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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1237  Monday, 28 May 2001

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 May 2001 10:47:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

[2]     From:   Robert Peters <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 May 2001 19:55:45 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1217 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

[3]     From:   Cheryl Buonome-Panzo <
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        Date:   Sunday, 27 May 2001 15:56:11 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 25 May 2001 10:47:59 -0500
Subject: 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

Responding to my response suggesting that it's a bad idea to make comedy
into tragedy, Robert Peters writes:

>Well, maybe because it can produce interesting insights. I found it much
>more worth my time to be left with profound thoughts about the nature of
>love instead of "just" having a good laugh.

"De gustibus" and all that. When I go to a comedy I want to laugh, as
when I go to a tragedy I want to have my guts torn out. When I do a
comedy I want to hear laughter out of the audience. If I don't, I know
something's wrong. Of course, some comedies produce more laughter than
others -- usually the ones with more farce. But when you know a play can
produce them, and can do so without sacrificing *all* the profound
thoughts, then you want to get them.

(I'm confident it was satisfying to Shakespeare the Actor, as well as
Shakespeare the Playwright, to hear good solid belly laughs attending
his comedies, although I have, of course, not slightest shred of
evidence.)

A few years ago I was involved in a production of "Waiting for Godot."
The Lahr-Marshall recording was quite eerie and hyper-modernist, and so
we didn't follow it much. One of the actors subsequently saw a
production in New York that he said was played entirely for laughs. I
didn't like that idea much either. We were looking for a balance between
a sense of grim futility (that some of the lines and scenes clearly
depict) and the goofy hilarity that others do. It seems logical to me
that that balance was what Beckett was looking for, since he wouldn't
have written both kinds if he hadn't wanted them.

I sense behind so much interpretation (both critical and dramatic) a
frantic need to be original. This seems to distort many people's ideas
about a given text.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Peters <
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Date:           Friday, 25 May 2001 19:55:45 +0200
Subject: 12.1217 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1217 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

Richard Nathan asked:

> Robert Peters wrote, concerning A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, "But in the
> end the lovers couldn't live together anymore - which makes perfect
> sense for me."
>
> Did the couples break up before or after Oberon gave his blessing?  Or
> did they cut the blessing?  The blessing becomes rather ludicrous if the
> couples can't stay together.

In this production (in my German hometown Aachen) the couples are given
the blessing and are married. There they on the stage in black and white
and have to watch Bottom's pathetic play. They never touch, they don't
exchange glances. They are deeply alienated and shocked. Once Lysander
tries to touch Hermia but she moves away. They are condemned to live
together but they can't. So they mirror Theseus and Hippolyta who were
introduced as a total loveless couple themselves she just being "wooed
with the sword".

Robert Peters

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[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cheryl Buonome-Panzo <
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Date:           Sunday, 27 May 2001 15:56:11 EDT
Subject: 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1201 Re: Midsummer Night's Dream

Although I think your views provide compelling ideas and provocative
insights, I directed MSD this weekend.  My actors were in the age range
of 10 through 14, and it was a tremendous comedy with lots of laughter.
Since Shakespeare intended it to be a comedy, I think it not only
important to laugh, but essential to the experience of the play. After
all, if "the course of true love never runs smooth" and you can't laugh
at the experience, life as well as love would become dull and routine.

Cheryl Buonome-Panzo

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