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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: Sh. in Yiddish; The Farm; Boy Actors; Character
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0799.  Monday, 10 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Daniel P. Tompkins <
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        Date:   Friday, 7 Oct 1994 21:16:25 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0791 Q: Shakespeare in Yiddish
 
(2)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 07 Oct 1994 21:05:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0790  Re: Buying the Farm
 
(3)     From:   David Joseph Kathman <
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        Date:   Saturday, 8 Oct 94 13:46:03 CDT
        Subj:   Boy Actors
 
(4)     From:   Jan C. Stirm <
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        Date:   Sunday, 09 Oct 94 23:47 PDT
        Subj:   Character Index
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel P. Tompkins <
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Date:           Friday, 7 Oct 1994 21:16:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0791 Q: Shakespeare in Yiddish
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0791 Q: Shakespeare in Yiddish
 
A sidelight: one of Gertrude Himmelfarb's more enjoyable essays--that is, one
of the few in which she doesn't flay everyone I like--is a piece in Partisan
Review ca. 1992 that describes growing up in a household to which Yiddish
Shakespeare was very important.  It was moving and funny.
 
Dan Tompkins
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 07 Oct 1994 21:05:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0790  Re: Buying the Farm
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0790  Re: Buying the Farm
 
Hey, guys, all I did was quote Walker Percy. I gather Percy was wrong when he
called "buying the farm" a phrase from the Korean war. I was in grade school
during WW II.
 
Yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Joseph Kathman <
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Date:           Saturday, 8 Oct 94 13:46:03 CDT
Subject:        Boy Actors
 
All right, maybe I was overreacting by assuming that Declan Donnellan was
implying that women acted on the Shakespearean stage.  I just found and read
the relevant NYT article in the library, and in context it seems more likely
that he was talking about adult men playing the women's roles; his comments
quoted by Michael Field are immediately preceded by the sentence, "In Tokyo, we
saw a lot of Kabuki actors, and we saw that people can accept men as women if
their belief is there."  Now, I'm perfectly willing to admit that men might
have played some women's roles on the Elizabethan stage, and there is a little
bit of contemporary evidence for this.  However, there is very much more
contemporary evidence for "boys" playing women's roles, where the boys in
question were apprenticed to one of the sharers of the company and trained by
him.  The question then becomes, how old were the "boys" in question?  Helen
Ostovich's estimate of 14 to 22 is right about on the money; from the few
instances where we can determine an apprentice's age (several are cited by
Bentley in *The Profession of Player in Shakespeare's Time*), boys tended to be
apprenticed to actors around age 14 or so, for a period of 7 to 10 years,
though some are known to have been more like 8 or 10 when they were
apprenticed.  And I'll second Jean Petersen's observation that teenage boys
were not necessarily sexually inexperienced, especially in the rough-and-tumble
of Elizabethan London.  So Donnellan is still wrong; the "boys" who played
women's roles on Shakespeare's stage (except for possibly a few exceptions for
older female characters) were teenagers or young men, and many were probably
sexually experienced, if that would make a difference in their ability as
female impersonators.
 
Dave Kathman
University of Chicago

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(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jan C. Stirm <
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Date:           Sunday, 09 Oct 94 23:47 PDT
Subject:        Character Index
 
Bernice Kliman asks about an index of characters--one really helpful one is by
Thomas L. Berger and William C. Bradford, Jr.  It's called *An Index of
Characters in English Printed Drama* and was put out by Microcard Editions
Books in 1975 (Englewood Colorado).  It's a gem!
 
Hope it fills your need!
 
Best, Jan Stirm
        
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