1994

Re: Contemporary Lear and Much More

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0769.  Sunday, 2 October 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 17:10:26 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear
 
(2)     From:   Kate Egerton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 01 Oct 94 18:46 EDT
        Subj:   _A Thousand Acres_
 
(3)     From:   Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 18:54:35 -0500
        Subj:   Goneril on the farm
 
(4)     From:   Julie Dubiner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 23:48:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
(5)     From:   Diana Akers Rhoads <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 00:23:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
(6)     From:   Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 13:28 EDT
        Subj:   *MND* *100 Acres* *New Yorker Piece*
 
(7)     From:   Stephen Buhler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 15:08:12 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Adaptation and Performance Queries
 
(8)     From:   J. Matthew Velkey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 02 Oct 1994 19:11:48 CDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth S. Rothwell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 17:10:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear
 
Dear Annalisa, You must be thinking about Jane Smiley, A THOUSAND ACRES (NY:
Knopf, 1991). Perhaps you can write us and explain in 50,000 words or less why
her characters are (a) real, (b) fictional, (c) factual, (d)imaginary, (e) None
of the above. Have a good read, Ken Rothwell
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Egerton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 01 Oct 94 18:46 EDT
Subject:        _A Thousand Acres_
 
The novel you're wondering about is Jane Smiley's _A Thousand Acres_ which sets
the Lear story in the 1980's Iowa farm crisis and is told from Goneril's POV -
her name is Ginny.  Knopf, 1991, ISBN 0-394-57773-6 in cloth, also available in
paper.  Smiley won the Pulitzer for this, and I recommend it highly (also her
novella/ story collections _The Age of Grief_ and _Ordinary Love & Good Will_).
Smiley is on the faculty at Iowa State in Ames.
 
Kate Egerton
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 18:54:35 -0500
Subject:        Goneril on the farm
 
The midwestern *King Lear* is *A Thousand Acres*, by Jane Smiley
(Ballantine/Fawcett Columbine, 1991). Excellent book.
 
Frank Whigham
University of Texas at Austin
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julie Dubiner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 23:48:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0763 Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
The new take on _Lear_ was by Jane Smiley - the title is _A Thousand Acres_
 
 - Julie Dubiner
   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Diana Akers Rhoads <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 00:23:06 -0400
Subject: 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
The contemporary *Lear* you have in mind is Jane Smiley's *A Thousand Acres.*
 
(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bernice W. Kliman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 13:28 EDT
Subject:        *MND* *100 Acres* *New Yorker Piece*
 
Peter Hall's *MND* was recently re-released after being off the market for
several years.  It was recently available from Commedia dell'arte
Coomunications, aka Classic Drama Video, at 11 Secor Drive, Pt. Washington, NY
11050.  Phone 516-767-7576.  Try 1-800-555-1212 to see if the co. has a
toll-free phone.  The new version has *enhanced coloring* and is copyright
Walter Bearer Films, Inc. (1993).
 
Jane Smiley's magnificent book (recently praised in an editorial by Anna
Quindlan in the process of exposing the stupidies of censorship) is *1000
Acres.*
 
In this past week's *New Yorker* magazine, an essay "Queen Lear" by David
Denby, explores the author's changing perceptions of the play and familial
relationships, specifically his own with a difficult mother.  In the essay he
describes classes he sat in on at Columbia, taught by Jim Shapiro and by Edward
Taylor.
 
It's interesting to think about what *Lear* DOES for each of these writers,
Smiley and Denby--and in turn, what each does TO the play and one's [this
one's] perception of the play.
 
See *The New Yorker*, Oct. 3, 1994, pp. 88-96.  Also in this issue is a review
of Bergman's *Winter's Tale," now in Sweden but coming to BAM (Brooklyn Academy
of Music, which also produced Bergman's *Ham* a few years back) next spring.
Sounds like it would be worth a special trip.
 
Bianca:  I've said enough about her lately, but I would like to applaud Ken
Meaney's point.  Of course a director should decide on the kind of Bianca s/he
wants based on the kind of Kate s/he wants-- and according to the meaning that
production wants to give to the play.
 
Sunny day here, cool, crisp autumn.  Now, back to work!
 
Bernice
 
(7)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Buhler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Oct 1994 15:08:12 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Adaptation and Performance Queries
 
The recent revision of >King Lear<, translated to the American Midwest and its
farms and families, is Jane Smiley's >A Thousand Acres<.  The original
publisher was Knopf (1991), but it's also in paperback from Fawcett Columbine
(1992).  Would anyone who has used this book in class care to comment on how
students reacted to it--and indicate if the students and their sense of
Shakespeare profited from it?  I'm strongly considering it for a course on
Shakespearean adaptations >as< interpretations.
 
For Helen Ostovich:
 
The 1968 RSC >A Midsummer Night's Dream<, directed by Peter Hall, is listed in
the latest catalog from Commedia Dell'Arte Communications of Manorhaven, NY.
Their number is (800) 892-0860.  I've ordered other materials from them.  The
video itself provides useful and productive contrasts to the BBC version.
 
(8)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J. Matthew Velkey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 02 Oct 1994 19:11:48 CDT
Subject: 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
Comment:        RE: SHK 5.0763  Qs: Contemporary Lear; Contemporary R&J
 
This is regarding Annalisa Castaldo's inquiry about a narrative adaptation of
_King Lear_ as through the point of view of Goneril and set in the Midwest.
Sounds curiously like Jane Smiley's 1991 novel, _A Thousand Acres_.  It's a
Fawcett Columbine book published by Ballantine Books (New York), ISBN:
0-449-90748-1.
 
Hope this helps.
 
J Matthew Velkey
Millsaps College

Q: *TN*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0768.  Sunday, 2 October 1994.
 
From:           Daniel Mufson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 1 Oct 1994 12:00:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        *Twelfth Night*
 
I'm working as dramaturg on a production of *Twelfth Night* at the Yale Rep,
and it is very early in the production process. I was wondering if I could get
feedback on any of the following questions:
 
        1. Are there certain things that *Twelfth Night* productions always
seem to wind up doing, things that you'd really like to see a new production
avoid?
 
        2. Could you recommend one or two of your favorite essays on *Twelfth
Night*, essays that altered your conception of the play or of one or more
characters?
 
        3. Have you seen any knock-out productions of *Twelfth Night* that I
should be sure to look at as part of a production history?
 
        4. Is there anything you've always wanted to see a *Twelfth Night*
production try to do, but haven't?
 
Broad questions. Answers of any length welcomed.
 
Thanks!
 
-Dan Mufson
Yale School of Drama

Q: Shylock

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0766.  Sunday, 2 October 1994.
 
From:           Richard C. Jones III  <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 Sep 1994 21:40:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Two questions about Shylock
 
I don't know how to ask this question in a way that will pay obeisance to those
who argue that fictive personae don't have characters, intentions, or actions.
So be it.  The first question is simple (said the spider to the fly): why does
Shylock concoct the "pound of flesh" bond?  Surely he, like everyone else,
expects Antonio to be able to fulfill the terms of the bond.  So why pass up
the opportunity to make a few ducats on the deal?  To one-up Antonio by
ostentatiously offering a deal *without* usance?  On the off chance that he
might actually collect?  As a rather perverse joke?  Because the slightest
chance of revenge overwhelms business sense?
 
And why, other than expediting the plot, does he make a big deal out of not
eating with Antonio and Bassanio (I.iii.31 ff.) and then proceed to do exactly
what he said he wouldn't (II.v), oh-so-conveniently leaving Jessica by herself?
 
Just wondering...
 
Rick Jones
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Slang Quibble

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0767.  Sunday, 2 October 1994.
 
From:           Piers Lewis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 29 Sep 1994 15:51:43 -0600
Subject: 5.0753  Re: Slang Quibble
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0753  Re: Slang Quibble
 
>Re the recent comment on "buying the farm" being a slang expression that was a
>>product< of the Korean war:  maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought the expression
>originated among bush pilots and early aviators when they would crash into a
>plowed field or barn and then have to literally buy the farm (that is, if they
>had not actually BOUGHT the farm in the process).
 
The point is, you buy the farm, and own it free and clear, when your life
insurance pays off the mortgage.  It's a joke in other words.

Re: Outsiders: Don John in *Ado*

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0765.  Sunday, 2 October 1994.
 
From:           Edward Gero <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 Sep 1994 10:14:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0751 Re: Women and Outsiders: Ado
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0751 Re: Women and Outsiders: Ado
 
In response to Melissa Aaron's query:
 
> The real question is--what are demonized figures like Don John doing in a
> "comedy?"
 
I have had the pleasure of playing Don John three times and would suggest that
he is present for a variety of reasons, not least among them because he is
funny.  He has one of the most exquisite first entrances in the canon. "I thank
you, I am not of many words, but I thank you", gets one of the first big laughs
in the play.  It reminds of the dour "Hello yourself" of Judd Fry in Oklahoma.
 
Secondly, I think he represents the shadow side of the male ego that is so
gulled in the play.  He, in fact, plays on that particularly male weakness of
the fear of being cuckolded with ease, and to great affect in convincing both
Claudio and Pedro of Hero's infidelity.  He does so, interestingly enough, with
another of the play's great laugh's "Leonato's Hero, your Hero, everyman's
Hero".  He acts with great understanding of an "outsider", knowing the male
depth of insecurity and penchant to accept as true any insinuation that the
"loved one" is false.  It is only after the cataclysm at the wedding, and the
insight that Friar Francis brings on a spiritual level (who, in my view acts as
the compensatory influence of Don John) that Hero is indeed honest and
innocent.  (It seems no accident to me that it is at this meeting of the dark
of Don John and light of the Friar that Don John completes his work and
leaves.)
 
It is only then that Benedik, Leonato, Pedro and Claudio can begin the painful
acceptance of their "shadow" selves before it is too late, and bring about the
"happy ending".  The Nothing of the Much Ado is in their heads brought to the
surface by that guy we all love to hate Don John.

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