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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: June ::
Re: Nahum Tate's Lear
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1023  Thursday, 17 June 1999.

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 08:20:40 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[2]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 10:02:48 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[3]     From:   Tim Perfect <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 08:35:18 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[4]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 12:33:06 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[5]     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 12:22:29 CST6CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[6]     From:   Ed Pixley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 16:43:41 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

[7]     From:   Melissa D. Aaron <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 19:36:22 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 08:20:40 -0500
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

For one strongly respectful view, see Richard Strier's essay on the Tate
version and its political implications in Resistant Structures (1995?).

Frank Whigham

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 10:02:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

Nahum Tate's Learics

Well....if you wanted a museum piece, you would go ahead and mount
Tate's Fool-less play. It would give the king marginally more stage tim
and your public would be spared a deal of pain.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tim Perfect <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 08:35:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

Also, I am still in search of an online rendering of the text of Tate's
'Lear' that can be downloaded.  I have found the facsimile version at:

http://www.library.upenn.edu/etext/furness/leartate/

But have not been able to find a downloadable version as text.  Any help
would be appreciated.  Thanks to those who have responded so promptly. I
will keep you updated as I receive more information.

Tim Perfect
Cleveland Shakespeare Festival
http://www.cleveshakes.org/

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 12:33:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

I for one would be interested in seeing Tate's Lear acted. It was the
reigning version for over a century and actually restores the ending of
Shakespeare's historical sources. But aside from that, I applaud all
productions of adaptations, because I believe that however misguided
they end up being, they do two useful things.

1) They help audiences think about the original text in a different
light. It is extraordinarily difficult these days to see Shakespeare (at
least the better known plays) with fresh eyes. Shakespeare is too much
with us and anything that shakes up our expectations is a huge help.

2) Adaptations point out that "Shakespeare" no longer (and perhaps never
did) begin and end within the boundaries of the playtext. Because of the
way Shakespeare has penetrated Western culture, the meaning of the plays
is much wider and deeper than the story written by Shakespeare. That is
why people can and do write works filling in the background of minor
characters or creating the before or after story. I like to see
adaptations to find out what other people's Shakespeare is like.

Annalisa Castaldo
Temple University

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 12:22:29 CST6CDT
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

Hi Tim,

Given that Tate's Lear held the stage for 150 years or so, I think it
might be very interesting to stage it. What would be even more
interesting for a company would be to stage it in repertory with the
original. I might even take a trip to see something like that, finances
permitting.

Chris Gordon

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 16:43:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

I don't really know the play, but I had the opportunity to see a segment
of it staged at Manchester University in Spring 1979 in a presentation
for an A-level school group, combined with several other scenes from
Shakespeare's play with a variety of interpretations.  What struck me
most about the Tate performance (which I had always heard treated in
only the most disparaging way) was that the company played it seriously
as a drama in its own right.  Sets and costumes were in the Restoration
style, complete with full-bottom wigs, and for the first time I realized
that this was a play which grew out of the rationalism of the
Enlightenment and had every right to be taken as seriously as Dryden's
All for Love.  I have still not studied the play, but were I to do so, I
would start with the assumption that it is a viable Restoration play
rather than an adaptation of a Jacobean play.

Ed Pixley
SUNY-Oneonta

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Melissa D. Aaron <
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Date:           Wednesday, 16 Jun 1999 19:36:22 -0400
Subject: 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1018 Nahum Tate's Lear

>I have recently received a proposal from a director who would like to
>direct Nahum Tate's adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear", written in
>1681, I believe.
>
>>From what I gather, the biggest (?) differences in the play are the fact
>that the Fool has been cut completely, Cordelia and Edgar have a
>romantic interest in one another, and Lear, in addition to NOT dying,
>regains his kingdom.  Oh yes, Cordelia also lives.
>
>I have an idea about what members of this list will say, but I would
>like to hear your thoughts on this adaptation.  Is it worth doing?  Is
>it worth exploring the possibility of doing?  IS there anything valid
>about this interpretation, other than the fact that it is an adaptation
>of Shakespeare's 'Lear' into a Restoration Comedy, (if that is valid at
>all...)

Actually, it isn't a Restoration Comedy at all, but a tragicomedy.  The
idea of a tragedy with a happy ending is pretty difficult for the
twentieth-century brain to absorb, but for a long time it was the
standard finish on the operatic stage-the "lieto fine." Vide Gluck's
Orfeo ed Euridice, in which Euridice for no good reason I can think of
suddenly un-dies again  to general rejoicing.  Heavy reliance on the god
in the box.

I've actually directed Nahum Tate, in the form of Purcell's *Dido and
Aeneas.*  For what it's worth, I think it would be interesting to stage
it as a curiosity, but I would expect a very limited audience indeed,
composed mostly of theater historians like myself and other persons of
our odd ilk. For starters, Tate writes some pretty bad couplets.  Dido
is notorious
for lines like "Thus on the fatal banks of Nile/Weeps the deceitful
crocodile" and you won't even have Purcell's music to soften it.  If I
were
going to do a Restoration version of Shakespeare, the first one I'd look
at
would be Dryden's All for Love.  Another interesting Shakespeare spinoff
might be Fletcher's The Woman's Prize, or the Tamer Tamed, a sort of
sequel to Taming of the Shrew.

Hope this is of some help.

Melissa D. Aaron
University of Michigan
 

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