1996

New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: DOCTOR DODYPOLL

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0284.  Monday, 15 April 1996.

From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, April 15, 1996
Subject:        New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: DOCTOR DODYPOLL

As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve "The Wisdome of Dr. Dodypoll" (DOCTOR
DODYPOLL) transcribed by Richard Kennedy from the SHAKSPER Fileserver.

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DODYPOLL".

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Re: RSC MND; Funeral Elegy

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0283.  Monday, 15 April 1996.

(1)     From:   John Chapot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 Apr 1996 00:59:25 -0400
        Subj:   RSC MND

(2)     From:   Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 14 Apr 1996 17:04:26 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.02277 Re: RSC MND

(3)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 12 Apr 1996 08:16:43 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0274  Re: Funeral Elegy


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Chapot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 Apr 1996 00:59:25 -0400
Subject:        RSC MND

I also was taken aback by some of the sexual innuendo in the performance (seen
here in San Francisco in January)  although I'm no prude about these things.
The climax of the first half in Brook's famous production was astonishingly
erotic and hilarious to boot.

Perhaps it was incongruous with the relativly austere design - the big empty
box of a set and the cool tone of the lighting, not to mention the scant
population onstage. Perhaps they just didn't pull it off. Someone told me that
the overt full-mouth kiss planted upon Oberon by Puck early in the show is a
gesture that has become a bit of stock business in the British Theatre in
recent years. Hence it would convey a specific meaning in London that it lacked
here. That would explain why it seemed out of place to me.

I saw the show at its preview. There was a very large contingent of young
schoolkids (second graders and up) in the center of the orchestra. To my
amazement, they sat rapturously still for the whole thing, and came to glorious
life for Pyramus and Thisbee. They didn't seem to mind the erotic stuff one way
or the other.

One last thing - let's take it easy on the little Indian boy.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 Apr 1996 17:04:26 -1000
Subject: 7.02277 Re: RSC MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.02277 Re: RSC MND

Stephanie Hughes and Clark Bowen;

I agree entirely that drawing the audience's attention to theatre as a
theatrical event is not a recent invention.  My point was that in the 20th
century we seem to have made a great headway with staging that emphasises this
approach and have taken to the idea, in general.

Stephanie Hughes just wrote:

>It seems to me much more of a challenge to break an audience
>away from the grip of "reality" and transport it to another time and
>place and keep it there long enough for the catharsis to occur that is
>the reason why we are willing to go to the trouble and expense of going
>to the theater in the first place. I don't agree either that breaking the
>frame is a recent development.

The exact point of Brecht's and other great 20th Century directors staging is
specifically to deny the catharsis.  Brecht, dwelled on the point that as long
as an audience exists in some hypnotic state of illusion it was passive and
incapable of making decisions, particularly if provided with a convenient
release.  His idea was tha an audience be denied a release, be forced to deal
with "problems" and become active.  That is one of the chief ideas behind
drawing attention to the theatrical event as such.  It is a politically loaded
idea, particularly in line with Brecht's Marxist ideaology.

I believe, along the same lines, that yet another aspect of what makes
Shakespeare intriguing to us today is that the high degree of interpretability
and potential subversiveness of his plays.  His theatrical sensibilities
transcend the politics of his own age and go hand in hand with modern (and post
modern) thought.

Sincerely,
Shirley Kagan.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Apr 1996 08:16:43 -0700
Subject: 7.0274  Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0274  Re: Funeral Elegy

Michael, I saw that Larry King show (April 9) about the Unibomber. The name of
the FBI agent was Clint Van Zandt, and he spoke about their matching of
Kaczynski's language with that of the bomber. He said that no matter the
expertize put into this work, it was after all an "art".  Of course that would
explain why the Claremont McKenna College program doesn't agree with Shaxicon:
Ward Elliott and Don Foster are each artful in different ways.

The FBI says they have other evidence, however, a couple of typewriters,
papers, tickets, acquaintance and so forth which helps their case.  So far as I
know, and so far as Foster has given to us, there is nothing at all to support
the case that Shakespeare wrote the Funeral Elegy other than the promise of
Shaxicon that it's so.

Re: Texts

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0281.  Monday, 15 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Thomas E. Ruddick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 12 Apr 96 10:53:57 EST
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0276  Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama

(2)     From:   Roger Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 12 Apr 1996 16:24:41 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0276 Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama

(3)     From:   Kate Moncrief <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 12 Apr 1996 19:32:58 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Intro Drama

(4)     From:   Surajit Bose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Apr 1996 20:21:03 -0500
        Subj:   Q: College texts of Shakespeare and students' reading abilities.


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas E. Ruddick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Apr 96 10:53:57 EST
Subject: 7.0276  Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0276  Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama

In response to Todd Lidh's query about texts for intro. to drama:

Jacobus, Lee A.  _The Bedford Introduction to Drama_.  2e.  NY: Bedford/St.
        Martin's, 1993.

I think this volume has everything you describe.  All periods of theatre are
covered with introductory chapters, several plays (in some cases, such as Roman
theatre, excerpts) generally with performance notes, and commentary by
noteworthy critics.  The Shakespeare section is about 80 pages, and includes
Hamlet, Midsummer, and Tempest.  Other strengths of the test include an attempt
to include female dramatists, and inclusion of some very recent plays like
_Dancing as Lughnasa_.

Weaknesses of this text might include the omission of any non-western theatre,
few photographs (all b&w, color only on cover), and cost to students (it's
almost 1500 pages).

TR
Thomas E. Ruddick
Edison Community College (OH)

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger Gross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Apr 1996 16:24:41 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 7.0276 Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0276 Qs: Texts of *Oth.* & Intro Drama

Re. intro anthologies heavy on Shakespeare:

look at the new McGraw-Hill Book of Drama.  It has as great selection,
including HAMLET, MERCHANT, and OTHELLO.

Editors are James Howe and William A. Stephany.

(There; I guess I've earned my examination copy.)

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Moncrief <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Apr 1996 19:32:58 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Intro Drama

Todd M. Lidh asked about an Intro to Drama text.  I must admit to being a
little biased since I worked as a researcher on this one, but let me recommend
*Stages of Drama* in the third edition, edited by Carl H. Klaus, Miriam
Gilbert, and Bradford S. Field, Jr.  It has a good selection of English
Renaissance plays-- *Twelfth Night,* *Othello,* *Doctor Faustus,* *Volpone,*
and *The Duchess of Malfi*-- as well as a range of Greek through contemporary
plays.  I've taught out of the book in our Literature of the Theatre course and
I've found the production reviews and photos included for each selection to be
useful.

Kate Moncrief
Univ. of Iowa

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Surajit Bose <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Apr 1996 20:21:03 -0500
Subject:        Q: College texts of Shakespeare and students' reading abilities.

Edna Boris and Todd Lidh have asked about good editions to use in college
courses, and John Ramsay is the latest to remind us that we can't take a sound
vocabulary base for granted among our students any more. In the light of these
two concerns, I'd like to ask a question about Shakespeare editions that has
been bothering me all semester. I'm genuinely struggling to find answers. I'd
appreciate any help, particularly from those with any expertise in textual
editing.

I'm teaching Measure for Measure this sem. to college freshmen. I ordered the
Everyman edition blind, because (a) it's cheap and (b) the description sounded
really good. The edition has ample notes facing the text; each play is edited
directly from the earliest printed texts, and so this is genuinely an edition
as opposed to a reprint of some earlier edition; there's a LONG (35-page)
historical essay on the way the play has been received and interpreted by
critics over the years; there's a briefer foreword from a Shakespearean actor
about the play in performance; there's an introduction, a semi-decent
bibliography, and a scene-by-scene plot synopsis. All this for $3.95. Sounds
great, doesn't it?

There is, however, a major catch: the text is old-spelling. In a longish
textual introduction, the editor, John F. Andrews (whose scholarship is, of
course, formidable) explains the reasons behind this editorial choice.What it
boils down to is that by retaining old spelling, we can retain nuances (either
of sound, for rhyme and meter, or of meaning, usually as puns) that are lost in
modernization. For example, when Angelo, anguishing over his lust for Isabella,
asks himself, "Dost thou desire her fowlly for those things/That make her
good?" (2.2.174-175) Andrews explains that "fowlly" can mean both (a) "foully"
and (b) "in a fowl-like, i.e. filthy and predatory, manner." Sure enough,
modernizing to "foully" would cause us to lose this second meaning.

But I'm wondering about both the pedagogical effectiveness and the interpretive
value of retaining the old spelling. Pedagogically, it's just really
off-putting for students to have to decipher Jacobean orthography. As the many
anecdotes, simultaneously shocking and amusing, about The Future and
diminishing student vocabularies have illustrated, we can't take it for
granted, even in modern spelling, that our students will understand words that
seem perfectly commonplace, such as "Lo" and "Pulpit."  I must say that I seem
to have lucked out with my students, in that the only vocab question that got
raised was a really good one: "Lucio is described as a 'fantastic' in the
Dramatis Personae. What does 'fantastic' mean?" But in general, why add another
level of difficulty by sticking to old spelling? It seems gratuitous.

Hermeneutically, too, I've begun wondering about the editor's premises.
Ultimately the argument behind retaining old spelling seems to be: if we can
reproduce the text exactly as Shakespeare's contemporaries saw it, then we can
recapture the original meaning of the text.  This argument seems rather
dubious. After all, there's so much contingency involved in the way texts
(particularly Shakespeare's texts) got transmitted in those days.  The amount
of control Shakespeare had over the printing of his plays seems
minimal--there's very little guarantee that what we're reading even in the
earliest printed editions (or for that matter even in F1) is an accurate
version of what Shakespeare wrote. Look at the chunks of Middleton that show up
in Macbeth, for example. So what's the reasoning behind using old spelling as a
marker of authorized meaning? "Fowlly" could just be a compositorial accident;
elsewhere in the play, "foul" shows up too. On what grounds, then, can we say
that the old spelling "fowlly" is meaningful rather than random? Or to shift
grounds a bit, why cannot we say that even if the spelling in the original had
been not "fowlly" but "foully," there still could be a pun to be made on "fowl"
and "foul"? Puns, after all, are context-related; if a second sense is
available in any meaningful way, there's a pun; if not, there's none.

The edition at points makes claims about meaning that seem really far-fetched.
Practically every instance of the word "come" is footnoted as bearing an erotic
charge: when Escalus tells Pompey, "Come, you are a tedious fool"; when
Angelo's servant tells the provost that Angelo will come right away.....by
which point I almost begin to seem like one of John Ramsey's students and
wonder whether this sex stuff isn't in fact just stretching things too far.
Which only adds to my doubts about the claim that old spelling carries
authorized meaning that editorial decisons to modernize erase. It seems that
the decision to retain old spelling too is a strategic rather than necessarily
more authoritative editorial ploy.

This sounds funny coming from me; I've had occasion earlier on this list to
champion paleographic rather than philological approaches to texts, and now I'm
saying that old-spelling may not be such a good idea. Old spelling texts seem
to make paleographic readings more accessible, right? Paradoxically, though, I
think the decision to use old-spelling is a philological one: the assumption
seems to be that old spelling texts are purer (less corrupt/more chaste) than
modernized ones.  But that assumption erases historicity even as it seeks to
reinscribe it: it erases the material conditions under which texts were
produced and circulated in Shakespeare's day, and hypostasizes the earliest
texts as authoritative in a way that seems a bit too uncritical.

All these are tentative suggestions; I really have only just begun to think
about textual editing at all. This is partly because of my general unhappiness
with teaching the Everyman text--despite its excellent apparatus and the
authority of John F. Andrews--and partly because of my current research on
Sidney's New Arcadia, where in fact editorial decisions are constitutive of
Sidney's meaning right from the get-go; the posthumous publication of this text
under the editorship of Mary Sidney was definitely intended to produce a
certain kind of Sidney that wasn't necessarily the same as the historical
individual Philip Sidney. So the questions I'm trying to raise here are quite
important to me from both teaching and research angles.  However, I'm really
woefully ignorant about the principles and practice of textual editing, and I'd
really appreciate replies (either private or posted to the list) that might
help.  Thanks!

Surajit A. Bose
Department of English
University of Notre Dame

Announcements

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0282.  Monday, 15 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Georgianna Ziegler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 12 Apr 96 16:50:00 PDT
        Subj:   Shakespeare Birthday Lecture at Folger

(2)     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Apr 96 15:37 CDT
        Subj:   British Library

(3)     From:   Richard Abrams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Apr 96 09:07:12 EDT
        Subj:   Conference Announcement


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Georgianna Ziegler <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 12 Apr 96 16:50:00 PDT
Subject:        Shakespeare Birthday Lecture at Folger

You are cordially Invited to attend the Annual Shakespeare Birthday Lecture at
the Folger Shakespeare Library

Monday, 22 April 1996

8 PM in the Theatre

A.R. Braunmuller speaking on "Bearded Ladies in Shakespeare"

Professor Braunmuller is author of "George Peel" (1983), and "Natural Fictions:
George Chapman's Major Tragedies" (1992), and co-editor of "The Cambridge
Companion to English Renaissance Drama" (1990).  He teaches English at UCLA.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 13 Apr 96 15:37 CDT
Subject:        British Library

Since many of us have made use of the British Library, I thought this
announcement from the Regular Readers' Group might be of interest and perhaps a
number of you will wish to respond to the call for action.

William Proctor Williams,
North American Representative of the RRG

.......................................................................
        ACT IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS TO SAVE THE ROUND READING ROOM

While the British Library management makes swingeing cuts (250 jobs lost,
acquisitions and conservation budgets slashed) to finance its move to St.
Pancras, the British Museum is this month seeking planning permission and
listed building consent to vandalise the Round Reading Room when, and if, the
BL finally leaves.

Contrary to its stated policy over many years, the BM is preparing to sacrifice
its commitment to keeping the Round Reading Room as a library and work place
for scholars.  Such a commitment is now deemed to be inconvenient to the
realisation of the "Great Court Scheme" in which the RRRis redefined as
circulation space, with information terminals and, as one BM spokesman
memorably reported, "a place for schoolchildren to eat their sandwiches."  The
"library" element is restricted to a small sector, surrounded by a low glass
wall, providing passing tourists with a glimpse of how things used to be.
Surrounding the RRR will be a high concourse with shops and cafes.  The famous
"Iron Stacks" are to be removed.  The desks, integral to the original design,
will have to largely removed.  Many details will be altered, despite Grade One
status for the entire building.

We believe that this project, for which the BM has 30m pounds promised from the
lottery but needs to raise 70m more, is an unworthy project for the millenium.

To object to the application for planning permission and listed building
consent to dramatically alter this Grade One Listed Building, it is IMPORTANT
that YOU write IMMEDIATELY to:

The Director of the Environment, London Borough of Camden, Town Hall, Argyle
Street, London WC1H 8EQ  (Reference: Application N14/16/B P9600014/L9600015)
Fax:071 860 5713

British Library Regular Readers' Group, 46 Great Russell Street, London WC14
3PA  Telephone 071 631-4220  Fax 071 436-6544

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Abrams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Apr 96 09:07:12 EDT
Subject:        Conference Announcement

           A Conference on W.S.'s Elegy for William Peter

April 26, Friday, Portland Maine
7 p.m. Portland Museum of Art
sponsored by the University of Southern Maine

First public performance of the Elegy: A Dramatic Recitation
   for Four Voices, scored and directed by Rick Abrams

To be followed by lectures and discussion
   Donald Foster, Vassar College, "W.S[hakespeare]'s `Best-
   Speaking Witnesses': The Attribution of the Funeral Elegy"

   Richard Abrams, University of Southern Maine, "Shakespeare
   Unmasked: The Significance of the Funeral Elegy"

Limited seating; reservations required; gratis For reservations and directions,
please phone (by April 22, Monday) 207-780-4542, during business hours.
Indicate your status as a visiting scholar.  For further information and
problem resolution, please call Rick Abrams at 207-772-6990.

Re: RSC MND

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0277.  Friday, 12 April 1996.

(1)     From:   Jeff Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 10 Apr 1996 13:32:44 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0272 Re: RSC MND

(2)     From:   Clark Bowen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 10:54:30 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0272  Re: RSC MND

(3)     From:   Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 14:31:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   OBERON-PUCK

(4)     From:   Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 20:18:07 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0272  Re: RSC MND

(1)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeff Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 10 Apr 1996 13:32:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0272 Re: RSC MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0272 Re: RSC MND

> Furthermore, Oberon's fetish for
> voyeurism and ready disposal of his wife to an animal raises questions in my
> mind at least about why he wants the Indian boy in the first place.
>
> Regards,
> Scott Crozier

I wasn't aware that Bottom was an animal.  I thought he was a human with an
ass's head placed on him as a trick.  In other words, the animal in him is an
imposition by another being.  That he is less than human is implied by
creatures who are themselves not human, as well as the class-biased and not
particularly more human or enlightened aristocrats in the play.  Or are Oberon
and Titania human?  If not, their comments about each other's supposed affairs
with humans (a different species?) betray concerns not about inter-species sex,
but about infidelity.

Jeff Myers

(2)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clark Bowen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 10:54:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0272  Re: RSC MND
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0272  Re: RSC MND

Drawing attention to the play as a play is not a recent development.  Brecht's
rival, and probably his model,for self-conscious theatricality is Shakespeare.
At the very peak of audience involvement, whether tragic/horrific or comic,
Shakespeare draws attention to the theatrical event.  A brutal murder,stage
blood everywhere, probably on white togas, and we get Cassius:" How many ages
hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet
unknown?" [_e.g._ Elizabethan England] and Brutus:" How many times shall Caesar
bleed in sport?"  Or in the midst of laughter at the totally gullible Malvolio,
we get Fabian: "If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an
improbable fiction."(III.iv.29-30).

(3)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Stroffolino <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 14:31:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        OBERON-PUCK

In response to Scott Crozier's question as to where does PUCK fit into in all
this. Well, I wasn't keeping up with the earlier posts, so I may be missing
things, but to me PUCK is increasingly seen as the figure that severely
qualifies Oberon's claims of omnicience, etc. The fantasy of male dominance
over Titania, being part of it. That he gets the last word in the play is
significant. It's weird that Oberon wants the changeling as henchemen because
he already "has" PUCK as henchman, but what is the nature of such "having"? If
"having" the "changeling" is anything like having "puck", then the patrairchal
version of the fairy plot seems increasingly a cover up (and I would say this
is seen in the mainplots too. Jack may "hath" Jill, but what helena says about
demetrius "mine     own and not mine own" seems to get the last word). Also,
since the fairies do not quite live in human time, there's the possibility that
puck IS the changeling....Anyway, that's where I take some of these thoughts.
Thank you Scott for your intelligent questions, Chris Stroffolino

(4)---------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 Apr 1996 20:18:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0272  Re: RSC MND
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0272  Re: RSC MND

Shirley Kagan and Scott Crozier:

Regarding use of sexual innuendo in playing Shakespeare for grammar schools,
this is probably not an issue. I was thinking of some sexual business I have
seen in productions for adults, but when I think of the productions I have seen
for children I realized that actors that do school productions do it for love,
both of Shakespeare and of children, not for money (since there is no money for
such productions generally), and that all true actors are close to children in
spirit anyway, at least, all that I've known, and all good actors tailor their
performances to their audiences, so that any business I have ever seen in such
performances was totally a propos.

Shirley; I don't disagree in principle with your enthusiasm for "breaking the
frame", but I don't agree that it is much of a shock for an audience to realize
that it is really sitting in a theater and not frolicking in the forest of
Arden after all. It seems to me much more of a challenge to break an audience
away from the grip of "reality" and transport it to another time and place and
keep it there long enough for the catharsis to occur that is the reason why we
are willing to go to the trouble and expense of going to the theater in the
first place. I don't agree either that breaking the frame is a recent
development. Surely Shakespeare was doing just that with the Christopher Sly
business in Shrew, the wedding party in MSND, the various prologues and
epilogues. The various dances and feasts that occur in the holiday plays were
(in my view) originally breaks in the action during initial Court productions
during which the audience of courtiers was brought into the dancing and the
feasting to some extent.

If you'll pardon a reminiscence: a production of Trojan Women by Andre Serban
in NYC in the 60's was done in a warehouse-like space, where the audience stood
herded together in the middle of the floor, and the action took place in,
around, and above us. The dialogue was entirely in Greek (don't remember
whether it was ancient or modern, in any case, none of us understood it). We
were herded from one part of the floor to another by cruel soldiers, and some
of us almost got run over by a huge cart. The Trojan women moaned, screamed,
shrieked, and spat, above our heads. I spent most of the time wishing I were
anywhere but there, except for one sublime moment, when a woman was killed, and
fell down a sort of wide gangplank, subtly letting herself slide, as though in
slow motion. There was a lot of discomfort for the audience, but no catharsis,
at least, not for me. (But as you see, I never forgot it.)

Scott; I applaud your thinking in regard to the underlying meaning of "the
forest of sexual license and magic," and the relief of the lovers to find
themselves at the end back on solid ground. Well said.

Stephanie Hughes

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