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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: May ::
Re: Staging Sinking
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0581.  Tuesday, 20 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Melissa Aaron <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 1997 08:53:25 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0577  Assorted Questions

[2]     From:   Keith Richards <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 1997 12:22:17 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0577  Staging of _The Silver Age_

[3]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Monday, 19 May 1997 15:24:54 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0577  Assorted Questions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa Aaron <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 1997 08:53:25 -0600
Subject: 8.0577  Assorted Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0577  Assorted Questions

It's possible to do "sinking" without hydraulics-all you need is a
pulley mechanism and several assistants holding up the spot on stage
until it's ready to go.  The stage would have to be high up enough to
accommodate these people, but then it would also have to be high enough
to allow a person to disappear underneath.

Which reminds me of a story about Cesare Siepi playing Don Giovanni.  He
was supposed to sink down into Hell in the final scene, but the pulley
mechanism got stuck.  After several false starts, he remained with his
head and shoulders sticking up from the floor.  And from the gods, a
voice cried "God be praised!  Hell is full!"

Melissa A.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Keith Richards <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 19 May 1997 12:22:17 -0400
Subject: 8.0577  Staging of _The Silver Age_
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0577  Staging of _The Silver Age_

>what mechanism might have made it possible for an
> actor to "sink" rather than jump into a trap or climb down a ladder?  I
> can picture this happening easily with a hydraulic mechanism, but I
> can't imagine how it might happened on the amphitheater stage. Any
> suggestions? Any parallels from other plays?


I'm almost certain you'll find the answer to your question in G.F.
Reynold's _The Staging of Elizabethan Plays at the Red Bull Theatre_
(1940). Unfortunately I don't have it with me at the time. In it
Reynold's considers the mechanics of staging for as many Red Bull plays
as he can firmly attribute to that theatre (_The Silver Age_ is one).

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Monday, 19 May 1997 15:24:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0577  Assorted Questions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0577  Assorted Questions

The index to Alan Dessen's *Recovering Shakespeare's Theatrical
Vocabulary* (1995) notes a discussion of "sinking through a trap-door"
on pages 203, 264-5.

        Michael Friedman
        University of Scranton
 

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