The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0933 Friday, 2 October 1998.
Date: Thursday, 01 Oct 1998 16:46:57 -0500
Subject: Two Questions: Aldridge and "Bad"
I have two questions.
1. I am in the middle of writing a monograph on Ira Aldridge's visits in
Central and Eastern Europe and his cultural and political influences and
connections. When he played in Poland on six occasions, he always added
Issak Bickerstaff's play THE PADLOCK (known in Polish as SPANISH
FRIVOLITY) to his standard repertoire of Shakespeare's plays (OTHELLO,
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, MACBETH). The archive sources say that he always
sang four American songs in his presentation of THE PADLOCK. Herbert
Marshall and Stock, the authors of Aldridge's biography, say that he
used to insert in his productions Black songs of freedom. I have found
out the titles of these songs at one of the Polish theatre playbills,
and I am very much interested in getting some more information on these
songs. They were advertised in Polish as:
--DEAR HEART, WHAT A TERRIBLE LIFE AM I LED;
--OPOSSUM UP A GUM TREE;
--DEAR LORD, DON'T BE ANGRY.
Ira Aldridge died and is buried in my native town--LODZ
2. The Lodz Section of the Polish Academy of Science has approached me
to give them a lecture on Shakespeare as a "bad" writer. It is a real
challenge, since the Polish Shakespeare is the Shakespeare of tradition
embedded in bardolatory and in conservative and essentialist
interpretations. Could the member of the Conference help me with any
ideas how to deal with this subject, and any bibliographical data,