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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: *Romeo and Juliet*, including Zefferelli
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0186.  Thursday, 9 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Mar 1995 13:14:46 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Zefferelli *R&J*
 
(2)     From:   Kezia Sproat <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Mar 1995 00:24:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0183 Re: *Romeo and...
 
(3)     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Mar 95 12:54:10 EST
        Subj:   [*Romeo and Juliet*]
 
(4)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Mar 1995 15:19:55 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
(5)     From:   Pat Buckridge <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 Mar 1995 11:47:55 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Wednesday, 08 Mar 1995 13:14:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Zefferelli *R&J*
 
I haven't seen the Zefferelli *R&J* since 1968 (late one night on the near
north side of Chicago), but like a lot of other things that happened that year,
it has stayed with me, vividly: its images are the ones that have remained in
my head whenever I read the play.  (It was certainly more memorable than the
awful Guthrie Theatre production of about 15 yrs ago played on a field of dark
blue plexiglass.)  It and *Blow-up* (which I saw about six months later)
changed my then-young mind about the possibilities for serious art in film.
 
I learned last year that my daughter's high school regularly uses the
Zefferelli in its freshman English classes; it still had the power to impress
her.
 
Jim Schaefer

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kezia Sproat <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 9 Mar 1995 00:24:05 -0500
Subject: 6.0183 Re: *Romeo and...
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0183 Re: *Romeo and...
 
Re. Frank Savukinas' request: I agree that Zefferelli's Romero & Juliet was
terrific, cuts notwithstanding. By the way, the best production of any
Shakespeare play I've ever seen was in about 1980 at Kenyon College, when MND
was produced by a professional theatre group (endowed, as I understood, by Paul
Newman and Joanne Woodward, but the theatre later folded). Carol Kane played
Titania and the director (whose name I've now forgotten and would be pleased to
be reminded of) also directed soaps in New York. In that production, not one
word seemed lost, or unmeaningful, so religiously did he seem to treat the
text. There may be something in directing those soap operas for Shakespeareans:
in sharp contrast, soap actors are forced to draw half an idea across an entire
half-hour, so every nuance is laid upon. Possibly the soap-inspired habit of
respecting every nuance caused that great production? I saw it twice, the
second time with a group of social scientist colleagues, and all adored it.
Later I met Carol Kane and asked her about it. She said she played Titania
pretending to be an animal, but wouldn't identify the species. Everyone in that
production was great.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Mar 95 12:54:10 EST
Subject:        [*Romeo and Juliet*]
 
Suggestions on some recent R & J queries and issues:
 
(1)  The Friar's reference to "Thy husband in thy bosom" (5.3.155) seems to me
likely to be a Biblical allusion, to a phrase that elsewhere takes print in the
Bible of 1611, "the wife/husband of [not "in"] thy/her bosom" (Deut. 13.6,
28.56).  The Jacobean translators either reflected or inaugurated a usage that
became idiomatic, though OED 1.c notes that it's far more common in reference
to wives than to husbands.  The Vulgate version of Deut. 13.6 is closer to
Friar Laurence's form: _uxor qui est in sinu tuo_, but 28.56 adds a verb,
_vir[um] qui cubat in sinu ejus_.  The Geveva translators hung on to _in_ but
used "lieth" (Lat. _cubat_) in both verses.  The context for both "wife" and
"husband" in the Biblical texts seems to me potentially relevant to the
dramatic moment (I quote from Geneva).  Both concern keeping faith.  Deut.
13.6-8 exhorts the true believer: "If thy brother . . . or the wife, that lieth
in thy bosom . . . entice thee secretly, saying, let vs go out and serue other
gods . . . Thou shalt not consent vnto him."  28.56 is part of a warning to the
Jews that trangression of the Law will unleash a terrible enemy: "The tendre
and deintie woman among you, which neuer wolde venture to set the sole of her
fote vpon the ground (for her softnes and tendernes) shalbe grieued [sorrow
for] at her housbonde, that lyeth in her bosome. . . ."  I'm not competent to
deal with the Hebrew, and do not have ready access to the other Tudor
translations to know how they treat the phrase, but it looks as though _Rom_ is
about halfway along the line from Geneva to King James.
 
(2)  The fatal cup (5.3.161) is not, indeed, introduced by stage direction or
other explicit piece of text.  T. G. B. Spencer's note on this rather modest
crux observes that it's hard to sustain "stage dignity" while drinking from a
little vial.  It's also much easier to make the gesture read to the spectators
using the larger and more visible prop.  And the image of the
not-exactly-shared cup has all sorts of overtones.  Contriving to get the thing
on stage is not a major problem.
 
(3) Roger Gross's insight about midline/endline variations in the pronunciation
of words like _variation_ and _Romeo_ is welcome if slightly overstated.
Spevak lists 118 instances of the name (132 if we count possessives).  28 of
these occur at the end of a line of verse; all are trisyllabic.  Of those
occurring elsewhere in a verse line all but one appear to me disyllabic.  That
one is 3.5.94: "Indeed, I never shall be satisfied / With Romeo, till I behold
him--dead."  I would guess that there are other instances in the canon where
this rule is stretched or broken.
 
Deuteronomically,
Dave Evett
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 8 Mar 1995 15:19:55 -0800
Subject: 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Touching on the early marriage of Juliet, the daughter of Lord Burghley, Anne
Cecil, was matched to marry Philip Sidney when she was 13 years old. For
various reasons the marriage didn't come off, one reason being "...partly to
the extreme youth of the parties concerned."
 
Two years later, in 1571 when Anne was 15 years old, she married Edward de
Vere, 17th Early of Oxford. Evidently then, in the higher reaches of society, a
13 year girl might readily be married if all parties were agreeable.
 
The quotation is from B.M.Ward's *The Seventeenth Early of Oxford... from
Contemporary Documents.*
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Buckridge <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 Mar 1995 11:47:55 +1000
Subject: 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0183  Re: *Romeo and Juliet*
 
Another well-known case of youthful marriage among the aristocracy was that of
Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, to the 15 year old Anne Cecil in 1571.  (De
Vere was 21).
 
Pat Buckridge
 

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