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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: September ::
Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*; Keaton's Dogberry
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0664.  Tuesday, 17 September 1996.

(1)     From:   Jeff  Myers <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 14:52:38 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

(2)     From:   Kate Thompson <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 96 13:03:45 UT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0653  Q: Branagh's *Hamlet*

(3)     From:   Milla Riggio <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 13:04:03 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

(4)     From:   C. David Frankel <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 14:24:33 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0663  Re: Just Like Romeo and Juliet

(5)     From:   E. H. Pearlman <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 12:11:48 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

(6)     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 1996 16:02:23 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0659 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeff  Myers <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 14:52:38 GMT
Subject: 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

>some of us accepted the Michael Keaton performance in Branagh's _Much
>Ado_ as an inspired bit of work firmly within the tradition of Will Kemp.
>It seems that many on this list have a problem with actors and modern acting?

If Keaton's performance was indeed traditional, it would seem that those with a
problem with modern acting would like it.  Of course, Will Kemp did leave
Shakespeare's company: so, perhaps it's Will Kemp that is the problem.  Or,
perhaps some of us saw Keaton's performance (and the directorial choices behind
it) as more in the tradition of the Three Stooges (although not as subtle as
the wonderful Stooges, who are probably also in the tradition of Will Kemp).

Perhaps, just perhaps, some on the list have a problem with literary critics
and their comments on modern acting.  Just a possibility.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kate Thompson <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 96 13:03:45 UT
Subject: 7.0653  Q: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0653  Q: Branagh's *Hamlet*

You might want to bear in mind that Williams, although he dropped out, trained
at Juilliard.  He's not just a stand-up comic.  Crystal, OTOH.....

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 13:04:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

To Thomas Ruddick:

I am a great fan of good modernized Shakespeare.  I thought part of the Ian
McKellan RICHARD III was brilliant. I think many of us who have no interest in
museum theater (unless it's in a museum for a reason) feel we can distinguish
between performances.  We need not appreciate all modernizations any more than
one appreciates all historical recreations in the theater.  My problem with
Keaton in MUCH ADO was that I had a lot of trouble finding the meaningful
transfer to the modern:  Michael Keaton was fine.  But, please help me:  WHAT
was he playing?  And why? For me, the transfer from Sicily to Tuscany of the
setting set up a real loss in the clowns:  there was no Tuscan equivalent of
the Sicilian Dogberry to be played on. So it seemed to me that Branagh had gone
to film history (with perhaps a little help from the idea of the hobby horse)
to find a schtick for Keaton, and I could not make sense of it. I found it both
boring and distracting, though it might have made great stand-up comedy.  And
it isn't because they were MODERNS!

Best,
Milla Riggio

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. David Frankel <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 14:24:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0663  Re: Just Like Romeo and Juliet
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0663  Re: Just Like Romeo and Juliet

On Mon, 16 Sep 1996, Brooke Brod wrote

> I have not heard that much about the upcoming *R&J* film, but I have
> heard that they are using the text in its entirety.  I may be wrong and
> if I am I'm sure someone on the list will be glad to correct me.
>
> Brooke Brod

Several people have mentioned the complete text (of _Hamlet_).  Does anyone
know which one?  Is Branagh using a conflated edition or the Folio text or
something else?

C. David Frankel

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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           E. H. Pearlman <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 12:11:48 -0700 (MST)
Subject: 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0659  Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

The casting of Julie Christie and Robin Williams seems to me to be brilliant.
But the best part is Charlton Heston as the Player King. Here we have a bad
Shakespearean actor (witness his A & C with Hildegard Neil and his Julius
Caesar) playing a not - so - good actor.  How did Branagh ever persuade him to
take on such a piece of self-parody?  Either Heston has a great sense of irony
or he has no self-knowledge.  I think the latter.  E. Pearlman

(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 1996 16:02:23 -0400
Subject: 7.0659 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0659 Re: Branagh's *Hamlet*

Thomas Ruddick writes:

"-some of us accepted the Michael Keaton performance in Branagh's _Much Ado_ as
an inspired bit of work firmly within the tradition of Will Kemp."

Some of us didn't.  I for one would have firmly quashed his distrust of the
text.  Dogberry has some of the funniest lines in the play, if only the
audience hears them.  It reminded me of a disastrous production I saw of
"Earnest" in which Lady Bracknell, unsure that the audience would "get it,"
snorted maniacally after every line.  The audience laughed at the snort, missed
the line.

Keaton's performance, and by extension Branagh's directing, assumed that the
audience couldn't be trusted to "get it."  This community theatre in a small
Southern town thinks more of its audiences, and we've never been disappointed.
[In fact, I've never been more surprised than to hear my *mother* laugh at the
12N C-U-T joke, since we were sure no one would get it and consequently felt
free to play it to the hilt.]

It has nothing to do with modern acting.  It has everything to do with clarity.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
http://shenandoah.peachnet.edu/~dlyles/nctc/nctc.html
 

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