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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Richard II
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0946  Monday, 7 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Ed Taft <
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        Date:   Friday, 04 Jun 1999 14:29:47 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   R2

[2]     From:   Tal Carawan, Jr. <
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        Date:   Friday, 04 Jun 1999 15:49:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0941 Richard II


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Jun 1999 14:29:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        R2

Dana Wilson asks about the use of rhyme in R2. It's worth noting that
Dover Wilson once argued, over 50 years ago, that the large number of
rhymed lines in R2 was evidence that the play had been reworked by
Shakespeare. If I remember aright, Wilson called these lines "fossils,"
that is, left-overs from the play Shakespeare was redoing.

In recent years, I think that many readers see these rhymed lines,
especially numerous in the first parts of the play, as an attempt to
create an atmosphere of ceremony and formality. Why do this is an open
question, but it might be to give the impression of the last remnants of
a medieval world that Richard's reign brings (or seems to bring) to an
end. Once Bolingbroke returns to England after banishment, he often
speaks a direct, straightforward line that is much at variance with
Richard (and with himself earlier in the play!).

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tal Carawan, Jr. <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Jun 1999 15:49:46 -0400
Subject: 10.0941 Richard II
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0941 Richard II

Hello all, just a brief note as the hours click down now on my
performing Richard II for a few moments tomorrow.  The major reason I
went with material from this play, and there are many fine selections,
not just the one with the @$%# castle name, is how similar the language
is to Hamlet.  I'd think this area has been addressed by scholars
before; there is some discussion of it as it applies to acting in a
monologues book that I have (it's published by Applause).  Not just the
language, but the character as well.

Witness:

And if they from thy bosom pluck a flower,
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder,
Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch
Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies.

After reading this several hundred times, I still get goose bumps, but
that might also be Penderecki's Violin Concerto No. 2 that I am
listening to right now.  (I've a crush on Anne-Sophie Mutter...she eases
some of my discomfort in learning to play!)

I love Hamlet, of course, there's little doubt why it's so popular.
Yet, there is a taboo against doing the Dane at auditions (unless you're
Kenneth Brannagh or "really, really, really, good"), so R2 will do 4
me.  OK, I'm a tad loopy, but I've another audition on Sunday now, and
being a tad loopy seems to fit R2 well, so we'll just assume "I'm
getting into character" vs.  being certifiable.

Have a Good Weekend, All!

Tal Carawan, Jr.
 

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