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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: June ::
Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1220  Wednesday, 14 June 2000.

[1]     From:   Phil Rogers <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jun 2000 15:17:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jun 2000 00:22:57 +0100
        Subj:   The power to hurt


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Phil Rogers <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jun 2000 15:17:13 -0400
Subject: 11.1210 Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1210 Re: To be an actor or not to be an actress

Dana,

Robertson Davies' book is called "Shakespeare's Boy Actors", not "-
Actresses."  It was published by Dent in 1939.

Phillip Rogers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jun 2000 00:22:57 +0100
Subject:        The power to hurt

I take Mike Jensen's point (and others) that the English language
evolves but all the while women offer themselves for women's parts and
men for men's parts, there will be the terms "actress" and "actor".  I
suggest that when audience and players value both equally there will be
no stigma.  I for one think that loose actors are as common as loose
actresses.  Better them than tight PC priests and priestesses.

But this has relevance to Shakespeare's writing in thinking what
actually evolves, improves and betters.  Perhaps I may be called a
medievalist in that to me nothing really changes from age to age.  In
the past there have been long periods of peace, times of plenty,
philosophical certainty and political stability.  Also Mike mentioned
equality.  Again the PC gurus lament the absence of that particular
social component but promise and hope for it as part of their 'cult of
the future'.  I ask you to glance at sonnet 94, described in my New
Penguin edition by John Kerrigan as the most discussed in the
collection.  "Its ironies are almost inordinate, an ebb and flow between
approval and disapproval ambiguating the text, whose iterative patterns
offer a security which, in reading, dissolves."

Shakespeare clearly delineates between "they that have power to hurt"
and the "others" who are merely "stewards of their excellence".  His
bitter description seems to preclude any interchangeability between the
two groups, perhaps claiming that equality - whether for men or women -
is a natural impossibility.  He also seems unsure as to which group he
places his good self.  Is he the sun, or the flower? A lily or a weed?
Clearly he had power to hurt with words, but also described himself as a
slave to the his "lovely boy".

Perhaps we aren't supposed to know.

SAM
 

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