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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: August ::
The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0837.  Monday, 11 August 1997.

From:           Andrew Walker White <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Aug 1997 20:32:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

For some time, I have been alternately amused and frustrated by the ad
hominem attacks directed at the New Globe.  As tempting as it is to
respond in kind, and question the credentials of those who continue to
dismiss it, perhaps a few historical remarks may be more appropriate:

Sam Wanamaker, it can be assumed, was born in the United States.  This
is something for which he can never be forgiven, according to some on
this list, but so be it.  He had a thriving career as a performing
artist in the USA until the Red Scare of the 1950's.  Because of Mr.
Wanamaker's alleged marxist politics, he was blacklisted and essentially
forced to leave the country.  Others in Mr. Wanamaker's position, and
there were thousands, were less fortunate; many committed suicide, many
others watched helplessly as their families were torn apart by poverty
and the never-ending barrage of vitriol thhich will be
Shakespeare's plays.
I was born in Bonn in 1971. Between 1981 and 1984, I lived in Casper,
Wyoming, where I attended fifth, sixth and seventh grade. So far, this
has been my only extended stay in a foreign country. My only direct
experience of England was gathered on several short trips, including two
theatre-intensive pilgrimages to Stratford; at Bonn University, this
experience is made possible for a small group of students every year by
Professor Dieter Mehl. Since I have not yet finished studying, I do not
have a full-time job, but I give tutorials in linguistics at university
and teach the English language at the local Volkshochschule, an
institution for adult education.
I am not certain when my interest in Shakespeare began. My parents claim
credit because they took me to an open-air performance of "Cymbeline" at
Land's End when I was five, and though I can't say I remember much of it
(reports are that I watched raptly for three hours in spite of not being
able to understand a single word), it seems to have left a lasting
impression. Whatever its origins, my interest has grown steadily in the
course of my studies and shows no signs of abating as yet.

=============================================================
*Bradley, Jacqueline <
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A recent graduate of SMU, I currently teach in the Rhetoric Program at
SMU, and for the last four years have taught both British and American
Literature in the community college system. I have just published an
article on a Joyce Carol Oates novel, "_Black Water_ and Diminishing
Significance: Nameless, Wordless, Worthless," my first publication.  My
works in progress include a psychoanalytical study of Poe's "The Cask of
Amontillado."  My current Shakesperian research ranges from word choice
in _Macbeth_ to a psychoanalysis of Bolingbroke. Formerly the graduate
assistant for the Shakespeare Association of America, I continue to be
interested in all things Shakespearian.

=============================================================
*Evans, Shaula <
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My name =========================================================================
Date:         Tue, 12 Aug 1997 08:40:03 -0400
Reply-To:     
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Sender:       The Shakespeare Electronic Conference <
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From:         "Hardy M. Cook" <
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Organization: Bowie State University
Subject: Re: New Globe: The Yank Invasion
Comment:      SHK 8.0838  Re: New Globe: The Yank Invasion
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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0838.  Tuesday, 12 August 1997.

[1]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 1997 15:56:40 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0837 The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

[2]     From:   Don Rowan <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 1997 14:24:52 GMT-400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

[3]     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Aug 1997 12:14:46 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

[4]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Aug 1997 23:24:22 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

[5]     From:   Amy S. Green <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Aug 97 05:22:39 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0820  Re: New Globe

[6]     From:   Juul Muller-van Santen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Aug 1997 13:29:18
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 1997 15:56:40 +0100
Subject: 8.0837 The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0837 The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

I think Andrew White really does need to get his facts right.  In
Britain Shakespeare is regarded as THE national poet, and it is more
than ironical that an American (albeit of Sam Wannamaker's wholly
laudable political credentials) should seek to recapture a part of that
English past.

I have seen the working papers of the early Globe meetings and I am
sorry to say that White is wrong in thinking that this project was aimed
at ordinary people.  The project has, it is true, changed over a period
of years, but I have seen minutes of meetings in which the wishes of the
local populace - which at the time of the project's inception was the
poorest local authority in England - were ridden over roughshod.  I have
myself written on the early history of this flawed project in The
Shakespeare Myth ed. Graham Holderness, and that history makes salutary
reading.

On the matter of Professor Gurr's involvement, he his a scholar whose
work I respect, and as I see  it, he has taken the  rare, and some might
say extravagant, opportunity to engage in an act of scholarly
reconstruction.  So far as I am aware he has not been concerned with the
marketing of this project although I have heard him speak eloquently on
the progress of his own findings from time to time.  The result,
however, is not, as Professor Gurr will be the first to admit, a
faithful reproduction.  So far as he is aware, and I wholly concur with
him, there were no illuminated fire exits at the original Globe.  So
much for the building, but what is more important are the cultural
contexts (both the 16th and the 20th century contexts)  which produced
this theatre.  This is what, I suppose, White regards as Marxist
twaddle. He, for his part, seems to be wholly dedicated to consumption.
If the result is amusing, then he, Polonius-like, will be happy to
support it, resting in the comfortable (but wholly misguided) assumption
that the liberal philanthropy out of which the project emerged is a
condition to which all cultures aspire.  I believe that Francis Fukuyama
in his book The End of History and The Last Man comes to a similar naive
general conclusion.   One would not even need to aspire to being a
Marxist to see that this kind of capitalist twaddle just will not do. He
that is giddy thinks the world turns round!  Perhaps if Andrew White
were prepared to be a little less sentimental, and a little more
attentive to the details of the argument then he would realize that the
issue is NOT Sam Wannamaker, or some nationalist animus aimed at one of
the USA's wayward sons, but the rather dubious (if indeed complex)
conditions which have generated the kind of fantasy to which the late
Mr.  Wannamaker fell prey. That, of course, requires a little bit of
thought.

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Rowan <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 1997 14:24:52 GMT-400
Subject: 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

Dear Andy: Thank you for what  is certainly the fairest, best informed,
and, most impartial, judicious, and balanced summation of the story of
"that obsessive Yank" and "Disneyland on the Thames." The only point you
left out was Theo Crosby, the best working architect of the time, who
was fascinated by the combination of theoretical/practical problems of
building a replica/reproduction/ whatever of "a Elizabethan  playhouse".
He worked closely with Sam from the real beginnings (20 years ago) and
neither Sam nor anybody else (Gurr, Orrell) ever claimed anything more
than (defensible authenticity). David Galloway was my mentor and just so
that you know my extremely biased perspective,  and how dead and how far
behind the wave of performance criticism I "must" be, I am happy to tell
those of you who do not know the "real" history. I was born in
Rochester, N.Y. (not Kent or Minn.)and served gladly and proudly in the
United States Army Air Corps and the terrible, peace time Royal Canadian
Air Force. By this time, I was a Canadian citizen and suffering greatly
as, technically, a British (may I use that word in academic discourse)
subject. To offer my final hostages to fortune, I was educated at FHS
and UNB, both can be found with an atlas. Because of my ignorance, I
went on to Cambridge for a couple of years, but I don't normally use
Cantab.  That should  almost certainly be enough for the flamers lurking
in the semiotic bushes among all our joint boundaries, liquid or  more
or less permanent. One final gift: in 1988 I was proud to serve as
University Orator in the presentation of an LLD. I was also the person
who dared to put such a person forward. If you " beat not the bones of
the buried (Sam, Theo, and David)", I am willing to serve as a non-
moving target for all to shoot at. I do that because I believe that at
this stage in our work on the Elizabethan stage the "New Globe" is an
extremely useful tool, even for those who will certainly continue to
undermine it with critical  perspectives not available  to us savages
way back in the forty's and fifties.

Yet once more I want to thank Andy  for urging us to go forward , rather
than waste our time worrying away at our pathetic past.   
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[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott CROZIER" <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Aug 1997 12:14:46 +1100
Subject: 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

Thank you Andrew White for showing up much of the recent discussion for
what it really was.  Thanks to Sam Wannamaker and all the work and
enthusiasm he generated around the world, we have a resource of great
value.

Scott Crozier

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Aug 1997 23:24:22 -0600
Subject: 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

Andy White is correct in thinking that anti-American racism is not
uncommon in the United Kingdom. One encounters it in situations (eg
undergraduate seminars) in which all other forms of racism are, by
consensus, not tolerated.

But, Andy, isn't the word 'Yank' part of the problem?  You use the word
in your subject line and in your posting ("I was born a Yank"). I don't
know a great deal about American history, but doesn't "Yank" connote a
geographic and cultural specificity which is much narrower that, say,
the word "American". Am I right in thinking that African Americans and
Hispanic Americans (who form large minorities) might well feel that the
word "Yank" does not describe them?

As for the treatment of Wanamaker, isn't there a fascinating tension
between his early left-wing thinking and the project to construct a
replica of the Globe? The project has many friends on the right who see
it as part of the perfectly proper glorification of the national poet.
And, indeed, it has many enemies on the left who wish to expose the
politics which underlie the construction of the national poet.

But it MIGHT be argued (and has been on SHAKSPER) that the project
cannot help but historicize the allegedly transhistorical,
transcultural, transcendent, work of Shakespeare. This is just what
those on the right generally oppose and those on the left want to
promote.

Wanamaker is no longer around to be asked about this, but others on
SHAKSPER might actually have heard Wanamaker explain his reasons for
wanting a replica of the Globe to be built. It's axiomatic in some
left-wing circles that great scholarship, even if stimulated by
conservative notions about transcendence, inevitably exposes the
historical and cultural specificity of art. That is, right-wing ideas
fall away when scholars do their work in an honest way.

The counter view, articulated by Leah Marcus in her book _Unediting the
Renaissance_ is that great scholars of the right have wanted to account
for history in minute detail only in order to subtract it from great art
and so find the transcendent remainder.

The story about "marxist-inspired hooligans" throwing rocks at a
Wanamaker house sounds like a bit of make-believe from the same source
as that nonsense about ISGC receiving a huge profit out of litigation
with Southwark council.

Gabriel Egan

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy S. Green <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Aug 97 05:22:39 EDT
Subject: 8.0820  Re: New Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0820  Re: New Globe

Re:  Sunburning at the New Globe

I thought I remembered an historical tidbit about the old Globe having a
fanned awning akin to the contraptions used in Roman theatres to shield
patrons from mid-day glare.  If not, do we know much about how the
Eliz's handled the problem?  Was the stage oriented differently within
the theatre?

I, too, attended performances at Shakespeare and Co. this summer,
although not Henry IV, and was sadly disappointed, not so much by the
quality of the acting, but of the direction.  The BETRAYAL especially,
seemed to skim the surface of the play, despite a wise director's note
in the program re the significance of silences and the unsaid in the
performance of this text.  Perhaps the company's recent struggles with
its host organization at the Mount has (temporarily??) drained some of
its considerable creative energies.  Pity.

Amy Green

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Juul Muller-van Santen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Aug 1997 13:29:18
Subject: 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0837  The Yank Invasion, Via Southwark

Dear Andy White,

Good for you! That needed saying.

Cheers,
Julia Muller
Amsterdam
 

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