Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: May ::
Re: Folger Institute; Silvia
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0395.  Wednesday, 17 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Georgianna Ziegler <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 May 95 11:12:00 PDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0389  Re: Folger Institute
 
(2)     From:   Adrian Kiernander <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 May 1995 14:32:19 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Silvia
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Georgianna Ziegler <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 16 May 95 11:12:00 PDT
Subject: 6.0389  Re: Folger Institute
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0389  Re: Folger Institute
 
In reply to Skip and Fellow Canadians - I've forwarded your "warning label" to
Kathleen Lynch in the Institute!  If you would like to confer with her further,
you might want to use the Institute's e-mail address:

 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 . I'm only the Messenger with the SHAKSPER
connection!!
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Adrian Kiernander <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 May 1995 14:32:19 +1000
Subject:        Re: Silvia
 
In reply to Sam Gregory and Megan Stermer:
 
I directed a production of 2 Gents in Wellington, New Zealand, a couple of
years ago, where we took a very strong line on the play which is, I think,
unusual but not unique--I solicited ideas on SHAKSPER; Jean Petersen told me at
the time about a production in New York (?) which had taken a similar line, and
I had some very useful input too from Randall Nakayama. We took very seriously
the rape in the final scene, seeing it not as an aberration in a flawed play,
but the logical conclusion of the attitudes towards women's place in society
demonstrated by almost all the characters in the play, male and female. It's a
society where a woman is incapable of having the words "no" heard. The result
was a production which probably sounds rather grim but in fact turned out
extremely popular and funny, while at the same time I hope drawing attention to
issues which are crucially important to us now. (The young characters were
played as spoiled rich kids dressed in high status costumes and accessories
from both the Elizabethan and modern periods--ruffs and Reeboks, Raybans and
codpieces-- and the production was subtitled "Verona 90210". If anyone's
interested, I've just published a short article on the play, drawn from our
experience of staging it, in an Australian-based journal _Social Semiotics_ vol
4, nos 1-2, 1994, 31-46.)
 
With regard to the scene that Megan Sterner is interested in, our reading of
that section was that Valentine's "and yet..." is a hesitation. He's just said
that he will write a thousand more love letters (or perhaps one a thousand
times longer than the one he's just written) on Silvia's behalf to her
"unknown" lover if she wants him to, as a sign of his devotion to her, "and
yet..." he is doing it against his own interests because he is in love with her
himself. Silvia understands what he has left unspoken, and is pleased about the
fact that he has some hesitation in helping her to a match with someone
else--"a pretty period". Then, teasing, she guesses at what he has left unsaid
but will not say what she believes it to be, then says she doesn't care, and
then delivers the first love letter he has written on her behalf to its
rightful recipient. And so on.
 
What we see Silvia doing in this scene is what almost all the other characters,
including Valentine (III,2, c line 100) and Julia (I,2, c line 50) say all
women do, i.e. 'say "no" to that which they would have the profferer construe
"aye"'. In other words in the world of this play, when women say "no" they
really mean "yes" and a man only needs to keep harrassing her to get what he
wants. So of course when Julia sets out into the wide world in pursuit of
Proteus she has to dress as a boy, and of course when Silvia and Proteus meet
in the woods everything in his social milieu tells him that rape is an
appropriate action. And of course when Valentine stops him he accuses Proteus
not of being a rapist but of betraying their friendship!!!! What we tried to do
in our production was expose the workings and assumptions of their society (and
our own) and show the continuum between casual treatments of women as property
and the possibility of rape.
 
So my advice, for what it's worth, to anyone working on the play is not to be
too seduced by the romantic attractiveness of the young lovers. I find it much
richer theatrically and in other ways to look at them as self-centred, arrogant
and sexist. (But still attractive, if you like.)
 
Adrian Kiernander
Department of Theatre Studies
University of New England
AUSTRALIA
 

Other Messages In This Thread

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.