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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: July ::
Re: Stoic Shakespeare; Macbeth on Video
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0676  Monday, 20 July 1998.

[1]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jul 1998 13:17:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0669  Stoic Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Jul 98 23:53:08 -0700
        Subj:   Macbeth on Video


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jul 1998 13:17:54 -0400
Subject: 9.0669  Stoic Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0669  Stoic Shakespeare

A propos Stoicism and humanism: where is John Velz when we need him?

Seriously, I did not mean to diminish the potential value of Ben
Schneider's "thick" approach to Stoic elements in the Shakespearean
texts; I've found much to chew on in the samplings of the work he has
posted to SHAKSPER.  But I can't accept his contentions that the
modernist generation "got nowhere" in their own investigation of those
materials, that none of them had "ever read the primary sources," or
that one had to be either a Stoic, an outcast, or a Puritan because the
three categories were mutually exclusive.  More generally I want to
reiterate my conviction that both the ideas and the behaviors of most
people are far too unsystematic to allow the kind of sharp-edged
categories Schneider wants to impose.  Elizabethan court culture, for
instance, was no doubt predicated on deep-rooted concepts of social
reciprocity-Schneider's "returning favors is a must."  But the actual
processes of exchange were inflected by matters of hierarchy and
self-interest in highly complex and variable ways-if they were not,
Spenser would never have languished in Ireland.

David Evett


[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Jul 98 23:53:08 -0700
Subject:        Macbeth on Video

Is the Trevor Nunn version with Ian MacKellan the one with the entire
cast sitting in a circle of chairs, with the witches sort of like bag
ladies, one who only drools and serves as a sort of conduit for the
*masters* input?  Because THAT is my absolute favorite version.

I had a college class with Dr. Mary Maher at Arizona State University
(she was a visiting lecturer from U of Az) where the emphasis was on
directors' choices.  We spent many weeks watching and studying several
versions of Macbeth; but I can't find my notes to be sure which one it
was I was so impressed with!

Also, I used a similar technique when teaching Macbeth to my high school
students:  we watched several versions of the witch scenes and discussed
how the directors came up with their various ideas.  We also read the
whole play.  Then we watched a modern version which I believe is titled
"Men of Substance" (or some title with Blood in it, sorry but when
school's out my brain goes on vacation!).  This is a Mafioso version in
which we really enjoyed discovering how each character and situation
would translate into the imposed situation.  Bankie Cuomo, for instance,
and the witches as gypsy-like fortune tellers.  It is rated R for very
bloody violence, which is probably why my high schoolers enjoyed it so
much.

Susan St. John
 

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