1999

Hardy in the News

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0883  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

From:           Mike Field <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 20 May 1999 08:58:24 -0400
Subject:        Hardy in the News

There is a nice article about Hardy and the list in the Washington Post
at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-05/20/124l-052099-idx.html

My only disappointment-no picture, so I'm still left guessing what Hardy
looks like! Oh well, congratulations again to Hardy for recognition long
overdue.

Best,
Mike Field

[Editor's Note: Thanks, Mike. There was a picture in the physical paper
that did not appear in the virtual one. The piece, however, was only in
the Prince George's County Supplement. -HMC]

Review of Othello at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0882  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

From:           Ray Lischner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 15:36:57 GMT
Subject:        Review of Othello at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Othello (directed by Tony Taccone) at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
lives up to their usual high standards, although it falters slightly at
the end.

The play begins in an Japanese-like setting. While the audience filters
in, Othello (Derrick Lee Weeden) and Desdemona (Amy Cronise) kneel on a
bare stage. They wear kimono-like robes, but the Japanese styling ends
there. The play begins and they exit without saying a word, under a
pounding, not-quite-melodic soundtrack.

The setting changes to become more Western and modern, but without a
definite time or place. Upstage, a platform runs the full width of the
stage, with partitions flying in front of and behind the platform to
suggest Brabantio's house, the ramparts of Cyprus, and so on.

Iago (Anthony Heald) manipulates Roderigo (John Pribyl) and others with
ease, but without seeming to be overtly evil. Heald plays Iago almost to
perfection. Andrew Borba's Cassio sometimes seems to be a little too
clueless about the events around him, but he never descends into
buffoonery.

Derrick Lee Weeden plays an excellent Othello-slowly sliding from
triumph and mastery to his jealous enslavement to Iago's machinations.

OSF performers have a natural ease with Shakespeare's language, and
Othello is no exception. Anyone who finds Shakespeare's verse or prose
difficult to understand should listen to Heald's Iago.

A few cuts were made here and there. With two intermissions, the total
running time was about three hours. The strangest cut was the end,
though. Iago says, "From this time forth, I never will speak word," and
Lodovico (John Hansen) counters with, "Torments with ope your lips."
Then Iago is dragged from the stage, screaming, "No! No!". I found it
odd that Iago-who was implacable until now-should so quickly break his
promise not to speak. After that, Othello kills himself, and the closing
lines are cut. Cassio walks silently up to Othello's corpse, while the
audience waits for the lines that it knows are to come.

Even those who have not read the play or are familiar only superficially
with Shakespeare's work, know to expect a closing speech. Instead the
lights come down and the play is over.

The ending was not the way I wanted it to be, but the play was
excellent, with strong performances from the entire cast.

(I also saw Chicago-the play, not the musical-which was a frenetic,
over-the-top comic romp. Rosmersholm was marred by Anthony Heald (as
John Rosmer) stumbling over his lines. The Good Person of Szechuan was
excellent, with a new translation by Douglas Langworthy.)

Ray Lischner  (http://www.bardware.com)
co-author (with John Doyle) of Shakespeare for Dummies

Re: Lear and Suffering

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0880  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 13:55:01 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0874 Re: Lear and Suffering

[2]     From:   Dana Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 11:07:06 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: Lear and Suffering


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 13:55:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0874 Re: Lear and Suffering
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0874 Re: Lear and Suffering

Gorboduc, the first Elizabethan tragedy, by Norton and Sackville in 1562
involves a king who gets in trouble by dividing his kingdom between his
two sons and retiring.

Clifford Stetner
CUNY
www.columbia.edu/~fs10/cds.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 11:07:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Re: Lear and Suffering

Sean wrote: "...How many children had King Lear? Does the fool count?
..."

My wit shows in the ease with which it comes apart; yours, in the
brevity with which you bind the loose ends.

Yours,
Dana

Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0881  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

[1]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 10:52:52 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0873 Re: Cross-casting of Macbeth

[2]     From:   Karen Pirnie <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:24:52 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0875 Re: Marriage Patterns

[3]     From:   Lucia Anna Setari <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 19 May 1999 12:50:06 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Hamlet's hesitating


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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.

Hamlet, the secret doctrine

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0879  Thursday, 20 May 1999.

From:           Dana Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 19 May 1999 07:43:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Hamlet, the secret doctrine

Sometimes I feel like that Hamlet of whom Polonius wrote "How pregnant
his replies are. A happenstance that madness hits on which reason and
sanity could not deliver."(II,ii, ln 212).

For that reason if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern knocked on my door to
ask if I was prepared to "walk out on to the air" from the watchtower
(Ps 91.11), I would be forced to refuse the invitation.

I think that I have developed a line of reasoning close enough to
justify some few steps.

I was working on a theory which is not novel that Hamlet resented his
mother being charged with the title "jointress"(I,ii).  I was trying to
gather evidence for the manner in which he pursued his own claim to the
throne.

The most useful piece of evidence which I found is the "traitorous gifts
of his wit"(I, v, 43) mentioned by the ghost of Hamlets father.  In my
opinion, these gifts are the "list with full proportions"(I,ii,30) sent
by Claudius to Norway.

This caused me to think that the "newphew"(I,ii,62) of Norway might be
Hamlet as well as Fortinbras.

I am ashamed to admit that the best argument which I can make for the
identity of Hamlet with Fortinbras are the two uses of the signum
"'Faith" by Rosencrantz (I,ii,369) and Guildenstern(I,ii,238).  St.
Faith by all accounts died over some duplicity of nomenclature which it
is not mete to involve here.

This first signum lead me to the discovery of another interesting
signum, "'SBlood"(I,ii,98&384).

Line 384 is of particular interest as there it is writ "'SBlood, there
is something in this more than natural if philosophy could find it."

For the most part I find philosophy I profitless work, but with 'SBlood
before me line 372 caught my eye, "It was no money bid until the poet
and the player came to blows."

This referred me back to line 384 where it is writ "They buy my uncles
miniature for 20,40,50,100 ducats."

In my opinion, this refers to line 120, where Polonius reads from
Hamlet's letter "I am ill at these numbers".

This in term I believe I could relate to line 98 where Polonius says of
"'tis '", "it is a foolish figure".

I find it very easy to imagine that figure as number and as image, as in
Claudius's miniature, had been confused.

This theme appears else where in the works of Shakespeare as sonnet 38
where it is written of "eternal numbers to outlive all date."

Hamlet's illness then would be what Polonius called his madness and
Claudius his dis-temper.

Circa line 95, Polonius attempts to wrestle with the question of whether
any anger is justified and can resolve himself only that of a surety the
anger of Hamlet has a cause.

I think many modern psychologists would find themselves deviled by the
same question, as where in Act I, sc ii, 140, it is as though we hear
the exasperation of the bard, "you have turned hyperion to satire".

This in turn seems to me to relate to Act I, sc ii, ln 198, where the
bard charactectures cruel old men, but then says as an aside "but sir I
would not have it set down for yourself should be as old as I am if like
a crab you could go backwards."  Obviously, Polonius could not for the
words are set down, and conversely, we shall never know what traitorous
proposition Polonius refused.

In my mind, Hamlet's madness is this very backward alternate vision of
the play which we never have opportunity to see.  Hamlet's darkness is
like the back of a mirror or the dark side of the moon, we never see the
hyperion.

In this regard, I can easily imagine that Hamlet himself might have
written sonnets 27 & 28: "After day is done your image shines in my
dreams as bright as sun...how can I have peace when there is rest in
neither day or night."  In this regard, I read Hamlet as a creature of
the night, waiting for the end of day to commune with the ghost of his
father.

As I promised, I think there is just enough material here to hold my
argument together.  Perhaps, not, please send me your comments either
here or at my e-mail address.

Yours in the work,
Dana

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