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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: January ::
Re: Globe; Reinventing Shakespeare; *Idaho*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0043.  Monday, 23 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Paul Nelsen <
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        Date:   Saturday, Jan 21 12:22:49 1995
        Subj:   Globe project
 
(2)     From:   Michael Groves <
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        Date:   Saturday, 21 Jan 1995 09:40:26 -0800
        Subj:   "Reinventing Shakespeare" and problematic endings
 
(3)     From:   Robert Lloyd Neblett <
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        Date:   Sunday, 22 Jan 1995 12:28:12 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0037
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Nelsen <
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Date:           Saturday, Jan 21 12:22:49 1995
Subject:        Globe project
 
Re: ISGC Globe
 
Joseph Nathan's recent report (20 January, SHK6.0040 #2) on progress of the
International Shakespeare Globe Centre's effort to construct a rendition of the
first Globe on London's South Bank conveys a sense of the enthusiasm for this
project that so many of us share.  I visited the site three times in early
January as part of ongoing research. As much as I concur with Mr.  Nathan's
delight in the progress of the project, some aspects of his report are
inaccurate. Here is a modest effort to set a few matters straight.  This
project should not be understood as a "restoration" -- nothing remains of the
first  or second Globe to restore.  The enterprise is a careful effort to build
an Elizabethan style public playhouse incorporating as many authentic elements
as possible.  For detailed discussion of design issues related to the ISGC
project, see my articles "Reinventing Shakespeare's Globe?" <Shakespeare
Bulletin> 10, iv (Fall 1992), "Sizing up the Globe" in <SB> 11, iv (Fall 1993),
and "Transition and Revision at the Globe" in <SB> 12, ii (Spring 1994).Fifteen
bays of triple tiered audience galleries form a horseshoe around what is now a
barren concrete yard.  Thatching of the galleries' roof is nearly complete;
some plastering of internal walls is done but the vast majority of plaster work
awaits return of warm weather.  A composite of ash, clinker, and hazelnut
shells will eventually cover the yard on which "groundlings" will stand.  This
surface will be pitched ever so slightly - dropping 8 inches toward the center
of the yard over a span of 35 feet -- for the sole purpose of aiding drainage
(not for sight-lines).   The brick in the foundation (those above ground level)
are made from the same recipe as those found in Tudor brickwork at Hampton
Court Palace but are not "authentic" 16th-century recyclables.  The timber
framework for the tiring house is presently being fabricated in workshops off
the site.  Architect Jon Greenfield states that he hopes the five bays of the
tiring house frame will be joined the galleries prior to August. The actual
stage, the heavens with its machinery, and frons scenae, will not be ready to
install until sometime after the "prologue season" is completed next Fall.  The
official festive opening of the Globe is scheduled for 14 June 1996.  Michael
Holden, Chief Executive of the ISGC, advises me that advertisement of the
Queen's participation in opening festivities is premature and inappropriate.  I
join Mr. Nathan is recommending a visit to the Globe exhibit.
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Groves <
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Date:           Saturday, 21 Jan 1995 09:40:26 -0800
Subject:        "Reinventing Shakespeare" and problematic endings
 
1)  When I first started thinking about the possible Victorian influences on
Shakespeare scholarship and how I think about Shakespeare, I decided to read
more about "tragic flaw."  The suggestions from the conference will keep me
busy for a long time, and I thank you for them.
 
From my own library I rediscovered Taylor's _Reinventing Shakespeare_, which
I had read a few years ago.  In it he has a chapter on the "Victorian
Values" and Shakespeare.  He reminded me that some of the popular editions
(Cambridge Shakespeare, Clarendon Shakespeare) were published during the
period.  Shakespeare studies at the univserity level became popular ("the
dominant component of the new subject of English Literature"), and because
of technological changes in the book publishing industry more editions
became available at a cheaper price and many readers felt they too could be
experts.  The plays, like the novels of Dickens and others, were serialized.
As never before, "women and children shaped the prevailing image of
Shakespeare" (209).  And, according to Taylor, although it did not originate
with the Victorians, "the author question" has its roots in Victorian
scholarship.  It occurred independently of the late 18th century scholarship
of James Wilmot as a "kind of intellectuall spontaneous combustion" (211).
Although there was no discussion of the tragedies per se, other than a
lengthy discussion of the influence of A. C. Bradley's lecture-like
comments, I found the chapter well worth a read.
 
2)  _Reinventing Shakespeare_ made me wonder how we have reinvented
Shakespeare. An example probably concerns the problematic endings to some of
the plays, _Measure for Measure_, _Two Gentleman of Verona_, and _Much Ado
about Nothing_. Last weekend I saw _Measure for Measure_ produced by the
Portland Center Stage, an offshoot of the Oregon Sahkespeare Festival. When
the Duke asked for Isabella's hand, the audience laughed; during another
evening, they groaned.  The reactions are not what the director wanted.
What is to be done?  In two other plays, _TGOV_ and _MAAN_, traditonally the
women must overlook the harsh treatment of their lovers and in the end all
reconcile and depart together for better and more enlightened lives as
husbands and wives.  In productions of _TGOV_ and _MAAN_, which I saw at the
Tygres Heart Theatre, the ending suggested that the men did not, will not,
get off so easily.  The couples are not reconciled.  For example, while not
ignoring Claudio, Hero does not celebrate with him when dance and music is
called for in the end.  She exited with someone else and left Claudio
standing alone; he left alone.  When she told him, "As surely as I live, I
am a maid," she challenged him. It seems that such "reinventions" are needed
if we are to continue to produce the plays. The laughter and groans at the
ending of _Measure for Measure_ suggested a disatisfied, incredulous
audience who walked away thinking Shakespeare and some of his characaters
rather silly.
-----------
Michael Groves

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Lloyd Neblett <
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Date:           Sunday, 22 Jan 1995 12:28:12 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 6.0037
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0037
 
Gus Van Sant's film "My Own Private Idaho" (atrocious) is based upon HENRY IV
Parts I & II, focusing on Part II, due to the Hal character's abandonment of
his past.  The movie not only "borrows" the plot from the Bard, it also
modernizes some of the verse.  And if you thought Keanu Reeves slaughtered Don
John's character in an otherwise pleasant production of MUCH ADO with Branagh &
Co., hearing him spout iambic pentameter about "lines of coke" will make you
run from the room screaming.  The cinematography is interesting, but for the
most part, MY OWN PRIVAYE IDAHO should be abandoned as anyone's MUST SEE.
 
Robert L. Neblett

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