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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: March ::
Re: Merry Wives Appeal
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0424  Wednesday, 10 March 1999.

[1]     From:   Eva McManus <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 10:42:46 -0500
        Subj:   MWW

[2]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 08:04:57 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0414 Re: Merry Wives

[3]     From:   
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        Date:   Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 12:03:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0364 Re: Merry Wives Appeal


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eva McManus <
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Date:           Tuesday, 9 Mar 1999 10:42:46 -0500
Subject:        MWW

Add my voice to those who argue in favor of Merry Wives for the festival
performance.  I've seen several productions of the play, outside and
inside, and it has been a delight each time.  One aspect of it that
would work well in such a setting is that it is a play about
community-about gender, age, multiculturalism, love, competition,
jealousy, and about having to live together in a family, a marriage, and
a community-warts (or follies) and all. Given the mixed audience at
Renaissance festivals, I would say there is something for everyone.

I agree with Geralyn Horton's views on the need to have charming
children, but also think that the varied ages of the actors create some
of the play's appeal.  If the performance is in the evening, the final
scenes with the fairies and their lighted candles can be quite exciting
for the audience, particularly for children.  When I took my son to see
the play in Stratford, Ontario, he was thrilled to see kids in the play
and watched them very closely.  We saw another production in Boulder in
their outdoor theatre that was quite different from the Stratford
production but equally enjoyable.  At that production we were with older
companions who aren't theatre, much less Shakespeare, fans and they had
no trouble following it and enjoyed the show.

Karen Coley's point that the atmosphere of a festival where people are
already in Ren. costumes will help to predispose the audience to become
engaged with a play that is so strongly placed in Elizabethan Windsor is
right on target.

As for other suggestions, how about Two Gentlemen?  For those who've
seen Shakespeare in Love, you know the winning formula-It's got a dog,
disappointed lovers (but no pirate).  It also has a cross dressing
woman, betrayal, teenage rebellion against parental authority and the
patriarchal demands of a duke/father, soldiers, a group of "Merry Men"
practicing to be outlaws-all of which would be colorful and eye-catching
to a crowd.  It doesn't have the complexity of language that Love's
Labour's Lost has and is more active.   Even the near-rape of Silvia by
Proteus has a topical interest given the school and college intervention
programs on date-rape; the comic resolution saves it from being too
heavy a theme while it would still have resonances of reality for them.
Again, I've seen Shakespeare festival performances of this play that
worked very well and engaged the crowd.  Of course, you have to have a
good dog.

Eva McManus

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 08:04:57 -0800
Subject: 10.0414 Re: Merry Wives
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0414 Re: Merry Wives

John Velz writes:

>Sean Lawrence on this subject:
>has confused Livy, i.e., Titus Livius, the Roman historian, with William
>Lily, A Shorte Introduction of Grammar, the standard text in Elizabethan
>grammar schools and for two centuries thereafter.

Quite right.  My (embarrassed) apologies.

Cheers,
Se

 

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