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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: Macbeth is Listening
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1340  Tuesday, 4 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Julie Blumenthal <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jun 2000 14:37:48 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening

[2]     From:   Bob Haas <
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        Date:   Friday, 30 Jun 2000 14:20:53 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Julie Blumenthal <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jun 2000 14:37:48 GMT
Subject: 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening

As an American actor and director with some modicum of classical
training, I must protest Geralyn Horton's summation that "In the short
rehearsal periods that are all we Yanks can afford it is not surprising
that the production will be shallow and the classical acting barely
competent at opening.  If the popularity of the star is sufficient to
win the production an extended run in spite of mixed reviews, the actors
will dig in and endow it with depth. But it is unfair to compare such
efforts to the RSC, whose actors who have decades of experience in
performing Shakespeare and the luxury of months rather than weeks of
rehearsal."

This is exactly the attitude that continues to foster the belief that
Americans are incapable of doing the classics, and only Brits can do it
justice.  I have seen quite a lot of shoddy classical acting - and quite
a lot of brilliant as well - on both sides of the Atlantic.

The lengthier rehearsal periods do afford room for far more exploration,
polishing, etc; I am in complete agreement there.  However, an enormous
amount is owed to proper classical training, which many Americans have
managed by hook or by crook to attain.

A show does, of course, grow a great deal during the performance period,
but I think it's unjust to propound the stereotype that a Broadway show
cannot open worthily.  While it happens all too infrequently, there's
plenty of proof that it is possible.

Julie Blumenthal

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bob Haas <
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Date:           Friday, 30 Jun 2000 14:20:53 -0400
Subject: 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1324 Re: Macbeth is Listening

Pete, Geralyn, and Erick, thanks for the responses.  I, too, applaud
Grammer--no matter his motives--for sponsoring such a production.  It's
a pretty gutsy thing to do.  But I'm not certain that such "vanity"
productions have to be all flash and no substance due to the short
rehearsal time.  Luminaries such as Mr. Grammer could employ (he can
certainly afford it) a dramaturge and an acting coach to prepare (to
some extent) some different approaches and options to the text before
the actual rehearsal period begins.  I say options because until an
ensemble comes together, the members cannot know what their chemistry
might produce.  Unless, of course, the director is an ogre who delivers
their interpretations to the cast.

To be more realistic, however, I recently saw a BRAVO profile of Judy
Dench which blew me away.  Her rehearsal period for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
was two months or more.  That amount of time is great, especially when
we consider that there's music involved.  But in the regional theatre
and summer stock I've been involved in, a musical show usually gets a
three week production schedule, sometimes only two, and straight shows
usually get two weeks.  I'd be interested in learning the production
history of these star productions of Shakespeare, such as Grammar's
MACBETH and the TWELFTH NIGHT that ran a couple years ago with Helen
Hunt and Kyra Sedgwick.

Thanks,
Bob Haas
 

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