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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: December ::
Re: Queen Lr; Anti-Semitism; RSC Ham; Quotation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1240.  Thursday, 18 December 1997.

[1]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 97 09:52:52 EST
        Subj:   Queen Lear

[2]     From:   Keith Richards <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 13:53:51 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 8.1236 - Anti Semitism

[3]     From:   John Walsh <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 11:35:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1235 Re: Current London Productions

[4]     From:   David Glassco <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 15:12:30 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1237  Q: Quotation


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 97 09:52:52 EST
Subject:        Queen Lear

About eight years ago, director Omar Shapli worked out a production of
LEAR to use the talents of three very strong women in the City College
of New York's BFA Acting program.  At Lear's entry in 1.1, all three
came on, speaking the opening few lines chorally.  Then two stepped away
from stage center to take on the roles of Goneril and Regan.  Through
the rest of the play the actresses handed off the roles of Lear Goneril
and Regan by exchanging color-coded tunics.  Each of these remarkable
women had a chance to run through a range of challenges.

Because the "rules of the game" were clearly set in the opening moments,
audiences simply accepted this as a convention.

One of the classmates of the three women is now playing Desdemona to
Patrick Stewart's Othello in Washington.  Alas, the BFA program was fed
to the angry gods of budget during the first years of Governor Pataki's
stringencies in New York. Theatre (but not a professional preparatory
conservatory) continues at CCNY, serving and nurturing "the children of
all the people" after 150 years.

Steve Urkowitz SURCCcunyvm.cuny.edu

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Keith Richards <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 13:53:51 -0500
Subject: - Anti Semitism
Comment:        SHK 8.1236 - Anti Semitism

Congratulations to Stevie Simkin for a successful production of _The Jew
of Malta_. One fact should, however, be noted.

While interpretive license is an integral part of what we all do, I
think that in this case it is important to keep in mind the historical
record.

Marlowe's plays, along with those of all other foreign dramatists (with
one notable exception), were banned under the Third Reich by 1939. The
only non-German dramatist to be staged after 1938 was, you guessed it,
Shakespeare. More or less his entire corpus was staged, including over
thirty productions of _The Merchant of Venice_.

Actually, before the ban went into effect, there had been only one
production of _The Jew Of Malta_ under the Nazis. The play, for many
reasons I think, did not work well to promote anti-Semitism. There are,
I think, many reasons for this - chiefly, though, I would argue that
it's completely over the top portrayal of what a Jew "is" can serve as a
Brechtian alienation effect, prompting critical reflection among an
audience composed of people who know Jews as friends, colleagues, and
neighbours. _The Merchant of Venice's_ more (conventionally) "humanized"
Shylock seems more plausible to swallow .

The best source that I know of for information on this topic is Joseph
Wulf (1964) _Theater und Film im Dritten Reich: Ein Dokumentation_.

Keith Richards
McGill University

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Walsh <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 11:35:37 -0500
Subject: 8.1235 Re: Current London Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1235 Re: Current London Productions

Andreas Schlenger tells us:

>I learn from the RSC's online schedule that their Hamlet (starring Alex
>Jennings) is still on show in London. I've already seen this productions
>four times and wouldn't mind a fifth one. Don't miss it!

Is there any truth to the rumor that this production will come to New
York? I've nosed around the RSC site and found no news. Thanks, all!

PS -- Would anybody care to swap Shakespeare-related Web bookmarks? I've
got some good ones, but I know I'm missing something good out there.
Mail me privately if you like -- I'd rather not clog up the list with
this off-topic traffic.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Glassco <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 1997 15:12:30 -0500
Subject: 8.1237  Q: Quotation
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1237  Q: Quotation

> Joanne Walen wrote:
> This question was posed to me, and I didn't have an answer-except that I
> didn't think so. Can anyone help?
>
> Question:  Is the quote about the pot calling the kettle black from
> Shakespeare?  If so, do you know from which play?

It's not Shakespeare. Eric Partridge's amusing *Dictionary of Slang and
Unconventional English* suggests:

black arse.  a kettle; a pot : late C. 17--early 19. ... From the
proverb, 'the pot calls the kettle black arse', the last word has
disappeared (*pudoris causa*).

David Glassco
Trent University
Canada
 

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