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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: KJ in DC; Bloom; Gilligan; Arkangel Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0187  Thursday, 4 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Kristen L. Olson <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 10:34:32 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   KJ in DC

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 12:29:56 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 10.0170 Harold Bloom on "How to Read"

[3]     From:   Richard A Burt <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Feb 1999 11:53:42 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0179 Re: Gilligan

[4]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 16:38:32 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0182 Arkangel Shakespeare Series


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kristen L. Olson <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 10:34:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        KJ in DC

I thought I should add what I think is a supportive word about the
Shakespeare Theatre's King John.  I thoroughly enjoyed the
production-more than their recent Twelfth Night, I have to admit (though
I quite liked the Christmas bear).  It is true that the play itself
seems a bit like an undercooked or less fully dramatically developed R2
or H5, without a moving "St. Crispin's" speech or a central character
that really connects to the audience, even though Edward Gero tried to
give the Bastard these qualities-initially put off by the comic
characterization since I'd never imagined the character that way, I
realized that it did provide a link to the audience and that it made
sense as a choice since, as the play progressed he lost this roughness
and became more regal, growing into his nobility, and perhaps taking the
audience with him, an idea not-so-foreign to other Shakespearean history
plays.  I think the company did an excellent job with a play that is
performatively rather flat, and I've seen more prestigious companies
drain the life out of "better" plays-the RSC's 1987 R2 with Jeremy Irons
comes to mind-I saw it three separate times in an effort not to sleep
through some of it.  Unsuccessfully.  In this KJ, the battle scenes were
wonderful, and the set, though it at first seems like a "typical"
collection of minimalist big red and gray moving block panels, is used
thoughtfully, in concert with the use of light, effectively supporting
the production rather than drawing attention away or to itself (as I
felt the set in TN did): it managed the audience's attention and gave
relatively subtle clues about the relationship of the characters to one
another and to their situations...quite thoughtfully.  Philip Goodwin's
John was also carefully thought through, I felt, and the king's "decay"
was very tangibly portrayed.  Arthur was wonderful, and I think the risk
of using a young actor more than paid off: he is the center of emotion
on stage, and the audience can thereby sense the investment the action
of the play has in him because of this-an adult would not have been able
to embody vulnerability in the same way.  I guess I would have liked to
see a stronger, more dominating Elinor, but she certainly didn't seem
weak, and fit into the overall production well-the entire performance
was balanced and I think made this play accessible to an audience that
would have little of their own resources to draw on to help their
understanding.  But I also felt it gave me a lot to think about even
though I came to the production with certain expectations, for theater,
for Shakespeare history plays, and for KJ.  So, I do whole-heartedly
recommend the experience to anyone who'll be in DC.  At the very least
it's a chance to see a little-known play done in a "big" theatre way-and
done well, at that...(how rare is this?).

And what's more, you'll be able to truthfully raise your hand at the
appropriate moment in performances of the Reduced Shakespeare Company's
"The Complete Works...Abridged".

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 12:29:56 -0500
Subject: Harold Bloom on "How to Read"
Comment:        SHK 10.0170 Harold Bloom on "How to Read"

Poor Bloom. Committed, like his idol Dr Johnson, to the idea of
Shakespeare as a producer of material to be 'read', I wonder what he
makes of the Bard's first audiences? A large percentage of them would
have been unable to read at all, let alone find the leisure, books,
light or spectacles necessary for a fraction of the intense commitment
to the printed word that he deems appropriate to a civilized way of
life. Yet those non-literate men and women seem to have supported and
engaged with the plays to a degree that not only fostered them, but also
made them possible. They had 'Romeo and Juliet'. We, God help us, have
'Shakespeare in Love'.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard A Burt <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Feb 1999 11:53:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0179 Re: Gilligan
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0179 Re: Gilligan

>>Saw a Dobie Gillis episode the other day with Warren Beatty as a rival
>>student who tries to get the girl they both want by tricking Dobie into
>>auditioning for a play (in which the girl will be the lead) by doing A
>>speech by Oberon.
>
>Have we mentioned the hilarious musical Hamlet they did on Gilligan's
>Island? Can't remember whether we did or not--got a mind like a steel
>sieve--

Yes, we have.  I have a quite lengthy discussion of the episode in my
book, _Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares_.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Wednesday, 3 Feb 1999 16:38:32 +0000
Subject: 10.0182 Arkangel Shakespeare Series
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0182 Arkangel Shakespeare Series

>They come as handsomely packaged CDs from
>Viking Penguin and are available in the U.K. from the Audio Book
>Collection, and in the USA through Amazon.com and I imagine other
>resources as well.  Kenneth S. Rothwell

I had heard that these would be coming out on CD's - but so far I have
only seen them available on audiocassettes.  Is it possible they are
only available on CD's in the United Kingdom?  I much prefer CD's to
audiocassettes, and would be very interested in purchasing this series
on CD's, if I could find them.
 

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