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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: July ::
Othello/Desdemona; Characters; Branagh; Thanks
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0801.  Tuesday, 29 July 1997.

[1]     From:   G. L. Horton <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Jul 1997 11:54:58
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0797  Re: Othello/Desdemona

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Jul 1997 13:23:06 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 8.0782  Re: Hamlet and Characters

[3]     From:   David Hale <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Jul 97 14:57:33 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHAKSPER: SHK 8.0792 Branaghs Hamlet: The Video

[4]     From:   Hugh Davis <
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        Date:   Monday, 28 Jul 1997 16:31:10 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0795  Re: Shakespeare on Radio


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           G. L. Horton <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Jul 1997 11:54:58
Subject: 8.0797  Re: Othello/Desdemona
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0797  Re: Othello/Desdemona

Stuart Manger <
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 > says

>I think as a producer I'd
>go for a 40/20 age range? She would be old enough to feel confident of
>her own sexual identity, old enough to feel daddy's chains clogging, and..
(snip)

I sincerely hope that you mean that you would have the actor PLAY
Desdemona as 20 years old, not that she must BE 20!

First, because I have yet to hear a 20 year old whose vocal instrument
is equal to a major Shakespearean role  -- and I see quite a bit of
student Shakespeare.  I know that the Globe co. used boys: but these
boys were apprenticed to the company, and had been in training nearly a
decade before they appeared in the more challenging parts.

You say you

>...just produced the show with
>R and J played by actors more or less the exact age Shakespeare calls
>for (J=14.5 years / R= 17 years), I can vouch for the visual / sexual
>frisson and validity of the gamble on stage. They simply looked
>absolutely right

Yes, but what did they SOUND like?

Now, I will concede that the apparently teen-aged actor who played
Katherine in Henry 5 at the New Globe was one of the best actors in that
production.  But though his line readings were excellent, I did have
trouble hearing him.

Second, such age specificity is type casting gone mad.  Is a performer
to train rigorously for the requisite years, and be washed up at 21,
like those poor exploited girl gymnasts?  Are we not to see the results
of mature artistic consideration applied to a "young" part?  Peggy
Ashcroft began performing Shakespeare when a school child, but even so
she says she was a much better Juliet when thirty than when twenty.  She
played heroines into her fifties, and compared her technique for
conveying the impression of youth to Ulanova's and Fonteyn's.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Monday, 28 Jul 1997 13:23:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Hamlet and Characters
Comment:        SHK 8.0782  Re: Hamlet and Characters

Dear Simon Malloch, Shakespeare's plays do not, by and large, wear what
Gore Vidal called the grey badge of naturalism. There is nothing 'cold'
or 'discouraging' about this. Quite the reverse. It's a principle which
frees us from a good deal of chilling chit-chat.

Terence Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Hale <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Jul 97 14:57:33 EDT
Subject: SHK 8.0792 Branaghs Hamlet: The Video
Comment:        Re: SHAKSPER: SHK 8.0792 Branaghs Hamlet: The Video

I also rented Branagh's "Hamlet" over the weekend, and enjoyed seeing it
again. Watching while holding the published screenplay revealed lots of
minor differences in the description of shots, sequences of shots, and
other things.

David Hale
SUNY Brockport

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Davis <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 28 Jul 1997 16:31:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0795  Re: Shakespeare on Radio
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0795  Re: Shakespeare on Radio

I want to offer sincerest thanks for the many good responses to my query
about the Shakespeare experiments on radio.  My appetite is now even
greater for finding these performances (if John Owen is right, the H4
should be wonderful). I will get to work tracking them down.

Thanks again to all for such wonderful aid,
Hugh Davis
 

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