2000

Re: Atomic Shakespeare on BRAVO

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1028  Friday, 12 May 2000.

From:           Tammy Yax <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 14:26:37 EDT
Subject: 11.1023 Atomic Shakespeare on BRAVO
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1023 Atomic Shakespeare on BRAVO

A couple of months ago while channel surfing I stopped on BRAVO and saw
the episode in question.  I enjoyed this episode immensely.  It is worth
trying to catch.  I think I am going to tape it.  Thanks for the notice.

~Tammy Yax

>American viewers may be interested to learn that BRAVO has scheduled a
>Shakespeare spinoff, "Atomic Shakespeare" (an episode of the TV show
>MOONLIGHTING) for tomorrow, Friday, May 12, at 12 noon and 7 PM.  The
>show is an hour long and is a deft slapstick parody of the Zeffirelli
>TAMING OF THE SHREW.
>
>BRAVO has already misled me once about its scheduling, so you might want
>to check your local listings to confirm the airdate.  It's well worth
>taping, since no version is currently commercially available.
>
>Cheers,
>Douglas Lanier
>This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Re: Shakespearean Insults

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1027  Friday, 12 May 2000.

From:           Marvin Rosenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 09:41:55 -0700
Subject: 11.1003 Re: Shakespearean Insults
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1003 Re: Shakespearean Insults

I would love to see Dale Lyle's scenes.

        Marvin

[Editor's Note: Oh, me too, me too!]

Re: Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1025  Friday, 12 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 11:27:07 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

[2]     From:   Dale Lyles <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 13:00:57 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

[3]     From:   Eric W Beato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 22:27:25 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 11:27:07 -0400
Subject: 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

>During the melee, the baby is
>taken from her, she and her son are killed and they are dragged off in
>different directions.  All that is left is one murderer, with the
>bundle, standing with his back towards us.  I had heard it
>was a bloody
>show, and fully expected something gruesome.  Instead there
>is a sudden
>twist of his hands and a sharp audible crack of the baby's neck,
>followed by the low painful groan of the audience.  It is a heart
>stopping moment, but I haven't figured out if I think it is great
>theater, or cheap manipulation.

I suppose I felt it was the latter partly because they used the same
sound effect for the same result when they did _Othello_.  I guess it
wasn't as cheap as the vomit-drinking Porter.

Jeff Myers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 13:00:57 EDT
Subject: 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

Uh, oh--I thought cheap manipulation *was* great theatre.  Now I have to
rethink my whole aesthetic.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company
http://newnantheatre.com

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Eric W Beato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 22:27:25 -0400
Subject: Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth
Comment:        SHK 11.1018 Shakespeare's Skum Macbeth

No one laughed at the banquet scene of MACBETH when Barbara Gaines and
the Shakespeare Repertory Theatre (now the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre)
presented her outstanding Macbeth.  Her guest director, whose name
escapes me now, had determined that the scene must be a nightmare.  They
lit the stage from the side, with all the guests at table falling into
the dark and only their eerie hands holding their goblets visible in the
light.  A nightmare it was, for Macbeth, for his countrymen, and for
this moved audience.  Outstanding direction and execution of a scene.
We in the Midwest are lucky to have this outstanding theatre in our
midst.

Rick Beato
Lisle (IL) Senior High School

Re: Ghosts and Nightgowns

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1026  Friday, 12 May 2000.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 11:30:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

[2]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 13:44:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

[3]     From:   John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 14:01:14 -0500
        Subj:   Ghosts and Nightgowns

[4]     From:   John Jowett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 11 May 2000 20:55:46 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

[5]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, May 12, 2000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 11:30:07 -0400
Subject: 11.1015 Re: Ghosts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

>[Editor's Note: Next to "Exit pursued by a Beare," this stage direction
>from Q1 Hamlet is exceeding intriguing in that during the period the
>custom was to sleep in the nude.  --Hardy]

Well, yes. I think the "nightgown" was what we would call a "dressing
gown" or "bathrobe"-what you put over nonexistent sleepwear when it was
necessary to get out of bed but not feasible to dress fully.

And aren't ghosts flapping around in white because a shroud is the
ghostly equivalent of a nightgown?

Dana

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 13:44:58 -0400
Subject: 11.1015 Re: Ghosts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

Following John Velz's waggish comment on the ghosts third appearance "in
his nightgown" Hardy brings out the thing about early moderns sleeping
in the nude.  The first OED definition is "a loose gown specially used
for putting on at (or during the) night in place of the ordinary
clothes; a dressing gown."  The occurrence is dated 1400; there is a
reference from 1546 to "a gowne furrid with lambe whiche is my night
gowne" and one from 1582 to "His night gowne [which] was made of blacke
velvet, after the French use laced aboute, with lace of golde"
(appropriate for Hamlet, Sr., but definitely not white), and one from
Pepys, I suppose anent one of his amorous adventures, "She . . . ran out
in her smock into her aviary [all a-twitter, no doubt], and thither her
woman brought her her nightgown."  The earliest reference to a garment
unequivocally worn for sleeping in seems to be not earlier than C19.

But the whiteness of ghosts surely has to do with the shroud; this was
indeed white; it was the last garment in which people were seen, and
would be at almost any point in European history a natural association.
Which does not mean that people routinely made the association prior to
some period at which the reference began to be commonplace.

Drowsily,
Dave Evett

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 14:01:14 -0500
Subject:        Ghosts and Nightgowns

In re 11. 1015

In his nightgown.  A frequent ref. in Sh.  JC 2.2., and many other
places.  A nightgown was not a sleeping nightshirt or pajamas.  It was
what we now call a housecoat or a bathrobe.  Housecoat is the best
translation of the term, because it meant emphatically NOT STREET
CLOTHES. Shakespeare uses these costumes to signal a domestic scene as
opposed to a public one.  Brutus probably would be wearing one in 2.1 of
JC in his orchard.   It would not be white.  Indeed it would in the case
of aristocrats be elaborately adorned, with fur or velvet or satin
lapels.  As for KBP echoing Macbeth, I think not, as Mac. is 1606 and
KBP is (if memory serves) earlier.  As for sleeping in the nude, Roman
Polanski seemed to believe that, as he brought out his centerfold Lady
Macbeth for the sleepwalking scene in the altogether in the
Hugh-Hefner-produced film.  Whereupon the irreverent Kenneth Tynan
observed, "the Scottish Doctor may not be able to minister to a mind
diseased, but in that icey castle, he could at least have sent the
waiting woman for a cloak."  My favorite comment on *The Playboy
Macbeth*.

Cheers for nightgowns

John

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Jowett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 20:55:46 GMT
Subject: 11.1015 Re: Ghosts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

Hardy, I presume Old Hamlet's nightgown in Q1 is what we would now call
a dressing gown, this being the standard sense in the period.  Whether
it would be white or not I don't know, but I do seem to recall a
reference somewhere to a dusting of flour being used to whiten the skin
for ghost roles...

John Jowett

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, May 12, 2000
Subject: 11.1015 Re: Ghosts
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1015 Re: Ghosts

I stand corrected that the Q1 stage direction is not so "intriguing"
after all, but I shall keep my annotation to line 397 of my modern
edition of *Venus and Adonis*.

<L=397> <Q>Who sees his true-love in her naked bed,
<L=398> Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white;
<L=399> But when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
<L=400> His other agents aim at like delight?
<L=401> <IN n=2>Who is so faint that dares not be so bold
<L=402> <IN n=2>To touch the fire, the weather being cold?

<NOTE><L=397><A>in her naked bed</A><LEVEL=1>naked in her bed because
the custom of the time was to sleep without clothing. Cf. <Q>2.b.
<B>naked bed</B>, orig. used with reference to the custom of sleeping
entirely naked; in later use denoting the removal of the ordinary
wearing apparel. Now arch.</Q> (<I>OED</I> adj.). <Q>1592 Kyd <I>Sp.
Trag.</I> ii. v. 1 What out-cries pluck me from my naked bed .
.?</Q></LEVEL></NOTE>

As soon as classes are over and I write the two essays I have promised,
I will be completing the annotations and the modern edition will be
ready, after peer review, for mounting on the Internet Shakespeare
Editions. Currently, the diplomatic transcription of Q1 and a facsimile
of it are available at
http://castle.uvic.ca/shakespeare/Library/Texts/Poems/Ven/index.html

VVho sees his true-loue in her naked bed,
Teaching the sheets a whiter hew then white,
But when his glutton eye so full hath fed,
His other agents ayme at like delight?
  VVho is so faint that dares not be so bold,
  To touch the fier the weather being cold?

I also have produced a number of other versions of *Venus and Adonis*
that I plan to discuss in my essay for the International Shakespeare
Conference this summer: "Varieties of the Electronic Textual
Experience."

Re: Eunuchs Onstage

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1024  Friday, 12 May 2000.

From:           Peter Hillyar-Russ <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 May 2000 14:53:18 +0100
Subject:        Eunuchs Onstage

Is it known for certain that the actors playing women on the renaissance
stage were boys?

Modern productions have used adult men to play female roles very
convincingly, and with great success. The experience of many of us who
know trans-vestites and trans-sexuals is that the virtually undetectable
portrayal of femininity by adult men is not uncommon.

Certainly Cleopatra fears that "some squeaking Cleopatra [will] boy
[her] greatness", but this line is inconclusive. The rivals of the adult
players were the all boy companies, which Shakespeare satirises in other
places. Could not this line be another slur by Shakespeare on those
companies, rather than a proof that women's roles were always played by
boys. On a boy's lips this line would be particularly strange, for it
would seriously damage the theatrical illusion.

I admit that Shakespeare does sometimes allow his actors to challenge
this illusion, but most notably in a comic situation eg, in Twelfth
Night, Fabian's "If this were played upon a stage, now, I could condemn
it as an improbable fiction." as the gulling of Malvolio progresses.

More commonly Shakespeare supports the illusion; Corin in As You Like
It, and Feste in Twelfth Night, both voice suspicions of their heroines'
male disguises, which serves to enhance the female characterisation of
Rosalind and Viola, as played by male actors.

I am sure that (given equipment able to shave a beard) good adult male
actors capable of performing female roles convincingly could have been
found in Shakespeare's time, just as they can in ours.

I accept that there were boys' companies in Elizabethan London, where
all the roles were played by boys.

But I remain unconvinced that the female parts were always, or indeed
normally, played by boys in the adult companies of players. Probably
younger men (mid to late teens, perhaps) would have portrayed the
heroines at their most nubile age (mid to late teens, perhaps). The fact
that young actors are needed to play young women (because it is
admittedly hard for an actor to play a younger character), does not seem
to imply that boys were necessarily used to play women.

Is there any evidence out there to settle my doubts?

Peter HR

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