2001

Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2354  Tuesday, 16 October 2001

From:           Tony Burton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Oct 2001 12:27:42 -0400
Subject: 12.2344 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2344 Re: Date of Composition of _Othello_

David Crosby contributed a useful clarification that sharply reduces the
differences between our views.  But he goes on to say

"All modern  editions I am familiar with reject Q1 as having any textual
authority, and base their texts either on Q2 or F."

In fact, Q1 does have textual authority, and from as early as Dover
Wilson's "The Ms of Sh's 'Hamlet'" it was conceded to be a useful
control to consult in dealing with difficulties in the two better
texts.  Albert  Weiner's introduction to his edition of Q1 also defends
the play in other terms, and Steve Urkowitz has written at length in
favor of its claim to a fair share of literary and dramatic respect and
against its glib rejection as an inauthentic and incoherent document.
As an aside, my impression is that the modern editions, generally, cite
Q1 once or twice in support of editorial choices -- while taking care to
scatter the necessary caveats like radar-defeating chaff, in all
directions.

Since we are, here, talking about a "difficulty" in textual study
(relevant to a question of dating), it still strikes me as poor
methodology to bring to the table any dismissive prejudgment about the
authenticity or authorship of a piece of evidence about which the very
task before us is to form a clear opinion of its standing as either
authentic or faulty, as either authorial or the creation of others,
before drawing conclusions about whether it was derived from another
document presumed (but of course never with provable certainty) to be
authentic and authorial.

Tony B

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Re: Shakespeare behind Bars

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2353  Tuesday, 16 October 2001

From:           Jeffrey Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Oct 2001 11:39:50 -0400
Subject: 12.2338 Re: Shakespeare behind Bars
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.2338 Re: Shakespeare behind Bars

> From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

> Meaning no offense to Mr. Tofteland, whose program I'm sure is quite
> valuable and rewarding (I, too, have taught in a prison and have found
> it fascinating), nonetheless the whole concept of "Shakespeare Behind
> Bars" generates all sorts of whimsical fantasies in my
> perhaps somewhat
> battered mind.

As Mr. Peabody put it to Sherman, "He was not the Bard of Stratford,
Sherman; he was barred in Stratford."

Jeff Myers

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CBC Othello

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2351  Monday, 15 October 2001

From:           Peter Hyland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 15 Oct 2001 09:47:16 -0700
Subject:        CBC Othello

For those of you who can receive CBC, tonight (15th October) at 8.00
there is a broadcast of a British Othello updated and relocated in
contemporary London, starring Eamonn Walker and Christopher Eccleston. I
know nothing about it except what is in a review by John Doyle in
today's Globe and Mail. Doyle, who is usually reliable, writes, 'it's
the sort of TV drama that leaves you in awe of the medium's power and
adaptability'.

Peter Hyland

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Re: Actors' Additions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2352  Tuesday, 16 October 2001

[1]     From:   C. Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Monday, 15 Oct 2001 11:34:32 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 08:22:51 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2339 Re: Actors' Additions

[3]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 16 Oct 2001 09:02:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2340 Re: Actors' Additions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           C. Fortunato <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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 <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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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Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2350  Monday, 15 October 2001

From:           W. L. Godshalk <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 14 Oct 2001 21:50:15 -0400
Subject:        Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night, directed by Jasson
Minadakis, opened on October 11 and will close on November 4.  The
elegant set (designed by Will Turbyne) consists of a gorgeous,
three-doored, and many-mirrored rear facade, a pond-cum-fountain upstage
right, and a scattering of autumn trees. The pond is a multipurpose
fixture which becomes a fountain in Orsino's presence, a prison for
Malvolio, a mirror for most characters, and a receptacle that "Receiveth
as the sea" (1.1.11) rings, money, Toby's empty wine bottle, and Sir
Andrew's foot. The costumes (designed by Heidi Jo Schiemer) are vaguely
late nineteenth century.

Nick Rose plays Malvolio as an entirely sympathetic character.  His
initial confrontation with Feste (1.5.83-98) is good humored rather than
mean spirited, and when he reprimands Toby and his inebriates
(2.3.86ff.), his tone is perfectly reasonable. In the letter scene
(2.5), Malvolio is not a silly ass, but a good servant who may
legitimately look forward to wedding his mistress.  In prison (4.2), he
is more sinned against than sinning --and he steals the final scene.
Here he presents his case with dignity, and his last words -- "I'll be
reveng'd on the whole pack of you" (5.1.378) -- are spoken directly to
Fabian, who stands as representative for Sir Toby and his crew.  Olivia
quickly says, "entreat him to a peace" (380), and he is not allowed to
leave the stage.

Sir Toby Belch (Drew Fracher) is the Mad Hatter -- plainly indicated by
his hat.  Sir Toby does not, as he often does, look like the traditional
Falstaff, but is bald and thin. As he moves through the script, he
becomes increasingly sinister and sadistic. When Malvolio is imprisoned,
Toby gratuitously torments him by throwing water in his face.  The
script generally supports this reading of Toby, but Drew Fracher is
perhaps the meanest Toby I've ever seen.

Olivia, played by Angela Groeschen, is sexually liberated by Viola's
touch.  When Viola says, "I hold the olive in my hand" (1.5.209-109),
she holds Olivia's hand -- and this begins Olivia's sexual awakening.
Olivia is comically vibrant and active, ready for love, and comes on to
Cesario and/or Sebastian with fervor.  When Sebastian and Cesario meet
in the final scene, Olivia joyfully says, "Most wonderful!" (225), and
the audience laughs knowingly.

I heard one of the auditors call Viola (Anne Schilling) a "bitch."
Possibly this judgment is a bit harsh, but Viola in this production
seems unusually cold, possibly because Olivia projects such warmth. I
think it's interesting that Viola drags Orsino onstage in the final
scene.

Feste (Jeremy Dubin) is a wandering minstrel with a bowler hat -- a hat
that Malvolio assumes when he is imprisoned and still wears at play's
end. Feste is low-key, smiling, bitter-sweet, understated, with his
instrument slung over his shoulder. I find that I don't have a great
deal to say about Dubin's Feste, except that he is truly excellent.

Brian Isaac Phillips  -- with bright red coat -- does not play a foppish
Orsino. Rather he plays a mopping and melancholy (though hardly mad)
lord. He is supremely inactive, contemplatively bent over his bubbling
fountain. Others act for him.

Sherman Fracher's Maria (and, yes, she is indeed married to Sir Toby) is
perfect, but not surprising.  Giles Davies who usually is quite
surprising, plays a conventional enough slapstick Sir Andrew.  Sebastian
(Jason Bruffy) is the handsome young lover (who comes in shirtless and
covered in love bites after his first encounter with Olivia).  Fabian
played by Christopher Guthrie is, as usual, impossible to place. Where
did he come from? Why is he here? He is one of the puzzles of the play.
Antonio (David McCallum) is obviously infatuated with Sebastian, but, in
this production, to no avail.

The production ends with Olivia and Orsino leaving the stage together
hand in hand through the central door (rear), and Sebastian and Viola
sitting at the pond holding each other tightly.  I find this ending
troubling and intriguing, but certainly unclear.  Are we to assume that
like calls to like, that the twins are finally together as they should
be, and that Orsino and Olivia have come to realize that their fling
with look-alike lower class lovers is over?  Or?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

_______________________________________________________________
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