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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: September ::
Re: Shakespeare in New York
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0857  Thursday, 17 September 1998.

[1]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Sep 1998 15:56:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York

[2]     From:   Tim Perfect <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Sep 1998 22:06:20
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York

[3]     From:   Chris J. Fassler <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 07:57:30 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Shakespeare in NY


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Sep 1998 15:56:32 EDT
Subject: 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York

I've seen the Stratford production. Given the generally poor quality of
the Public Theater's interpretation of the minor plays, I would avoid
Pericles altogether, and go to the Stratford Much Ado. Also see their
THE MISER   -- both productions were excellent.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Sep 1998 22:06:20
Subject: 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0849  Re: Shakespeare in New York

Question: Edna Boris asked whether her students should see Pericles or
Much Ado in NYC this fall, assuming they could opt only for one--

 Abigail Quart writes:
>go with the better play: Much Ado.

How can one make an assumption merely based on the play itself?
Granted, the scholarly and technical merits may not match up to the
widely-produced and perhaps more technically proficient writing of
MAAN.  But isn't the point to SEE these plays - How incredible to be
able to see a play of Shakespeare that one may wait ten or even fifteen
years to have seen.  This is truly an opportunity.

Now, when you get right down to it, the play may not be that good.  The
actors and artistic staff may not be able to overcome the problems set
forth by the script.  There must be some reason WHY Pericles is not
produced as often as Much Ado.  But that is the whole purpose behind
producing it.  To find out WHY.  To try to overcome that, to see for
one's self, as an actor, as a director - WHY it is such a difficult
play.

This is one of the reasons WHY we have decided to look at producing
Pericles for our season at the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival: to give
the actors in Cleveland a chance to work on a play that may have never
been done in Cleveland before (we're checking into that).  To give
audiences a chance to see a professional production to decide for
themselves.  I'd rather go with  Christine Mack Gordon's assessment.

Tim Perfect
Executive Director
The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival
(216) 732-3311

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http://members.tripod.com/~clsf

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris J. Fassler <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 07:57:30 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shakespeare in NY

For Edna Boris and Abigail Quart:

Can't vouch for unknown productions, but please, go with the better
play: _Pericles_.

Cordially,
--Chris Fassler

goes:  Scrap all attempts at "exercises", forget about videos.  Just get
the people together, pick a play, divvy up the parts among them, and
read the play through aloud.  Encourage the people to take their time
reading, tell them when they come upon a strange word to greet it as a
stranger and give it a warm welcome.  Most importantly, exhort them to
be as hammy as they can.  The best way to learn Shakespeare is to learn
to enjoy him, and I can think of no other way to do that better than
simply to read his glorious works aloud and with gusto.

Paul S. Rhodes

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Pirnie <
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Date:           Thursday, 21 May 1998 19:54:20 EDT
Subject: 9.0489  Q: Suggestions for a Shakespeare Class
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0489  Q: Suggestions for a Shakespeare Class

In reply to Alicia Connoly-Lohr's query about introductory Shakespeare
classes using films, I've had very good luck asking freshmen to compare
film and text.  I ask them to identify interpretive options eliminated
by film editing, i.e.  Branagh's visual insistence on a physical
relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia or Zefirelli's omission of the
Fortinbras subplot.  This gets students quickly moving beyond plot and
content to more sophisticated thematic issues.

Good luck!
Karen Pirnie

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Mullin <
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Date:           Saturday, 23 May 1998 22:13:41 +1000
Subject:        Suggestions for a Shakespeare Class

Hi, Alicia

I'd be interested to hear what people suggest.

I've taught such adult classes since 1980 (when the BBC/PBS Shakespeare
was broadcast, and I was on its National Advisory Council)..

This led in time to CyberShakespeare, which I'm now gearing up from
Melbourne, Australia, where I'm on research leave.

Check out <<http://cybershakespeare.ola.edu.au> and please give me your
reaction by signing the guestbook at the end of the tour.

I think the blocking exercise might provide a pattern for what you do in
class.

Yours,
Michael

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David C. Frankel <
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Date:           Sunday, 24 May 1998 23:29:47 -0400
Subject: 9.0489  Q: Suggestions for a Shakespeare Class
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0489  Q: Suggestions for a Shakespeare Class

One of the exercises I do involves having two or three groups work for
about fifteen minutes on the scene in Midsummer when Lysander and Hermia
appear in the forest (Fair love, you faint with wandering in the woods.
. .)  You can do this even before the play is read as the scene is
pretty self-contained.  I use the "performances" as a way to talk about
the relationship of text to physical action and the choices open to
actors and directors (do they notice, for example, that Hermia probably
faints-or feigns fainting-before Lysander's first line?  When do the
each sit down or move away from the other?  How does the intensity of
movement and line affect the scene. . . and so on.

This scene, like many others, also contains both "prosaic" verse and
"poetic" verse, and can be used to launch a discussion about the
varieties of language in the plays.

In addition, someone in the class will recognize (or you can gently
suggest) the parallels between this scene and a more modern equivalent
("Honey, we're out of gas. . .") which can lead into a discussion about
the nature of Hermia and Lysander (and the other characters) in their
fictive world.

There are lots of other places to go (and many other scenes would work
just as well).

cdf

------------------------------

===================================
Date:         Fri, 18 Sep 1998 10:44:29 -0100
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From:         "Hardy M. Cook" <
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Organization: Bowie State University
Subject: Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices
Comment:      SHK 9.0859  Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices
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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0859  Friday, 18 September 1998.

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 09:29:33 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0855  Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices

[2]     From:   Don Rowan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 10:51:36 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0852  Q: Editorial/Interpretational Practices

[3]     From:   Scott Crozier <
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        Date:   Friday, 18 Sep 1998 10:15:45 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 09:29:33 -0500
Subject: 9.0855  Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0855  Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices

Tiffany Rasovic writes:

>Art and scholarship, and maybe life
>in general, are only worthwhile if one takes risks.  Shakespeare's plays
>are "risky" when compared to most plays written by the other dramatists
>in the Elizabethan/Jacobian era in England.

While I agree with those who think that "recovering" an "original"
Shakespearean experience is a substantially misguided venture, I'm
interested to see this issue argued as distinguishing Shakespeare from
his contemporaries. What's the argument for this view?

Frank Whigham

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Rowan <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Sep 1998 10:51:36 +0000
Subject: 9.0852  Qs: Tucker and Editorial/Interpretational
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0852  Qs: Tucker and Editorial/Interpretational
Practi

Just a note to second in the strongest terms Justin Bacon's first
posting. It may be naive or simplistic to read into the text at least
"something" of the author's intentions, but surely this is preferable to
the gymnastics of many soi-disant modern critics who use the plays as
stalking horses to demonstrate their own private agendas, critics who
scorn any smidgen of common sense and in support of their own pet
theories persist in reading against the grain of the text. With Bacon I
await the wrath of the Furies, presumably led by "Terrence, this is
stupid stuff."  Don Rowan.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Crozier <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Sep 1998 10:15:45 +1000
Subject:        Re: Editorial/Interpretational Practices

In the end I think we have to decide whether we want performances of
Shakespeare's works to speak to/for the audience watching or whether we
want museum performances of his plays.  I have not seen a performance at
the Globe, although I have seen the theatre, but I would suggest that
performances there - at present at least - are trying to replicate
original performances.  This of course is impossible - we can't forget
400 years of history and development.  Nevertheless, what is happening
at the Globe is as close as we will get, I suspect, to something called
"original Shakespeare".

On the other hand, when I decide to direct a play by Shakespeare or
Marlow or Behn or ... I do so because there are things in the play that
I think need saying to an audience now.  As a director I believe that it
is my job, through the agency of actors and theatre technicians, to to
make the play speak to the audience now.  How I do that will obviously
be determined by a number of factors such as the theatre we will be in,
the actors on hand, the skills of the technicians and actors, the money
(or more likely the lack of it) available for the performance.  What
appears on stage will usually have a mixed reception, but whether it
worked or not will be determined by the overall audience response to
it.  As a director I can't even be sure if the messages I wanted to be
sent were received by the audience.

Even though Robert Lepage sets his MND in a pool of mud, and Caird set
it in a Victorian rubbish tip, and Noble set it in a retro-Brook
squash-court albeit red, and I set it in an industrial jungle or on a
bed, we were all dealing with the same playtext.  The success or
otherwise was determined by the audience reaction, no matter what the
critics said.

So, Justin, what productions must not do is pretend that they are
dealing out original Shakespeare - even the Globe has trouble doing
that.  If that were the case, then his plays would have probably been
retired to musty library shelves long ago.  Long may they be acquired
and appropriated by directors wishing to take risks; wishing to make he
plays speak today.

Regards,
Scott Crozier
 

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