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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: Tempest in Georgia
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1337  Tuesday, 4 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Michael E. Cohen <
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 >
        Date:   Friday, 30 Jun 2000 07:12:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production

[2]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jun 2000 11:54:19 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production

[3]     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jun 2000 15:24:00 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Tempest in Georgia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael E. Cohen <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jun 2000 07:12:34 -0700
Subject: 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production

In SHK 11.1332 Aimee Luzier <
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 > writes,

>Maybe I'm a purist, I am a "retired" actor after all, but I hope to
>heaven that the technology failed in that production.  It's bad enough
>that Lucas and co. think it's fine to replace human actors with
>digitalized images and voiceovers in the movies, (they're so easy to
>work with after all), but I hate the idea of applying it to theatre and
>to Shakespearean plays in particular.

Do you honestly believe that there is a danger that computer-generated
characters are a real threat to replace actors?  Trust me, it is a LONG
way off before you will even see a digital performance rival a human
one. And, if it should come to pass that someday someone has the
artistry to create a truly moving and dramatic performance digitally,
are you suggesting that we should not respect that artistry because a
human being isn't standing on a physical stage? Then you must disallow
movies from your world, because all you are looking at is light and
shadow and all you are hearing is a recording...not a real performance
(even if there were human actors being filmed, what you are seeing is
selected and edited scenes, not a theatrical performance).

By the way, it is not easy to work with digital characters and
voiceovers...it is, in fact, a LOT harder to make a digital character
(or an animated character drawn "the old fashioned way") perform than it
is a living breathing talented actor. Lucas may have a lot of reasons
for using digital actors, but cost and convenience are not among them.

This is not an either/or business: it is a both/and one. Actors will
survive digital technology. Honest. Also, remember that theatre is show
business, not a religious service.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 30 Jun 2000 11:54:19 -0400
Subject: 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1332 Re: Georgia's Tempest Production

I'll be looking at the student essays on the Tempest production.
Meanwhile, a few comments on Aimee Luzier's comments:

>Maybe I'm a purist, I am a "retired" actor after all, but I hope to
>heaven that the technology failed in that production.  It's bad enough
>that Lucas and co. think it's fine to replace human actors with
>digitalized images and voiceovers in the movies, (they're so easy to
>work with after all), but I hate the idea of applying it to theatre and
>to Shakespearean plays in particular.

I would hope that the use of technology would never lend reason to
replacing actors or to cutting their pay. But I am in favor of the use
of animation technologies when they will serve the story. Chicken Run is
easily a better and more human movie than Mission Impossible 2,
regardless of who or what was on the screen.

>Yes, if Shakespeare were writing
>now, he would probably make use of any existing technology to tell his
>stories as effectively as he could.  But would he replace the actors
>that he seems to have loved so much with puppets?

Well, I'm not sure how to assess Shakespeare's love for the actors. Do
we have any indications that he loved them or that he did not? However,
his contemporary Ben Jonson used puppets in Bartholomew Fair, one of my
favorite Renaissance comedies. Jonson does grumble about the performers
of some of his plays; I don't know if that included Shakespeare's
performance in--was it Sejanus?

I don't want to offer a blanket endorsement of the use of technology in
live theater. But I favor whatever works to enhance the staging of a
play, and I don't mind experimentation. I've dragged many an unwilling
friend to see Shakespeare at the Summer Festival in New Orleans, and
almost always they genuinely enjoyed the show. If The Merry Wives of
Windsor can be successfully staged with conventions drawn from 50s
television, including the use of a convertible, fine with me, even if .
. .

>they add in spectacle to
>draw in the audience or dazzle the ignorant.

Jack Heller

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 30 Jun 2000 15:24:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Tempest in Georgia

The website for the production has returned: you'll find it at
http://drama.uga.edu/tempest/ There seems to be a misperception that the
production used technology to eliminate actors. That is not what
happened. Might I suggest that anyone who is interested (or outraged),
take a look.

Fran Teague <http://www.arches.uga.edu/~fteague>
 

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