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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: January ::
Re: Globe Restoration; *Ado* Reaction; Boy Actors
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0021. Saturday, 14 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Ann Watts <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Jan 95 23:33:38 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0014 Re: Dumb Show
 
(2)     From:   John Boni <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Jan 1995 09:22:21 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0018 Re: *Ado* Reactions
 
(3)     From:   Duke Pesta <
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        Date:   Friday, 13 Jan 95 20:59:38 EST
        Subj:   Boys--Again--But Why?
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Watts <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Jan 95 23:33:38 EST
Subject: 6.0014 Re: Dumb Show
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0014 Re: Dumb Show
 
Please, Joe Nathan, do indeed report on the Globe restoration as you recently
observed it in London.
 
Ann Watts
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Boni <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Jan 1995 09:22:21 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0018 Re: *Ado* Reactions
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0018 Re: *Ado* Reactions
 
Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer continues the issue of the treatment of Hero (and, by
implication, of women) in MAAN.  Though this issue as raised on SHAKSPER
recently focused upon the behavior of young men at a screening, I would like to
continue it in the form of the equity of the treatment of Claudio and Don Pedro
in relation to what they have apparently caused. It appears that Hero is dead,
as a result of the attacks by Claudio and Don Pedro (Leonato's reaction is no
help, either).  Yet, except for the graveside mourning scene, and Claudio's
subsequent willingness to marry on faith once the truth is revealed, little is
done to balance out the acts of the two males.
 
Oh, yes, there are some comments about that awful Don John.
 
Certainly, Betrice's "Kill Claudio" injunction to Benedick must be given
weight.  It strikes me, in addition, that the mourning scene and the marriage
on faith decision both need to be played up heavily on stage to balance what
has been done.  In this aspect, Branagh's film fell short. Given the violence
of the disrupted wedding, the brief (though rather pretty) mourning scene and
the conventionally pleasant resumed wedding did not balance.  Claudio, though
grateful at his good fortune, is perhaps too nicely treated; Don Pedro seems to
escape altogether any real blame.
 
And this seems a case where Shakespeare turns to ritual or symbolic means to
untangle a problem he has created.  Though the attacks were literal enough, the
solutions (a wedding on faith, a ritual mourning) are not. MAAN, despite the
liveliness of B&B, has for a long time left me less than satisfied.  As with so
many of the other of the "defamed woman" plays, it continues to attract my
interest.
 
Other views?
 
John M. Boni, Dean                     
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College of Arts & Sciences             phone 312-794-6130
Northeastern Illinois University       FAX    312-794-6689
Chicago, Il 60625
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Duke Pesta <
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Date:           Friday, 13 Jan 95 20:59:38 EST
Subject:        Boys--Again--But Why?
 
Boys--Again--But Why?
 
After following this discussion for several weeks before Christmas, it seems
that the evidence tipped in favor of boy actors.  If this is so, then what does
it say about the theater?  I am wondering if the participants in the
discussion--on both sides of the debate--would take their line of inquiry one
step further and talk about the significance of this issue.
 
What I have in mind is that Stephen Orgel says boy actors make for a homoerotic
theater.  Boys playing the parts of women creates a "transvestite theater"
which, he seems to argue, is fully interchangeable with the idea of a
homoerotic theater.  The reason, in part, is that: "Homosexuality in this
culture appears to have been less threatening than heterosexuality...."
 
What I am looking for is clear evidence (on either side of the issue) that
might point to a more definitive answer.  It seems to me that Orgel sometimes
finesses the evidence to bring it in line with his own conclusions.  If he is
right, then a lot of things we have been saying about Renaissance drama are
wrong.  In this connection, I am surprised at how quiet more traditional
scholars are on this issue.  Is this something that has lain undiscovered for
400 years, is there perhaps some kind of conspiracy that has kept it a secret,
or, on the other hand, are the arguments of Orgel more the result of selective
evidence taken to be the whole story?
 
What, if anything, is the Renaissance view of this issue?  Orgel does a lot
with the Puritan writings--what did the humanists have to say about the
subject?  Are there historical and literary counterexamples to Orgel's
argument?  More examples in favor of his argument?  Why *did* the English stage
take boys for women?
 
Any help that anyone could give on this issue would be most appreciated.
Respond to me through SHAKSPER or write to me directly.
 
Duke Pesta
 

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