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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Shrew Induction
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0268.  Tuesday, 9 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Robert Teeter <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Apr 1996 23:04:16 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0254 Qs: Shrew Induction

(2)     From:   David S. Raley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Apr 1996 20:06:55 -0500
        Subj:   Shrew Induction

(3)     From:   Roger Gross <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 17:28:28 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Shrew with the full Sly


(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Teeter <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 1996 23:04:16 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 7.0254 Qs: Shrew Induction
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0254 Qs: Shrew Induction

> From:           Mike Field <
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> Date:           Monday, 1 Apr 1996 16:27:34 -0500
> Subject:        Shrew Induction
>
> I wonder who out there has seen Shrew done with the Christopher Sly induction,
> the interludes and the epilogue (which all occur as an appendix in the Arden
> edition)? Anyone? Does Sly stay on stage the whole time? Does this framing
> device distance the story of Kate and Petruchio from us? To what purpose?

The last time _Taming_ was staged at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland,
they did use the Sly material.  Sly, played by Douglas Markkanen, remained in
the above area throughout the play. He mostly slept during the body of the
play, when the spotlight was off of him.

        Robert Teeter
        
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(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David S. Raley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Apr 1996 20:06:55 -0500
Subject:        Shrew Induction

I have only seen Shrew on stage once (Hofstra, 1980, Patrick Duffy as
Petruchio). In that production, they included as much of the Sly story as I
have ever heard about (the Induction, a couple interludes, and the Epilogue).
Whether it was everything from the Arden edition or not, I cannot say (my
editions of the play have the Induction, but not the Epilogue). Sly did stay
around during the first act (no way to avoid that), but I cannot remember what
they did with him afterwards. I think they kept him behind the lower level
curtain (they used a Globe Stage) until he was needed.

The main problem is where you can permanently place someone without getting in
the way of everyone else. I have seen the same problem encountered with
Titania, but one can generally take more liberties with her than with Sly
(lifting Titania in a flower works; doing the same for Sly doesn't). {

DSR

(3)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Gross <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Apr 1996 17:28:28 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Shrew with the full Sly

Mike Field asks about productions of SHREW with the compleat set of Sly scenes.

I have directed SHREW three times and produced two other productions. Each of
these used the full dose of Sly.  I and the man who directed the two
productions I produced are convinced that the show is much better with them.
First of all, they are funny.  Audiences find them as funny as the
Petruchio/Kate stuff or the ridiculous-old-fart scenes.  One of the funniest
moments in the show, in fact, is a Sly bit which isn't part of the biblical
SHREW text...you have to go to the Ur=Shrew for it (or, as you say, the Arden;
thank you Arden).  It's when Sly jumps on the stage (as I imagine it) and
interferes with the activity ("I say we'll have no sending to prison....I tell
thee, Sim, we'll have no sending to prison, that's flat.  Why, am not I Don
Christo Vary?  Therefore I say they shall not go to prison."  and the audience
cheers.  It's something most of us have wanted to do...jump on stage and turn
the melodrama into a romance.  OK...I do it because it is funny stuff.

But it also has a nicely Brechtian effect of reminding us of the levels of
pretense.  And it gives us an ending that is both beautiful (in an admittedly
coarse sort of way) and reminds us what the play-within has been about.  And, I
think, it makes a subtle argument for the moral-teaching function of drama...a
good Renaissancish thing to do.

In the staging, the crucial thing is to locate Sly and his lady love in a place
that allows them to easily disappear and re-appear with ease.  The director
needs some nuance in manipulating the audience's memory and sight of Sly.  It
doesn't work for Sly to have to move more than, say, to rise and sit.  In most
cases, I have chosen to put him on a specially built 6 x 8 substage, downstage
of the 'real' stage and at least 2 1/2 feet lower.  He sits/lies on a chaise
most of the time with his lady.

Be sure Sly has a deeply rooted likeability.  He's a familiar type, the drunken
charmer.

If you want to know more, feel free to contact me.

Nice.  You've made me remember the wonderful actors who have played Sly for me.

PS  Be sure the Duke is likeable, too.  There is some danger of his seeming
like a sadist in his manipulations of Sly.  He'd better seem fundamentally good
and kind or one of the play's foundation stones will crumble.

Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas
 

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