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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: "O"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2368  Wednesday, 17 October 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:21:15 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"

[2]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:28:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"

[3]     From:   Sam Small <
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 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 11:46:28 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:21:15 -0400
Subject: 12.2364 "O"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"

Don't forget Scotland, PA as well.  I was interested to se that the
Internet Movie Database lists A Midsummer Night's Cream.
http://us.imdb.com/Title?0291349

Tromeo and Juliet as well.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 11:28:16 -0400
Subject: 12.2364 "O"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"

I also wanted to add that Rikki the Pig, ht lesbian Macbeth etc. will
all be discussed in nine new essays that will be included in
Shakespeare, the Movie II (out from Routledge in 2003), ed by Richard
Burt and Lynda Boose.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 11:46:28 +0100
Subject: 12.2364 "O"
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2364 "O"

Having written a modern screenplay of Titus Andronicus I can see the
difficulty that production companies have in executing this most
difficult of translations.  My attitude throughout the writing process
was to trust Shakespeare completely with plot, scene structure and
character motivation.  I felt I could not better it.  However,
everything else is ripe for changing in order to allow the original
power to come through.  In his very nice piece Jimmy Jung says "The
themes of Othello, love, race, jealousy, hate, have always been
contemporary, if not timeless, but I can entirely imagine that students,
intimidated by Shakespeare, might see characters they recognize and
identify with in 'O'".  I believe Shakespeare's plays to be truly
universal but some things are difficult to translate for 21st century
realistic sensibilities.  An example in my screenplay "Tito" (my
translated name for Titus) is how to get Lavinia into hospital after her
rape and multiple amputations. Well, it was difficult but something that
was absolutely necessary.  The plot demands a half dead girl in a
wheelchair from that point on.  Other things can be freely changed such
as the handkerchief and overheard conversations in Othello (O).  This is
just a way of transferring information.  If it looks awkward in the film
- it has been done awkwardly - don't blame Shakespeare.  Some things
must never be changed.  One of the most chilling things about Iago is
that his hatred for Othello is motiveless.  He has no father - only a
suffering wife.  "I hate the Moor" is as near as you will get to any
motive.  Shakespeare has set this up very carefully in order that the
audience can fill in their own motivation and thereby become even more
involved.  He did the same trick in Romeo and Juliet where the family
feud is never explained.  Because of the universality of character, race
is a total red herring in any Shakespeare play.  The antipathy directed
toward Shylock is aimed at his religion - not his race.  I would
probably cast Aaron as a black man if only to emphasis the
"foreign-ness" of this highly intelligent black angel of death.  But of
course he could be white.  Likewise Othello's race has nothing to do
with his propensity for descending into jealousy and murder. So he could
be white too.  And Iago could be black - and so and so on.

SAM SMALL

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