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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: September ::
Re: God Speed; Oberon/Titania; Witches
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0954.  Wednesday, 24 September 1997.

[1]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 15:28:17 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance

[2]     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 18:00:22 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance

[3]     From:   Evelyn Gajowski <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 19:52:03 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0945 Re: Devils and Witches


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 15:28:17 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance

Dear Ed P.,

The second play I ever directed was in 1967, a liturgical Everyman,
using mass for the dead and a choir of 11 voices around the throne of
God, who was enthroned on his own small stage apart from the mainstage.
(Done in Elizabethan baronial hall sort of chamber).  The key line in
the play is relevant to our present inquiry.  After successive failures
Everyman finally "gets it"  "I think that I shall never speed / Until I
get to my Good Deed".  But because he speeds as he goes a journey to the
divine throne in this play the line is right in the middle of your two
alternatives.  The Banns of the N Towne Cycle end with a conventional
tag "And God now be your spede."  Which I suppose means very loosely
"See you there," as the speaker has been itemizing the plays to be
presented and then says that the production will begin at 6 a.m. on such
a day in N.  Towne.  It somehow seems fitting that Everyman should talk
of speeding in the success sense when Death has come to send him on a
pilgrimage.  Go forth young man. And succeed while you are doing so.

Nice to hear from you.

John Velz

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 18:00:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0948   Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance

Ed Pixley writes:

"One of the greatest pleasures of producing Shakespeare is in exploring
visual possibilities for giving immediacy to the words in the theatre."

I like the quote, and I forget who said it, that the best thing about
producing Shakespeare is that "he's dead, and you're not."

BTW, I have an answer to our recent queries on the effectiveness of
switching Oberon and Titania as an experiment to test the purely
patriarchal intent of the play.  Last week, in rehearsal, we played
through all the T/0 scenes with the fairy rulers reversed.  Not only was
it funny, it was illuminating in several ways.  Oberon hinted more than
strongly that this pregnant Indian queen bore *his* child.  Several
women, who objected to a mere patriarchal reading of the play, pointed
out that we could now object to Titania as the conniving bitch-goddess,
so that as long as you pursued that path, you were doomed to that path.
The whole experiment gave a new potency to our explorations of the
themes of "dream" and "desire" in the text.

It also gave permission for an amazing rehearsal the following night.
Since we're still just playing and experimenting, there is no solid
blocking, and when Demetrius awoke, the first thing he saw-indeed,
direct eye contact-was Lysander.  Rather than flinch and avoid it, the
actors flew with it.  Demetrius pursued Lysander, and Lysander had to
abandon his pursuit of Helena. Suddenly Helena was once again left out
in the cold, and her lines took on an acid irony.  "A trim exploit, a
manly enterprise!"

When Hermia entered and found her Lysander underneath the huskier
Demetrius, she launched herself atop Demetrius, creating a pile of limbs
that Helena could only watch enviously.

I called a break at that point, and after break reoriented everyone's
sexuality to the traditional text.  This time, the only way Hermia and
Helena could get in their Girl Moment was to sit on the obstreperously
libidinous boys, aided by the fairies.

The chaos continued throughout the scene, and when we finally got all
four on the ground, asleep, the silence was deafening.

Our challenge now is to decide what to do with our discoveries.

Dale Lyles<---having an incredible amount of fun
Newnan Community Theatre Company
Newnan, GA

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Evelyn Gajowski <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Sep 1997 19:52:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 8.0945 Re: Devils and Witches
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0945 Re: Devils and Witches

Concerning witches, might I refer Shakespeareans to Deborah Willis's
recent book, *Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in
Early Modern England* (Ithaca and London: Cornell U P, 1995), which
deals with *1, 2, and 3 Henry 6*, *Richard 3* and *Macbeth*?

Regards,
Evelyn Gajowski
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
 

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