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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: October ::
Re: Bankside Globe
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0935  Monday, 5 October 1998.

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Friday, 2 Oct 1998 17:12:24 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe

[2]     From:   William Williams <
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        Date:   Friday, 02 Oct 1998 17:12:48 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe

[3]     From:   Justin Bacon <
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        Date:   Saturday, 03 Oct 1998 02:40:15 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0908  Re: Bankside Globe


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Friday, 2 Oct 1998 17:12:24 -0400
Subject: 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe

On the subject of 'seeing' versus 'hearing' an Elizabethan play, several
esteemed contributors have argued that the latter was what Elizabethans
thought they were doing. Barbara Palmer notes that

> The customary (actually, I know of no variations thus
> far) phrase in the records is that one goes to hear
> a play: e.g., "Pd to my master when he went to
> hear a play at poule's" or "pd to the links when my
> mistress went to hear a play at blackfriars."  This
> phrasing of going "to hear a play" holds for all of
> the extant Talbot, Shrewsbury, Saville, Wentworth,
> Hardwick, Clifford, and Ingram family records-no mean
> sample and with a chronological spread from c.1590 to c.1640.

This is powerful evidence indeed. But it also appears from Henslowe's
records and other sources that the companies spent huge amounts of
money-often as much as the cost of a custom-built playhouse-on their
costumes. That suggests that even if the customers thought that they
were going to a play to treat their ears, the players took a great deal
of trouble to feast their eyes too. Maybe saying that you went to listen
was considered more sophisticated than saying that you went to look.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Williams <
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Date:           Friday, 02 Oct 1998 17:12:48 -0500
Subject: 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0930  Re: Bankside Globe

Tom Simone said:

"As for the response of the actors, I believe the Globe Shylock (forgive
me, his name escapes me and my program is elsewhere) was quite disturbed
by the audience reaction to his performance. I do not believe the
MERCHANT production was particularly good, and it surely did not know
what to do with the Shylock and anti-semitic elements of the play or the
audience.

In response to David Nicol about the AS YOU LIKE IT production, the
"milling audience" was clearly included in the production's plans.  All
of the yard action and the majority of entrances and exits through the
yard showed a production concern with involving and directing the
audience's attention.  One of my students who went to a second
performance, now in the yard, exclaimed "I held Orlando's coat!"  And
another said, "Touchstone shared my beer!"

The point is, in my view, that the dynamic of the theater and the
greater mobility of body and voice in the audience demand a good
production that considers the experience of the new Globe.  I believe
that, among other things, the AS YOU LIKE considered and worked very
well with the theater and the audience.  The MERCHANT production seemed
adrift."

Two points:  Several of my students had extended conversations with
Norbet Kentrup (Shylock in the Merchant) this summer and he expressed
such views as Tom Simone suggests, but not only toward the audience but
toward the whole production.  Nothing personal, mind you, but a full
understanding of the source (Jewish) of Portia's "Quality of  Mercy"
speech and the Christians' failure to follow any of the precepts in it.
Second, the AYL use of the yard is not only a modern intrusion into a
historical model, it flies in the face of much of what we know of the
pre-1642 stage.  Have a look at items 31 and 34 in R. A. Foakes
+Illustrations of the English Stage: 1580-1642+ London: Scolar, 1985.
In these two instances the stage has railing which looks, in 31, about
shin-, or knee-, high to me.  I also recall seeing, but am currently
unable to find, an illustration of the stage from the period with
pointed, curved iron spikes pointing outward toward the audience.  It
might seem that rather than making use of the yard and the theatre
entrances a Renaissance company might have been very concerned to
maintain some distance from the audience-a Safety Curtain for different
means?

WPW

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Justin Bacon <
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Date:           Saturday, 03 Oct 1998 02:40:15 -0500
Subject: 9.0908  Re: Bankside Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0908  Re: Bankside Globe

Abigail Quart wrote:

> Take another look. Daughters disobeying their fathers in the name of
> love was sometimes a necessary thing, but never a good one.

In your opinion. Shakespeare's opinion is clearly quite different. In
MND, R&J, OTHELLO and LEAR we see clear examples of daughters rebelling
against their fathers-and the fact that this was considered the *right*
choice.  In HAMLET we see Ophelia *fail* to rebel against her father and
the result is hardship for herself and Hamlet, and her eventual death.
In LEAR we even hear the words, from Cordelia's lips:

"You have begot me, bred me, lov'd me: I
Return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
They love you all? Haply, when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty:
Sure I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all."

Or Desdemona in OTHELLO:

"My noble father,
I do perceive here a divided duty:
To you I am bound for life and education;
My life and education both do learn me
How to respect you; you are the lord of duty,--
I am hitherto your daughter: but here's my hudband;
And so much duty as my mother show'd
To you, preferring you before her father,
So much I challenge that I may profess
Due to the Moor, my lord."

> It always
> came on the heels of parental abdication of an unwritten law to rule
> wisely and with love.

Well, yes. If the father didn't force the issue then the issue wouldn't
be forced, QED. However, these two passages also point out two things:

1. If the father DOES force the issue, then the daughter is right to
"prefer [her husband] before her father".
2. Even if the father does NOT force the issue, then the daughter must
still give "half [her] love" to him. If the father recognizes this
truth, fantastic. If not, it doesn't change the issue.

> Shakespeare saw the role of parents as he saw the
> role of kings. A good king does not force his subjects, does not push
> them into actions against heart and conscience. Neither does a good
> parent. When either or both child and citizen are forced to rebel by the
> abdication of right authority, confusion and danger and often death
> ensues.

Or happiness and prosperity. Cordelia wins a better husband for her
wisdom although she ends in tragedy for quite different reasons;
Hermia's story ends in happiness; Desdemona and Juliet do not end up
dead BECAUSE they disobeyed, but for quite different reasons. Ophelia,
OTOH, dooms herself in her decision to honor her father before her love.

Justin Bacon

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