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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: Cordelia and the Fool
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1775  Wednesday, 20 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Jan Powell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 11:54:10 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Mute Cordelia

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 16:07:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1765 Re: Mute Cordelia in Washington

[3]     From:   Lucia Anna Setari <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 14:34:13 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1765 Re: Cordelia and the Fool


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jan Powell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 11:54:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:        Mute Cordelia

Of possible interest for comparison: our company, Tygres Heart in
Portland, did a production of Much Ado with a deaf actress playing Hero
some years ago. The other female characters signed with her and spoke
her lines as she signed them. A man signed to her only once: Claudio,
saying "But fare thee well, most foul, most fair!" She used her voice
only once, in a screamed "No!" as she ran after Claudio's exit, then
swooned.

The director, Jon Kretzu, used Hero's deafness to explore her
marginalization by the men beloved as a pretty doll, but discounted as a
person.  He also intended to point up the contrast between the feminine
and masculine worlds of the play.  Hero's deafness lent great nuance to
her silence at the end of the play.

It's interesting to compare the characters of Hero and Cordelia, and
relative issues of social status, power, and male/female communication
in each play.

It's also interesting to note how deaf actors and actresses can be cast
in mainstream productions of Shakespeare, where deafness colors meaning.
As with gender- and color-blind casting, however, there are myriad ways
to cast deaf actors in which deafness is NOT an issue for character, but
rather an inherent quality of the actor which can be incorporated, or
treated as incidental.

Jan Powell

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 16:07:03 -0400
Subject: 10.1765 Re: Mute Cordelia in Washington
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1765 Re: Mute Cordelia in Washington

>In response to Jimmy Jung, it was not at all uncommon for Victorian
>productions to cast a woman as the Fool, probably in the interests of
>pathos.

Dana Shilling's suggestion might be carried a little further, by noting
that casting a woman as the Fool introduces stimulating sexual
vibrations into a play that does not otherwise have many; see Marianne
Evett's article on the stage history of The Tempest for documentation of
similar elements in the Victorians' and Edwardians' casting of Ariel.

David Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lucia Anna Setari <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Oct 1999 14:34:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.1765 Re: Cordelia and the Fool
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1765 Re: Cordelia and the Fool

In the King Lear directed by Giorgio Strehler  in Milano (1972 or 73, I
don't remember exactly) the actress (Ottavia Piccolo) plaied both
Cordelia and the Fool.

"And my poor fool is hang'd!"

It was exciting and moving.

Lucia Anna S.
 

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