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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: Q1LEAR PERFORM
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0073.  Friday, 17 January 1997.

From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Friday, January 17, 1997
Subject:        New on the SHAKSPER Fileserver: Q1LEAR PERFORM

As of today, SHAKSPEReans may retrieve David Richman's essay, "The *King Lear*
Quarto in Rehearsal and Performance" (Q1LEAR PERFORM) from the SHAKSPER
Fileserver.

To retrieve "The *King Lear* Quarto in Rehearsal and Performance", send a
one-line mail message (without a subject line) to 
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 ,
reading "GET Q1LEAR PERFORM".

Should you have difficulty receiving this or any of the files on the SHAKSPER
Fileserver, please contact the editor at <
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Below you will find a note from David Richman regarding the essay and a brief
excerpt from it.

*******************************************************************************
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Jan 1997 21:38:51 -0500 (EST)

Since so much has been made, of late, on the last lines of Lear, I'd like to
offer an electronic offprint of my account of an attempt to stage the *King
Lear* Quarto.  The production I describe took place in April, 1985, and the
account was published in *shakespeare Quarterly* Autumn, 1986.

While I remain proud of the production, humbled to have worked with so many
talented people on it, I am quick to acknowledge that other performers and
directors would, will, make far different choices than those described in this
account.  Were I again to attempt to stage the Quarto today, nearly twelve
years later, and had I the privilege of working with such talented people as I
worked with in 1985, I might try different choices.  Most particularly, I found
Lear's last lines in Quarto to be unplayable, verging on the ridiculous.  I no
longer think them ridiculous, and I'd try to play them today.  If I failed, I
would acknowledge the failure as mine.  Others might succeed.

I have subsequently worked with students on several occasions on scene studies
of the final scene in Q and F versions.  I haven't yet brought off Q to my
satisfaction, but I am still trying.

     David Richman
     University of New Hampshire

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The *King Lear* Quarto in Rehearsal and Performance"

David Richman
Associate Professor of Theatre
University of New Hampshire

        For more than two and a half centuries, readers have been reasonably
content with editorial conflations of *King Lear*'s two authoritative texts,
that printed in the 1608 Quarto and that published in the 1623 Folio.  From
1838, after Macready ended the reign in the theatre of Nahum Tate's redaction
by restoring to the stage both the fool and the unhappy ending, producers and
directors have founded theatrical productions on such conflations, though they
have taken liberties with them.  A century after Macready's production,
Granville-Barker began to disentangle the Quarto from the Folio.  He argued
that the Folio offers many of Shakespeare's improving revisions and strongly
advised directors to base their productions on that text.1  During the last
decade Granville-Barker's arguments have been seized and amplified.  The issue
is far from settled, but a growing number of scholars and critics have been
arguing that the Folio represents a systematic revision of the Quarto by the
playwright.2
 

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