1997

Q: Joe Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1042.  Wednesday, 15 October 1997.

From:           Ron Ward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 15 Oct 1997 14:52:13 +1300 (NZDT)
Subject:        Re: Macbeth

Can anyone give details about an early Movie Called "Joe Macbeth" which
stuck in my mind for 30 or so years as an interesting gangster
interpretation of Macbeth.

Ron Ward

CFP: Pacific NW Renaissance Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1041.  Wednesday, 15 October 1997.

From:           Paul Budra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 09:14:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Pacific NW Renaissance Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS

Word and Image: Pacific Northwest Renaissance Conference

April 24-25, 1998

Western Washington University
Bellingham, Washington

The theme "Word and Image" is intended to be interpreted very broadly to
include considerations of iconography, film, religious images,
illustration, maps, set design, costume, painting and other fine arts,
descriptions of images, the presentation of manuscripts, documents,
books, hypertext, etc.  We also welcome papers addressed to the wedding
of words and images in the teaching of Renaissance texts.  The PNRC is
an interdisciplinary conference.

Plenary Speakers:

Huston Diehl, University of Iowa,
"Reforming Spectacle: Visual Regimes and Disciplinary Strategies in
Early Modern England"

and

Susan Karant-Nunn, Portland State University,
"Not Like the Unreasoning Beasts: The Rhetorical Separation of Humans
and Animals in Sixteenth-Century Germany"

Selected papers will be considered for publication in *Studies in
Iconography*, a refereed journal supported in part by the English
Department at Western.

Located on the coast about 90 miles north of Seattle and 50 miles south
of Vancouver, B.C.,  Bellingham is surrounded by evergreen forests,
saltwater coves, mountain-fed lakes, and snowcapped peaks.  A city of
60,000 residents, Bellingham preserves a mix of urban and rural
activity.  Western Washington University is situated on hills above the
city, overlooking Bellingham Bay with views of the San Juan Islands and
the Cascade mountain range.  Bellingham International Airport offers ten
arrivals and ten departures daily, or one may fly into Seattle's SeaTac
Airport and take a convenient shuttle to Bellingham.

Please submit a one-page abstract of your paper by January 10, 1998, to:

Marc Geisler
Department of English
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA  98225
fax: 360-650-4837
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Proposals for panels are also welcome and should include, in addition to
the abstracts, a 100-word statement of intent from the organizer, as
well as the addresses and e-mails of all participants.

Selection/notification will be sent by February 16, 1998.

Re: Classroom Strategies

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1039.  Wednesday, 15 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Mike Sirofchuck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 00:01:52 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1033  Re: Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 11:59:52 -0400
        Subj:   re: classroom strategies

[3]     From:   Karen Krebser <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 09:29:45 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1033 Re: Classroom Strategies

[4]     From:   Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:53:39 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1027  Re: Classroom Strategies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Sirofchuck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 00:01:52 -0800
Subject: 8.1033  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1033  Re: Classroom Strategies

My two cents on classroom strategies for the Immortal Bard:  I've taught
Shakespeare plays in high school for twenty years in grades 9 - 12.   We
"perform" the play in the classroom.  Usually we read a short story
version of the play first in order to learn the plot and characters,
thus removing one roadblock to understanding the language.  Then I like
to show the first act of whatever play we are studying on video, usually
the BBC version.  Now the kids have a mental picture of the characters
and have heard the language spoken by professional actors.  We then
perform the play in the classroom, using a number of props with me
"directing" with the proviso that students are encouraged to offer
staging suggestions, etc.  I "teach" the language as we work through the
play - Act I usually takes a while, but as the understanding increases,
the play moves much more smoothly.  If a particular scene goes well (or
so badly it is hilarious) we often repeat it.  Last year my World Lit
class performed Act V Hamlet, sword fights and all with scripts in hand,
for other classes and parents.  We staged it in the foyer to our
auditorium which allowed the audience to stand at Ophelia's graveside
and be splashed with sweat from the actors.   I teach the poetry and we
perform the play and watch video presentations of the play.   We have
few, if any, opportunities to see live Shakespeare theatre, living on an
island in the Gulf of Alaska.
Mike Sirofchuck
Kodiak High School

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 11:59:52 -0400
Subject:        re: classroom strategies

To add to the continuing debate regarding text versus enactment, I would
like to put forth my own experience.  Having taught English as a second
language abroad for a handful of years, I am a strong supporter of the
performance technique for learning.  In Japan, text is treated as
something to memorize, to master and to catalog, but in terms of
understanding the *sense* of text, their system fails entirely.  Ask
students to memorize and regurgitate, and they will do precisely that.
Then ask them to explain what they have memorized and you will receive
nothing but blank stares.  Enactment reinforces knowledge, makes it
tangible and real.

My suggestion is to start off with only as much linguistic knowledge as
the students require to grasp the general concept.  Then let them run
with it.  Do a read through, but stop occasionally to point out
difficult concepts or spot check to make sure they a grasping the plot.
Show them a film clip if you have one.  Let them struggle a bit, but
don't let them flounder.  Then sit down and focus on the specifics of
language and poetic discourse.  Let's face it, no one can cover a
Shakespeare play in its complex entirely during a single school
semester.  So shouldn't we be concentrating on giving students the basic
tools they require to handle the subject, plus the ability to approach
future encounters with confidence and curiosity?  There is no greater
gift one can pass on to a student.

Tanya Gough

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Krebser <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 09:29:45 -0700
Subject: 8.1033 Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1033 Re: Classroom Strategies

Dale Lyles says:

> Karen Krebser has perhaps inadvertently proven my point when she says
> that "These plays are mostly read, and studied on the page, rather than
> on the stage."

I live to serve, Professor Lyles (inadvertently or otherwise).

> There lies the most serious error in most literature classrooms today.

Your opinion (as the opposite is mine). Perhaps we may agree to
disagree.

Also, it seems that I must point out that I am NOT a teacher (in the
conventional sense of the word). I am a poet (and since the "publish or
perish" mantra is as insidious in the poetry publication business as it
is in the academic business, I shall present my credentials, for
whatever they're worth: I have been published multiple times during the
last four years both on line and off, and was a finalist for the 1996
T.S. Eliot Prize for the best book-length collection of American poetry;
I also have a master's degree in English Lit., with a special emphasis
in creative writing). I am a teacher, however, in the following sense
(and the following is only an example): When I go to see productions of
Shakespeare's plays with friends (who, btw, are as well-educated as I
am), I am literally bombarded with "whatdyshesay? what's that? what
happened? why's that there?" and the ever-popular "what's *that* mean?",
at which point I either launch into a whispered lecture (that I've
gotten from A THOROUGH PRIOR READING OF THE TEXT), or, to save my fellow
playgoing patrons, a whispered "I'll tell you later. Pay attention." My
grandmother is constantly after me to become a teacher, but this forum
has assured me that there are those who are much better suited to that
task than I am.

and then Rod Osiowy says, in the same digest:

> Good Lord,
>
> Having taught literature and theatre for over 15 years has given me some
> good perspective on this issue.  There is no way to understand
> Shakespeare,(except for the sonnets), without watching them on the
> stage.

This is rot, and I take offense at it. I have not seen all of
Shakespeare's plays performed, and none of Marlowe's or Jonson's, nor
most of the other playwrights I mentioned. However, to say (or even to
imply) that I am incapable of understanding Shakespeare's plays without
seeing them produced is grossly, infuriatingly uninformed.  You have
absolutely no concept of my mental or imaginative capacity, sirrah, and
to assume that I (and, by implication, other students [of all ages] of
Shakespeare) need to be spoonfed a production of a play in order to
understand it, is so offensive as to be frightening to me.

> To think that understanding is taking place off the page is simply
> ridiculous.

Your concept of "ridiculous" is curious. I shall notify Tom Stoppard
about it, and perhaps it will constitute the subject of his next play
(to which you must escort your students, because they will not be
allowed to read the text aforehand). I shall then write a poem about it.
That way, all our bases are covered.

> In short, if you are not watching Shakespeare's plays in production, you
> are not really doing the work justice.  And I cling to this.

Barnacle-like, no doubt. Forgive me, but the content of your post (and
it's assumptions about me and my capabilities and my level of experience
and understanding of literature both on the stage and on the page)
really pisses me off. You are making colossal assumptions about me, and
that, fella, is a big mistake.

I now step back (the barnacle loosens and floats away). I will not be
posting further on this subject (a resounding "Huzzah!" drifts, e-wise,
through the ether), as I think my opinion is obvious (and maybe this
horse [or at least my contributions to it's ill health] is dead).

Thank you,
Karen Krebser

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:53:39 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.1027  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1027  Re: Classroom Strategies

1).  I confess to being a little confused.  Isn't it self-evident that a
first encounter with a play (read or seen) will enhance the second
encounter with that same play (read or seen)?  If I read _Hamlet_ and
then go see it, I will understand things in the production that would
have eluded me without my prior reading.  If I see _Hamlet_ and then
read it, I will understand things in the script that would have eluded
me without my prior viewing.  Duh.

2).  It has been my experience that even bad productions accomplish more
"teaching" in two or three hours than my lectures could.  Students, once
they understand that Mistress Quickly doesn't *have to* wear a red
leather mini-skirt, seem more ready to grapple with the implications of
such choices... and to search the *text* for affirmation of their ideas,
than if they're encouraged (or even allowed) to look at MWW independent
of production. Of course, it could just be that I'm a lousy lecturer.

3).  Finally, it's impossible to recreate either what Shakespeare
intended or the manner in which an audience would respond.  If we don't
tell students who the "little eyases" were, they have no idea what's
going on; if we do, there's no joy of recognition in finding allusions
to the War Between the Theatres: it's like having to explain a joke.
Deadly.  So perhaps we ought, both in our productions and in our
classrooms, to concentrate on what's there for us, rather than what may
have been there for someone else 400 years ago.  Anyone teaching or
directing Shakespeare without being able to address a late-20th-century
audience probably ought to be looking for another line of work...

Rick Jones
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Polish Hamlet; A. L. Rowse

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1040.  Wednesday, 15 October 1997.

[1]     From:   David Skeele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 12:54:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1036  Polish Hamlet

[2]     From:   Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:24:40 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Skeele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 12:54:54 -0400
Subject: 8.1036  Polish Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1036  Polish Hamlet

>For a lecture on *Hamlet* in an international context, I am desperately
>looking for the article (or possibly, chapter in a book) that I once
>seem to have read on *Hamlet* in Poland. The gist of the argument was,
>if I remember correctly, that in a Polish production Hamlet was made out
>to be an over-scrupulous fool, who broke the essential national unity,
>leaving a state in disarray, so that Fortinbras, the foreign power,
>could come and pick up the pieces.

To Paul Franssen:

I remember a that a fellow Ph.D. student at the University Pittsburgh
wrote an article entitled "Fortinbras, Our Contemporary," dealing with
the same subject matter you describe, which he presented at a conference
or two (definitely ASTR, but perhaps MLA as well).  His name is Gregg
Dion, and you can reach him through the University of Pittsburgh Theatre
Department at (412) 624-6568.  Hope this is the one you are looking for.

David Skeele

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 14:24:40 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1018  Re: A. L. Rowse

John McWilliams asked several days ago if anyone wished to defend A. L.
Rowse.  I've been waiting for those more qualified than I to do so, but
since the silence has been deafening, I offer the following
observations:

First off, I have read little of Rowse's work on Shakespeare and have
been less than overwhelmed by what I have read.  And the man did not
lack for ego (at least in his public persona).

That said, I must say that his _Elizabethan Renaissance_ was invaluable
to me in preparing my MA thesis on Lyly, and the mere fact that a
trained historian chose to write about Shakespeare and other writers
helped to counter-balance the intellectual isolationism of New
Criticism.  [N.B. I do not wish to suggest that NC had no good points or
that reactions to it necessarily constitute improvements: I suggest only
that linking literature to its historical setting is a legitimate
approach, and that Rowse did so (even? especially?) when the prevailing
critical theory was otherwise.

Finally, if we were to eliminate from consideration everyone whose
self-regard exceeded his/her real importance, the libraries would be
much smaller, the art galleries and theatres empty, and this list very
quiet indeed...

Rick Jones
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Lear/Cordelia Website

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1038.  Tuesday, 14 October 1997.

From:           Bob Marks <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 14 Oct 1997 10:00:29 -0700
Subject:        New Lear/Cordelia Website

A current Sydney production of King Lear focuses on his proposing the
division of his kingdom in a futuristic Sydney, where Goneril and Regan
try to impress their father with a fiercely theatrical dance routine
while Cordelia speaks the plain truth.

Coca Cola, I'm told, is currently running an advertizement in the US in
which Cordelia responds to her father's request by giving him a Coke!

It seems that we're constantly presented with variations on Lear, and
when we consider that in Shakespeare's day the Lear legend was already
older than Shakespeare's version is today, and that there were several
variations on Lear then, it seems appropriate that there be variations
today.

But we've not really found a reading of Shakespeare's versions that has
wide acceptance today, and Shakespeare, being the figure in English
literature that he is, should command greater respect than to just
continually carve him up and reassemble him in any way we like.

For 100 years we have considered that the parts of Cordelia and Fool
were played by the same boy actor, but we have been slow to take the
matter a step further and admit that the motley was itself a disguise
which would have allowed Cordelia to remain behind and serve her father
without his knowing it, as Edgar does his father in the sub-plot.

If you enjoy seeing Rosalind disguised as Ganymede, Celia as Aliena,
Viola as Cesario, Imogen as Fidele, or Portia and Nerissa as Antonio's
doctor of law and law clerk, then you will love seeing Cordelia
disguised as Lear's Fool.

Visit the expanded website dedicated to the promotion of Cordelia,
Lear's Fool.
http://www.ar.com.au/~rgm/student.html

Bob Marks
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