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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: May ::
Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0881  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 10:52:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0873 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth

[2]     From:   Karen Pirnie <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:24:52 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0875 Re: Marriage Patterns

[3]     From:   Lucia Anna Setari <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:50:06 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Hamlet's hesitating


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 10:52:52 -0400
Subject: 10.0873 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0873 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth

>Can I put in a plug for the LA Women's Shakespeare Co, while we're on
>the subject of "Chickspeare"?  I've taken students to two of their
>productions (Much Ado this year, MM two years ago), and can report that
>the prospect of "women kissing women" helps fill the bus, and that Lisa
>Wolpe is one of the best interpreters of male Shakespearean roles
>(Angelo, Benedict) I've seen on the live stage.

Is this the group that performed under the title "Broads with Swords" at
the International Shakespeare Congress in LA?   Because if it was, I
really was impressed by them too.  The Margaret/Duke of York scene from
Henry VI, 2 was very powerful, and the Ferdinand/Miranda scene from
Tempest was somehow very fresh performed this way.  A lot of people
afterwards seemed to be muttering about "gimmicks," but I didn't see it
that way.  Bringing a car onstage during Lear is probably a gimmick, and
much directing is gimmicky.  Allowing serious actors who happen to be
women a chance at playing some of the best roles in the English language
is not.

Melissa Aaron

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Pirnie <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:24:52 EDT
Subject: 10.0875 Re: Marriage Patterns
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0875 Re: Marriage Patterns

Another individual example of the serial marriage pattern can be found
in the autobiographical poem, "The Memorandum of Martha Moulsworth
Widdowe" written in 1632 and available in an annotated edition called
_"My Name Was Martha": A Renaissance Woman's Autobiographical Poem_
(Locust Hill, 1993).  The poem describes her three marriages of 1598,
1604, and 1619, the first beginning when she was 21 years old.

Karen Pirnie
Auburn University of Montgomery

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lucia Anna Setari <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:50:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Hamlet's hesitating

Sean Lawrence wrote:

>Actually, when the death penalty debate breaks out up here in Canada,
>priests and ministers are almost always ranged against it; often,
>they're the same people who oppose abortion.

Well: But priests' attitude about death penalty (and about many other
questions, like Jewish, heretics, Galileo Galilei , Giordano Bruno and
so on) is not the same one to day and in Shakespeare's age.  Catholic
Church, for instance, has spoken against death penalty only in these
last years with this Pope.

You say:

>if we could decide who is damned and who is saved,
>the need for Christ would be obviated, and grace would change from
>a radical breach with human norms and values, becoming
>only a calculated reinforcement of the political
>status quo.

It is true. But actually Christian Churches did use Christ's words in
order to maintain the political and social status quo or to change it
for some other too much human reason. After the first times when
Christian were persecuted by Roman power, Christian Churches have never
followed Christ's scandalous attitude with human norms and value.

As to the hybris of assuming to have some power on souls'destiny, I add
that there is no doubt that, with the invention of Purgatory and of
system of indulgences, Catholic Church reinforced during the Middle Age
(and till Shakespearean time) people's belief/hope that, though God, men
and Church could really have some good control over their souls destiny
after death.

I have in my mind also that for many centuries Christian funerals, for
instance, were denied to suicides, even if Church would be so generous
to allow God to have at last a different mind. The suicides (like actors
too...) were buried out of consecrated ground  and often at a
cross-roads, which were thought places haunted by devils and damned,
unrest spirits.

What Shakespeare would think about this hypocrite attitude of Church is
clear enough in the cemetery scene.

As to people's pleasure in imagining villains' damnation, it is
witnessed by a lot of descriptions of Hell in paintings and in
literature. Is  not Dante thought to have been a keenly religious
Christian even if he dared to describe God's justice? He based his
building on Thomas and Augustin theological thought, but also on his own
moral and political passions in putting in Hell  rather than in other
places men he well knew.

Coming back to Hamlet, the logical though cruel rigour of his reasoning
is so close to the theological rigour of Church that I cannot help
hearing an ironic ring in it. (Shakespeare's irony, I think,  more than
Hamlet's).

Since the play is rather ironic about men's false but rare belief that
they can control their destiny , Hamlet's (not unshared by audience)
belief that he (like an overturned inquisitor which saves the body in
order to damn the soul) may do the perfect revenge damning Claudius to
Hell, is to be seen, I think,within this ironic context.  Just after
this scene, Hamlet, the God-like perfect revenger, becomes Hamlet the
killer, and with this killing he damns himself both to Laerte's revenge
and to eventual God's punishment.

Regards
Lucia Anna S.
 

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