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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Actors' Additions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2379  Thursday, 18 October 2001

[1]     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 13:28:13 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2352 Re: Actors' Additions

[2]     From:   Edward Pixley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 16:53:06 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2352 Re: Actors' Additions

[3]     From:   Marcus Dahl <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 07:10:09 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions

[4]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 08:23:30 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 13:28:13 -0400
Subject: 12.2352 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2352 Re: Actors' Additions

William Proctor Williams writes:

>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.

Actually, I hinted at one question (Did early modern book keepers take
the time to add blank counters to the play script?), and asked another
(Is this procedure, i.e., adding blank counters, followed today?).

I certainly wouldn't mind discussing the implied question.  In the early
modern play books that I have examined, there are no such additions,
though cuts are marked.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Oct 2001 16:53:06 -0400
Subject: 12.2352 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2352 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

There were two context for the question, when originally raised:  1)
editors' work on establishing Elizabethan texts; and 2) the arbitrary
textual practice of a local theatre director.  The question itself was
phrased to address #2.  How do directors, in general, treat actors'
additions into plays, in general? -- prompted, as it were, by the local
director's practice, as reported by the questioner's student. Thus, my
response was not addressed to the way an Elizabethan householder might
have expected his players to have handled the problem.  It was addressed
to what the question appeared to me to be asking.  Do directors today
make a practice of inserting into play texts the additions made by
actors during rehearsals?

My first response addressed the legal question, for plays under
copyright; my second addressed the altering of the rhythm of the text, a
concern that applies to all texts -- most assuredly to Shakespeare's.
Yours is a worthy consideration, Mr. Williams, but a bit off the mark,
at least for the points I was making.   If I missed the point of the
original question, I apologize -- for missing the point, not for my
answer to the question I believe was asked.

Ed Pixley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Marcus Dahl <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 07:10:09 EDT
Subject: 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions

For all those doubting that actors added or subtracted lines during the
Elizabethan period for plays that were performed during Shakespeare's
lifetime please read Edward Alleyn's 'part' for Orlando Furioso and
compare it to the play as published.

Or simply read a few more Elizabethan play texts...(in facsimile).

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Oct 2001 08:23:30 -0400
Subject: 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2365 Re: Actors' Additions

Just a brief response to Larry Weiss.  I wasn't raising the copyright
question but responding to it in the previous postings by several
people, who suggested it as a restraint on modern practice of adding or
not adding actors' additions to scripts/texts.

William Proctor Williams

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