuggled into Jerusalem for rehearsals.
 
[Hebrew voices, sounding like a translation of Juliet's argument with her
father.]
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
And there were financial problems.  ROMEO AND JULIET's Arab/Jewish
romance, including the famous balcony scene, scared off some of the Kahn
Theater's traditional backers.  And there were threatening phone calls
from Palestinians and Israelis who were not ready to embrace former
enemies, or to see such embraces on stage.
 
George Ebraheim, of the Palestinian Al-Casaba Theater:
 
 
[Ebraheim's voice.]
 
This play was made to have both--both nations, both audience, Arabs and
Israelis together--to, to, to see the play together, and they, we don't
like to--to perform for an Israeli audience, this is not our aim.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
Nor was it the producer's aim to give the audience a comfortable ending
to the play.  In Shakespeare's version, the two families come together
and vow to end their feud in honor of the dead lovers.  But in this
Israeli and Palestinian production, the family members gather and repeat
part of the prologue, which, Aran Baniel says, speaks of senseless
violence and the tragedy of the young victims:
 
[Baniel's voice.]
 
As if it was an endless prayer, to remember all the Romeos and Juliets we
mustn't allow the audience to feel everything is now okay.  It's not.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
Baniel says there is a lot to be done for peace.  Some critics suggest
the production needs work as well.  They dismiss the use of two languages
as a gimmick, and say Romeo and Juliet's love affair lacks real passion.
The critics ask if good intentions, and the balancing of two cultures,
can produce good theater.  The actors say this is not a production
intended to transcend reality, but to bring it home.  Orna Katz, who
plays Juliet:
 
[Katz's voice.]
 
I hope it can move, personally, people that see it.  I don't think it can
really move politically anything higher than that.  I hope it will do
something personally to each--everybody that sees it.  That will be,
really, a real success.
 
[Miller's voice.]
 
The producer's consider the play success--whether or not it qualifies as
classic Shakespeare--because it has allowed some Palestinians and
Israelis to create something together, and made other Palestinians and
Israelis think about breaking with the past.
 
I'm Paul Miller in Jerusalem.
 
**********************************

Off the Beaten Path

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0870.  Sunday, 30 October 1994.
 
From:           Robert George <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 15:56:15 EST
Subject:        Off the beaten path
 
The recent conversations of Prospero, authorship, et al. have been both
fascinating and informative.  But as the moment (in the U.S., at any rate)
is filled with ghouls and silliness of the Hallowe'en season (as well as
this writer's date of birth--10/29), I choose to stray from the current
path and share the following from the "Style Plus" page of the 10/28/94
Washington Post.  The "Why Things Are" column runs every Friday.  Mr. Joel
Achenbach is the "answer man" to varied queries--some serious, some not so.
The transcript follows: Apologies in advance for any possible typos.
 
{Q: Why did Shakespeare write plays about Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and
Henry VIII but not Henry VII?
 
 A: Shakespeare didn't write about every English king--it only seems that
way.  The Why staff is constantly getting the events of Henry VI Part 3
mixed up with the events of Henry IV Part 2, and we're extremely annoyed
Richard III isn't the sequel to Richard II.
  (Henry IV Part 1 is the sequel to Richard II -- which is why we
personally call Henry IV Part 1 "Richard II 2," the literary experts be
damned.)
  There is one way to understand Shakespeare's history plays in a single
nugget of near-wisdom:  Most of them were about the events leading up to
and including the Wars of of the Roses, a civil war that lasted for decades
in the 1400s.
  Shakespeare was writing at the end of the 1500s.  From his standpoint
the Wars of the Roses were roughly as far in the past as the American
Civil War is to us today, and similarly crucial to English history.  You
might say Shakespeare was the Ken Burns of his time.}
 
(...factual passage on the Henry plays hereby deleted.  Achenbach
continues...)
 
{  Henry VII didn't get a Shakespeare play because his reign was kind of
boring.  He ended the civil war.  Henry VII was part of the House of
Lancaster, which had been warring with the House of York for a century.
He married Elizabeth of York.  The Lancastrians and Yorks thus came
together in wedded bliss.  Good for England, bad for drama.  Shakepeare
was no dummy, he wasn't going to write a history play without lots of
swordplay, evisceration and fiery speeches about letting slip the dogs of
war.
  The Bard's writing (he also threw in the Henry VIII play near the end of
his career) helped explain the basis of the Tudor family's claim to the
crown.
  "It's almost a kind of propaganda for the ruling family," says
Georgianna Ziegler, reference librarian at the Folger Shakespeare
Library.
  Phyllis Rackin, an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania
who specializes in Shakespeare's histories, points out that Shakespeare
may have had a simple motive for writing about those kings:  They sold
tickets.
  "He thought people would want to come to see them and he thought he
could make money and make his reputation," Rackin says.
  Some people will write anything for a buck.}
 
Accompanying Achenbach's column is a cartoon that carries the caption,
"Big Soliloquy from "Henry VII" by that William Shakespeare."
 
{King (to Attendant):  "I decree an end to war & strife & melodrama!
Let us instead have calm, probity, family values, quality time with the
kids, bland cuisine, continuing adult education, cholesterol tests,
Lotto & performances by Up With People!"
 
Attendant:  "Cool"}
SHAKESPERians may critique the column with all the vigour they can muster
and with all the seriousness it demands. ;-)
 
Seasonal best wishes to all!
 
Robert George
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Re: Multimedia Sh; Jacobi Hamlet; Diet/Size; Middle

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0868.  Sunday, 30 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David Evett <R0870@TAONODE>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Oct 1994 15:56 ET
        Subj:   Multimedia Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   Lonnie J. Durham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Oct 1994 16:31:40 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Jacobi's Hamlet
 
(3)     From:   John Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 10:42:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0864  Re: Diet and Size
 
(4)     From:   James Harner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 14:13:06 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0866  Q: Shakespeare in Middle School
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870@TAONODE>
Date:           Friday, 28 Oct 1994 15:56 ET
Subject:        Multimedia Shakespeare
 
I can't offer any significant instances of effective use of video in
Shakespearean production, but that it could be so used I have not doubt, on the
basis of the uneven but stimulating <St. Joan> at the Shaw Festival in 1993.
Here, Mary Haney as Joan sat through almost the entire trial scene with her
back to the audience, facing her inquisitors (who thus became the audience's
inquisitors as well). But a camera relayed a close-up image of her face to a
set of large monitors at either side, registering every flicker of response.
Tough task for an actor, to maintain total concentration under such pitiless
scrutiny for so long.  Rewarding, however, for an audience.  Consider the
possibilities for soliloquies, dream/vision sequences (Hamlet, Brutus, Richard
III and Henry Tudor, Macbeth, Posthumus).  Large-screen projections of
<Tempest> 1.1 may be an expensive but in some ways easy out of that
theatrically challenging scene. And so on. I seem to remember reading about
holographic ghosts. Anybody else fill in?
 
Electronically,
Dave Evett
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lonnie J. Durham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Oct 1994 16:31:40 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Jacobi's Hamlet
 
Just a moment of pleasurable recollection brought on by Marcia Hepps's mention
of Derek Jacobi's performance in the BBC production of *Hamlet*: I had always
heard in my head that line from the "no more marriages" speech as "IT hath MADE
me MAD", but Jacobi (embracing Ophelia during the last part of his rant) looks
up startled, as if in sudden realization, and over Ophelia's shoulder gasps "it
HATH made me mad."  Brilliant I thought at the time, but I haven't seen it
since to confirm my first impression.
 
Cheers, all.
Lonnie Durham
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 10:42:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0864  Re: Diet and Size
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0864  Re: Diet and Size
 
Another indicator of size is the replica of the "Mayflower," docked in Plymouth
Harbor, Massachusetts.  I was touring the ship several years ago, being very
careful, at 6' 3" to avoid hitting my head in the below deck area, where the
ship has only six feet of head room.  Then I noticed an explanatory note on one
of the overhead beams.  It explained that the replica was built with its 'tween
deck area a full foot higher than the original, so as to allow for the
increased size of sailors between the early seventeenth century and the mid
twentieth.  In other words, the original ship had only five feet of head room
below decks.
 
John Cox
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Harner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Oct 1994 14:13:06 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 5.0866  Q: Shakespeare in Middle School
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0866  Q: Shakespeare in Middle School
 
Robert Burke's student might want to consult the General Shakespeareana/
General/Pedagogy section of the annual World Shakespeare Bibliography for
discussions of how Shakespeare is used in elementary and middle school classes.
 
                Jim Harner

Authorship

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0869.  Sunday, 30 October 1994.
 
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Oct 1994 16:28 ET
Subject:        Authorship
 
The proposal that downgrading the claims of people not named William
Shakespeare (in some spelling or other) to authorship of the Shakespearean
canon does not tell us anything about Shaksper of Stratford-upon-Avon is more
than a little specious.  Reasonable inference is the cornerstone of modern
science--nobody has ever seen an electron, laid a radar gun on a receding
astral body, gained immediate ocular proof that gene x actually occupies
position n on the DNA strands inside human cells.  The principle operates in
textual studies, too. A good-sized body of positive evidence (title-pages,
contemporary allusions) supports the reasonable inference that the author of
these plays was named William Shakespeare.  A somewhat smaller body of positive
evidence supports the inference that a man of that name was a sharer in the
Chamberlain's/King's Men. A still smaller body of evidence (including some from
later in the 17th century) supports the inference that this player was the son
of John Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon.  For three centuries, thousands
upon thousands of scholars and readers have accepted the reasonable inference
that John Shakespeare's son Will wrote those plays.  Persons wishing to disable
this inference must either supply conflicting positive evidence (there is none)
or construct a more reasonable inference.  If evidence from comparative
stylistics contradicts such alternative inferences as that the plays were the
work of Edward de Vere, the truth-claims of the prior inference are at least
reasserted, perhaps even strengthened--in science, the more different tests a
hypothesis survives the more substantial it is held to be.
 
Q-more-or-less-E-D,
 
Dave Evett
 
p.s.  By the way, unless we can ascertain that William Shakespeare of Stratford
wrote some <other> material which we can nevertheless confidently a scribe to
his hand, we can never prove by stylistic analysis that he did not write the
plays because we can only compare their texts with themselves.

Re: Sharp as a Pen

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0867.  Sunday, 30 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Arthur Pearson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 28 Oct 1994 10:31:21 -0600
        Subj:   Sharp as a pen
 
(2)     From:   Henry, Gregg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 29 Oct 94 12:12:00 PDT
        Subj:   re:SHK 5.0857
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Pearson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 28 Oct 1994 10:31:21 -0600
Subject:        Sharp as a pen
 
From first hand experience, that very phrase, "sharp as a pen", raced to my
mind upon seeing an uncle of mine a few days before his death.  As he lay
in his bed, the fullness of his face had been usurped by little but seeming
skin over bones, or in the case of the nose, cartilage.  As if the life
force, itself, had drained away this condition accentuated the peaks and
valleys of his features, rendering his cheeks and eye sockets sunken, his
nose, "as sharp as a pen."
 
Most assuredly Falstaff's descent to the grave was, at least, accelerated
by his grief (the King had killed his heart).  Did Falstaff cease eating
and drinking in his grief, thereby accentuating the leaning of his
features?  Given his trademark bulbous robustness, the contrast would have
been not only marked but frightening as well.
 
Arthur Pearson
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Henry, Gregg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 29 Oct 94 12:12:00 PDT
Subject: Comment:        re:SHK 5.0857
 
My father passed away recently. While visiting him in Hospice, the "sharp as
any pen" line came to mind. He was possessed of  a pug nose in healthier
times- but near death, it was sharp and seemed to be only flesh and
cartilage . These lines do come to mind at fascinating times.  Gregg Henry

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