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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: September ::
Re: *Winter's Tale*; Tennyson
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 702 Wednesday, 20 September 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Sep 1995 22:57:31 -0400
        Subj:   *WT* redux
 
(2)     From:   Joseph M Green <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Sep 1995 11:21:40 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0697  Qs: Antonio; Tennyson
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Sep 1995 22:57:31 -0400
Subject:        *WT* redux
 
I haven't had a chance to thank everyone for your input on *Winter's Tale.*
We've put together a marvelous cast and have been in rehearsal for a couple of
weeks now, just blocking and feeling our way through each scene. So far we've
had a marvelous time, accepting the easy successes and identifying the very
real challenges ahead.
 
At this point, two and a half weeks into rehearsal, everybody's hitting that
wall where they "know the words," but are not yet making the lines live.  Their
frustration manifests itself in whining and whimpering; I just give them
permission to whine and whimper--then make them get to work. ;)
 
 
Special thanks goes to Bruce Young for his kindness in sending me a great deal
of his writings on the play, the practice of the parental blessing in
particular.  We've incorporated the kneeling gesture for Mamillius in the first
half so that it has some resonance for the modern audience at the end of the
play.
 
Random thoughts:
 
An interesting resource that has turned out to have more application than I
expected has been the video of "Elizabeth R."  I had ordered it as a costuming
resource, but the cast has been circulating the six episodes, and we've been
able to refer to it for many examples of Renaissance atittude.  It has helped
the attendant lords see exactly what it is attendant lords do, for example.
 
Recently, in working through V.1, we discovered a useful parallel between
Elizabeth's marriage game and the argument between Paulina and Cleomenes.   The
actors found that playing the scene as the culmination of a longstanding
political battle made it come alive.
 
The jailer, a young actor with little experience, has found the jailers'
attitudes instructive, in the balancing act he has to play between following
orders and not offending Paulina.
 
When we worked through the final scene for the first time, we were stunned by
its power.  All of us admitted that we had thought that making the scene work
would be problematic, but in fact it was an amazing scene even in its first
runthrough.
 
So far, everyone's favorite character is Paulina.  Cries of "You go girl!"
erupt after every one of her scenes.
 
Some new questions:
 
For Perdita's queen-of-the-feast addenda, we're giving her a ruff, perhaps a
sash, and some type of crown of leaves/flowers.  Is there a more "accurate" set
of paraphenalia we could use?
 
Do audiences laugh at Leontes' line about Hermione's statue being more
wrinkled?  Is that OK?  My instincts say to quash the laugh, but that may be as
hopeless a task as avoiding a laugh on "Kill Claudio."
 
IV.4: the scene that would not end.  Does this scene ever become whole? It just
goes on and on and on.  Does it need cutting?  How have other people overcome
the urge to run screaming from the theatre during this scene?
 
Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph M Green <
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Date:           Wednesday, 20 Sep 1995 11:21:40 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 6.0697  Qs: Antonio; Tennyson
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0697  Qs: Antonio; Tennyson
 
Anent Tennyson.  I can't see how it could be inferred that Tennyson had
Gloucester or even *Lear* in mind in section 12 of "In Memorium"  -- even in
the sense that Bloom, for example, had kidneys in his mind (Leopold -- not
Harold).
 
"Lo, as a dove when up she springs
To bear through heaven a tale of woe,
Some dolorous message knit below
The wild pulsation of her wings;
 
Like her I go; I cannot stay;
I leave this mortal ark behind
A weight of nerves without a mind,
And leave the cliffs, and haste away
 
O'er ocean-mirrors rounded large,
And reach the glow of southern skies,
And see the sails at distance rise
And linger weeping on the marge.
 
And saying; :Comes he thus, my friend?
Is this the end of all my care?"
And circle moaning in the air:
"Is this the end? Is this the end?"
 
And forward dart again, and play
About the prow, and back return
To where the body sits, and learn
That I have been an hour away."
 
Hard to see any anxieties about his work there -- tho he might have been
anticipating his selection as Poet Laureate and, remembering Cibber,
justifiably moan "Is this the end?"  T. is imagining himself as a dove released
from the ark winging his way to the shore where he can see the ship bearing
Hallam's body, he lingers a bit on the marge, circles in the air moaning "Is
this the end?" and, rather oddly, plays about the prow of the ship and returns
to his body in a rather awkward stanza in which one notices inversions and
suspects that "play" is there to rhyme with "away."  The cliffs have mostly to
do with the fact that the fossils found there show that nature is not "careful
of the type" as well as being "careless of the single life:
 
"So careful of the type?" but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, "A thousand types are gone;
I care for nothing, all shall go."
 
"Is this the end" seems to remind you of lines from another scene -- "Is this
the promised end..?" but, given the situation, could only be seen as a
conscious or unconscious reference if there were more evidence -- and there
isn't.  The explicit reference is to the dove released from the ark, the
implied promise is, perhaps, suggested by the fact that Noah's story ends with
the dove happily gadding about on dry land and a very nice rainbow.
 
I am totally baffled as to what image might "suggest a usurpation of power"
though, since you refer to this as a "political" reading you score points as
you do by bringing up the word "homosocial" as you see this passage and the
putative reference to Lear as an attempt "to bridge the gap in homosocial
discourse."  Hallam is dead -- so T. has his work cut out for him attempting to
bridge this particular homosocial gap.
 
I think that you might have better luck with these lines:
 
"Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound;"
 
There is an obvious reference to Hamlet and a possible reference to Othello.
T. is obviously recalling Q1, Q2, F and Der bestrafte Brudermord oder Prinz
Hamlet aus Denmark and avoiding especially the implications of the last.
 

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