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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: Staging *Tmp.*; Weddings; Educational Videos
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0155.  Saturday, 2 March 1996.

(1)     From:   Bob Leslie <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 1996 13:32:49 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0143  Qs:  *Tmp.*

(2)     From:   Katherine Rowe <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 1996 11:31:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0148 Weddings, noisy rituals

(3)     From:   Jeff Kean <
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        Date:   Friday, 1 Mar 1996 13:54:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0140 Re: Educational Videos


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Leslie <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 1996 13:32:49 +0000
Subject: 7.0143  Qs:  *Tmp.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0143  Qs:  *Tmp.*

Re Rod Osiowy's enquiries about the staging of *The Tempest*.

As far as immersing himself in the background to the play is concerned, he
would do well to read Katherine Lea's description of its Commedia dell'Arte
roots in *Italian Popular Comedy* (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934) -
particularly Volume 2 and/or (if he reads Italian) Ferdinando Neri's *Scenari
delle maschere in Arcadia* (Citta di Castello 1913; reprinted Turin, 1961).
This might tempt him to go for a broader and more forthright interpretation
than the all-too-common dream-like atmosphere which, in my opinion, strangles
all possibilities for outright comedy and severely diminishes Prospero's
standing as a figure of danger.

The worst recent example of this was *Prospero's Books* in which the double
recitation of the dialogue put the comic sub-cast at one remove from its public
and thus robbed their performance of any life it may have possessed. Gielgud's
magician was similarly rendered anodyne and distant and the idea of magic as
dangerous to both body and soul thereby diluted. In the opinion of this critic,
the much-praised grotesqueries of scenery and characterisation, instead of
lending force to the production, turned it into a dreary tableau vivant
reducing the action to tedium.

Why not make the comedy rough and aggressive, Caliban overtly and lecherously
satyric, and Prospero a real figure of frightening power?  This would provide
the Lovers, often submerged in the general insipidity of production, with a
useful set of dramatic contrasts to act against and the villains of the piece
with an antagonist worthy of fear and respect. It would also stress the
magnitude of Prospero's gesture as he abandons his rod and book for his
temporal duties.

Bob Leslie
North Glasgow College
Scotland

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Katherine Rowe <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 1996 11:31:33 -0500
Subject: 7.0148 Weddings, noisy rituals
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0148 Weddings, noisy rituals

>In response to Michael Best's inquiry:
>
Did the marriage rituals of the time conclude with some kind of charivari --
>the awakening of the bedded couple with noise or other kinds of celebration /
>torment? Again, I've seen this referred to, but never with any kind of
>contemporary reference.

It might be useful to look at Spenser's *Epithalamion,* for the noisy refrains.

Best,
Katherine Rowe
Assistant Professor
Yale University

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeff Kean <
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Date:           Friday, 1 Mar 1996 13:54:31 -0500
Subject: 7.0140 Re: Educational Videos
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0140 Re: Educational Videos

The best set of videos I have ever come across is the 11 part BBC series
"Playing Shakespeare" hosted and written by John Barton. It involves actors
from the RSC discussing and performing excerpts to illustrate specific topics.
Many of the actors in the series have gone on to wider recognition( Patrick
Stewart, Ian McKellan). Any University Audio/Video catalogue should have it. I
viewed it first through the Penn State Univ. library system and have since
obtained my own copies. If the whole set is beyond your financial capacity, the
first two tapes give an excellent overview of interpreting and performing
Shakespeare. The following nine are on specific topics. Good luck!

Jeff Kean
 

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