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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Doubling; Nobody and Somebody; A Great Caesar
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0078.  Friday, 17 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jan 97 01:05:45 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Doubling

(2)     From:   Ton Hoenselaars <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jan 1997 10:02:35 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0070  Qs: Nobody and Somebody

(3)     From:   Louis C Swilley <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jan 1997 14:34:49 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0067 Re: A Great Caesar


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jan 97 01:05:45 GMT
Subject:        Re: Doubling

Bill Godshalk asks about virtuoso doubling

> For example, the actor who played Cordelia might double as the
> Fool. I don't think Gabriel used this possiblity, but I think it's a fair
> example of virtuoso doubling.

Although they are unalike, this would be an example of thematic doubling if it
used the two-in-oneness to suggest that the two characters share a similar
relation to the father figure. I was commenting on that kind of thematic
doubling in the ISGC Globe production of _Two Gentlemen of Verona_. I suggested
that it was inauthentic and that virtuoso doubling (where the two characters
chosen have nothing in common) was more appropriate.

Virtuoso and thematic doubling don't have to be opposites, as the example of
Cordelia/Fool shows (ie it's both virtuoso and thematic), but C20 directorial
sensibilities tend to favour the latter whereas C16/7 favoured the former. A C
Sprague _The Doubling of Parts in Shakespeare's Plays_ (London: The Society for
Theatre Research, 1966) rejected the doubling of Fool and Cordelia becayse the
Fool was an important comedian's role, not a boy's, and Armin was too old to
play Cordelia (p33).

> My questions are two: (1) Is this paraphrase essentially correct?

I don't think Fool/Cordelia is a good example, for the above reason.

> what hard, material evidence do we have for the assertion that the
> company specialized in virtuoso doubling?

Richard Fotheringham "The Doubling of Roles on the Jacobean Stage" _Theatre
Research International_ 10:1 (1985) gives examples from _Volpone_ and _The
Alchemist_ in which the dialogue seems to acknowledge, and indeed gain comic
effect from, the doubling which analysis of the casting requirements shows is
necessary. Fotheringham also gives examples from Marston's _Antonio and
Mellida_ and Webster's _The Duchess of Malfi_.

Gabriel Egan

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ton Hoenselaars <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jan 1997 10:02:35 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0070  Qs: Nobody and Somebody
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0070  Qs: Nobody and Somebody

There is an edition of *Nobody and Somebody* in the Malone Society Reprints. I
am not certain if it is still available from the Society. Ton Hoenselaars

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis C Swilley <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Jan 1997 14:34:49 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0067 Re: A Great Caesar
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0067 Re: A Great Caesar

>Dear Mr Swilley: Your access to Marc Antony's 'true feelings' suggests you may
>be able to shed some light on whether or not Lady Macbeth 'really' faints. I am
>agog. Really. Truly.
>
> Terence Hawkes

Dear Mr. Hawkes: Speaking to no one but himself in his soliloquy over "this
bleeding piece of earth," Antony is certainly expressing his "true feelings." (
What other interpretation is possible for a *soliloquy*?).

And I would assume that the Lady Macbeth whose has just a few moments ago gone
to the murder scene to take care of the murder weapon(s) (when her husband
hadn't the courage to do it), has here feigned her fainting for the purpose of
distraction.  This lady, who, as she says, would dash her nursing baby's brains
out if she had sworn to do so, is not the fainting kind, surely; at least, not
in this part of the play.  If she *really* faints, it can only be early
evidence of her later emotional wobbling - and either has the same effect:
distraction from the dangerous point under consideration by the surrounding
figures.

>Although not much of a Shakespeare scholar (and definitely not an actor nor a
>director), may I suggest that the element of your post:  *And that pompous, "I
>am as constant as the northern star" speech* is perhaps a personal and even
>collective response to not only Gielgud's production (and others), but may be a
>complete misreading.  For instance may the claim be heard as not altogether
>pompous (nor humorous)?  A man desperate within himself may lay claim to
>consistency as a saving/ redeeming factor despite all else.  Remember, pity
>runneth soon in a noble heart.
>
> John Dwyer

Dear John Dwyer,

My estimate of Caesar's lines we here discuss is not made of these lines in
isolation, but observed in light of all the *public* lines of Caesar. All of
those lines suggest a man who is so full of his recent victories, one who is
contemptuous of those in at least nominal power ("graybeards" he calls the
senators), he is virtually *sailing* up to a new, self-appointed height.  I
admit that his fear (his remarks to Antony about Cassius, and his anxiety over
the events of the night and Calpurnia's warning) suggests the possibility of a
man, as you say of him, "desperate within himself."  As you see it, does his
desperation lead him to this pompous, insulting speech, "I could be well moved
if I were as you, etc.,"?  Remember, this is the man who could charm the crowd
with his pretended reluctance to have a crown.  What on earth is he doing here
in the Senate, using such an approach around those who, unlike the yelping
crowd, have (still) the power to make him king!

But I lose my own original question. Whether he is desperate or not, wherein is
this man shown to be the "great one" of whom Antony and Brutus speak?  Do you
offer his *desperation* as evidence of his greatness?
                             * * *

(And I'm afraid I do not understand the first sentence of your response,
above.)
 

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