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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: July ::
Re: FRINGE; Branagh Films; Cultural Construct
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0584.  Wednesday, 26 July 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Roger D. Gross <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Jul 1995 17:47:20 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   FRINGE Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   David Levine <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Jul 1995 20:40:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0546 Re: Branagh Films
 
(3)     From:   Moray McConnachie <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Jul 1995 14:23:01 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0578 Re: Shakespeare as Cultural Construct
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger D. Gross <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Jul 1995 17:47:20 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        FRINGE Shakespeare
 
Good to know that I'm not the only one with very fond recollections of BEYOND
THE FRINGE.  My own memories were freshened by the production of FRINGE which I
just directed.
 
The good news is that the show holds up wonderfully.  Our audiences laughed at
almost every phrase.
 
The second most popular number in the show was the Shakespeare spoof, called
"So That's the Way You Like It."  The writers go after about a dozen of the
most common affectations of Shakespeare and mid-20th century Shakespearean
production style.  We got to score off of the RADA iambic pentameter style, the
impossibility of keeping up with the lists of names and places in the
histories, the mechanistic quality of most stage fights, the convention of the
wise fool, and many more.
 
The "rustics" bit was very effective.  It scores a triple hit: Shakespeare's
extended pun sequences (which almost no one can understand today), the modern
tendency to make give the rustics dialects so colorful that no one can
understand them and to overload them with physical deformities and repulsive
mannerisms, and (to finally return to the thought which began all of this), the
tendency to hype up the unintelligible or unfunny rustic scenes with a ton of
rustic laughter. My audience is not made up of Shakespeare buffs but they got
it all and appreciated it all.
 
(The most successful number in the show was "Take a Pew", the mock sermon...but
I credit that to the brilliance of the actor.)
 
Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Levine <
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Date:           Tuesday, 25 Jul 1995 20:40:30 -0400
Subject: 6.0546 Re: Branagh Films
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0546 Re: Branagh Films
 
First of all, we're dealing with two quite different movies, right?  I thought
the cast in Much Ado was a problem (though a few of the "celebrities" were ok).
HV was a splendid movie, though, and was in fact based on a very well-received
Stratford production, albeit directed by Adrian Noble.  So this lumping is just
silly.  And Branagh's recording projects have had really excellent results.  I
more than vaguely suspect that those recordings are much closer to what he
wants to do than Much Ado (which is a play I don't have trmendous love for
anyway--sorry).  So again, this pre-judging is foolish, especially about
Othello, which is a very hard play to film.  Although (and I think Fishburne is
a great actor--just a bit too young) I would have wanted Morgan Freeman myself.
 
Olivier took more liberties with the text than Garrick???
HUH?????
 
I think not.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Moray McConnachie <
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Date:           Wednesday, 26 Jul 1995 14:23:01 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 6.0578 Re: Shakespeare as Cultural Construct
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0578 Re: Shakespeare as Cultural Construct
 
Gabriel Egan writes that
 
> In reality Humanities work is graded according to its closeness of fit with
> the marker's own views (just as in Science), but some people don't like to
> admit this.
 
Perhaps because they don't believe it's true. I accept that if I believed
someone was demonstrably wrong I might mark them accordingly. However, how much
criticism is either demonstrably wrong or right? If a student can construct a
coherent argument, especially one that is also rhetorically persuasive, but I
disagree with his conclusions (because in my view the balance of evidence
points elsewhere), I am not going to say, oh no, sorry, you're wrong, have a
low mark. I would grade him or her highly, talk to them about why I still don't
agree with them, and suggest some reading along follow-up lines. I might even
end up agreeing with them.
 
As may have been clear from the original debate, I don't engage in criticism
that is theory-driven (let's not argue about whether that's possible here).
However, many students and critics do, and I enjoy approaches from this angle.
Just because I don't believe that form of practice is ultimately most useful
does not mean that I mark everyone down who doesn't.
 
Of course there are limits: everyone brings their personality to marking. BUt
it is possible to recognise a powerful argument when you see one, while
disagreeing with it strongly. Like yours, Gabriel ;->
 
I should point out that at the moment I am engaged in almost pure research, and
therefore haven't marked recently. I may therefore be taking a more liberal
attitude.
 
Moray McConnachie
 

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