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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0791  Monday, 9 April 2001

[1]     From:   Judith M. Craig <
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        Date:   Thursday, 5 Apr 2001 11:54:04 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 Apr 2001 09:05:37 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[3]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 Apr 2001 14:01:19 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

[4]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Sunday, 08 Apr 2001 08:15:19 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judith M. Craig <
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Date:           Thursday, 5 Apr 2001 11:54:04 -0400
Subject: 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

John Velz writes:

<Remember that Shakespeare's audience thought
<of *Cymbeline* and *Lear* both as about a long-<ago past in
pre-Christian
<Britain where a man can travel from Cornwall to <Albany in one night
<etc.  All things are possible including a man and <two boys holding off
a
<whole army in a narrow lane and turning the tide of <battle.  It
worked.
<But do not give Barton a Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

To make an argument for a poetic reading of the above scene where an old
man and a boy hold off a whole army in the "strait lane," I would
suggest that it can be read as a complex allegory on a verbal, personal
and spiritual level of Shakespeare's personal war against gross male
sexuality.  I was sometime going to write a paper on this topic and have
a filing cabinet full of relevant essays; however, time and circumstance
have prohibited me.

I don't want to sound too academic--I was warned against this sort of
approach yesterday by a movie on HBO that I accidentally happened to
watch while waiting for my computer to sort itself out.  It starred Emma
Thompson as a dying academic with ovarian cancer who had wasted her life
on John Donne.

Well, no man is an island , yada, yada, yada,  and Shakespeare was given
a cursory reference as being nothing more than a "Hallmark card"
compared with the paradoxes in the Holy Sonnets as one faces death after
a meaningless life.

Any advice from the audience?  Should I be waved on to pursue this line
of thinking in spite of real and known problems handed me by the ancient
of days--old and corrupt academics who were out to "do me in?"

Judy Craig

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 Apr 2001 09:05:37 -0700
Subject: Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

It is understandable and interesting that this discussion has turned, in
large part, into a discussion worthy productions of *Cymbeline.*

As I pointed out a few months back, when the stage worthiness of *The
Spanish Tragedy* was questioned, a good production can convince us of a
play's worth when the case from the text alone is unconvincing.  We
could have discussed other texts that some do not find lively reading
for our example.  Pericles is such a text.  I have seen four worthwhile
productions of Pericles, and one that got me to beat feet at
intermission, Snapper.

I think the lesson is that both reading and staging have their places as
long as theater artists find a way to use the text to thrill an
audience.  That I understand.  What I don't understand is why this
question continues to be asked in various guises.  Is it not obvious?

All the best,
Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 Apr 2001 14:01:19 -0500
Subject: 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

I've seen two Cymbeline productions that were wonderful, in which nearly
everything "worked", and two incoherent jumbles, one of which attempted
seriousness and another that deliberately camped it up.  Given those
50-50 odds, I'm eager to see it again any time.  My off-the-cuff feeling
is that a director who can handle Sondheim's "Into the Woods" or
"Follies" should be able to handle Cymbeline.

Geralyn Horton
Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.stagepage.org>

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Sunday, 08 Apr 2001 08:15:19 -0700
Subject: 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0776 Re: Cymbeline: staged or read

I enjoyed John's posting on John Barton's production of Cymbeline,
especially the note that Lear requires elastic geography.  The
disagreement between Imogen and Pisanio about how long a voyage will
take is a little more complex in this context.

However, I would like to add that "a man and two boys holding off a
whole army in a narrow lane and turning the tide of battle" doesn't
require this sort of unreality to become impossible.  It's the
equivalent of a single machine-gun nest holding up a complete assault.

Cheers,
Se

 

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