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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: November ::
Re: My Old Brain is Troubled
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2683  Wednesday, 28 November 2001

[1]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 08:35:50 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2671 Re: My Old Brain is Troubled

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 14:15:17 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 12.2671 Re: My Old Brain is Troubled

[3]     From:   Sydney L.Kasten <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 28 Nov 2001 00:02:03 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2648 My Old Brain Is Troubled


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 08:35:50 -0800
Subject: 12.2671 Re: My Old Brain is Troubled
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2671 Re: My Old Brain is Troubled

Knowing a bit about statistics and how they work, I've no doubt John
Ciccarelli was correct when he wrote:

>My company here in the New York area puts on
>3-4 Shakespeares during the summer and there are times that we get the
>"deer in the head lights" look from the audience.  I find this
>especially apparent in performing.  As an actor you can feel the
>audience not getting it.

Statistically, some audiences will be more clueless than others.  Yet,
this reminded me of something John Barton once said.  I can't find the
quote, but the gist of it was that it is the actor's fault if the
audience does not get it.  The actors are not doing their jobs well
enough.

This was in context of discussing the technique of speaking
Shakespeare's lines, natch.  My experience suggests Barton is usually
correct on this, though not always.  I have sat in clueless audiences,
but usually find the actors at fault when audience does not react.  We
react to what is presented, most of the time.

Mike Jensen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Nov 2001 14:15:17 -0500
Subject: Re: My Old Brain is Troubled
Comment:        SHK 12.2671 Re: My Old Brain is Troubled

A consistently blank response from a puzzled audience, plus a refusal to
respond adequately to jokes and comic routines is certainly very
disturbing. John Ciccarelli's report that 'we were amazed that at times
some of our visual gags didn't go over well' confirms this extremely
worrying trend amongst irresponsible theatre-goers. It's obviously right
that such amazing developments should raise the issue of why the Bard
seems no longer to be central to a stubbornly ungrateful culture. Here,
at the Critical Theory Workshop's Experimental Village Rehearsal Space,
after several hours of wrestling with the data, our experts have now
come up with a possible answer. Lousy acting.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sydney L.Kasten <
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Date:           Wednesday, 28 Nov 2001 00:02:03 +0200
Subject: 12.2648 My Old Brain Is Troubled
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2648 My Old Brain Is Troubled

Greetings

Reading Paul Swanson's letter on the reaction of his audience brought to
mind a TV documentary I once saw on one of the great Russian ballet
companies.  The director of the troupe at one point recalled a tour to
the US which kicked off in New York.  In the initial performance the
dancers were upset that they received no applause after execution of
brilliant passages.   It wasn't till the standing ovation at the descent
of the curtain that they came to realize that the audience etiquette in
North America at the time precluded interruption of the performance with
applause.  I would suggest that it may as well have been that the
audience was transfixed.

In any case, I can't totally agree with the proposition that the plight
of the young lovers is simply funny.  It's been a while for me, but I
can still remember when some of the issues like unreciprocated love,
destruction of longstanding friendships and the perception of being made
a fool of could be the source of much pain.  It may be that Swanson's
performers were so good that they aroused empathy in the audience.
After all, they did get a standing ovation.

And talking about MSND, I just saw an enjoyable performance in Hebrew by
the Gesher troupe.  As usual my heart ached for the kids, but I have to
admit - I did laugh.

Best wishes,
Syd Kasten

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