Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: January ::
Re: *Twelfth Night*
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0020  Tuesday, 6 January 1998.

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 05 Jan 1998 20:08:55 +0000
        Subj:   SHK 9.008  Re: *Twelfth Night* -Reply

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 05 Jan 98 20:18:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0012  Re: *Twelfth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 05 Jan 1998 20:08:55 +0000
Subject: Re: *Twelfth Night* -Reply
Comment:        SHK 9.008  Re: *Twelfth Night* -Reply

Dear Marilyn and others interested,

Marilyn wrote:
>Safe versus risky productions,  hmm...  How about the Yale Repertory
>Theatre production, I think about 6 years ago-maybe less.

She then went on to describe something that sounds dreadful.

Risky and bad are not necessarily the same thing.  In this case, perhaps
they were.  I doubt Marilyn meant to imply that risky is always bad and
safe is always good, so please don't read this as a corrective, rather
as a further comment.

Here are one lad's ramblings on the subject of safe and risky theater: I
am about to make a generalization.  Since it is a generalization, it is
inaccurate.  I acknowledge that.  I also think that generalizations are
sometimes useful.  I hope that proves to be true here.

People who like safe theater, seldom like risky theater.  They want the
feel good factor.  People who like great theater, seldom like safe
theater.

I'm a bit odd.  I can like both.

Some people consider safe to be bad.  See Peter Holland's comments about
Ian Judge's productions in his very enjoyable book *English
Shakespeare*.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every Ian Judge production I
have seen.  Yes, it is feel good Shakespeare.  Yes, his Twelfth Night
really missed the point.  It was also one of the most entertaining
afternoons of theater I have had.  So much for my claim to be a real
Shakespearean.

I complained about The Utah Shakespearean Festival production because it
scored a 3 on my entertainment meter, where Judge scored a 10.  If you
are going to miss the point of a play, at least make it as fun as
possible, not a series of missed opportunities.

When I see a safe production, I ask myself:  Was it so charming that I
liked the production despite the anti-textual decisions?  Did it so miss
the point that the director should have chosen a different text if
he/she wanted to say those things?

I do not pretend that these are the only questions worth asking.  This
is a top on the noggin message, and I am leaving out the quality of the
acting and costumes and such questions for now.

I prefer risky Shakespeare when the risks shed light on the texts and
make for thrilling theater.  I am told Peter Brook's Dream did all of
this.  On the other hand, I'd much rather see Ian Judge's Twelfth Night
than the production Marilyn described.  Some risks are not worth
taking.  Danny Sheehe's (sp?) production of Comedy of Errors in Santa
Cruz was considered risky and brilliant.  By the time he directed The
Tempest, and was still using his homoerotic/cross dressing clich

 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.