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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: February ::
Re: Jesters

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0277  Wednesday, 17 February 1999.

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 05:55:49 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters

[2]     From:   Brian J. Corrigan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 11:30:26 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters

[3]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 17:03:52 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 05:55:49 -0800
Subject: 10.0271 Re: Jesters
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters

Drew Whitehead writes:

>However in Branagh's defence I must add
>that most of the other members of the audience of the movie theatre
>probably didn't feel the same way.  Both Keaton and Ben Elton drew a lot
>of laughs from the audience and I can only assume that that they felt
>comfortable with this sort of "low-brow" humour in an otherwise
>"high-brow" film.  As for Branagh's sense of humour, it can't be that
>off as the rest of the film was delightfully humourous.  Shakespeare's
>clowns are difficult characters, they require close concentration on
>behalf of the audience in order to best understand their humour.  The
>sort of concentration that is not normally required of the average
>movie-going audience.

I seem to recall that when I went to see the film new I was with a group
of friends most of whom don't usually read Shakespeare.  Anyway,
Dogberry's laughs all seemed to come at the end of his speeches, when he
calms down enough to say even one or two of his lines in such a way as
to be understood.  If his humour usually strains the attention of a
movie-going audience, having all his jokes buried in incoherent
overacting certainly does.

Cheers,
Seán.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian J. Corrigan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 11:30:26 EDT
Subject: 10.0271 Re: Jesters
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters

As to Keaton's Dogberry, I too have the same (rather stuffy)
isn't-he-merely-reprising-Beetlejuice reaction I read on this list. I
still believe the horse business (right out of Monty Python's Search for
the Holy Grail) is too much. That said, I also believe the approach is
right. There are some genuinely funny moments here. The coin business on
"God save the foundation", the "Forget not that I am an ass" and other
similar moments are not only well delivered and funny, but they are
funny in that intentionally low-comic style the text calls forth.

Although I too miss the Dogberry moments Branagh has cut, I find enough
in this rendering of the character to enjoy. You are free to gloze that
"rendering" in any manner you choose. Perhaps Keaton is pushing too hard
and trying too much, but it is all pushed in (and admittedly a little
past) the right direction.

I would, however, pay good money never again to have to be exposed to
the attitude that Keanu Reeves' backside makes up for his utter
inability to create a character or deliver a convincing line.

Cheers,
Brian Jay Corrigan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Feb 1999 17:03:52 -0500
Subject: 10.0271 Re: Jesters
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0271 Re: Jesters

Stephanie Hughes' description of Keaton's Dogberry is perfect. It's a
far out stage performance, utterly inappropriate for film and especially
this film. But that wasn't the only irritation for me. Branagh phoned in
his performance. I could have kicked him.

 

 

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