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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: April ::
Re: Anti-Shakespeareans
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0879  Friday, 21 April 2000.

From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Apr 2000 13:27:49 EDT
Subject: 11.0866 Re: Anti-Shakespeareans
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0866 Re: Anti-Shakespeareans

As an actor who has played the Poet/Playwright's works from time to
time, and who has many actor friends who feel the same way, I would like
to report on the actual burden of performing this kind of material [if I
may reduce the plays to that for the moment]. We do in fact yearn to
talk in a modern way, and we *do* find extended metaphorical treatment
of normal tasks and reactions...well... a bit of a nuisance. It is easy
for some of us to make our feelings and intents sound beautiful, given
the extraordinarily blossomed early-modern propensity for rhetorical
excellence and even excess. It is, however, extremely difficult to
reconcile this beauty with the expectations audiences now have of acting
with a degree of "naturalness" that goes to another country than that
offered by Shakespeare's emotional realism.

For us to see a morn in russet mantle clad {with the grammatical
inversion in addition to the fullness of the image}, is one thing, but
for the modern audience to hear/see it is quite another.

It is a very tiring business, and our efforts are -however they may be
praised- not likely to be genuinely appreciated.  That irritating
knowing laugh or look the '"initiated "in the audience can give is
ultimately damning.

I'm with Peter Hall, who has said we might benefit from not performing
the plays for a good while.

Harry Hill
Montreal
 

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