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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: All-Male H5
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0666  Friday, 17 July 1998.

[1]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Jul 1998 15:54:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5

[2]     From:   Penelope Rixon <
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        Date:   Fridayy, 17 Jul 1998 09:14:47 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Jul 1998 15:54:30 -0400
Subject: 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5

> 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.

Maybe the audience gets the performance it deserves.  The male Mistress
Quickly I saw, along with other with enthusiastic but well-behaved
groundlings-presumably the same actor --- was a very convincing female,
and the low comedy was on target rather than over the top.  I saw 5
Quicklies last year: 1 H5, 2H4's, 2MW's --- and s/he was about the best
of the lot.

> 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.

Indeed-and shame on those groundlings!  That splendid young man did a
charming and touching wooing scene for us, and was quite believable as a
shy royal teen of the female persuasion.

G. L. Horton <http://www.tiac.net/users/ghorton>

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Penelope Rixon <
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 >
Date:           Fridayy, 17 Jul 1998 09:14:47 -0000
Subject: 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0660  Re: All-Male H5

I saw this production too, but was luckier than Judy Lewis in that there
weren't hordes of teenage girls in the audience when I went.  I thought
the actor playing Katherine was brilliant, and actually forgot that he
was a boy.  He avoided any trace of camp and played the part as a
desperately embarrassed teenager, and the audience seemed completely
involved in the experience.

My problem was the booing which greeted any appearance of the French
with corresponding cheering when the English entered.  That kind of
response flattens the play and irons out all the complexity.  For some
reason, the Globe management seems hell-bent on encouraging the audience
to behave as though they're at the pantomime, and you see people gearing
up to boo and hiss even when they obviously don't feel the emotional
need to do so.  It's a terrible pity, because that theatre space is
magic, with the capability for all sorts of effects, but its potential
is, I feel, being stifled by current policy.

Penny Rixon

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