1997

Q: Macbeth Apparitions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0253.  Friday, 21 February 1997.

From:           Mike Field <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 11:02:31 -0500
Subject:        Macbeth Apparitions

I would appreciate, either on or off the list, hearing from anyone who
has seen or heard of a production of Macbeth in which the apparitions
(the bloody babies and etc...) were particularly well handled. My
director friend Tim Shaw will be producing the Scottish play in May and
is faced with a tight budget and an outdoor amphitheater type setting.
He does not want the apparitions to be silly. Any blood-curdling ideas?
Any ideas at all?

RE: Sins in MM

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0252.  Friday, 21 February 1997.

[1]     From:   John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 16:52:17 +0200
        Subj:   Isabella and Virtue =


[2]     From:   Daniel Lowenstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>       =

        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 10:13     :18 =

        Subj:   Sin in M4M =


[3]     From:   Charles Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 15:39:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0245 RE: Sins in MM =



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 16:52:17 +0200
Subject:        Isabella and Virtue

Ann Marie Olson is provocative on Isabella=92s moral situation.  If I am
correct, no one has yet pointed out how much Isabella has in common with
Angelo.  They appear to each other to be dead-on opposites, even
enemies, but under the surface they have more in common than either
would be willing to admit.  Both are keen on chastity to the point of
being puritanical about it.  Both think that "the rules" are not tough
enough:  Isabella says this about the conventual regula of the votarists
of St. Clare (1.4.1-5) and Angelo wants a fiercer prosecution of
offenders under "the rules" against fornication than the Duke has been
ready to settle for.  Maybe most important of all both need to learn
that mercy is a necessary element in human relationships, as no one is
exempt from sin ("Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.") =

Isabella would be angry if she heard me say she does not understand
mercy, since she pleads mightily for mercy for her brother in 2.2.  But
when she thinks herself double-crossed and deeply wronged by Angelo she
makes her appeal to the Duke in Act V in a speech that begins with the
word Justice and ends with a line  in which the key word is stated again
and again and again and again: ". . .  justice, justice, justice,
justice!"  (cf. Lear=92s "never never never never never" and Macbeth=92s
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow").  The hardest thing she has to
undergo in the fifth act is the moral choice she makes when she sets
aside justice and kneels to plead for her enemy=92s life.  In short,
Isabella and Angelo both need to learn more than either thinks needs to
be learned.  Are they not metaphors for us all?  Perhaps so, if we read
the play as a parable=97as the source of the title in The Sermon on the
Mount in Mark IV, Luke VI and Matthew VII might urge us to do.

John V.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Daniel Lowenstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 10:13:18 PST
Subject:        Sin in M4M

Gabriel Egan writes, "When Angelo orders the execution of Claudio I feel
that I=92ve been tricked into worrying about ethics which ultimately don=92=
t
matter.  This trick might be an intended dramatic effect which we should
consider."

I do not share his view that the ethics ultimately don=92t matter, but I
agree there are "tricks" in Measure for Measure, and he is quite right
that Angelo=92s subsequent actions can and should color our assessment of=

what happens earlier.  (Digression:  When Gabriel Egan stops theorizing
and starts engaging in what old-fashioned people like myself regard as
literary criticism, his comments on this listserver are almost
invariably insightful.)

My own sense of the place in which we get "tricked" in Measure for
Measure is when the Duke interrupts the dialogue between Isabella and
Claudio, and lets Isabella know that he is going to provide an easy way
out.  When I read the play, it seems as if at that moment, one
scriptwriter was fired and a new one was brought in, with a completely
different conception of what kind of play this was supposed to be.  What
previously looked like a tragedy or, at least, a serious and absorbing
drama, now becomes a comedy.  When we regard the play as a whole, Egan
is right that our consideration of Isabella=92s dilemma is colored by wha=
t
Angelo does later.  But our sense of what Angelo does later and the way
in which that affects our judgment of Isabella=92s earlier actions is
itself colored by the fact that Angelo=92s later betrayal occurs in the
context of what is now a comedy in which a happy ending is seemingly
assured.

One way to resolve all of this would be to say that the play is simply
defective, with a first half and a second half that cannot be
successfully joined.  The trouble is, that when the play is produced
well on the stage, there is no particular sense of disunity.  So, rather
than conclude that the play is defective, I come back to the view I have
expressed in previous postings, that the play is almost infinitely
complex.

Syd Kasten makes some excellent comments on Angelo.  My only real
disagreement with him is that I do not believe his comments add up to a
defense of Angelo.  (Also, his argument depends in part on a conception
of the Duke as a more or less omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent
overseer of the action, a view that I think is consistent with some
aspects of the play but in considerable tension with others.)  I agree
that Angelo=92s protestations at the beginning that he lacks sufficient
experience=97if these comments are taken as sincere rather than
ceremonial, which I believe is plausible though not necessary=97mitigate
his wickedness.  But to allow for mitigation is not to condone.  The
rest of Kasten=92s comments seem to me to amount to interesting
EXPLANATIONS of why Angelo=92s particular character causes him to commit
the particular offenses that he commits.  But to explain is neither to
mitigate or to condone.

                                Best,
                                Dan Lowenstein

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 15:39:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0245 RE: Sins in MM
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0245 RE: Sins in MM

I=92d be curious to know precisely at what point Gabriel Egan feels sorry=

for Satan in Paradise Lost. I thought we were past that.

Charles Ross

DC's Shakespeare Theatre's AYL and a Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0250.  Friday, 21 February 1997.

From:           Jung Jimmy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997  9:41 -0500
Subject:        AYLI@D.C.

"As You Like It is Shakespeare's most light-hearted comedy."
(back cover, Oxford Edition)

I=92m beginning to think this misunderstanding was all my fault.  I had
seen a production of AYLI last year, on a set so green, that the verdant
memory was running through my mind, even as I entered the theater last
night.  My expectation was a trip to the country, everyone=92s in love,
everything is green.  It is an expectation that The Shakespeare
Theater=92s current production constantly  smashes.

This is the brownest, bloodiest AYLI I ever expect to see.  The set is
dominated by large chrome walls and bone-brown stone.  There are the
prerequisite symbolic trees, for the most part barren and wind blown. =

Post intermission, we get some flowers and some moisture; but overall, I
was left with the impression of a Dallas skyscraper jutting through the
stage.

Now to my way of thinking, the threat of violence in AYLI, is just
enough to keep the story going and hardly enough to be taken seriously;
but not in this production.  In an effort to emphasize the difference
between the forest and the court, Duke Frederick=92s investigation into
the disappearance of his daughter and of Orlando takes a very nasty
turn.  As Duke Frederick, and in other roles, Brett Porter has a real
gift for being the villain we love to hate; he has ways of making you
talk.  As Kelly McGillis completes the third of her cross-dressing
roles, it=92s gotten to the point where she looks odd to me in a dress. =

But as Ganymede, she=92s amusingly in love and seems to manage Rosalind=92=
s
wit and the confusion of her dilemma with a nice balance.  The funniest
part for me  was hearing Silvius and Phebe give the text a nice West
Virginia spin.

In a post-show discussion, I had the opportunity to ask one of the
actors if he felt they were "betraying" the light hearted nature of the
play, with their rather brutal version of the first half?  He asked if I
always wanted to see the same play, done the same way?  and I guess the
answer is no.  On the other hand, if Shakespeare wrote a good "date"
play, this is it, and I pity the poor guy who brought a date to this
production on Valentine=92s day, only to have all thoughts of hearts and
flowers wiped out by intermission.  I=92d say, catch the show if you want=

to see a first half that really surprises you, followed by a more
traditional "love-romp" conclusion.

jimmy

A question:

The production gave an emphasized twist to 2 lines, that I had never
even noticed before.

Charles the Wrestler, from the first scene:
"... and never two ladies loved as they do."

and Le Beau referring to Rosalind in the second scene:
"and here detained by her usurping uncle to keep his daughter company,
whose loves are dearer than the natural bond of sisters."

Their delivery suggesting an unnatural lesbian relationship.  I thought
it was interesting and sets you up for some of the gender confusion to
follow, but I also thought that it was pounding a square meaning into a
round text, and sounded a little awkward.  Has anyone else heard the
lines given that reading before?

Re: A Woman as Hamlet; Shakespeare's Women

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0251.  Friday, 21 February 1997.

[1]     From:   Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> =

        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 10:03:56 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet

[2]     From:   Corrie Zoll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 15:38:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare's Women

[3]     From:   <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 23:37:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0243 A Woman as Hamlet

[4]     From:           Ron Ward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> =

        Date:   Friday, 21 Feb 1997 23:22:59 +1300 (NZDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> =

Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 10:03:56 -0600
Subject: 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet

Sarah Bernhardt is famous for having assayed the role, late in life, in
French, with a wooden leg.

Melissa Aaron

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Corrie Zoll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 15:38:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare's Women

I am in the process of compiling information about Shakespeare and Women
in Shakespeare for Women=92s History Month, and would appreciate the
addresses of any Web Sites you know of which address these or related
subjects.

Thank you for your help.
-Corrie Zoll

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 Feb 1997 23:37:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0243 A Woman as Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0243 A Woman as Hamlet

The actress was Diane Venora, I think, and several years later she
played Ophelia to Kevin Kline=92s Hamlet, on stage and in a PBS taped
production directed by Kline.

Richard Regan
Fairfield University

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Ward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> =

Date:           Friday, 21 Feb 1997 23:22:59 +1300 (NZDT)
Subject: 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0243  A Woman as Hamlet

I know Hamlet was played by Frances de Latour in England. Frances was
best known for her role as the man hungry female in the TV comedy
"Rising Damp".  I know little about the production except it got some
prominent mention by the critics. I do not even know if she played it as
a comedy (cringe all purists). Date uncertain probably circa 1985.

Columbia University Seminar on Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0249.  Thursday, 20  February 1997.

From:           Jill Niemczyk Smith <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 Feb 1997 12:43:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Columbia University Seminar on Shakespeare

THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON SHAKESPEARE is pleased to announce
that Yasunari Takahashi of The Shakespeare Association of Japan will be
delivering the Bernard Beckerman Memorial Lecture, "*The Braggart
Samurai*:  Colliding Cultures in *The Merry Wives of Windsor."  The
lecture will be held on Friday, 7 March 1997 at the Faculty House on the
Columbia University Campus in New York City.

Local and visiting Shakespeareans are welcome.  Please contact Jill
Niemczyk Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

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