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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: *Shr.*; Don John; Bergman's *WT*; Buying the Farm
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0786.  Tuesday, 4 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Oct 94 17:05:35 EDT
        Subj:   [*Shrew* Productions]
 
(2)     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Monday, 3 Oct 1994 19:04:34 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0765 Re: Outsiders: Don John in *Ado*
 
(3)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <KLIMANB@SNYFARVA.BITNET>
        Date:   Monday, 3 Oct 1994 21:53 EDT
        Subj:   Bergman's *WT*
 
(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 03 Oct 1994 22:37:49 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0767  Buying the Farm
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Oct 94 17:05:35 EDT
Subject:        [*Shrew* Productions]
 
A propos Joyce Crim's recent posting: almost <all> the productions of <Shr>
I've seen in the last two decades have emphasized the physical elements of the
relationship between Petruchio and Katherine, with physically prepossessing
actors in both roles and lots of knock-down-drag-out stage activity, especially
in [Riverside ed] 2.1, 4.1, and 4.3.  In last winter's audience- pleasing
production by the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival Colleen Quinn as K was
almost as tall and strong as David Harum as P; she came on in boots and leather
skirt and vest looking as though she spent her happiest hours bustin' broncs,
and when the wooing scene in 2.1. escalated into hand-to-hand combat, gave
almost (if not quite) as good as she got.  At Petruchio's, following their
master's lead, the servants had a blast throwing the food around. K and P's
first kiss, at the end of 5.1, started out merely dutiful on both sides but
turned evidently passionate and went on for what seemed a very long time, and
was repeated for even longer at the end of the play, as the other actors not
only left the stage but cleared it of the banquet furniture and props and left
the couple still glued to one another as the lights came down.  Most of us
smiled on with avuncular or materteral approval.
 
Quite apart from its audience appeal, the approach has some thematic
appropriateness to a play that from the beginning emphasizes the unreliability
of language (and other conventional sign-systems, such as costume): the
language of the body becomes the only unambiguous speech.  It may even afford a
ground for rationalizing Katherine's speech to the other wives--if the
connections between language and physical reality are as merely assertive as
most of the speakers of the play at one time or another pretend, what does it
cost her to utter foul words, such words being, as another resistant female,
Beatrice, observes, mere foul breath?  But as Swift reminds us in <Gulliver> 4,
most of us wouldn't want to return to an infantile world in which we only knew
what we put in our mouths, even if we could.  So--whether as readers,
dramaturgs, directors, actors, or spectators--we are thrown back into the
difficult problem of trying to find mutually convertible ways to distinguish
between true and false speech. Which means that highly physicalized versions of
<Shr>, however agreeable, tend to beg the tougher questions of the play, such
as whether (or in what sense) the Katherine-figure means what it says at the
end of the play, and why, and what could or should our reaction to it be.
 
Still chewing on this one,
                                                   David Evett
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Monday, 3 Oct 1994 19:04:34 +0200
Subject: 5.0765 Re: Outsiders: Don John in *Ado*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0765 Re: Outsiders: Don John in *Ado*
 
Thanks to Edward Gero for a fascinating actor's perspective on this--I really
appreciated his insights.
 
M. Aaron
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <KLIMANB@SNYFARVA.BITNET>
Date:           Monday, 3 Oct 1994 21:53 EDT
Subject:        Bergman's *WT*
 
Don Weingust asks for more information about the Bergman *WT*, now playing at
the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm: It's due to arrive at BAM in May,
along with Bergman's *Madame de Sade" and possibly *The Misanthrope*. The
review does not mention a tour of the US.
 
Bernice
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 03 Oct 1994 22:37:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0767  Buying the Farm
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0767  Buying the Farm
 
Piers Lewis suggests that "buying it" refers to the insurance. Walker Percy in
his essay "Metaphor as Mistake" in THE MESSAGE IN THE BOTTLE (NY: F,S and G,
1975) 65, calls it "the Korean War expression" and claims: "The farm the G. I.
was talking about was six feet of ground," i.e., a worm farm.
 
Does the expression pre-date the Korean War?
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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