Re: Salvini -- Interlingual Playing
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0614. Monday, 14 August 1995.
From: Thomas A. Berson <
Date: Monday, 07 Aug 1995 16:36:49 -0700
Subject: 6.0609 Re: Salvini Interlingual playing
Comment: Re: SHK 6.0609 Re: Salvini Interlingual playing
Ron Macdonald quotes Henry James for us that, "Signor Salvini naturally played
in Italian, while his comrades answered him in a language which was foreign
only in that it sometimes failed to be English."
Stephen C. Schultz says that "This was not TOO uncommon in his time; Edwin
Booth did the same."
And it goes on now too. During the summer of 1985 cultural exchange between the
U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had been frozen by Pres. Reagan. The drama class at Palo
Alto (CA) High School had a production of *RJ* up. (My son, Matt, was Mercutio,
but that's another story). The class teacher, Michael Kass, was a Russian
language scholar who had personal contacts in the U.S.S.R. Through these he
arranged to take his production on the road. It played in Moscow, Leningrad,
In Minsk the travelling players came across a group of university-based Soviets
who also had *RJ* up. The two casts spontaneously played some scenes together,
the Americans in English and the Soviets in Russian. Dialogue scenes worked
easily. The rhythms of language provided all the cues necessary. I have a video
which documents the experiment.
The video also demonstrates that a Soviet university student Juliet can (and
did) teach an American high school student Romeo a thing or two about kissing.