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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: April ::
Announcements: BBC; CUNY Lecture; CSF Ado
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0321  Wednesday, 8 April 1998.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 09:46:15 -0400
        Subj:   That darned ol' BBC again

[2]     From:   Martin Elsky <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 16:14:36 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   CUNY Shakespeare Institute Lecture

[3]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 16:31:14 -0400
        Subj:   The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Much Ado about Nothing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 09:46:15 -0400
Subject:        That darned ol' BBC again

The most recent prognosis on the BBC Shakespeare series is not good.  As
most of you know, we've been campaigning the BBC to reduce their prices
on their Shakespeare series (and their other Renaissance titles) in
hopes of making them more accessible to the public and to academia.
Last I heard, the attempt was floundering - looks like the Beeb is ready
to rumble, but they're having trouble with their video distributor
(surprise, surprise).  The time has come to start exerting some real
pressure on them, so they will have no choice but to see this through.

I will be leaving for New York on Thursday afternoon.  Please send me
requests for BBC price reductions (if you include specific names of
plays, they are counted as individual votes) before 3 pm e.s.t., and
I'll take them with me.  I'll post again on Wednesday to let you know
how it went.

Tanya Gough
Poor Yorick - CD & Video Emporium, Stratford

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Elsky <
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Date:           Tuesday, 7 Apr 1998 16:14:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        CUNY Shakespeare Institute Lecture

Dear Colleagues,

The Annual CUNY Shakespeare Institute Lecture,

                     "A MAP DOTH NATURE STORE":
                SHAKESPEARE AND NATURE'S NETWORK

will be held on FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 1998, 4:00-5:30pm, in the Third Floor
Studio of the CUNY Graduate School, 33 W 42 Street.  Admission is free
and open to the public. All are welcome.

                                PROGRAM

Gail Kern Paster (George Washington University), "Anthony's Happy
Horse"; Or, Cleopatra's Passions and the Boundaries of Species"

Response: Barbara Bowen (CUNY Graduate School and Queens College)

Reception after program

The program will follow a TELECONFERENCE with the University of
Pennsylvania. Abstracts of papers, including Gail Paster and Rebecca
Bushnell's papers, are available on the conference website. Comments and
questions are welcome:
http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/shakespeare/
or
http://web.gc.cuny.edu/dept/renai/shakconf.htm


[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 07 Apr 1998 16:31:14 -0400
Subject:        The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Much Ado about Nothing

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Much Ado about Nothing, directed
by Jasson Minadakis, opened on April 2 and runs until April 25 at their
new theatre (719 Race Street in downtown Cincinnati).  There is an
undifferentiated, black thrust stage with two entrances at the rear, 22
seats on stage, two black pillars (stage front, right and left), and two
moveable benches.  The pillars are used as various hiding places.

The production begins with a song (but not "Men were deceivers ever").
Beatrice (Marni Penning) aims her, "God help the noble Claudio!  If he
have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere 'a be
cur'd" (1.1.88-90 Riverside2), directly at Hero (Jill Westerby),
establishing a pre-play relationship between the two. Pedro (William
Sweeney) and his men enter marching, and Pedro gives Leonato (Aaron Todd
Douglas) the privilege of telling them to "stand down."  In this
production, Leonato is identified as an old soldier.  The production
also establishes a distinction among Pedro, Claudio (C. Charles
Scheeren), and Benedick (Khris Lewin).  Pedro and Claudio are noble,
while Benedick is a lower class soldier who has risen through the
ranks.  Nevertheless, in the first scene, there is a good deal of
soldierly horseplay among them.  In a nice touch, Don John (Jay Apking)
pulls rank when he exits, insisting on his place directly behind Pedro.

The script, of course, gives any director room to make Beatrice and
Benedick into interminable talkers, characters who can't, or won't, shut
up, but, as I watched this production on opening night, I fully
experienced the verbal dominance of these two.  I find their dominance
comic, but I can imagine that another auditor might have a different
reaction, and might invoke the now oft used "hegemonic."

Pedro's proposal to Beatrice, "Will you have me, lady?" (2.1.326), is a
moment of embarrassment.  Beatrice, for a brief moment, is taken aback,
and, as an auditor, I was puzzled.  (I'm just as puzzled as a reader.)
Beatrice quickly recovers, but I continue to wonder at Pedro's lack of a
wife, or a lover. Pedro is not presented in this production as gay, so
homosexuality is out as a reason for his isolation from women.

In Act 2, scene 2, Don John is smooth, but obviously dubious regarding
Borachio's scheme to break up the marriage between Hero and Claudio.  He
has to be convinced, and thus accounts for Borachio's rather long
description of his project.

The opening of 2.3 is cut, and Benedick runs in in sweat clothes, doing
his morning exercises, no doubt.  He uses the two pillars to hide from
Pedro, Leonato, and (in this production) the singing friar (Dan
Kenney).  To move from one pillar to the other, Benedick throws
something stage rear to get the attention of the other three, then runs
for it.  During Benedick's aside (118-20), Pedro, Leonato, and Friar
slip off stage through one rear entrance, and immediately reenter to
listen. Thus Claudio's "He hath ta'en th' infection" (121).

Dogberry (Dan Kenney) and his men are presented as rather demented
marines, and Jay Apking (Don John) interestingly doubles as Verges, and
Conrade and Margaret (Nicole Franklin-Kern) are doubled.

During the rejection scene (4.1), Benedick's role is blocked so that he
is physically isolated from Pedro and John, and, to account for
Margaret's silence, John moves across the stage and grabs her arm, with
a threatening gesture, and when Pedro, Claudio, and John exit, she is
pulled out with them.  Leonato's rejection of Hero is muted in this
production, while the Friar's reconcilation of father and daughter is
emphasized.

At one point, Peggy Russo suggested that Benedick slip a ring on
Beatrice's finger when he says, "Enough, I am engag'd" (4.1.331), but,
unfortunately, that piece of business got lost.

Hero (Jill Westerby) doubles as the Sexton, and also enters in a hood to
sing (ironically) her own dirge (5.3).  In the final scene, Verges is
the messenger who enters to announce the capture of Don John.  Of
course, Jay Apking plays both roles.  Pedro fumes in anger at the
announcement, and begins to hurry out to impose summary judgment, but is
restrained by Benedick's "Think not on him till to-morrow" (127).

I enjoyed the show, and I highly recommend it.  As I left the theatre, I
heard another auditor comment on the excellent acting.  I agree.

For more information, please call (513) 381-BARD.

Yours, Bill Godshalk
 

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