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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Actors' Additions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2352  Tuesday, 16 October 2001

[1]     From:   C. Fortunato <
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        Date:   Monday, 15 Oct 2001 11:34:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 08:22:51 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions

[3]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 09:02:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2340 Re: Actors' Additions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. Fortunato <
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Date:           Monday, 15 Oct 2001 11:34:32 EDT
Subject: 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: 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?

I think it may have occasionally happened, since such interjections are
occasionally outside of the meter.  One example off the top of my head
is Goneril's "Sir" in the line "Sir, I love you more than word can wield
the matter."

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 08:22:51 +0100
Subject: 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions

Todd Pettigrew wrote:

> 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.

Niall Rudd suggests it's actually a scholarly joke showing that
Shakespeare had Latin Ovid, not Golding, in front of him: "ad busta
Nini" (A B Taylor (ed) _Shakespeare's Ovid_, Cambridge University Press,
2000, page 116).

Gabriel Egan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 09:02:07 -0400
Subject: 12.2340 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2340 Re: Actors' Additions

I have enjoyed the responses but perhaps they are all colored by
attitudes which are modern and which would have had no meaning to the
members of the King's Men (including Shakespeare).  The first is
copyright, which didn't exist for Shakespeare and his contemporaries in
anything remotely like its current meaning (I've unburdened myself on
this subject too often already on this list for me to repeat it).  The
second problem I see is that the text/script/score/etc. was really the
property of the Sharers of the company, doubly so in the case of
Shakespeare and a few others.  If I may be so bold as to re-draft Bill
Godshalk's question, what happens with actors' additions for plays which
are out of copyright in companies where the main actors own the theatre
and the company's worldly goods and there is no director, at least as we
now understand that position?  That would get us closer to a real
answer.

William Proctor Williams

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