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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: WT Productions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0138.  Tuesday, 28 January 1997.

(1)     From:   David Skeele <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 1997 12:48:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0118  Re: WT Productions and Intermissions

(2)     From:   Thomas Bishop <
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        Date:   Monday, 27 Jan 1997 15:09:41 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0133  Re: WT Productions


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 1997 12:48:39 -0500
Subject: 8.0118  Re: WT Productions and Intermissions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0118  Re: WT Productions and Intermissions

>One feature of the production attracted a lot of discussion.  When
>Leontes would utter his jealous fantasies, his wife and his friend would be
>bathed in a reddish light, and they would kiss and grope each other, generally
>acting out Leontes' fantasies.  In a manner that I think would have been clear
>even to an audience member who did not know the story, we were able to look
>inside Leontes' mind.
>
>I heard quite polarized opinions about this feature.  In my view, it worked
>pretty well, because by showing us what Leontes thought he was seeing, it made
>it easier for us to understand his actions.

The practice of realizing onstage Leontes' vision of adultery is not original
to the Ashland production.  Trevor Nunn's 1969 production did the same thing,
though he chose to bathe them in a blue light, and it too caused a bit of a
stir, though I'm not sure what the objections were.  I have heard of college
productions also adopting the idea--to the extent that it almost seems to be
becoming de rigeur for that scene.  I am interested--what did the detractors at
Ashland object to about it?

                                                        David Skeele

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Bishop <
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Date:           Monday, 27 Jan 1997 15:09:41 -0500
Subject: 8.0133  Re: WT Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0133  Re: WT Productions

Norm Holland is right about the need to keep the bear a bear.  A Bear has his
own special poetics, and a Dragon's violence is poetically very different from
a Bear's, tending to be more apocalyptical and less natural. Bears are clumsy,
chaotic, rather muddle-headed. Dragons are calculating, malicious and as sharp
as needles. A Dragon kills no one "by the way" as this bear seems to.
(Antigonus is not Siegfried. Or even Mime.) Again, people have been killed,
even recently, by bears, and they do live in uneasy harmony with pastoralists,
and they have been the subject of hunts. These things are not I think, true of
Dragons, who are the subject of Quests, which are very different. Bears are
naturally occurring and were once reasonably widespread in Europe, even on the
seacoasts of Bohemia. Perhaps most important, bears sleep during the Winter. If
this bear is awake and hungry, it may be that we are supposed to infer that
Winter is now ending, and that Spring may be a-springing. That's a bit of
information you can't get across with a Dragon.

Tom Bishop
Case Western Reserve University
 

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