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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: June ::
Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0463.  Friday, 9 June 1995.
 
(1)     From:   James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 08 Jun 1995 10:31:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0458  Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
 
(2)     From:   Michael Swanson <
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        Date:   Thursday, 8 Jun 1995 11:33:10 -0400
        Subj:   Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
 
(3)     From:   Michael Best <
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        Date:   Friday, 9 Jun 1995 10:02:10 -0700
        Subj:   Early directors
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           James Schaefer <SCHAEFEJ@GUVAX.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 08 Jun 1995 10:31:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0458  Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0458  Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
 
Hold the mirror up to nature, yes; but Polonius's best advice, to actors and
all, is: "By indirections find direction out."
 
Jim Schaefer

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Swanson <
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Date:           Thursday, 8 Jun 1995 11:33:10 -0400
Subject:        Re: Elizabethan Directors and Directing
 
While I agree with Chris Bergstrasser's comment that Hamlet's advice to the
players needs to be considered in light of that character's situation and his
objectives for staging "The Mouse-Trap,"  I would also submit that the very
fact that Hamlet gives advice at all suggests that there was some practice of
giving such advice -- whether as acting coaching or as directing -- in the
Elizabethan theatre.  Had no one done it before Hamlet, it would seem to be
difficult, if not impossible, for Hamlet to do it.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Best <
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Date:           Friday, 9 Jun 1995 10:02:10 -0700
Subject:        Early directors
 
Two thoughts on directors in early drama.
 
Chris Bergstresser is surely right to question Hamlet's speeches on acting as
somehow expressing a norm for the period, or even Shakespeare's attitude to the
best acting style. It is true that the actors and their play come in for a bit
of gentle satire (the old-fashioned diction of Gonzago's Revenge is a good
pointer), but it is also true that Hamlet, university student, has less than
Shakespearean taste in literature -- witness his admiration for the turgid
Senecanism of the Pyrrus speech. The Parnassus plays remind us that university
taste was not that of the authors for the general stage, and it is certainly
possible that Shakespeare's taste(s) in acting styles were somewhere between
Hamlet's and the Player King's.
 
In a different direction on directors, is there a parallel between directors in
acting companies and conductors in orchestras? The conductor arrived at the end
of the eighteenth / beginning of the nineteenth century when orchestras got
bigger and the music more complex -- before then performances were usually led
by the harpsichordist or organist providing the continuo, the principle
violinist, or the soloist (the film Amadeus is cheerfully anachronistic on this
in all but one scene where Mozart is shown conducting from the piano).
 
It's all mixed up no doubt with the shift in perception of the individual and
the group that we usually blame on the romantics?
 

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