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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: October ::
Re: Macbeth; New Globe's H5; Endings
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1011.  Tuesday, 7 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Cary M. Mazer <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Oct 1997 09:00:42 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0999  Re: Macbeth

[2]     From:   Franklin J. Hildy <
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        Date:   Monday, 06 Oct 1997 14:23:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1002  Re: New Globe's H5

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Monday, 6 Oct 1997 20:10:18 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1009  Re: Endings

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary M. Mazer <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Oct 1997 09:00:42 -0400
Subject: 8.0999  Re: Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0999  Re: Macbeth

Eric Salehi writes:

>About five years ago I saw a remarkable staging of the play by Stuffed
>Puppet Theater at Theater Project in Baltimore (U.S.).  In that
>production, a single actor (Australian puppetmaster Trevor ___, whose
>last name escapes me just now) played Macbeth and used puppets to
>portray the rest of the characters.  The identification of Macbeth with
>the puppetmaster served to underscore the character's agency.  I suppose
>my concept would produce the opposite effect by making Macbeth
>essentially a puppet himself.  Has this been done?

The puppeteer's name is Neville Trainter, and though he's Australian his
theater company, Stuffed Puppet, is based in the Netherlands.  And that
was the one grating thing about his Macbeth adaptation (well, that and
some his more extravagant theatrical choices, e.g. Macbeth pulling a
[puppet] penis from his trousers and urinating triumphantly on the
corpse of Duncan after the other thanes leave the scene):  the script
had been freely adapted into Dutch by Trainter's Dutch collaborator;
when he then took the performance on tour of the US, he translated the
adaptation into passable English, rather than returning to Shakespeare's
language, so the whole playscript, such as it was, was performed in a
rather flat and lifeless paraphrase.

If you're interested in actor-and-puppet adaptations of the play, check
out the three-actor adaptation by the Independent Eye
(actor/playwright/designers Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, plus a
third actor when they perform Macbeth).  It's been in their repertoire
for close to 20 years, and they revive it every two or three years on
tour.  The actors, in heavy makeup, can speak in their own person,
and/or can ventriloquize for one or two life-sized puppet heads they
hold in one or both hands, so there can be as many as nine characters
(three faces, six puppet heads) on stage at any time.  The Macbeth and
Lady Macbeth puppet heads change over the course of the play, getting
more drawn and skull-like; and different actors manipulate the heads and
the speak the roles over the course of the play.  The sleepwalking scene
was a thing of beauty, for the two actors using their faces for the
Doctor and the Gentlewoman loaned their free hands to the puppet-headed
Lady Macbeth, so she had five hands to wash and intertwine; the question
of whether and when she puts down the candle to wash her hands was a
non-issue!

Cary

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Franklin J. Hildy <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Oct 1997 14:23:30 -0400
Subject: 8.1002  Re: New Globe's H5
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1002  Re: New Globe's H5

I believe the "Henry V at the Globe " documentary being done on Great
Performances in November is the same one England's Channel 4 did last
June. That was a documentary that features a number of interviews worked
into long sections from the play. They do more from the second half of
the production that from the first  but they leave out Toby Cockerell's
inspired performance as Princess Katherine. His performance finally
helped me see just how very successful a "boy actor" could be when
taking on the part of a female character. He just played it-just as he
might have taken on the role of a king or the role of an archbishop. It
was really remarkable. The other men who took on female roles were not
as good at it but the scenes they did still worked. It would be
wonderful if the Great Performances production was of the full play so
everyone could see Cockerell's work but the titles used for it and the
documentary done in England in June are exactly the same so I suspect
the programs will be the same as well. It is very much worth seeing,
however.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Monday, 6 Oct 1997 20:10:18 -0400
Subject: 8.1009  Re: Endings
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1009  Re: Endings

Shakespeare seems to have thought of them as "feminine" endings. In
Sonnet 20, the "master-mistress" sonnet, he uses only feminine endings.
Calling them something else would ruin the joke.
 

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