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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: WT Productions
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0151.  Thursday, 30 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Jeff Myers <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 23:34:45 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0145  Re: WT Productions

(2)     From:   Mark Mann <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 19:10:14 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0145 Re: WT Productions


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeff Myers <
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Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 23:34:45 GMT
Subject: 8.0145  Re: WT Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0145  Re: WT Productions

>Winter's Tale becomes more interesting and teaches a better message if one can
>take Leontes' suspicions about Hermione to be accurate. When I directed the
>play, there was sufficient by-play between Hermione and Polixenes to support
>Leontes. What-did-happen should at least be ambiguous. Leontes' saving, then,
>is not into sanity but into forgiveness. An insane Leontes makes the play
>trivial.

I doubt that women who are suffering from the effects of a husband with the
insanity we call jealousy would find the play trivial because Leontes'
suspicions are unfounded.  I find your use of the supposed "by-play between
Hermione and Polixenes" to find the former guilty of infidelity rather
illuminated by Jane Anger's "Protection for Women . . .": "Let us look, they
will straight affirm that we love."  For an excellent example of this kind of
prosecutorial mode, see Battenhouse's chapter on "The Rape of Lucrece."  It
insinuateth me of insanie!

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mark Mann <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 29 Jan 1997 19:10:14 -0500
Subject: 8.0145 Re: WT Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0145 Re: WT Productions

>>Winter's Tale becomes more interesting and teaches a better message if one
can take Leontes' suspicions about Hermione to be accurate. When I directed
the play, there was sufficient by-play between Hermione and Polixenes to
support  Leontes. What-did-happen should at least be ambiguous. Leontes'
saving, then,  is not into sanity but into forgiveness. An insane Leontes makes
the play  trivial. >>

This interpretation, I believe, runs counter to the intent of the play...I
agree that Leontes is not insane, but rather insanely jealous, and it is his
redemption and true repentence that Hermione awaits for 16 years ( as well as
news of her daughter's reappearance). "It is required you do awaken your
faith"...and he does, over 16 years of pilgrimage to her "grave", and while
this may seem an excessive amount of time for hermione to wait, remember it is
a tale, and bears many marks of classic fairy tales, in which we must suspend
rational and realtime motives...besides, the judgement of the Oracle states
that Hermione is chaste, and Leontes a jealous tyrant, and the Oracle's word
was absolute truth, within the reality of the play. It is also, when Leontes
has profaned the Oracle, that Mamillius dies, bringing further judgement upon
him. I believe Hermione is a saint of the first rank, and loyal beyond mortal
bounds, to wait so long and still return to her husband. In our production,
Hermione stood on the pedestal holding an hourglass (which appeared throughout
the show), and when she "animated", she turned it over, handed it to Paulina,
and extended her hand to Leontes. When she descended to stage level, they held
each others gaze for what seemed an eternity, with the gulf of a lost sixteen
years between them, which made the reconciliation far more bittersweet. Lastly,
this idea of "teaching a better message" is one who's time should pass, and
pass quickly.
 

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