The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0660 Thursday, 16 July 1998.
From: Judy Lewis <
Date: Wednesday, 15 Jul 1998 07:32:31 +1200
Subject: 9.0645 The New Globe 1998
Comment: Re: SHK 9.0645 The New Globe 1998
> Authenticity Disregarded: last season's Henry V used male actors for
> the female roles, and it worked in the context of that play (which has
> few female characters and none in leading parts), and for the purpose > of showing us as closely as possible what the original looked like.
I am rather dubious about the total success of the all-male production
of Henry V - at least for the performance I saw. The groundlings were
encouraged to be as noisy and responsive as it is supposed they were in
Shakespeare's day - and that is OK with me - but modern audiences,
especially young people, do not have sufficient experience to know how
to respond appropriately. In this production, Mistress Quickly was
played as a comic drag act, and got huge laughs. I am happy to accept
that this is 'authentic'; I doubt if it is a C20 idea for men to be
inordinately amused at seeing other men wearing false breasts.
Unfortunately, when the splendid young man playing Princess Katherine
came on, he was received in a similar manner by the largely teenage
(school party) groundlings - and this, I am certain, is not what
Shakespeare would have intended or wanted. The wooing scene in this
play is one of Shakespeare's most delightful and Katherine must be taken
seriously as a 'woman' if it is to be truly appreciated. To have a
rowdy 'nudge nudge wink wink' audience response is to destroy the magic.