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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: February ::
Re: Science Fiction; Homoerotic; Musicals
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0102.  Monday, 13 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   William Russell Mayes <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Feb 1995 10:46:32 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0091  Re: Shakespeare and Science Fiction
 
(2)     From:   David Schalkwyk <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Feb 95 09:20:13 SAST-2
        Subj:   The homoerotic
 
(3)     From:   Marty Jukovsky <
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        Date:   Sunday, 12 Feb 95 02:06:12
        Subj:   Fwd: Musicals based on Shakespeare (was POSSIBLE MUSICALS)
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Russell Mayes <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Feb 1995 10:46:32 -0500
Subject: 6.0091  Re: Shakespeare and Science Fiction
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0091  Re: Shakespeare and Science Fiction
 
Regarding Shakespeare and Star Trek, there is a ton of the bard in the movies
and throughout the (several) series, though by no means is there a systematic
use of W.S.  Paul Cantor has a paper on Shakespeare in the Star Trek movies.  I
am sure he'd be happy to send it to you (he is at the Dept. of English, Wilson
Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903).  Half jokingly, I
once gave a paper entitled "Historical Criticism: The Next Generation, or Why
Doesn't the Federation have a Cloaking Device?" but the writers of _Star Trek:
The Next Generation_ (the one with Patrick Stewart) ruined it by writing a show
where that question is answered.  Alas.
 
W. Russell Mayes, Jr.
Dept. of English
University of Virginia

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Schalkwyk <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Feb 95 09:20:13 SAST-2
Subject:        The homoerotic
 
Is the fact that sonnets addressed by men to _women_ "sound like love letters"
enough to "establish anything definite?"
 
David Schalkwyk
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marty Jukovsky <
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Date:           Sunday, 12 Feb 95 02:06:12
Subject:        Fwd: Musicals based on Shakespeare (was POSSIBLE MUSICALS)
 
I thought the following would be of interest to SHAKSPER subscribers.  It was
posted on the musical theater mailing list (
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 ).
 
Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.

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***********************************
 
Michael Soliven Lara (
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 ) writes:
 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
On 8 Feb 1995, Adam Feldman wrote:
 
> What does anyone else think? Any other ideas for musicals to come? It might
be interesting to have musicals based on Shakespeare plays. We've already seen
works which either touch on Shakespeare (e.g. Kiss Me Kate) or works which
freely adapt Shakespeare (e.g. Otello, West Side Story). How about Hamlet?
 
Some problems with this include:
 
if there are new lyrics, the lyricist might be accused of tampering with
already perfect verse (such was one reported criticism of the flop Cyrano) if
there aren't new lyrics, the composer would have to find some way of
musicalizing the work without making it monotonous or ridiculous
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
 
I was in a musical adaptation of Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale."  It was a
pretty horrible mishmash, partly because of some of the above concerns.  Much
of Shakespeare's beautiful verse was rewritten, some just shortened in the
interest of time, but some because the writer was afraid it would not be
understood -- it got kind of "dumbed-down."
 
I played Paulina, Hermione's chief lady-in-waiting (or something like that --
it's never made exactly clear even in Shakespeare), which was originally a nice
supporting role.  However, I get the idea that Paulina was the writer's
favorite character.  She (the writer, who was also directing) called Paulina
the original feminist, and beefed up the role a whole lot just because it was
her favorite.  I had three solos and three or four duets -- unfortunately, a
lot of the music was awful (a song to Leontes about Hermione's child called
"The Babe is Yours" stands out as particularly bad).
 
A Pippin-like chorus that showed up at the beginning and end of each act was
also added, and Father Time led them -- they were funny but had little or
nothing to do with the story and were not integrated into the play at all.
 
There was one glorious moment: Camillo the faithful servant singing a song
called "I Know an Island" to Florizel and Perdita.  It was a beautiful tenor
ballad almost worth the price of admission by itself.
 
Of course, the original play is problematic -- it starts out as almost a
tragedy, and ends up as a sort of pastoral romance -- but making it a musical
-- at least in this inception -- only exacerbated its problems.
 
I believe this "Musical Winter's Tale" was done once before at Brown
University.  I'd love to hear from anyone who was associated with it or saw it.
 
Also, back in 1981 or 1982 I saw the pre-Broadway production of "Oh, Brother"
at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  It was an adaptation of "The Comedy
of Errors" (or going further back "The Menaechmi (sp?)) set in Iran.  Parts of
it were wonderful -- I seem to remember Judy Kaye having a beautiful ballad
about one of the brothers.  But parts were incredibly tacky -- there was a
kickline of Arabs (which was actually pretty funny, but probably offensive to
some) and a lot of Ayatollah (or was it Shah?) jokes.  I heard later that it
closed on Broadway after something like three days  -- I wonder if there's any
recording of it out there?
 
Hoping there are better Shakespeare adaptations around ... or being written.
 
Ginny

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