Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: March ::
Re: Modern Dress Query
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0476  Friday, 10 March 2000.

[1]     From:   Ronald Moyer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 8 Mar 2000 12:01:51 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0447 Modern Dress Query

[2]     From:   Nicole Imbracsio <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Thursday, 9 Mar 2000 12:29:19 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0471 Re: Modern Dress Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Moyer <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 8 Mar 2000 12:01:51 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 11.0447 Modern Dress Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0447 Modern Dress Query

There are several reasons why some various production teams have chosen
to re-set productions of Early Modern scripts.  In brief, some of the
reasons are: 1) to clarify  class/ economic/ occupational/ etc.
relationships for audiences unfamiliar with renaissance customs (modern
dress and/or eclectic designs, such a many Bogdanov productions); 2) to
reduce visual "interference" which may distract contemporary audiences
from a needed focus on language; 3) attempts to freshen visual reference
while (hopefully) reinforcing thematic concerns (anachronistic but,
often, non-modern setting; e.g., Twelfth Night to self-conscious
romanticism of c. 1800; chaotic, post-apocalyptic, "road warriors"
setting for Macbeth; fascist setting for RIII, Caesar); 4) in situations
with limited casting pools (many school productions), to choose/create
worlds offering opportunities to more women and/or young actors in the
casts (e.g., women soldiers, Guildenstern, Horatio, etc.); 5) to
explore/emphasize particular themes; 6) to produce on limited budgets;
and, for some folks, 6) just to be different.

Ivan Fuller, now teaching at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, USA, completed a PhD dissertation addressing the question of
anachronistic productions of Shakes' scripts.  Excerpts from the
Dissertation Abstracts entry are included below:

        TITLE:  A CRITICAL CASE STUDY OF ANACHRONISTIC PRODUCTIONS OF
                SHAKESPEAREAN TEXTS
       AUTHOR:  FULLER, IVAN WALTER, II
       DEGREE:  PH.D.
         YEAR:  1990
  INSTITUTION:  BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY; 0018
       SOURCE:  DAI, VOL. 52-03A, Page 0740, 00333 Pages
  DESCRIPTORS:  THEATER; LITERATURE, ENGLISH
     ABSTRACT:  The purpose of this study was to provide a list of
                guiding values and/or criteria that directors of a
                Shakespearean text might be able to apply to their
                decision-making process when consciously choosing to
                stage the text in an anachronistic setting--defined in
                this study as any period other than Elizabethan.
                A case study was conducted by interviewing five
                directors who had directed an anachronistic production
                of Shakespeare. These directors and their productions
                were: David William's Troilus and Cressida at the
                Stratford Festival in Ontario, Peter Moss' Much Ado
                About Nothing at the Stratford Festival in Ontario,
                Richard Monette's The Taming of the Shrew at the
                Stratford Festival in Ontario, Ronald Shields' Twelfth
                Night at Bowling Green State University, and Philip
                Kerr's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the University of
                Michigan. From these interviews, a list of guiding
                values and criteria was compiled....In addition to
                presenting the rationale for the choices made, this
study
                also discussed the implementation process that led to
the
                final production and an evaluative discussion of the
five
                productions based on critical reviews and directorial
post-
                production evaluations....

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nicole Imbracsio <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Thursday, 9 Mar 2000 12:29:19 -0700
Subject: 11.0471 Re: Modern Dress Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0471 Re: Modern Dress Query

>Nicole Imbracsio writes that, in the recent film of Romeo and Juliet,
>guns are used in place of swords in order to 'demonstrate the
>timelessness of the work'.   Eh?  I'd say it demonstrates exactly the
>reverse.
>
>T. Hawkes

What I meant was that in "modernizing" the setting of the play the film
allows for an audience to realize how the tale of Romeo and Juliet
transcends time and place (it's not just about some guys running around
in tights and swords). I, many others, love the Zefferelli (sp?) film-
but high school students today may not find it as beautiful as I did.
Actually, I feel that the recent film did a  much better job in
demonstrating the play's acts of violence as "senseless," than the older
film did. I am not saying that Baz's film is entirely brillant-but some
aspects of it (such as the guns) were very clever.

-N.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.