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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: October ::
Re: Doubling in Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2413  Tuesday, 23 October 2001

[1]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 20:17:49 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2402 Double trouble

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 13:47:18 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth

[3]     From:   Seija Sinikki <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 13:04:33 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth

[4]     From:   Skip Nicholson <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Oct 2001 21:46:13 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 20:17:49 +0000
Subject: 12.2402 Double trouble
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2402 Double trouble

>From: Hugh Davis

 [...]Can anyone on the list tell me of productions that might have used
this instance of [witches/murderers]doubling?

The Cambridge season Macbeth this year is the latest I think that I've
seen this done. You will be aware of doubling Seyton/Macbeth as the
third I suppose but they are nomally in character.

Best wishes, Graham Hall

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 13:47:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth

I was in a production of Macbeth a few years ago. I thought that I had
an interesting job, especially considering I tripled as the Porter, the
3rd Murderer, and Seyton, all of which occurred to me at the time to be
ephemeral and cryptic characters. They all have really important yet
bizarre roles in the plot/thematic structure of the play. I suppose I
could have been a weird sister as well and I would have fit right in.

Brian Willis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Seija Sinikki <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 13:04:33 -0800
Subject: 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth

Hugh Davis writes on doubling in Macbeth:

>But one instance of doubling came up quite naturally--the
>three girls
>who volunteered to read the 3 witches also decided to read the
>three >murderers.  Can anyone on the list tell me of productions that
>might
>have used this instance of doubling?

William A. Ringler has an interesting essay, "The Number of Actors in
Shakespeare's Early Plays," (in The Seventeeth-Century Stage. A
Collection of Critical Essays) on doubling, in which he writes that the
49-character cast of Julius Caecar could be played by 16 actors. His
analysis of the pre-Globe plays show that all of these early plays can
be produced with a cast of 16. Ringler thinks that Shakespeare carefully
crafted his plays for the Chamberlain's company which had 16 actors, and
that he kept, with a few minor exceptions, the original pattern of
writing plays for 16 actors to the end of his career.

I, too, have wanted to know whether doubling is still practised. I think
that the doubling of the roles of Cressida and Helen, for instance,
would evoke interesting associations and perhaps even give new insights
into the play. I would suggest that Shakespeare had this doubling in
mind when writing the play, for Pandarus is continuously associating the
two women. I would also double Cordelia and the Fool. Any response from
the professionals?

Seija Sinikki

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Nicholson <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Oct 2001 21:46:13 -0700
Subject: 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2402 Doubling in Macbeth

I wish I could remember whose production it was, but sometime in the
last 10-15 years, one of the witches doubled as the mysterious third
murderer. The other two had Banquo "dispatched" and Fleance caught. The
boy was clearly taken. The third murderer --the witch-- grabbed Fleance,
kutched him into her cloak, and sped him offstage. Presumably she was
interested in keeping him alive since she had prophesied that Banquo
would "get kings" and the kid obviously figured in that plan.

Cheers,
Skip Nicholson
South Pasadena (CA) HS

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