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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: November ::
Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1136.  Wednesday, 12 November 1997.

[1]     From:   Russ McDonald <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 12:19:16 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1132  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

[2]     From:   Ronald Macdonald <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 14:09:34 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   RE:SHK 8.1130 Wooing of Lady Anne

[3]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 15:32:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1132 Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

[4]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 15:32:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1132 Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

[5]     From:   Hayley Grill <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 18:21:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Subject: SHK 8.1130 Seduction of Lady Anne


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Russ McDonald <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 12:19:16 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1132  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1132  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

To suggest that the casting of a homely Lady Anne might make the second
scene of R3 more credible is, I believe, to demand logic at a moment
when logic is irrelevant.  Putting it another way, to try to explain the
seduction rationally is to strain unnecessarily against the energies of
the scene as written.  Surely the point of the encounter is to
demonstrate Richard's audacity and uncanny power, and Shakespeare placed
the unlikely amorous victory so early in the play precisely to emphasize
Richard's unaccountable charisma.  Many factors could contribute to
Anne's surrender-Richard's flattery, his outrageous persistence, his
eloquence, her political powerlessness, her curiosity,  possible
ambition on her part, the uncertainties of the heart.  Among these,
physical desperation seems the least interesting.  If I were directing
R3, I'd look for an actress who was drop-dead gorgeous, thus making the
triumph even more astonishing.

Russ McDonald
UNC Greensboro

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Macdonald <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 14:09:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Wooing of Lady Anne
Comment:        RE:SHK 8.1130 Wooing of Lady Anne

Matthew Gretzinger remarks (8.1132) that "Richard certainly seems to be
playing on [Lady Anne's] vanity," and I would have to agree.  What
Samuel Johnson said of the Isabel of _Measure For Measure_ as she seeks
to extenuate Angelo's fault, even as she yet believes her brother dead
by Angelo's command, seems to apply to Lady Anne as well and perhaps
better: "I am afraid our varlet poet intended to inculcate, that women
think ill of nothing that raises the credit of their beauty, and are
ready, however virtuous, to pardon any act which they think incited by
their own charms." So, what though he killed her husband and her father?

I should add that I myself am very far from believing what Shakespeare
may have intended to inculcate, and I believe Dr. Johnson was too.  But
his remark suggests that the putative attractiveness or homeliness of
the actress playing Lady Anne is beside the point.  What counts is what
the character believes of her own charms-or what Richard can lead her to
believe.

Ron Macdonald
<
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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 15:32:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1132 Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1132 Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

I'm not sure what you mean by "work" but I have always found the Olivier
version very powerful. Part of this, of course, is that even with a fake
nose, Olivier was by no stretch of the imagination deformed or even
ugly. But  breaking the scene into two so the wooing did not take place
over a dead body, made it easier to take. And I found Anne's (I
shamefully forget the actress's name) gradual move from hate to a kind
of erotic daze very affecting.

Annalisa Castaldo

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Gretzinger <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 15:53:01 -0500
Subject: 8.1132  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1132  Re: Seduction of Lady Anne

I know I'm going to get rapped in the mouth for what I posted previously
re/Zoe Wanamaker & Lady Anne.  If I don't, I deserve to.  I should have
said that to portray Anne as 'plain' or 'homely' may have been Zoe
Wanamaker's (or Jane Howell's) choice for the BBC _Richard_.  I did not
mean to imply that Z. W. was either plain or homely.  If anybody was
offended, I apologize.

On the issue of whether or not Anne CAN be plain, I vote yes.  It's
definitely more interesting.  Wanamaker's Anne is far more believable
than Claire Bloom, for example, who wanders like an emaciated waif
barely able to support her pendulous billowing hat through the
chopped-up wooing scenes of Olivier's film. If Anne is so soul-less, so
lacking in will, what obstacle will be overcome in wooing her?  What
triumph will Richard win sufficient to allow him such gloating?  The
same problem occurs in the McKellen _Richard_.  Kristin Scott Thomas
takes the Bloom approach a step further.  Bloom, "very grievous sick and
like to die," looked drugged and detached in her final scenes.  Thomas
is literally an addict.

Choices like these are interesting but they take a lot of the fight out
of Anne. It's as if the director is saying, "Well, we've got to make
sense of her easy capitulation, so we'll have to stack the deck in
Richard's favor." The strength of the plain Anne is that she is
vulnerable to flattery - vanity will be her weakness.  If she is played
with determination and resolve - which is certainly in the lines - she
can be an admirable adversary for Richard.  She must be.  The scene
fails if his victory is a foregone conclusion.

How interesting it is if Richard can convince a woman who perceives
herself (or who is perceived by others) to be 'plain' or 'homely' that
he is in love with her, and sees her 'beauty' as no one else does!
Richard IS deceiving her - and us.  If the audience hates him for it
they must also love him a little for getting away with it.  Part of his
appeal is that we love him and hate him at once.  The speech at the end
is then far from 'unnecessary.'  It's the height of cheek.  He just lied
his way into a widowed bed over the bleeding corpse itself, and the cow
fell for it!

An Anne who can say that her "woman's heart grossly grew captive to his
honey words" before an audience that remembers her strong participation
in a round of Senecan stychomythia against a diabolic adversary stands a
better chance of sympathy from the audience.  They may have been won
over, too.

Of course, you can also have a beautiful, spirited Anne.  Perceived
plainness is just a choice, but I think it might yield some positive
results.

-Matthew

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hayley Grill <
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Date:           Tuesday, 11 Nov 1997 18:21:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.1130 Seduction of Lady Anne
Comment:        Subject: SHK 8.1130 Seduction of Lady Anne

That would not make it more believable.  Part of Richard's cruelty is in
that he makes it Anne's fault.  The line escapes me, but Richard says
something to the effect of - your beauty is the cause of your effect on
me.  If you weren't so beautiful, I wouldn't have been forced to be so
cruel.

Hayley

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