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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: The Birth of Merlin
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0553  Monday, 15 June 1998.

[1]     From:   Joseph H. Stodder <
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        Date:   Friday, 12 Jun 1998 12:58:25 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 9.0547  Re:  The Birth of Merlin

[2]     From:   Carl Fortunato <
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        Date:   Saturday, 13 Jun 1998 09:14:32 EDT
        Subj:   The Birth of Merlin

[3]     From:   Carl Fortunato <
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        Date:   Saturday, 13 Jun 1998 09:17:39 EDT
        Subj:   The Birth of Merlin

[4]     From:   Jonathan Hope <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Jun 1998 11:33:14 +0000 (GMT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0543  Q: The Birth of Merlin


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph H. Stodder <
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Date:           Friday, 12 Jun 1998 12:58:25 -0800
Subject: Re:  The Birth of Merlin
Comment:        SHK 9.0547  Re:  The Birth of Merlin

In 1988 R. Thad Taylor and Christopher Sumpton co-directed The Birth of
Merlin as part of a series of apocryphal plays that Taylor produced in
the 1980s.  It was a well performed and well received production.  I had
the good fortune of seeing it, and I reviewed it in SQ Fall 1990, Vol.
41, No.  3 (pp. 368-372).

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carl Fortunato <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Jun 1998 09:14:32 EDT
Subject:        The Birth of Merlin

>The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival did a staged reading of The Birth of
>Merlin this season as part of its Apocrypha Reading Series.  The actors
>seemed to enjoy various aspects of the play, and many of the audiences
>found parts very funny.

>Final Score for the play was :
>Shakespeare Did Not Write Any of the Play - 47
>Shakespeare Did Not Write the Entire Play - 0
>Shakespeare Wrote the Whole Play - 0

The audience *voted* on it?  How interesting.  Was this ignominious vote
count typical for Shakespeare Apocrypha, or did the others do no better?

We are doing only Act III at first, and will do the whole play in
August. Actually, I find it to be a rather enjoyable play.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Carl Fortunato <
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Date:           Saturday, 13 Jun 1998 09:17:39 EDT
Subject:        The Birth of Merlin

>The Birth of Merlin was directed by Denise Coffey for Theatr Clwyd from
>1 June - 1 July 1989.   The most current contact details I have for the
>company  are as follows.

Thank a lot.  I've saved that address, and may write them before we do
the full production.

I've come across 2 readings of it so far (one from a member of this
list), but this is the only other *production* I've yet heard of.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan Hope <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Jun 1998 11:33:14 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 9.0543  Q: The Birth of Merlin
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0543  Q: The Birth of Merlin

Claims for Shakespeare's authorship of this play with Wiliam Rowley are
made by M. Dominik (1985), *William Shakespeare and the Birth of
Merlin*, but I don't find his method or argument (based on parallels,
and a hypothesised mode of collaboration which departs from just about
any other example of dramatic collaboration at the time) convincing.

I would look briefly at the play in my *Authorship of Shakespeare's
Plays* (1994: 131-2), and Gary Taylor has a section on the authorship in
the Oxford Textual Companion (Wells et al. 1987:135).

Best,
Jonathan Hope
Middlesex University
 

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