Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Actors' Additions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2339  Monday, 15 October 2001

[1]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 12 Oct 2001 11:52:19 -0300
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

[2]     From:   R. A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Friday, 12 Oct 2001 15:03:23 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

[3]     From:   Judi Crane <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Oct 2001 15:20:00 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

[4]     From:   Edward Pixley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Saturday, 13 Oct 2001 10:02:00 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 12 Oct 2001 11:52:19 -0300
Subject: 12.2335 Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

As a director of Shakespeare, I do precisely the opposite.  I have my
stage manager note any repeated deviation from the script and notify the
actors of their mistakes (and insist they be corrected).

My understanding was that this is currently common practice in the
theatre (though not necessarily in popular film) both for Shakespeare
and other plays, but my experience is, of course, limited.

For what it's worth, I am currently directing Dream in which I also play
Quince.  As you all know, Quince is fairly particular about getting his
actors to speak what is set down for them ("Ninus'" and not "Ninny's",
e.g.); the non-scholarly side of me is certain that Quince must be
voicing some of Shakespeare's frustrations with actors mispronouncing
and misunderstanding his work.

Regards,
t.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R. A. Cantrell <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Friday, 12 Oct 2001 15:03:23 -0500
Subject: 12.2335 Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

> Words
> like "well," "by heaven," "I can tell you," "my lord," and "O" when
> interpolated into the play by actors were then actually written into the
> text (by someone) where they are preserved for contemporary scholars to
> identify. I find this hard to believe. Would anyone take time to add
> these words to the book of the play as well as the separate rolls?
>
> But one of my graduate students (in the Theatre Department) tells me
> that her director does precisely this.  If an actor inadvertently adds
> words to his role, these words are added to the script.
>
> Is this common practice.
>
> Yours, Bill Godshalk

Could be, the scan's the thing.

All the best,
R. A. Cantrell

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judi Crane <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 13 Oct 2001 15:20:00 +1100
Subject: 12.2335 Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

Absolutely not, Bill!  I don't know what kind of theatre your graduate
student is studying, but for a director to tacitly encourage sloppy
dramaturgy and even sloppier acting is unforgivable.  I have worked in
academic, professional and semi professional theatre for over 30 years
and I have NEVER worked with a director who adds actors' interpolations
and addenda willy nilly to the script.  If playwrights want 'er, um,
look, listen' added to their finely crafted lines, they will have
written them in.  When I direct, I most certainly do not encourage
actors' 'inadvertant' free association with the script.  Learning the
lines, not coming up with a vague approximation, is one of the actor's
basic tasks and skills; if you can't do that, it's time to find another
(a)vocation. 'Um, listen, mate; er - to be or sort of not, um, not to,
you know, be,' I think not!!

Cheers,
Judi Crane

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Saturday, 13 Oct 2001 10:02:00 -0400
Subject: 12.2335 Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2335 Actors' Additions

> Irace, Jenkins, and others suggest that in the early modern period
> actors' additions or interpolations were added to the playscript.  Words
> like "well," "by heaven," "I can tell you," "my lord," and "O" when
> interpolated into the play by actors were then actually written into the
> text (by someone) where they are preserved for contemporary scholars to
> identify. I find this hard to believe. Would anyone take time to add
> these words to the book of the play as well as the separate rolls?
>
> But one of my graduate students (in the Theatre Department) tells me
> that her director does precisely this.  If an actor inadvertently adds
> words to his role, these words are added to the script.
>
> Is this common practice.
>
> Yours, Bill Godshalk

As a theatre professional of some forty years, this is the first time I
have ever heard of such a silly practice, though I have encountered
fully as much silliness as most have.  If the play is under copyright,
this practice would, of course, be illegal.

Most directors I have worked with respond to actors' additions with one
of two responses:

1. Adding "um" and "oh" and grunts and other such animal sounds alter
the rhythm of the text, just as adding an extra note alters a musical
score;

2.  Until the actor has found a way to read the lines, as written, with
the vocabulary and syntax intact, he/she is not fully in command of the
character.

I'm hoping that the director in question is conducting an experiment for
academic purposes, to explore the effects achieved by such practice.

Ed Pixley

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.