The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2670 Tuesday, 27 November 2001
From: Don Bloom <
Date: Monday, 26 Nov 2001 06:16:17 -0600
Subject: 12.2657 Re: Richard II
Comment: Re: SHK 12.2657 Re: Richard II
I won't respond directly to Stephen Dobbin's explosion of rage against
Terence Hawkes, except to suggest that perhaps it's unwise to be too
vituperative when blaming another for vituperation.
In defense of TH, however -- and I hear the ghost of Brother Dave
saying, "Now ain't that weird" -- I also have problems with audiences
being too close to the actor, whether as an audience-member or an actor.
I grant this may simply be a personality problem on the one hand, and a
limitation of skill on the other, but it is true. When I'm on-stage I
think as little as possible about the audience (not at all is best) and
have to remind myself when doing comedies to wait for laughs to subside.
"Intimate" theatres, where you're in danger of tripping over the
audience's feet, drive me nuts because they make it that much more
difficult to do.
Of course, this can be overcome. I have been part of some very
successful shows in small theatres, and have seen any number of
excellent performances in such venues (especially at The Octagon
(Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery)), but I find it distracting
from either side. And the fewer distractions the better as far as I'm
On another issue, a correspondent (Larry Weiss) suggested a few days ago
with reference of R&J that "the feud has pretty much petered out by the
time the play starts. The only character who takes it seriously is
Tybalt. For the servants it is an occasion for fun and exercise, for
everyone else it is in the background with no immediate impact." While I
agree that the play is (as traditionally held) about young love, I
disagree that the feud is unimportant. All the productions I have seen
(and the one I have performed in) made a great deal of the feud,
especially the opening brawl. The murderous hatred of Montague and
Capulet is necessary to make the play make sense.
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