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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Touchstone (Jesters)
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0244  Friday, 12 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Brian J. Corrigan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 11:56:12 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0232 Re: Touchstone (Jesters)

[2]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 16:28:33 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0223 Q: Touchstone


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian J. Corrigan <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 11:56:12 EDT
Subject: 10.0232 Re: Touchstone (Jesters)
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0232 Re: Touchstone (Jesters)

Writes Drew Mason:

>Interesting to note, Touchstone was originally written for the great
>comic actor Will Kemp, who had been taking to improvisation and show
>stealing.  Shakespeare sought to keep Kemp within his own terms, and
>those of the play.  So the dialog written may not be inherently funny in
>order to have kept Kemp on his toes.

I wonder at this statement. If Kemp sold his share in the Globe property
shortly after the theatre was built in 1599, and if chronologies are
correct in asserting that AYL is from that first Globe season, would the
part not be Robert Armin's?

The Kemp parts we may acknowledge, Peter, Dogberry, (Launce?), seem
written in a lower, earthier style than the later, more sophisticated
clowns Armin performed such as Feste. Touchstone seems to me a step in
the Armin direction, and I confess to having always thought it to have
been Armin's part. I would be happy for any additional evidence and
arguments for or against this opinion-may we expand our discussion into
some general commentary regarding Armin, Kemp, and even Tarlton's comic
careers and approaches? Who is currently examining the Renaissance
popular clowns?

Cheers,
Brian Jay Corrigan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Thursday, 11 Feb 1999 16:28:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.0223 Q: Touchstone
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0223 Q: Touchstone

Judy,

I have looked all over my notes, but I can't find the source of the
following observation, made in a perceptive review of Branagh's Much Ado
that I read circa 1994.  This critic recalled that Branagh played
Touchstone in a production directed by Judy Dench, and his performance
was not well received.  This experience instilled in him a profound
distrust of Shakespeare's clowns that carried over into his film's
portrayal of Dogberry. If anyone can remind me who wrote this review, I
will provide a more exact quotation

Although I'm very much looking forward to Branagh's musical version of
LLL, I'm a little worried about what might happen to Costard.

 Michael Friedman
 University of Scranton
 

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