The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1044 Monday, 21 June 1999.
From: Steve Urkowitz <
Date: Monday, 21 Jun 1999 09:31:04 EDT
Subject: 10.1013 Re: Q1 Hamlet Productions
Comment: Re: SHK 10.1013 Re: Q1 Hamlet Productions
Just a "heads-up" note about the Q1 Hamlet notes we've been passing.
I'd encourage anyone interested to read the text straight and to ignore
(if possible) the elephantine marginal footprints about how the text was
generated. The theories about piracy, cutting for touring, and memorial
reconstruction have no basis. (1) If Marcellus was a pirate, he sailed
out of Penzance because he got his own lines wrong, gave some of them to
other players, and snapped up some of their speeches for his own. (2)
Plays were lengthened rather than cut to allow them to be played by
smaller casts; the key was to add lines at scene ends to allow players
to change into new costumes. (3) Printers didn't look at plays as
"hot-properties" worth taking risks over. (4) The "bad" parts aren't so
bad, and the "good" parts are so good-yet-different, and the
vocabularies of all three texts are so "patterned-by-Shakespeare" that
if we have a pirate she was cloned with full authorial memories from the
Stratford guy. (See Don Foster's contributions in the SHAXPER
I have a fat essay on this stuff in Tom Clayton, THE HAMLET FIRST
PUBLISHED. The evidence behind the various claims about Q1 really has to
be examined. The memorial reconstructors just blow smoke.
The Hamlet that closed last week after a short run at the Performance
Garage was a Q1 text heavily larded with juicy bits from Q2 and F.
Alas, the problems with the production had little to do with its text,
though many of the individual visual images were brilliantly conceived.