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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: June ::
Re: Fluellen
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0437.  Wednesday, 12 June 1996.

(1)     From:   Jasson Minadakis <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Jun 1996 10:15:25 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0427 Q: Fluellen

(2)     From:   Lisa Hopkins <
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        Date:   Monday, 10 Jun 96 17:04:00 0BS
        Subj:   Fluellen


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jasson Minadakis <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Jun 1996 10:15:25 -0400
Subject: 7.0427 Q: Fluellen
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0427 Q: Fluellen

Hi Robert,

I am currently beginning work on HENRY V for FAHRENHEIT Theatre Company in
Cincinnati.  I'll be directing the play in the fall.  I'd be happy to keep you
posted on anything I find on Fluellen and the Welsh if you'd be kind enough to
do the same.  There is some interesting material on Henry and his Welsh
feelings, as well as his Welsh campaigns in a biography by Christopher Allmand
titled, simply enough, HENRY V.  Again, there are some interesting aspects of
Henry's relationship with the Welsh and the campaigns in SHAKESPEARE'S ENGLISH
KINGS by Peter Saccio.  When are you going into rehearsal?  If you'd like, I
can also keep our Fluellen, Khristopher Lewin, in touch with you.  He's played
Gratiano, Macbeth, and Jaques for us in the past year.  He always brings an
interesting heartiness into all of his roles.  He's currently playing the part
in a pre-rehearsal staged reading.  I also know that the SSE is currently
running HENRY V on their national tour.  Their actors seem to have unique
perspectives on roles like Fluellen because of the time they spend with each
part.  They have been running HENRY for about five months now.  I can get their
e-mail for you soon.

"Pest" Wishes!

Jasson Minadakis
Executive Director
FAHRENHEIT Theatre Company

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lisa Hopkins <
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Date:           Monday, 10 Jun 96 17:04:00 0BS
Subject:        Fluellen

Sorry for the self-advertising but I've got an essay on Fluellen forthcoming in
_Shakespeare Studies_, and I've also written a bit on the Welsh presence in
Renaissance drama generally.  A wildly old-fashioned but thorough account (and
also one written from a Welsh perspective) is Arthur E. Hughes, 'Shakespeare
and his Welsh Characters', _Transactions of the Honourable Society of
Cymmrodorion_, 1917-18, pp.159-189.  For a very different approach, but one
which does give you a good sense of the prominence of the Elizabethan 'London
Welsh', see Gwyn A,. Williams, _Madoc: The Legend of the Welsh Discovery of
America_ (Oxford, 1987) (yes, folks, we got there first...).  Then, as now, the
Welsh were prominent in London: Philip II referred to Elizabeth I as 'that
Welsh harridan', William Cecil's name was originally Sisyllt.  In _1 Henry IV_,
at least, Shakespeare clearly had an actor who spoke Welsh.  Features of
Fluellen's characterisation, like the Alexander bit, may perhaps reflect the
prominent numbers of London Welsh antiquaries with their mania for all things
classical. You could also have a look at John Ford and Thomas Dekker's _The
Welsh Embassador_ for some Welsh jokes, like alleged inability to pronounce
'th' and proliferation of patronymics.  Leeks, however, are unusual; it's
generally toasted cheese that Welshmen eat.  Arguably, you might see leeks as
more 'authentic'.  One thing I think is clear: you might poke gentle fun at the
Welsh, but then - as now! - you couldn't afford (and probably wouldn't want) to
offend us.

Pob hwyl,
Lisa Hopkins
Sheffield Hallam University

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