The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1849 Tuesday, 24 July 2001
Date: Monday, 23 Jul 2001 20:29:52 +0000
Subject: 12.1836 Re: Cressida (Ashland)
Comment: Re: SHK 12.1836 Re: Cressida (Ashland)
I saw the Ashland production of "Troilus and Cresida" last Friday
night. As Mike Jensen has noted, the production does not end as written
in Shakespeare's script. Instead, part of the prologue is repeated (by
Thersites, who recites the Prologue in this production) and it is staged
so that Cresida appears where Helen appeared the first time Thersites
made this speech. However, I don't think this was done to suggest that
Cresida is exactly the same as Helen. I think it was meant to suggest
that wars go on, and nothing changes.
But "nothing changes" isn't a very satisfactory ending, unless you're
doing "WAITING FOR GODOT."
The first time I read "Troilus and Cresida," and I got to the ending, my
reaction was - "WHAT???? THAT'S IT??? WHAT KIND OF RESOLUTION IS
THAT? WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?" And that's still my reaction. The play
seems to me like part one of a mini-series, waiting for part two.
This was the first time I've seen the play produced, and I would like to
hear from others if they've seen the play in a manner that conveyed a
complete story had been told, an ending had been reached.
I assume they changed the ending at Ashland so that there would be more
of a feeling of closure, if not catharsis, at the end. Or at least that
there was some sort of ENDING at the ending. But it didn't work for me,
in part because Cresida is NOT the same as Helen, and also because
Hector had just died and Troy was about to fall - so we were NOT right
back where we were at the beginning, in spite of what Thersites was
I think the production made clear that Cressida was not Helen in the
scene in which the Greeks demanded kisses of Cressida. Mike Jensen
suggested that any sympathy for Helen came from the performance of the
actress in the role. But in the scene where the Greeks demand kisses,
they are clearly threatening rape. This results in Cressida having to
turn to Dimodes for protection. I think that is enough to make it clear
that Cressida is not Helen.
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