1997

Great Lakes Tempest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1021.  Thursday, 9 October 1997.

From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 13:37:22 -0400
Subject:        Great Lakes Tempest

Those of us on the local organizing committee for the Shakespeare
Association meeting (Cleveland, 18-21 March, 1998) tried hard to
persuade the Great Lakes Theater Festival, one of our two large
professional theater groups, to schedule their annual Shakespeare, in
this case *The Tempest*, so that registrants could see it.  They
decided, however, to open the season with it.  (Those of you coming to
the meeting will have a chance to see the Cincinnati Shakespeare
Festival perform *Coriolanus* and rehearse *Much Ado* instead.)

Anyway, having seen the opening of *Tem* I'm both sad and glad we didn't
succeed in getting them to do it in March.  The production has much of
interest to academic viewers.  Dennis Rosa, the director, has taken up
the old notion of the play as the author's farewell to the stage with
great enthusiasm.  He's contrived a kind of prologue, a patchwork of
quotations from the play (mostly pretty obvious) and some bits and
pieces from the sonnets, an aging man's ruminations on the evanescence
of life and art; the actor who will play Prospero, in generic Eliz/Jac
doublet and hose, black, delivers this on a proscenium stage open all
the way to the back wall, whose center is occupied by an equally generic
reconstruction of the Globe stage and tiring house, with the stage
itself raised (but much foreshortened--6' or so?) and the canopy only
suggested.  We discover later that there's a little room up there under
the twin gables where Shakespeare/Prospero sometimes sits and writes.
As the black figure muses, other actors come in and do pre-performance
stuff; the prologue closes with P. scribbling and then reading the last
few lines of the play proper, and then the winds begin to howl.

At this point a second (third?) set of theatrical conventions emerges.
Rosa, having read his introductions, asked his designers to take Inigo
Jones as their inspiration, and not only the betrothal masque but the
whole piece employs the kind of obvious artifice, two dimensions
pretending to be three, of Jacobean masque design as it survives to us
in Jones' drawings.  The storm scene involves fairies, working on the
forestage, waving strips of cloth through which another fairy carries a
little toy ship in great distress, while the Neapolitans, working on the
Globe stage, do their dialogue and Prospero, up in the little room,
observes and occasionally gives directions with his staff.  Prospero
tells his story not only to Miranda but to an attentive audience of
fairies; when she's asleep, Ariel comes dancing in from the wings (Rosa
keeps him in constant motion-a slightly unfortunate choice with an
actor-Jonathan Uffelman- who doesn't move badly but not all that well
either), and Caliban (George Diehl, Jr.), interestingly played with bent
knees and bowed back until his very last few moments in Act 5, comes
rolling out from under the Globe platform.

At the end of that scene, stage-hands wheel on little towers, painted to
look like the rocks in International Style landscapes, the landscape of
the island; from these Prospero, Ariel, and the ever present fairies
watch Ferdinand and Miranda meet, the Neapolitan court party come
ashore, the clowns discover one another, and so on.  Prospero is
sometimes down, sometimes aloft.  There's a good deal of incidental
music, not bad (though Ariel doesn't sing very well), and a great deal
of movement.

All this has a lot of scenic appeal; the Jones stuff is elegant and
charming, the costumes rich and strange, something is going on all the
time.  Too much, to my mind.  All that scenery crowds things, so the
actors are always in each others' faces (this may also arise from the
fact that Rosa has worked mostly in TV the last few years).  The
non-stop busyness means drifting focus-knowing the text as well as I do
I couldn't always hear lines for the rolling of scenery or other
incidental noise, and I know some less experienced spectators found it
hard to keep up.

Still and all, an interesting if not always successful effort.  Michael
Rudko as Shakespeare/Prospero manages to keep his genial and his
vengeful side in touch with each other and us and to communicate clearly
through the visual din.  Mark Elliot Wilson makes a dangerous Antonio
from whom Prospero has clearly not heard the last.  George Diehl Jr.'s
3-foot-high Caliban, whom the others treat as a talking dog with a
propensity to bite, is beguilingly vigorous.  Careena Melia is
persuasively innocent and sexy at the same time.  And John Buck, Jr.,
does a delightful turn as a Stefano who owes more than a little in the
way of inflection, posture, and gesture to the immortal W. C. Fields.
The show runs through Oct. 19.

Qs: Search Web Search; Oth-Insipred Film

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1020.  Thursday, 9 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 10:40:15 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: A dumb query

[2]     From:   Barrett Fisher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 14:37:25 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1014  Qs: 1000 Acres; Clapping; Race/Religion/Opera


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Milla Riggio <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 10:40:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: A dumb query

Dear Hardy and others:

I have been asked by someone planning a retirement party for a
Shakespeare director what the best net/web source for Shakespeare's
plays is, so that they can browse through for quotations.  How would an
informed person answer this (probably all too obvious) question. I need
to know in something of a hurry.

Thanks,
Milla Riggio

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Barrett Fisher <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 14:37:25 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.1014  Qs: 1000 Acres; Clapping; Race/Religion/Opera
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1014  Qs: 1000 Acres; Clapping; Race/Religion/Opera

SHAKSPEREANS:

A colleague who will be teaching "Othello" has asked me if I can think
of any books or movies "inspired" by, or responding to, the play in much
the same way as Jane Smiley's "1000 Acres."  I cannot think of either a
film or book off the top of my hand, so I am drawing on your collective
wisdom for suggestions.

Since one theme of the play is miscegenation, I did tell her that Spike
Lee's "Do the Right Thing" is a good recent film treatment of mixed race
relationships, but that movie is hardly inspired by "Othello"; the
Denzel Washington character is also an adulterer, there is a large
subplot with a crackhead brother and, most importantly, the movie does
not have an Iago-figure or Iago perspective (though I suppose the
brothers of the white woman provide that to a certain extent).

Any help would be much appreciated.  Private replies are welcome if this
is not of general interest.

Barrett Fisher
Bethel College (MN)

Re: A. L. Rowse

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1018.  Thursday, 9 October 1997.

From:           John McWilliams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 08 Oct 1997 16:03:28  +0100
Subject: 8.1012  Obituaries: A. L. ROWSE
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1012  Obituaries: A. L. ROWSE

It is said that opinion is 'divided' on the value of A. L. Rowse's work.
But is there really anyone who takes this guy seriously? Yes he sold
some books, but why was he on the shelves to be sold in the first place?
It is a constant source of annoyance to me when browsing in the
Shakespeare section that this historian made pointless by his
breathtaking self-regard features so prominently when there are scholars
of genuine interest (and accessibility) who are ignored by retailers.

Would anyone like to defend his work? I admit I haven't read anything
beyond the few pages on Shakespeare I've looked at in the bookshop - I
don't think I could bring myself to...

John

Re: Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1019.  Thursday, 9 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Hugh Howard Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 12:15:51 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1015  Re: Macbeth

[2]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 19:36:13 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1007  Re: Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Howard Davis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 12:15:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.1015  Re: Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1015  Re: Macbeth

I believe that Polanski's Macbeth (sorry, I don't have it in front of me
right now) used the witches as representative of the fates.  Can anyone
confirm?

--Hugh Davis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 19:36:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.1007  Re: Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1007  Re: Macbeth

I have to say that I saw the Zulu Macbeth in NYC and left midway. I
found it ferociously boring, the more so since whatever dialogue there
was had been summarized by minimal supertitles. Others here had the same
reaction, while still others thought it was the greatest thing since
they sliced the bread and put it in waxpaper.

hr greenberg md

Re: Classroom Strategies

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.1017.  Thursday, 9 October 1997.

[1]     From:   Karen Krebser <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Oct 1997 08:38:05 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1013 Re: Classroom Strategies

[2]     From:   Eva McManus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 18:02:27 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Classroom Strategies

[3]     From:   Robert Linn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 08 Oct 1997 20:19:22 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.1003  Re: Classroom Strategies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Krebser <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 08 Oct 1997 08:38:05 -0700
Subject: 8.1013 Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1013 Re: Classroom Strategies

> My advice on classroom strategy is this: Go to the theater, start with
> easy modern plays, move on to Shakespeare's Comedies, then try the
> tragedies. At this stage - AT THE EARLIEST - consider getting a copy of
> the text for the students to look at.
>
> Peter Hillyar-Russ

But the POETRY, man, the POETRY!!! Often that level of Shakespeare's
plays is lost on the stage (depending upon the production), and is best
appreciated by a reading of the play FIRST. It has also been my
experience that, because there are four hundred years between
Shakespeare's English and mine, reading the play first is a BIG help in
understanding the performance.

Best regards,
Karen Krebser

PS. Surely you're not comparing *any*thing Shakespeare wrote to
"Baywatch"? "The X Files," maybe... but in any event, it's apples and
oranges, from my view.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eva McManus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Oct 1997 18:02:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Classroom Strategies

For those  unfamiliar with our publication, "Shakespeare and the
Classroom" is a journal published twice yearly that focuses on teaching
Shakespeare.  Our range is broad enough to cover all academic levels.
We provide articles on teaching strategies as well as news of books,
articles, films/videos and other teaching aids.  We regularly provide
information on the educational outreach programs of Shakespeare
festivals and theatres and review their productions. The journal
includes calls for papers, announcements of conferences, reviews of
conferences and workshops as well as notices of  upcoming productions.
Each edition contains commentary on the state of education in the US,
linking it specifically to our concern with teaching Shakespeare.  In
fact, our recent 92-page special Spring edition contained not only
articles on teaching, the usual Contexts and Opinion sections, but also
two significant studies-Dennis Brestensky's "A Search for Master
Teachers" and C. W. Griffin's "Teaching Shakespeare:  A Report" that
analyzed data from an extensive study of teaching methods and emphases
in college and university Shakespeare classes.  The journal routinely
includes media commentary on education issues as well. Other features
address electronic media by reporting on Shakespeare websites, including
the Globe sites, and uses of technology in the classroom.

"Shakespeare and the Classroom" is jointly sponsored by Ohio Northern
University and Shakespeare's Globe (USA).  We provide information about
Globe Education programs in the US, England and other international
Globe sites.  Over the years our publication has followed the
development of the new Globe; we provided construction updates and then
carried several articles on last year's Prologue Season dealing with the
logistics of staging in the theatre.   The summer courses offered by
Globe (USA) (mentioned in Jason Rosenbaum's recent note to SHAKESPER)
and the 1997 Globe Opening Season are discussed in our fall 1997
edition, due out later this month.  This edition will also contain an
index to the first four years of publication.

The subscription rate is $8.00 per year ($12.00 international). Send
subscription requests and manuscripts to:

        Eva McManus
        English Department
        Ohio Northern University
        Ada, OH  45810

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Linn <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 08 Oct 1997 20:19:22 -0400
Subject: 8.1003  Re: Classroom Strategies
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.1003  Re: Classroom Strategies

Concerning classroom strategies or ideas, I have taught A Midsummer
Night's Dream to non-college prep seniors in high school for more years
than I care to remember.  In most of those years, we have ended our
study with a class production of the workman's play. The students learn
the lines, prepare the costumes and props, select music, and come up
with -- -um "dramatic ideas."  We put the production on for other
students, usually about one hundred, and the production has become one
of the traditions for the end of school.  Putting on a dress and playing
Thisbe has helped more than one good ol' boy graduate.  I have
videotapes of these performances that go back over fifteen years.  If
anyone is interested in the specifics of what I do and how, you are
welcome to contact me off list.

Bob Linn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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