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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: June ::
Re: Films: MND and Titus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0602  Monday, 29 June 1998.

[1]     From:   Phyllis Gorfain <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Jun 1998 11:36:26 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0595  Re- Films: MND and Titus

[2]     From:   David J. Kathman <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Jun 1998 22:28:56 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Friday, 26 Jun 1998 22:19:40 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus

[4]     From:   Charles Weinstein <
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        Date:   Sunday, 28 Jun 1998 15:55:16 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   New Film Version of Midsummer


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phyllis Gorfain <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Jun 1998 11:36:26 -0400
Subject: 9.0595  Re- Films: MND and Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0595  Re- Films: MND and Titus

To Taymor sceptics-Julie Taymor is far more than the Tony-award winning
director and designer of Broadway hit, The Lion King.  She is also a
winner of the MacArthur Award, and has received many other awards as a
daring and difficult avant garde theatre-maker.  Her puppets and masks
are serious works, and her magnificent show "Juan Darien" won several
distinguished prizes.  She has done other Shakespeare plays with
imagination and passion, as well as Greek drama that united dance,
music, masks, and sculptural art.  Whatever she does will not be at all
on the order of kiddie sensation, commercialism, or simulated
experiences a la The Titus Luncheon.  She is one of the most important
directors of our time, and her work with Shakespeare will be
challenging.

Julie Taymor is an Oberlin College alumna, one of my former students and
advisees, and she recently spoke at Oberlin about her vision of theatre
and her work, showing us clips from productions of Sophocles, Edgar
Allan Poe (for PBS), and The Lion King, which I saw recently on stage.
Everyone in theatre and in English was blown away by the astounding
images and ideas she produces.  She works from a profound center of
thought and dedication to theatre, has been trained by some of the best
theatre people internationally, and, most importantly, is extremely
original within a tradition of artistry inspired by  seven years, at the
start of her career, studying and doing theatre in Indonesia.   She is
centrally interested in uniting myth, puppetry (bunraku, shadow puppets,
etc.), mask work, and many other international traditions.  Wait before
you scoff or laugh at her  doing Titus.  Hope you are keeping cool, one
way or another: Phyllis Gorfain

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David J. Kathman <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Jun 1998 22:28:56 +0100
Subject: 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus

Skip Nicholson wrote:

>If Titus-Mania is on the way with a new movie, games, dolls (or parts
>thereof) lunchboxes (not a nice thought) and such, maybe it's time to
>revive the Titus Andronicus Double Dactyl Fete. The best could be read
>as a prelude to Terence Hawkes's Titus Luncheon. My favorite, coined by
>Louisa Newlin-then (still?) of the Folger Shakespeare Library (at the
>instigation of Russ McDonald, I believe)-- has lodged, evidently
>forever, in my memory.
>
>Higgledy Piggledy
>Titus Andronicus
>Making a dish
>For Tamora the Queen
>Anthropophagically
>Speaking a triumph
>A four-star addition
>To nouvelle cuisine.
>
>Anyone know others?

I hate to be pedantic, but for this to be a true double dactyl, the
lineation should be:

Higgledy Piggledy
Titus Andronicus
Making a dish for Ta-
Mora the Queen,

Anthropophagically
Speaking a triumph, a
Four-star addition to
Nouvelle cuisine.

The magnum opus of double dactyls, Anthony Hecht and John Hollander's
*Jiggery Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls*, contains one on Titus
Andronicus which I'm pretty sure is distinct from the fine example Skip
has given.  Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the book at hand and
thus can't check.  I do have a double dactyl (not composed by me) on
Romeo and Juliet, to wit:

Higgledy Piggledy
Romeo Montague
Thought his love dead and so
Poisoned himself

Juliet, hasty but
Eschatological,
Died lest she leave him a-
Lone on the shelf.

I seem to remember that Hecht and Hollander's book has some others based
on Shakespeare, but I can't recall them.  If we allow for subjects from
theater in general, then it's hard to beat the following, written by
Joan Munkacsi.  The cleverness of its wordplay is a wonder to behold:

Higgledy Piggledy
Oedipus Tyrannos
Murdered his father, used
Mama for sex.

This mad debauch, not so
Incomprehensibly,
Left poor Jocasta and
Oedipus wrecks.

Dave Kathman

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Friday, 26 Jun 1998 22:19:40 -0400
Subject: 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0595  Re: Films: MND and Titus

The early evening entertainment digests have already featured the Ally
McBeal girl, Callista Flockhart in a moment from the movie. She's
dressed maybe turn of the century and riding an antique bicycle. And she
gets wet. I forget how.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Sunday, 28 Jun 1998 15:55:16 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        New Film Version of Midsummer

Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania?  Oh God!  Back to the good old Warner
Brothers days, when Dick Powell, Olivia de Havilland and Jimmy Cagney
("you dirty sprite") bravely trod the boards.  Can't wait to hear how
Michelle, who couldn't quite manage Catwoman, handles the "forgeries of
jealousy" speech.  What forensic skill!  What rhetorical flair!  What
stage-grounded classical technique!  What a joke!  So who plays Puck:
Kevin Bacon?  That would be six degrees of incompetence.  And Oberon:
Antonio Banderas?  "Eet fell upon a leetle western flower."  How about
Jim Carrey as Bottom?  We all saw how well Michael Keaton, Robin
Williams and Billy Crystal did:  they took to Shakespeare's language
like schmucks out of water.  And if Jim plays the part, he won't need
any make-up when he turns into a jackass.  Hippolyta?  How about Darryl
Hannah?  She can barely talk anyway, so the small number of lines
shouldn't bother her.  Quince?  Why not wild and crazy Steve Martin?
He's got the gray hairs, and if you're funny in one idiom, you must be
funny in every other, right?  Branagh seems to think so, if "think" is
the right word.  Hermia?  Rosie Perez of course!  She's tiny enough, and
she can translate for Antonio.  Besides, thanks to Joe Papp, we no
longer need consistency of accents, styles and nationalities, 'cause
that would be non-pluralistic and un-American, and we can't have that in
Shakespeare, now can we?  Demetrius and Lysander?  Leonardo!  Matt!
Which is which?  Oh yeah, Leo's smaller and stupider.  He's also the one
with classical experience:  witness his Romeo, which reminded me of a
yapping puppy.  Tall Brooke Shields should be just right for Helena: she
can't act, but she's pretty, and that's what counts.  Moth and
Peaseblossom?  Nathan Lane!  David Spade!  Jeez, I can hardly wait.  Too
bad there isn't a decent part left for Al, but then he's still trying to
find Richard.  Keep looking, big guy!  Ah, I can still hear that
beautiful, resonant voice:  "Now iz duh wintuh of awr discontent."  Such
moments are not easily forgotten, try as one may.
 

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