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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: October ::
Re: SAA Seminars; Cheek by Jowell
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0837.  Monday, 24 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Naomi Liebler <
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        Date:   Saturday, 22 Oct 94 13:26:00 EST
        Subj:   RE: 0SHK 5.836  Re: SAA Seminars
 
(2)     From:   Tom Dale Keever <
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        Date:   Sunday, 23 Oct 94 10:54:21 EDT
        Subj:   [Cheek by Jowell]
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Naomi Liebler <
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 >
Date:           Saturday, 22 Oct 94 13:26:00 EST
Subject: 5.836  Re: SAA Seminars
Comment:        RE: 0SHK 5.836  Re: SAA Seminars
 
People who are wondering about assignments to SAA seminars should be aware that
it is really very early days. I've been attending SAA seminars since 1976, and
I don't recall EVER getting my assignment this early in the fall. What's all
the anxiety about? Have some patience. You might also want to be aware that at
the same time that she is negotiating all the stuff that needs to be negotiated
for the 1995 SAA, Nancy Hodge is simultaneously having to negotiate the far
more complicated arrangements for the 96 ISA meeting in Los Angeles which will
coincide with the 96 SAA meeting. This is an immensely complicated task, as I'm
sure you can imagine, and although she has a brilliant and enviably cooperative
and skilled (but small) staff of assistants, the extraordinary work of these
cotemporaneous tasks just MIGHT result in a slight delay in paperwork. I don't
know that such a delay is actually happening. It seems to me, as I said, that
we would not under any circumstances be getting our assignments this early. So
chill out, guys.
 
Cheers.
Naomi Liebler
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Dale Keever <
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Date:           Sunday, 23 Oct 94 10:54:21 EDT
Subject:        [Cheek by Jowell]
 
I missed Cheek by Jowell's AS YOU LIKE IT at BAM, but the comments from Steve
Urkowitz and others make me wish I had made the effort. I saw Declan
Donnellan's MEASURE FOR MEASURE when I was in London this past summer and
posted this note among the thumbnail reviews I put on rec.arts.theatre.plays
when I returned:
 
"MEASURE FOR MEASURE, by William Shakespeare. Cheek by Jowell at the Lyric
Theater, Hammersmith .  Cheek by Jowl has built quite a reputation for making
Shakespearean texts accessible in well-paced and very physical touring
productions, but this is the first time I caught up with them.  Efforts to
popularize a difficult text like this "Problem Play" should be encouraged, but
it all got much too acrobatically broad for my taste.  Especially inappropriate
was the transformation of Angelo's verbal assault on Isabella's honor into a
brutally physical near-rape.  Nobody has a subtle moment or anything but a
running entrance or exit in Cheek by Jowl's Shakespeare. That may be the way to
sell the plays to young or non-English- speaking audiences (C. by J.'s touring
itinerary reads like Phineas Fogg's), but more sophisticated audiences should
look elsewhere."
 
The production has not improved in my memory over time.  I don't normally have
a problem with "energetic" and fast paced classics, but this was all too far
over the top.  Isabella, for instance, seemed incapable of getting through a
scene without bursting into uncontrolled weeping hysterics.  I ran into veteran
character actor, and erstwhile colleague, Clement Fowler at The National while
I was there and his critique of the show was far harsher than mine.  He'd been
in a ringside seat where he could see better than I had from the balcony, and
he said that Isabella's first scene with the disguised Duke was especially
harrowing.  "You should have seen it!" he said, "She got snot all over his
sleeve!"
 

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