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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: March ::
Re: *Catch*; Africans; *Pilgrims Progress*; *MM*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0233.  Tuesday, 21 March 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Robert Cohen <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Mar 1995 12:59:12 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0226  Re: Hippie *Othello*
 
(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Mar 1995 23:00:41 GMT
        Subj:   Africans in London
 
(3)     From:   Luc Borot <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Mar 95 08:59:56 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0232  Q: Staging *Pilgrim's Progress*
 
(4)     From:   Milla Riggio <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 21 Mar 1995 08:30:47 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0231  Re: *MM* Ending
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Cohen <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Mar 1995 12:59:12 -0800
Subject: 6.0226  Re: Hippie *Othello*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0226  Re: Hippie *Othello*
 
"Catch My Soul" was an early rock musical version of "Othello" with the famous
R&B pianist/singer Jerry Lee Lewis as Iago (which is why Iago had most of the
songs).  Lewis stood playing an onstage piano - as he did in his concerts - for
much of the show.   The work  premiered in Los Angeles at the Ahmonson Theatre
in the late 60s, and was trashed by Cecil Smith, the critic for the *LA Times,"
then the only serious reviewer in town.   A few years later, Smith wrote an
apology, saying in retrospect that it was one of the most memorable things he
had ever seen.  The show was later done with some success in London, I
understand.  As for myself, I thought it was one of the most exciting stage
productions I've seen in nearly fifty years of theatregoing, and it remains
vivid in my memory.
 
Robert Cohen
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Mar 1995 23:00:41 GMT
Subject:        Africans in London
 
I thought this silly subject was dead, but Helen Ostovich writes:
 
>According to Emeka Abanime, "Elizabeth I and Negroes" _Cahiers Elisabethains_
>19 (avr. 1981): 1-8, there were lots of Africans in London in the 1590s.
 
According to ELIZABETH I "there are already here too manie consideryng howe God
hath blessed this land with great increase of people of our nation as anie
countrie in the world" (Abanime, p1). The proclamations claim to be defending
the right of the bona fide English poor to receive relief by limiting the
number of foreigners receiving the relief. But Abanime does not accept the
proclamations at face value. Most of the blacks in England were slaves who made
great servants because their 'employment' was "more permanent, more reliable
and cheaper" than employment of a white (p3). Elizabeth's proclamation lets
slip the de facto slavery by prescribing punishments for:
 
"any person or persons which shall be possessed of any such blackamoors that
refuse to deliver them in sort aforesaid" (Jan 1601 proclamation, qtd. in
Abanime p2)
 
Abanime comments:
 
"It is therefore to be supposed that the expulsion order was not motivated by
the need to maintain indigent blacks with public funds, but by the belief that
blacks helped to aggravate unemployment in the indigenous servant-class by
being themselves popular as servants." (Abanime p3)
 
That a proclamation claims to being dealing with a problem does not tell us
that the problem exists, only that the proclaimer wants to appear to be dealing
with a perceived problem. Contrary to Ostovich's assertion, Abanime does not
show that there were "lots of Africans in London", indeed Abanime does not even
speculate about the size of the black population. In an off-list exchange Anna
Cole pointed out to me that the need to read lines further reduces the
likelihood of a black person being a player.
 
Gabriel Egan

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Luc Borot <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Mar 95 08:59:56 +0100
Subject: 6.0232  Q: Staging *Pilgrim's Progress*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0232  Q: Staging *Pilgrim's Progress*
 
Gail Burns comes with a request that would have given many a Puritan a heart
shock! Staging a Puritanical work! Yet, in biographies of Oliver Cromwell, one
reads that the very orthodox minister who was preceptor to him and his brothers
and sisters staged play-versions of Fox's Acts and Monuments, for the education
and edification of the children; the Jesuits did the same in their own
continental institutions.
 
Have there been stage versions of PP in the early 17th c.? I'd be very
interested to hear about it. Did the Dissenting educational movement resort to
the same kind of techniques?
 
Food for thought (sorry this won't help Gail very much, but it may start a new
thread)
 
Luc
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <
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Date:           Tuesday, 21 Mar 1995 08:30:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0231  Re: *MM* Ending
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0231  Re: *MM* Ending
 
About the ending of MM:
 
With all the talk about ISABELLA'S attitude toward her vocation, I'm surprised
that none has spoken of Shakespeare's probable attitude toward it.  Isabella,
after all, as many of us have admitted, does not exist.  The writer of the play
did, and there is no real indication that (whatever his own religion may or may
not have been) Shakespeare would have presented for his protestant audience in
the early seventeenth century the idea of a Catholic religious vocation for a
woman as a better ending than marriage with a Duke. (What's love got to do with
it?)
 
On similar issues, I have just completed an essay on teaching Shakespeare that
focuses consistently on issues of cultural identity and deviance in his plays,
broadly considered, and which touches on many of the issues we've been
discussing here in the past few weeks.  I'm hoping it will soon be published.
I'll keep you updated.  There are ways, I think, to introduce these topics to
students and also allow them to explore them in acting exercises for
themselves.  I have invented a little game I call "The Playing Game" (described
in this essay), which helps with such a focus.
 
Best,
Milla Riggio
 

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