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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: WT Productions and Intermissions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0123.  Sunday, 26 January 1997.

(1)     From:   John Cox <
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        Date:   Saturday, 25 Jan 1997 11:03:14 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Ashland Winter's Tale

(2)     From:   Lyn Wood <
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        Date:   Saturday, 25 Jan 1997 10:59:31 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   WT at USF

(3)     From:   Katherine Hardman <
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        Date:   Sat, 25 Jan 1997 19:38:20 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0108 Re: WT Productions and Intermissions

(4)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Friday, 24 Jan 1997 15:16 ET
        Subj:   SHK 8.0108  Re: WT Productions a


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 Jan 1997 11:03:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Ashland Winter's Tale

In response to Dan Lowenstein's inquiry about the 1970's Ashland Winter's Tale,
I saw it too, and I agree about its extraordinary quality.  Someone recently
mentioned the possibility of using Albinoni's music for the statue scene; the
Ashland production used Pachelbel's Canon in D, and it  drew the soul out of
everyone.  That production was also effective in eliciting audience response to
clues that Hermione was actually living in the statue scene.  When I saw it, I
could hear people gasping (literally) and laughing in delighted anticipation.
It was just the response to "magic" that I think the play achieves at its best.
 For my money, though, the best interpretation of "Exit, pursued by a bear" was
the 1986 production at Stratford on Avon, in the big theater, with Jeremy Irons
in the title role. Irons was upstaged by the bear, which was a huge puppet,
manipulated with wires from the top and sides.  In the first part of the play,
the puppet was an enormous bear rug, with its head facing the audience and its
jaws open. All the action in Sicily took place on this rug.  When the bear
became a puppet, it was accompanied by animal roars that came from 360 degrees
and practically shook the building.  It wrapped Antigonus in its arms, and he
was no more.

John Cox, Hope College

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lyn Wood <
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Date:           Saturday, 25 Jan 1997 10:59:31 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        WT at USF

At the Utah Shakespearean Festival last summer, Time was not presented as a
single character.  After the interval, cast members (minus Leontes, Polixenes,
Camillo, Hermione and Paulina) came onto a bare stage and Time's lines were
split up among them.  Then the minimal scenery (wreaths of flowers hung from
poles) for the Bohemia scenes was set up by the actors and Act 4 continued.

It echoed the beginning of the play when the entire cast came onstage and sang
a verse of "In the Bleak Midwinter", then took turns quoting significant lines
like "It is required you do awake your faith", "Thou met'st with things dying,
I with things newborn" and "What's gone and what's past help should be past
grief".

Overall it was a very nice production, emphasizing faith and forgiveness. There
were a couple of rough spots, but I attribute that to the fact that what I saw
was the opening night performance.  The statue scene (V.iii.) was marvelous and
moving.  There was a major weak spot:   Antigonus' encounter with the bear
didn't go over well.  As Antigonus put down the little cradle holding Perdita,
a *polar* bear suddenly rose up behind him through a trap door and knocked
Antigonus to the ground.  Many people in the audience laughed out loud, which
was weird and uncomfortable to hear while watching the mawling of Antigonus.
But I did wonder if the costume department couldn't afford a brown bear suit.
Or something.

Lyn Wood

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Katherine Hardman <
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Date:           Sat, 25 Jan 1997 19:38:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0108 Re: WT Productions and Intermissions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0108 Re: WT Productions and Intermissions

Hi there,

I DID see the Ashland performance of Winter's Tale. My family and I saw it
together and where extraordinarily impressed. The use, as some one else has
mentioned, of the red lighting was I felt a huge addition. The lighting was red
when Leontes "saw" his wife and friend "turning on him." During this time when
the light was red Hermione and her "lover" would caress and act in suggestive
manners while the other characters on stage silently laughed and pointed at a
flustered, bewildered Layertres. When the lighting went back to normal, so did
the action. It was VERY powerful and quite well done.

Hope that helps!

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Friday, 24 Jan 1997 15:16 ET
Subject: Re: WT Productions a
Comment:        SHK 8.0108  Re: WT Productions a

Audience endurance in the theater is to some significant extent a matter of
expectation, a learned behavior.  In my Shakespeare-going lifetime theaters
have pretty generally moved from three intervals to two.  Those who signed up
for the one-day versions of _Nicholas Nickleby_ (8 hours total, 2 standard and
1 longer interval) and _The Mahabharata (ll hours total, 3 standard and l
longer interval, with the final session nearly 3 hours long, though there was a
brief break in the middle when you could stand and stretch) knew what was
coming and, thus prepared, survived.  Indeed, some of the pleasure was shared
satisfaction at having participated in something heroic.  To this list I hardly
need say that early modern audiences were apparently conditioned to stand or
sit for a longer time than we.

Gamely,
Dave Evett
 

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