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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: WT Productions and Intermissions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0108.  Thursday, 23 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Jay t. Louden <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 08:19:04 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   WT Responses

(2)     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 14:59:29 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0095 Re: Winter's Tale Productions

(3)     From:   Mark Mann <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 19:45:31 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0103 Re: Productions: TN and WT

(4)     From:   Scott Shepherd <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 15:36:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0103  Re: Productions: TN and WT


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jay t. Louden <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 08:19:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        WT Responses

Dear Friends, Thank you for your responses to my request for information on
Winter's Tale productions. You have been very helpful. I am wondering if any
out there saw Ashland's and/or Utah Shakes productions this last year? Also,
has anyone ever seen the doubling of Antigonus and Autolycus? What are your
thoughts on cutting the Cleomenes/Dion scene? Since there are so many scholars
on this list, what is your opinion of cutting in Shakespeare's plays? And one
last question, did anyone see Peter Brook's most recent (1993-4) production of
The Tempest?   Thank you all!

Jay Louden

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 14:59:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0095 Re: Winter's Tale Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0095 Re: Winter's Tale Productions

John Velz's comment about audiences being startled at Hermione's return to life
is true.  We very carefully did not reveal the end of the play in our
publicity, and we were rewarded every night with a genuinely surprised
audience.  It helped to have a Hermione who had just studied the role with the
RSC during a summer workshop and whose isolation skills were phenomenal. Her
eyes would widen, she would gasp, and suddenly you could *see* the breath fill
every inch of her body.  It was electrifying; the cast onstage was sincerely
jumping back in alarm every night.

Our bear, for the record, was offstage, a combination of sound effects, live
bear imitations from a gifted mimic in the cast, and Antigonus's bloodcurdling
screams.  It came at the end of the Scene With No Light, with a constant sound
background of storm, sea, crashing, etc.  After the bear, the storm died away,
the light shifted and grew, and on came the Shepherd.  I highly recommend
baby-talk to get the second half underway with a miracle of mood shifting.

And don't despair during IV.4, the Scene That Will Not End.  It drives you
crazy during rehearsal, but the audience doesn't realize that they've just
watched half the play in one scene.

It's a difficult play, but well worth the exploration.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Mann <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 19:45:31 -0500
Subject: 8.0103 Re: Productions: TN and WT
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0103 Re: Productions: TN and WT

Many thanks to John Velz re: his comments on my production of the Winter's
Tale. John's instinct is dead on that this play is a "tale", and is commented
on throughout the telling of it. To enhance that idea, I condensed several
other character's speeches and had Time deliver them as narration. We also
recorded him delivering key lines throughout the play, to serve almost as
chapter titles, i.e. " Jove send her a better guiding spirit" or " there was a
man, dwelt by a churchyard", and finally, one of the loveliest, simplest lines
in the canon " It is required you do awaken your faith" Time also served as the
man who came from the oracle with the verdict of Hermione, opening the seals
but reading it without looking at the pages ( he instead smiled at the audience
as he delivered the Oracle's edicts). He also entered to Antigonus, later, on
the shores of Bohemia, carrying a giant golden bear mask, mounted on a huge
pole, which he carried in front of him (other cast members, from the shadows
between the screens, also carried "bear poles"). In the next to last scene,
where the 3 gentlemen tell Autolycus of the reconciliation, we broke into
individual lines, and had the ensemble rush out to the lip of the stage,
enthusiastically telling the audience of the reconciliation, and Time joined
them to tell the story of Antigonus' fate. The man who played Time is a
marvelous African- American actor named Phillip Sekou Glass, who makes his
living as a teller of African folk tales. He entered in the statue scene, after
Paulina says she will away to some withered bow, and takes over Leontes lines "
Good Paulina, lead all from hence" and the cast turned and faced upstage, their
tale being completed, and Time ended with his ending lines " if ever you have
spent time worse e'er now...".  To further enhance this feeling of fairy tale
timelessness, our costume scheme was a combination of Victorian and Elizabethan
styles, i.e., some ladies wore high necked lace collared Victorian gowns, and
Elizabethan headresses--the men, such as Leontes, wore a Bismarckian uniform (
all white, including his medals), but had a floor length tunic over it. Very
beautiful, (and obviously, since I'm rambling on here), one of the many things
that made me proud as punch of this production. Side note: anyone thinking of
mounting The Winter's Tale, should seriously consider using Albononi's Adagio
in G as underscoring in the statue scene...there won't be a dry seat in the
house.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Shepherd <
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Date:           Wednesday, 22 Jan 1997 15:36:26 -0500
Subject: 8.0103  Re: Productions: TN and WT
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0103  Re: Productions: TN and WT

>For some reason people are able to sit in church for 2 hours, they'll watch a
>baseball game for 2 hours, they are able to sit in movie theaters for 2 hours,
>and at home they'll sit in front of the tv channel surfing for up to 6 hours
>without a break, but if you try to do a play without an official intermission,
>they cry havoc.
>
>Why is this?

1) Plays fatigue the deciphering faculties of their attendees more than
churches (which explain their metaphors), ball games (whose participants have
unambiguous intentions), or movies and tv (which forcibly direct your
attention).

2) Theater audiences feel responsible for the vulnerability of their
performers, which can be extremely tiring. This isn't a problem in sports
arenas (where booing is sanctioned), movies and tv (where the actors aren't
present), or church (where the spectator's own vulnerability is preyed upon).
 

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