2001

Re: Stratford Ontario's 50th

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1961  Thursday, 9 August 2001

From:           Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 07 Aug 2001 11:52:45 -0400
Subject:        Re: Stratford Ontario's 50th

Mary Jane Miller writes, "William Hutt was the best Fool I have ever
seen.  He played him as an aging old school chum and hanger on."

I wish I had seen Hutt do the part.  I did see William Hutt play
Falstaff in _Merry Wives_ at Stratford, Ontario, in the early 80s.  Hutt
was, quite simply, the best Falstaff I had ever seen. He slowed down his
delivery and rendered F's prose rhythmically: the result was that the
audience could understand every word. And he played Falstaff as man who
knows that he is mirth, and the source of mirth in others. This Falstaff
expected to have jokes played on him, and was good-natured about -- and
rather resigned to -- his inevitable comeuppance.  In short, he was
delightful.

Anyone for forming a William Hutt fan club?

--Ed Taft

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Funeral Elegy

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1960  Tuesday, 7 August 2001

From:           Richard Kennedy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 05 Aug 2001 15:21:36 -0700
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

Here are twelve sets of verse.  Four of the stanzas are from the
"Funeral Elegy" by W.S.  Four are from John Ford's "Fame's Memorial,"
and four are my own invention.  This is a game.   It wouldn't be fair to
go to the books on this, but go to your poetic soul instead. If
Shakespeare wrote any of this drivel, which stanzas did he write?

1.     True virtue grac'd his mind; be witness ever
        The provident forecast of wise discretion;
        His wary prudence, which did still endeavor
        To hold him from the wreck of spite's impression.

2.     Mere envy sought his deeds to draw despite
        Upon his youth, which common faults all share,
        But manly growth and valor did requite
        And frame his excellence beyond compare.

3.     What memorable monument can last
        Whereon to build his never-blemished name
        But his own worth, wherein his life was grac'd
        Sith as that ever he maintain'd the same?

4.     That is with homage to adore thy name,
        As a rich relic of memorial,
        A trophy consecrated unto unto fame,
        Adding within our hearts historical
        High epithets past hyperbolical.

5.     Nor can the tongue of him who lov'd him best
        (if there be minority of love
        To one superlative above the rest
        Of many men in steady faith reprove.)

6.     Sufficient more than solemn oath can seal,
        His saintly temper every fault erase
        That would impute some wonted vice unreal;
        The record of his goodness lends him praise.

7.     Not that he was above the spleenful sense
        And spite of malice, but for that he had
        Warrant enough in his own innocence
        Against the sting of some in nature bad.

8.     Noble he was, witness his elate spirit,
        Whose unappalled stomach scorn'd compare;
        Noble he was, witness his peerless merit,
        Which stain'd competitors, witness his rare
        Renown'd examples do the same declare.

9.     Of Envy's compt to stain his vertuous life,
        His enemies, the slander of that voice,
        Shall not press down his merit or his strife
        To pattern out his life as one who could
        Commend his fellow Christians to be good.

10.   When sin can tread on merit in the dust,
        Cannot rase out the lamentable tomb
        Of his short-liv'd deserts; but still they must
        Even in the hearts and memories of men.

11.   Lo, here the pith of valor molded fast
        In curious workmanship of Nature's art:
        Lo, here the monuments which ever last
        To all succeeding ages of desert,
        Noble in all, and all in every part:
        Records of fame and characters of brass,
        Containing acts, such acts conceit do pass.

12.   When Nature call'd on Fortune to give cause
        Why wrack'd are some men, some or'passed,
        Yet answer gave She not, but made a pause,
        The good die young, full worthy as thou wast.

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Elizabethan Body Language

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1958  Tuesday, 7 August 2001

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 06 Aug 2001 20:11:03 -0700
Subject:        Elizabethan Body Language

Over dinner tonight I heard about a book on Elizabethan body language.
The woman who mentioned it didn't know the title or author.  The book
was simply mentioned to her.

Immediately mental red flags started waving.  Who has the time machine?
OK, so maybe there are extant contemporary books and pamphlets on this
subject that I don't know about.  What I don't know can fill an
encyclopedia - and does!

Does anybody know this book?  Will you please give me the
title/author/publisher data?  Has anyone read it?  What are the author's
sources, and on what does s/he build conclusions?  What do you think?
Well reasoned and reliable?  A piece of clean you shoe?  Something in
between?

Thanks in advance,
Mike Jensen

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Hal Berridge and the First Performance of Macbeth

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1959  Tuesday, 7 August 2001

From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 6 Aug 2001 23:45:39 -0600
Subject:        Hal Berridge and the First Performance of Macbeth

I've seen numerous accounts of the supposed curse surrounding Macbeth
which claim that the curse originated in the play's first performance on
7 August 1606, when the boy playing Lady Macbeth, named Hal Berridge,
became ill and couldn't perform.  Some versions say that Shakespeare
himself had to take over the role, and some versions say that Berridge
died of his illness.  However, the date (7 August 1606) and the name of
the boy (Hal Berridge) are common to most versions.

Now, I'm not aware of any documentary evidence directly supporting this
story.  The earliest recorded performance of Macbeth was that seen by
Simon Forman at the Globe on 20 April 1611, though there could have been
(and almost certainly were) earlier performances.  James McManaway
suggested (in Shakespeare Survey 2 (1949), 149) that Macbeth was
performed on 7 August 1606, as one of three plays that the King's Men
were paid for performing before King James and the visiting King
Christian of Denmark around that time.  Kenneth Muir's 1951-84 Arden 2
edition of the play cites McManaway and says that Macbeth was "probably"
performed on 7 August 1606; I assume this is where that date comes from
in the anecdotes.

There is no record of a boy actor named Hal Berridge, though that
doesn't mean such an actor didn't exist, given the scantiness of
records.  I've looked through the 1873 Variorum Macbeth, Muir's Arden 2
edition, Nicholas Brooke's 1990 Oxford edition, and A. R. Braunmuller's
1997 Cambridge edition, and none of them mention the Berridge anecdote.
(At least that I could find in my searches.)

But.  A boy named Henry Berredge was christened on 28 July 1593 in
Bitchfield, Lincolnshire, the son of George Berredge.  This would make
him 13 years old in 1606, just about the right age to play a female role
on the London stage at the time.  (Well, 13 is toward the young end of
the range I've found, but well within it.)

I'm not prepared to accept the Berridge anecdote just yet, but this is
still interesting, and it's started me wondering about the provenance of
this anecdote.  A couple of the versions I found on the Internet assert
that it came from John Aubrey, but there's nothing of the sort in my
edition of Aubrey.  It's also not to be found in the "Shakespeare
Mythos" section of E. K. Chambers' *William Shakespeare: A Study of the
Facts and Problems*.  Does anybody out there have any idea when and
where this anecdote was first written down?  I'd be very interested to
know, because that would help me decide how much credence, if any, to
put in it.

Thanks,
Dave Kathman
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Shakespeare Monuments, Again

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1957  Tuesday, 7 August 2001

From:           Nancy Charlton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 06 Aug 2001 12:37:35 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare Monuments, Again

This is long past the time this thread was current, but I'd like to add
to the collection of Shakespeare monuments.

Yesterday I had to go to the downtown Multnomah County library, and
since it was the most beautiful day all summer I walked all around the
building and read the inscriptions.  On the sides of the building are
inscribed names of authors, and benches with the names of novelists,
none any more contemporary than Mark Twain since the building was built
c. 1900. I was pretty sure there was a Shakespeare inscription of some
kind but didn't find it until I came to the last corner in my circuit.
There it was: the Shakespeare Fountain. A niche in the wall with a
working drinking fountain, and on the arch, part of the "Sweet are the
uses of adversity" speech from As You Like It:

Tongues in trees,
Books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones,
And good in every thing.

Written like this, and center-justified, I didn't recognize it at first,
and confess to thinking it was Wordsworth!

Directly back of the fountain, high up on the wall of the building
itself is this speech.  I can't recall what it's from, can't find it in
Bartleby.  Shakespeare?  John Bunyan?  Forgive me, but I'm not young
enough to know everything :-)  In all caps, but U's for U's and not V's;
I think the medium was cast concrete rather than sandstone:

Come, go with us
We'll guide thee to our
house, and show thee the
rich treasures we have
got, which, with ourselves
are all at thy dispose.

Portland, the Rose City, has two Rose Gardens. One is the basketball
stadium, Paul Allen's vanity piece, which he insisted on calling the
Rose Garden even though everybody knows the _real_ Rose Garden is in
Washington Park.  Within these two acres or so of roses is the
Shakespeare Garden, well planted with rosemary, sweet eglantine,
cowslip's bells etc., though I'm not sure about hensbane.

This area of the park also has an amphitheatre where twelve years ago I
saw one of the profoundest dramatic performances of my whole life.  This
was the Lincoln Mystery cycle, touring Oregon that year. The troupe had
reduced the plays to a workable two hours.  By choosing the Cain-Abel
theme and showing its variations, it solidified a built-in dramatic
tension that easily transferred to Jesus-Satan. By the time of the
crucifixion it was almost unbearable.  I met the player who played
Jesus, and he told me that the roles were so intense that he and the
Satan player had to trade roles each performance.

Right at the opportune moment in the story of Creation, the full moon
came up back of the stage. This wasn't the best, though; it seems that
earlier in the week at Eugene Heaven had obliged with thunder and
lightning at an opportune speech of Satan!

Satan, incidentally, was inherently a comic figure, as he is in much of
Paradise Lost. In fact, I thought of PL more often than I did of
Shakespeare during this performance.  Offhand, I don't know that he had
any direct debts to any of the miracle or mystery plays.  The closest I
saw, at least in this performance, was in the low comedy scenes.
However, that might have been a choice of the director.

Now that I've indulged this free association, what has it to do with
monuments?  Well, "not marble..."

Off to work,
Nancy Charlton

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