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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: Elizabethan Staging
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0441  Friday, 8 May 1998.

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 May 1998 17:55:38 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Elizabethan Staging

[2]     From:   Ron Ward <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 May 1998 10:29:07 +1200 (NZST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0426  Re: Elizabethan Staging


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 May 1998 17:55:38 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Elizabethan Staging

David Richman writes,

> I would be grateful, and I suspect the list would
> benefit, if those of you who have either seen
> performances of the Original Shakespeare Company
> or other companies using similar techniques, or who
> have participated in such performances, would furnish
> details.

Since opinion is being solicited...

I saw Patrick Tucker lead his OSC through a few scenes of, I think, 3H6
at the Wanamaker Globe during the autumn 1995 workshop season.

This was, I grant, only a small unrepresentative sample of their work,
but it confirmed what I expected having heard Tucker describe his
techniques. The actors frequently almost collided and frequently
delivered their lines to the wrong person. Nothing that a little
rehearsal wouldn't have fixed...

Tucker's ideas about cue-scripts are interesting. His ideas about the
First Folio are just plain wrong: he believes that the punctuation and
spelling reflect spoken emphasis and that all the Folio texts were
printed from documents representing the final, theatricalized, form of
each play. The Shakespeare's Globe Acting Editions make for easy
xeroxing of `parts' but their introductions are full of howlers like
"iambic pentameters [have] ... 10 feet" (MND & H5 p5). Students need to
be made aware of the problems before using these texts.

Gabriel Egan
(With apologies for repetition of opinions given the last OSC came up on
SHAKSPER)

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ron Ward <
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Date:           Friday, 8 May 1998 10:29:07 +1200 (NZST)
Subject: 9.0426  Re: Elizabethan Staging
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0426  Re: Elizabethan Staging

Many thanks to the many people who replied to my Elizabethan staging
question. I must say I was surprised that pirating was not a
consideration in most respondents opinions. It is always possible that
Shakespeare used non standard rehearsal techniques in his play
productions. It would not be unusual for someone as creative as he was
to approach things from a different perspective from his contemporaries.
Some of the clues to what he may have considered as bad acting (but
prevalent nevertheless) can be deduced from Hamlet's instructions to the
players. So perhaps even when we establish what was the prevalent
methods of rehearsal at the time, we may still be a fair distance from
Shakespeare's preferred methods of production.  Another point to having
'sides' only in the hands of the actors may be that, as in 'real life'
we do not know the end of any event and often do not know much of the
interaction of other people prior to our involvement, our behaviour
would unconsciously differ significantly from a position of knowledge of
the future and in depth knowledge of the past. Romeo in the tomb may be
played quite differently if the actor had no prior idea that Juliette
was really alive. This can not be stretched too far, as clearly everyone
would know by the end of the first performance. But the initial
performance may set a precedent that could be followed by the actor/s.
This theory may have a few holes in it and may not have been a
consideration in the Elizabethan productions, but it may have some
benefits anyway. It would only work with new plays anyway. It would also
require a lot of trust from the actors.

Ron Ward
 

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