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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: CLSF
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1014  Wednesday, 16 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Susan C Oldrieve <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999 09:53:37 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   CLSF's Henry V and Midsummer Night's Dream

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999 15:10:00 -0400
        Subj:   CLSF Henry V


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan C Oldrieve <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999 09:53:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        CLSF's Henry V and Midsummer Night's Dream

I, too, have had the pleasure of enjoying the work of the Cleveland
Shakespeare Festival this summer and agree with Dave Evett's review of
their Henry V.  In spite of the heat, and the noise from the window air
conditioners, the cuts, and the lack of depth in the character
portrayal, I still found myself caught up in Henry's painful recognition
of what war and leadership demand from him. And there are some wonderful
moments, one of which is Henry's confrontation of Scroop.

Dave says that "Henry (a very youthful Brian Breth) is more passionate
than usual-he throws his (female) Lord Scroop to the ground and all but
throttles him/her on the spot (Exeter's reference to S. as H's bedfellow
having been judiciously dropped)."  Actually, that line was not dropped
(as least not opening night when I was there), because I remember noting
it when it was spoken.  I thought that the choice to have Scroop played
by a woman nicely emphasized the implications of that line-that Henry is
in the position of having to judge and condemn someone whom he "loves."
Having a woman play Scroop helped to underscore the intensity of the
friendship that Henry and Scroop shared and therefore the depth of
Henry's sense of betrayal, I thought.

The CLSF's Midsummer Night's Dream was a delight.  The actors' energy
and enjoyment of the production definitely came through to the
audience.  Some of the best bits were having Titania's fairies played by
4 mostly burly men dressed in tuxedo t shirts with little wings and
bowler hats, having Titania played by a deaf actress who signed her part
gracefully while her attendant spoke the words, and Erin Myer's
portrayal of Helena as an indefatigable teenager with subtle valley girl
accent and gestures.

The character portrayal and subtext in this production are superb.
Lysander is the smug golden boy (until appropriately humiliated by the
events in the wood), Demetrius an earnest but not particularly competent
plot maker, Hermia an assertive young woman somewhat given to violence,
and Helena energetic and funny.  The actors did an excellent job of
making sure that we could distinguish the characters from each other.

And every single actor in the production had developed movement and
business that emphasized his or her character and lines. Because of the
acoustical problems, particularly with the air conditioners, some lines
tended to get lost, but the actors' movement and physicalization of
their characters more than compensated for the problems in hearing their
lines.

I commend this young company on the excellent work that they are doing
under difficult financial and physical conditions, and I really look
forward to seeing their production of Edward III this weekend.

If you are in the Cleveland area, do try to make it to University Circle
to enjoy the work that this company is doing.

Susan Oldrieve

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Tuesday, 15 Jun 1999 15:10:00 -0400
Subject:        CLSF Henry V

In an off-line message Tim Perfect, the director of the Cleveland
Shakespeare Festival Henry V, gives me the lie courteous for averring
that he has left Jay Kim as the Chorus only "bits and scraps" of those
grand periods; only the description of the ships departing for France
and the final speech on the gloomy aftermath of Henry's triumph were
removed, although, following Branagh, some of the long speeches have
been broken up into shorter units and interspersed among the relevant
scenes.  I stand corrected.

Submissively,
Dave Evett
 

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