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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: March ::
Re: Curse; Southern TN; Shrew
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0196  Friday, 6 March 1998.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Mar 1998 16:32:14 -0500
        Subj:   Macbeth Curse

[2]     From:   Michael Ullyot <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Mar 1998 17:15:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0191  Southern *Twelfth Night*

[3]     From:   Stevie Simkin <
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        Date:   Friday, 6 Mar 1998 09:28:13 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0190  Re: Racism, Sexism, etc.


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Mar 1998 16:32:14 -0500
Subject:        Macbeth Curse

Does anyone out there know the exact transcription of the Macbeth curse
in Black Adder III, part 1?  The best I have been able to manage is:
"Hot potato, up the score, Puck will make amends."  Is this right?
Please e-mail me (
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 ) or drop by our booth at the SAA
conference in Cleveland.  I must know!!!

Thanks,
Tanya

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Ullyot <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Mar 1998 17:15:57 -0500
Subject: 9.0191  Southern *Twelfth Night*
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0191  Southern *Twelfth Night*

As Harry Hill recently informed SHAKSPEReans about various goings-in in
the Montreal theatre community (viz. the Centaur Theatre's banishment of
a particularly vitriolic reviewer of its dreadful 'Gone With The Wind'
_Twelfth Night_), I thought that some commentary might be required. To
the many subscribers unfamiliar with the production, I offer the
following account: On the basis of a conversation he once had with Ben
Kingsley, Gordon McCall (the Centaur's Artistic Director) decided to set
his production in the American South around the time of the Civil War.
The result is interesting, but the production's overall effect is
incomplete, and betrays an inadequate thought-process-as the
much-maligned reviewer pointed out. The costumes (hoop skirts and
Confederate uniforms), cotton plantation setting and accents are
accurate (to the best of my knowledge), but the play's
recontextualisation hardly illuminates anything about the period OR the
meaning of the play. It seems, rather, like a failed experiment in
making Shakespeare (in McCall's parlance) "accessible" to "contemporary"
audiences' sensibilities.  The aim of situating Shakespeare in a
non-traditional setting must (I think) be to cast light on both text and
context-something that this production fails to achieve. (The Centaur
might have taken Ian McKellen's 1996 film of _Richard III_ as a model of
successful fulfillment of this aim.)

Gordon McCall displayed nothing but resentful petulance in his
banishment of the reviewer Gaetan Charlebois from future Centaur
productions. As far as Charlebois ought to be concerned, however, a
great favour has been bestowed upon him.

Michael Ullyot
McGill University (student)

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stevie Simkin <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 6 Mar 1998 09:28:13 -0000
Subject: 9.0190  Re: Racism, Sexism, etc.
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0190  Re: Racism, Sexism, etc.

> Of course, we are talking about directorial choices, and I would be the
> last person to want to restrict them.  It just strikes me that so many
> people begin their consideration of TAMING by assuming that Shakespeare
> couldn't possibly have created a play in which a woman is REALLY treated
> so badly, so they come up with extravagant rationales for defending
> Petruchio's actions that simply do not seem supported by the text.

I saw a performance the other night that played the Taming straight, and
Kate's submission straight.  The sole justification came in a programme
note pointing out that Petruchio mentions his dead father several times,
ergo he had a bad childhood, ergo we can understand (and, the programme
hints, justify) his abuse and torture of Kate.  Spurious doesn't come
close.  When we start reading 20th century psychology in Shakespeare
instead of a reflection of common practices in early modern England
(public humiliation of "shrewish" women via cucking - strapping the
woman to a chair and ducking her into water - or use of a bridle fitted
around the woman's head with a metal bit in her mouth; wife beating;
etc.), the attempt to turn a blind eye to the play's misogyny looks more
like self-mutilation with a sharp instrument and King Lear 3.7 to
hand...

Stevie Simkin

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