1997

Re: Subtext

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0534.  Monday, 5 May 1997.

[1]     From:   Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 04 May 1997 08:40:55 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Checkovian Solutions to early modern challenges [Subtext]

[2]     From:   David Jackson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 4 May 1997 21:39:46 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)

[3]     From:   Scott Crozier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 5 May 1997 12:36:02 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 04 May 1997 08:40:55 +0000 (HELP)
Subject:        Checkovian Solutions to early modern challenges [Subtext]

Kurt Daw openly revives the irresolvable Stage vs. Study business by
pointing out that of course non-verbal methods are bound to be present
in performance. Most of us have bodies, however much the young John
Gielgud acted from the neck up; Donald Wolfit and Flora Robson provided
a great deal of augmenting meaning with their eyes, Andrew Cruickshank
with his celebrated back, Paul Rogers with his eloquent fingers.

Perhaps my blind student, in his disappointed reaction to the recent
Leontes in Montreal, came close to an old ideal where such physical
characterization was less visible to an audience in a large theatre and
the emotional effect was more attributable to the actor's vocal
behaviour. This student is seventy-six years old and in addition to the
heightened hearing provoked by his blindness, his earlier upbringing had
a greater auditory component than is now usual; his ears see the text.
When I am booked for a radio drama or a dubbing session, I still rely on
`subtextual' realities and imaginings to influence my auditors' visceral
and intellectual responses, and in some ways the performances are
`purer' than their onstage versions would be. It seems to me that is
good, interesting and salutary for us to remember that these plays are
indeed poems which exist to a great extent in the imagination, and that
to reduce them to visual feasts and revels is to neglect or even negate
a thirsty part of the public, rendering audiences spectators.

There is enormous truth in Terence Hawkes' insistence on characters as
emblems rather than realities, and I am convinced that the `stage versus
study' dilemma remains to be clarified by the actor's voice.

        Harry Hill

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Jackson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 4 May 1997 21:39:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)

I am prepared to accept Kurt Daw's "narrow" definition of "subtext", but
what common word should be used to describe all the other stuff? It's
definitely something lying beneath the text, so how about "epitext"?
Whatever, I want to emphasize that I was talking about what was going on
in the mind of the CHARACTER, not the actor playing the character. As
long as the actor is doing his or her job, there is always a delineation
between the two.

As regards the Oberon example, my question is: Why does he want the
flower?  And then: why does he want to cast the spell on Titania? And
then: Why does he want the Indian boy? And then: Why did he behave the
way Titania says he did (or did he? The text never actually confirms all
of her accusations)? My point is that the concept of a character
"meaning what he says" is inherently unreliable. Since everything a
person says-even if not intended to decieve and stated on the basis of
the declarent's honest perception-is derived from subjective
interpretation of stimuli and is the product of the process of
translation of thought into words (which are then subject to the
specific interpretation of the listener), it is necessary to look far
beyond the printed words to ascertain what the "meaning" of what the
character "says" is. Call it epitext if you will, but then I want to
know the point where such stuff becomes "subtext". If there's no clear
point of demarcation, do we really need two terms?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 5 May 1997 12:36:02 +1100
Subject: 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0528  Re: Subtext (Character)

Kurt Daw wrote:

" That is all I meant by saying that I think it is sound advice for
young actors not to seek Chekhovian solutions to early modern
challenges.  They are apt to create more problems than they solve"

As I see it, the problem with this approach is that it denies that the
performance of this "early modern challenge" does in fact occur after
"Chekhovian solutions" were first mooted.  The performance is modern
whether the drama is or not.  To this end, I would expect actors to find
"impulses" for everything that they utter.  Oberon's speech "Thou
rememberset / Since once I..." is, as Kurt Daw suggests, a very long
winded way of saying "Get that flower." Nevertheless, it is a speech of
immense beauty.  The beauty is word based and a character says the
words. Why?  As a director, I would want the actor playing Oberon to
consider very deeply the impulses that triggered the words.  It is these
impulses which give the "long winded" speech life and purpose on the
stage.

Regards,
Scott Crozier

Q: Welles as Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0533.  Saturday, 3 May 1997.

From:           Martin Jukovsky <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 3 May 1997 17:19:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Welles as Lear

A flyer I just got from the Quality Paperback Book Club offers for
$19.95 a videotape of Welles as Lear, directed by Peter Brook, with
supporting cast of Beatrice Straight and Natasha Parry.  Is this the
1953 TV production of KING LEAR that appeared on the CBS series OMNIBUS?


Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.

Re: Ideology and Genes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0531.  Saturday, 3 May 1997.

[1]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 2 May 97 10:49:14 EST
        Subj:   Ideology

[2]     From:   Arthur C. Neuendorffer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 02 May 97 14:07:00 -0500
        Subj:   The UNselfish genes in Hamlet.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 May 97 10:49:14 EST
Subject:        Ideology

Robert Appelbaum (with whom I usually find myself agreeing) accuses Tom
Bishop and me of working at "undermining Marxism, constructivism,
humanism, poetry, and maybe even Hamlet's soliloquies" by introducing
sociobiological arguments into SHAKSPER's protracted discussion of
ideology and related issues, I won't offer to speak for Tom, but I know
that it was certainly not my intention to "undermine" anything-certainly
not those five items, all of which have contributed substantially to our
ways of reading, thinking, talking, and writing.  I believe that a
conscientious effort to understand the things people do and say, calling
on all the sources of available knowledge, is a generally constructive
not an "undermining" enterprise; if sociobiology has things to tell us
about why humanism, poetry, or Hamlet's soliloquies are the way they are
and work the way they work then it behooves us to listen. And if what we
hear makes us reconsider what we think we already know, that's the way
knowledge has always evolved, in individual thinkers and in cultures.

In the same post Applebaum derides the idea of the "selfish gene" as
"anthropomorphosis."  Is it just naive of me to see the phrase as an
instance of what we used to call personification-a figure of which there
are several examples in Applebaum's own discourse?  The phrase was given
wide currency by Peter Dawkins, whose eminence as a writer about science
owes much to a gift for figurative language that many poets I know would
envy.  Somehow I doubt that Dawkins- or any of the scholars and writers
who have followed him in this field-ascribes the sort of human
self-consciousness that Tom and I are actually hoping to confirm to
individual genes. (Dawkins is on record as doubting that "our emotional
nature is, as a matter of fact, selfish.")

Nor does it seem appropriate to me to term the work of Richard
Alexander, Jerome Barkow, Franz de Waal, Matt Ridley, and others as
"Whiggism," assuring us with Panglossian smugness that whatever has
survived has shown, by surviving, that it is not only efficient but also
therefore good.  All of them are at  work  revising the sort of
primitive social Darwinism that produced *The Fountainhead*; most of
them suppose that the better we can understand the way psychological and
social processes of all kinds really work, the more likely it will
become that we can learn to control the ones that eventuate in
destructive or repressive behavior.

Finally, as to Appelbaum's sneer about the "circularity" of evolutionary
analysis.  As Dawkins has shown in *The Blind Watchmaker*, "The
evolution of adaptations by natural selection is one of the few cases in
which the consequences of something can be properly used to explain its
existence" (unsigned headnote in Barkow, et al, eds., *The Adapted Mind*
[1992], 625).

Still evolving,
Dave Evett

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur C. Neuendorffer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 02 May 97 14:07:00 -0500
Subject:        The UNselfish genes in Hamlet.

I wish to bring the interesting discussion concerning evolutional
processes back into the realm of Shakespeare.

This week, PBS broadcast a marvelous show on Patagonia. Besides
beautiful scenery and soaring condors, "Patagonia" showed some very
disturbing scenes: young male sealions who had been excluded from mating
(by the dominant "king" sealion) and who took their pentup (sexual?)
frustrations out upon cub sealions by attempting to murder them. This
"selfish gene" behavior has been observed in a number of animals
including (I believe) chimanzees.

Macbeth's murder attack on Banquo and Fleance comes to mind here.
Richard III and Othello were probably also driven partly by "selfish
genes."

Claudius, for all his faults, appears to embrace Hamlet and to accept
him as heir to the Danish throne, at least initially. Only after Hamlet
mades his intentions quite clear does Claudius conclude that he must
have Hamlet executed for his own self preservation. (At least that is
how I perceive it.)

It is remarkable how little importance is given by anyone in Hamlet as
regards
to continuing their own bloodline: people's "selfish" motives are
concerned
primarily their own status or, perhaps, their own personal place in
history.
Were these Shakespeare's own primary "selfish" concerns (whoever he
was)?

Arthur C. Neuendorffer

Q: Peripety in Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0532.  Saturday, 3 May 1997.

From:           Jeff Barker <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 2 May 1997 15:23:54 CST
Subject:        Q:  Peripety in Shakespeare

Qs:  What has been written on the subject of "peripety" in Shakespeare?
What are some of your favorite "peripeties" in Shakespeare's plays?

I am a sometime director of Shakespeare and a faithful reader of this
list, but I am also a playwright.  I have been taken recently with the
notion of "peripety" which I came upon in Kathleen George's introductory
text:  Playwriting - The First Workshop.  Turns out that Professor
George's work derives from Bert O. States and a look at Professor
States' book (Irony and Drama) led me back to Aristotle's "peripeteia".
States claims that "drama simply IS peripety."  I am so struck by the
value of peripety for the playwright, that I have been doing a great
deal of thinking about it.  Is anyone else out there thinking about it
and/or writing about it?

By the way, peripety, as I currently understand it, is a reversal of
intent - a character sets out to accomplish one thing, and in so doing,
accomplishes the opposite.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival 97-98 Season

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0530.  Saturday, 3 May 1997.

From:           Jasson Minadakis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 02 May 1997 20:45:35
Subject:        Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival 97-98 Season

I thought that there might be some SHAKESPERians that might be
interested in the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's 1997-98 Season.

 MAINSTAGE Season

   HAMLET - 9/18/97 - 10/12/97
        directed by Jasson Minadakis
        dramaturg - Dr. William Godshalk
     Partial Cast
        Hamlet - Marni Penning
        Hamlet Sr./Player King/Gravedigger/Captain - William Sweeney
        Claudius - Jay Apking
        Gertrude - Nicole Franklin-Kern

   The ALCHEMIST -  11/20/97 - 12/7/97
        directed by Michael Burnham
        dramaturg - Dr. Jonathon Kamholtz

   CORIOLANUS - 2/5/98 -2/22/98
        directed by Jasson Minadakis
        dramaturg - Dr. Jonathon Kamholtz
     Partial Cast
        Coriolanus - Todd Douglas
        Aufidius - William Sweeney
        Menenius - Daniel Kenney
        Volumnia - Gina Cerimele

   MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING - 4/2/98 - 4/26/98
        directed by Jasson Minadakis
     Partial Cast
        Benedick - Khristopher Lewin
        Beatrice - Marni Penning
        Pedro - William Sweeney
        Claudio - Ceeko Scheeren
        Dogberry/Ursula - Gina Cerimele

   The THREE MUSKETEERS - 6/4/98 - 6/21/98
        adapted and directed by Warner Crocker

All  Mainstage Performances at the Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff
Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH.

The CHERYL L. HEATH MEMORIAL READING SERIES
        "Shakespeare's Maybe Plays"
These plays will receive 6-9 rehearsals and then wil be presented in
staged reading format.  Discussions will follow with the audience and we
will try to answer the authorship question of each play from the
evidence presented.
l
   SIR THOMAS MORE - 10/7/97

   CARDENIO, or The Second Maid's Tragedy - 12/2/97
        directed by Dr. Jonathon Kamholtz, U of Cincinnati

   EDWARD III - 2/17/98

   THE BIRTH OF MERLIN - 4/21/98

   EDMUND IRONSIDES - 6/16/98
        directed by Dr. William Godshalk, U of Cincinnati

All Reading Series Performances at the Fifth Third Bank Theater, Aronoff
Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, OH.

SHAKESPEARE ON TOUR - 7 actor / 2 HR versions, please contact for
pricing and availability.
   MACBETH
   JULIUS CAESAR

Subscriptions to the entire season are $76 for 6 anytime/any combination
tickets.  Single tickets for all Mainstage shows are $12-$15.  The
Reading Series performances are free events.

For more information, e-mail can be sent to the company at
        <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

Specific questions can be addressed to me at
        <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>.

The company's webpage can be found at
        <www.iac.net/~csf>.

Snail mail:     CSF
                P.O. Box 140734
                Cincinnati, OH  45250-0734

Hope to see some of you in Cincinnati!

Regards.
Jasson Minadakis
Executive Director

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