2001

Re: Beale's Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1399  Thursday, 7 June 2001

[1]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 11:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet

[2]     From:   Vick Bennison <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Jun 2001 15:03:56 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet

[3]     From:   Ray Eston Smith <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 20:16:44 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Beale's Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 11:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet

I have my tickets to go see the Caird/Beale *Hamlet* on 27 June.  That
being the case, I am reading what reviews I come across.

Since I haven't seen the yet, I can make no conclusion.  But I wanted to
offer another critic's view of the production design, as a counterpoint
to John Heilpern's comments in the *New York Observer*.

Nicholas de Jonghe, in the *Evening Standard,* wrote:

"The back -walls are windowless panels, those at the side composed of
bars. Candelabra lights swing up and down from the ceiling. The first
scene, to the accompaniment of John Cameron's dirge-like, sacred music
that keeps recurring through the action, springs a surprise. There are
spotlit figures in what look like upright coffins, who emerge to bring
Elsinore to life. At the close of play, Sylvester Morand's ashen ghost
reappears in a cross-like blaze of blue light and the characters return
to their coffins. Between these two action points, the stage is piled
with trunks and packing-cases, as if this equipment empasised the
impermanence of Elsinore's existence, with all its comings and goings."

Heilpern wrote (and I am going to cut some):

"The set is dominated by suitcases and trunks of various shapes and
sizes that are moved about like building blocks in the Stygian gloom.
...Why a suitcase? That is the question. Why are we looking at a castle
of suitcases all night long? I ask you in all candor: When we think of
Hamlet, when we try to grapple anew with its tragic vastness and
meaning, does the image of a suitcase spring to mind? And if sprung,
does it stay?

"I can only assume the director, Mr. Caird, and his set designer, Tim
Hatley, were agonizing one day over a brave new concept best suited to
the most produced great play in history, and they thought, and they
thought, and they cried out to the heavens: "Got it!  Let's do
suitcases!"  ...Why a suitcase? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-and Hamlet,
too-wouldn't need 20 of them for their fateful journey to England. They
are not Elizabeth Taylor. Besides, the suitcases are in every scene.
Could they, by any chance, be a symbol?  ....Suitcase = travel; darkness
= tragic foreboding."

Heilpern goes on to express his preference for the Brook *Hamlet.*  This
surprised me.  After reading his comments on the "suitcases" (which
aren't suitcases, but rather coffins, packing crates and trunks,
according to de Jonghe...?), I rather thought his biggest response to
the Brook version would be "Floor cushions!!!  Why on earth did they
choose *floor cushions*?!?!"

I can hardly wait until June 27th.

Cheers,
Karen

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Jun 2001 15:03:56 EDT
Subject: 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1388 Re: Beale's Hamlet

Barrett Fisher writes:

>>I saw the RNT Hamlet at the Guthrie Theater in May.  I did sit fairly
 close, though to the extreme left of a thrust stage, so certain staging
 effects were lost on me (for example, the production seemed to be using
 a rather well-worn conceit of the play as play; several of the actors
 stood in what appeared to be boxes at the rear of the stage, suggesting
 dolls being brought out for play time).

I saw the Boston production.  The boxes were all around the periphery of
the stage.  All (or most) the cast were in those boxes at the beginning
and end of the play, but the effect I saw was not of dolls but of
corpses in coffins, upright internally illuminated coffins.  Very
spooky.  And I felt that fit well with the trunks, which store and carry
our material possessions through space, as compared with coffins which
store and carry our material bodies through time. The effect was that
the spirits of these long dead Danes came forth from their coffins to
tell the story of Hamlet and then returned at the end.  I found that
aspect chilling and effective.

- Vick

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ray Eston Smith <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 20:16:44 -0700
Subject:        Re: Beale's Hamlet

Re Beale's girth:

Richard Burbage, the first actor to play Hamlet, was fat.

HAMLET  Tis now the very witching time of night,
                When churchyards yawn and hell itself BREATHES out
                Contagion to this world:

QUEEN GERTRUDE He's FAT, and scant of BREATH

GHOST...And duller shouldst thou be than the FAT weed
             That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
             Wouldst thou not stir in this.

Hamlet is no longer "from himself taken away."  His father's command no
longer lives all alone in the book and volume of his brain.  Therefore,
his father (and mother) now think he's fat.  He's no longer breathing
hot contagion, so he's scant of breath.

HAMLET  ... we fat all
 creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
 maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
 variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
 that's the end.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Why Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1398  Wednesday, 6 June 2001

[1]     From:   Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Jun 2001 07:14:49 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 15:52:19 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Jun 2001 07:14:49 -0500
Subject: 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare

> Religion, however, is primarily concerned with patient acceptance of
>> present and forthcoming misery in the name of the final outcome
>> (Valhalla, nirvana, heaven).

This mischaracterizes much religion, particularly the strain in Ch'an
and Zen Buddhisms that claim that we are already (always already?)
Buddhas, already enlightened and already in nirvana and the key is
realization/mindfulness/seeing through illusion.

Syncretist that I am I see this as not dissimilar from the insight, "The
Kingdom of God is within." Or even Bob Marley's "We know and we
understand, Almighty God is a living man."

What are the consequences for our understanding of literature generally,
Shakespeare in particular?

Cheers,
Pat

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 15:52:19 +0100
Subject: 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1379 Re: Why Shakespeare

I disagree with Sean Lawrence somewhat:

> . . . I'm not convinced that the source of evil is in
> the deferral of gratification.  If you actually enjoy
> torturing people to death, then you're not deferring
> your gratification at all, but indulging it.  Sociopaths
> aren't made by their deferral of their own gratification,
> but by a complete indifference to other people.

There may always be people who like torturing others to death, but the
matter under discussion is the use of religious or political ideas to
encourage the floating would-be resister that such practices might be
acceptable in the name of a long-term goal. Like Joseph Tribiani's offer
of monthly payments on an encyclopedia ("Nothing down, and nothing a
month for a really, really long time"), as the proffered outcome tends
towards infinite joy, the deferral tends towards an endless wait.
Stalinism and witch-hunting might be appropriate examples, although
Nazism leaps most readily to mind.

> Secondly, the beauty of concepts like "the city of God" is that
> they don't have to be realized at all in "the finite", as you put it,
> at least not in principle.  Therefore, to borrow an unfortunate but
> oft-repeated metaphor, there's no reason to break any eggs at all,
> since no omelet will ever be made.  One only commits crimes
> because one has a goal in "the finite".

There we part company, unless you're using 'crime' in a different sense
from me. Starving hundreds of thousands of peasants (in Ireland or in
the USSR) might well have been accepted by some because it could be
justified in relation to an infinitely distant goal. Whether Edmund
Spenser was such a person is a pertinent question.

> This isn't, of course, to deny that religious institutions often
> have subjected people to torture, still do in a lot of places,
> and probably will again in the future.  Such institutions, though,
> are inevitably defending their situation and that of their adherents
> in the finite. Witchcraft, for instance, is seen as a threat to society,
> heresy is a threat to the church as institution.  In other words, the
> grounds for the torture (its excuse, its justification, and its
> expression) is political, within the finite.

The special brutality meted out to convicted witches cannot be explained
by a perceived "threat to society" (in the finite) but must be explained
in relation to the larger imagined struggle between the forces of good
and evil, which finds its ultimate resolution at the end of time. The
claimed criminal damages (animals killed, a sexual partner
incapacitated) were always finite, for sure, but the judicial
consequences were proportional not to those hurts but to the imagined
supernatural crimes which enabled those hurts to be inflicted.

Having said that, since the final triumph of good is, for Christians,
assured, I suppose one might argue that efficient destruction of witches
could only hasten (not alter) that outcome, in which sense it's a finite
achievement.

Gabriel Egan

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Tea Time

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1396  Wednesday, 6 June 2001

[1]     From:   John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 11:22:03 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 12.1364 Re: Tea Time

[2]     From:   Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 21:42:37 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1364 Re: Tea Time


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 11:22:03 +0100
Subject: 12.1364 Re: Tea Time
Comment:        RE: SHK 12.1364 Re: Tea Time

This has been an interesting exchange, but I can't help noting that
Richard Burt has never explained why he asked the question in the first
place!

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sophie Masson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 21:42:37 +1000
Subject: 12.1364 Re: Tea Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1364 Re: Tea Time

Another small aside, and re Sam Small's comment on breakfast: On a
recent trip to Montreal, in Canada, where I have a lot of family (it was
my first trip there, though), I was amazed to discover that there was no
specific word/phrase in Quebec French for breakfast, as in French,
'petit dejeuner'. Instead, and perhaps more authentically, as Quebec
French does seem to preserve some old forms that have been modified in
France, both breakfast and lunch were called by the same word,
'dejeuner'.  Which of course, literally means 'break fast'.  Supper, or
'souper' is occasionally used in France, but it does usually literally
mean a very light evening meal, and usually consisting of soup.

Sophie Masson
Author site:
http://www.northnet.com.au/~smasson

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Venus and Adonis Query

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1397  Wednesday, 6 June 2001

[1]     From:   Gary Allen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Jun 2001 20:50:27 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query

[2]     From:   David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Jun 2001 19:52:32 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gary Allen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Jun 2001 20:50:27 EDT
Subject: 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query

Rainbow Saari asks:

I believe the two lines of Latin poetry that are printed above the
Dedication to Southampton on the title page of Venus and Adonis, come
from one of Ovid's poems. Judy Craig (SHS. 11.0707 Sonnet 20) gives
their translation as 'Let base conceited wits admire vile things; fair
Phoebus lead me to the Muses springs. ' Can some kind soul tell me where
in Ovid's works these lines are found?

Others here can and perhaps will give you fluent and informative data
about these lines, which are found in Elegy 15 of book I of the Amores.
In brief, though, here is a link to Marlowe's translation:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.03.0016&l

ayout=&loc=1.15.1

Gary

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Jun 2001 19:52:32 -0600
Subject: 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1361 Venus and Adonis Query

>I believe the two lines of Latin poetry that are printed above the
>Dedication to Southampton on the title page of Venus and Adonis, come
>from one of Ovid's poems. Judy Craig (SHS. 11.0707 Sonnet 20) gives
>their translation as 'Let base conceited wits admire vile things; fair
>Phoebus lead me to the Muses springs. ' Can some kind soul tell me where
>in Ovid's works these lines are found?

As Maria Concolato pointed out, they're from 'Amores', I, XV, 35-6.  In
case you're interested, here are a few (lightly edited) comments I wrote
a couple of years ago in another context, based on my researches for the
forthcoming Variorum edition of the Poems.

For the record, here are the lines in Latin:

Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.

Here are some translations of this Latin couplet:

Christopher Marlowe, *Ovids First Booke* (printed 1598,
     written by 1593):
"Let base conceited wits admire vild things,
Fair Phoebus lead me to the muses' springs."

Ben Jonson, *Poetaster* I.i (1601):
"Kneel hinds to trash: me let bright Phoebus swell,
With cups flowing from the Muses' well."

Richard Wilbur, Pelican Shakespeare (1969):
"Let the cheap dazzle the crowd; for me,
may golden Apollo minister full cups from the
Castilian spring."

Katherine Eisaman Maus, Norton Shakespeare (1997):
"Let vile people admire vile things;
may fair-haired Apollo serve me goblets
filled with Castilian water."

Richard Halpern (1997, in article cited below):
"Let cheap things dazzle the crowd;
may Apollo server me cups filled
with water from the Castilian spring."

The same Latin couplet that Shakespeare
used also appears after John Day's name in the
Lansdowne manuscript of Day's play *Parliament of Bees*
(MS Lansdowne 725).  For some discussion of such
title-page mottoes, see James G. McManaway, "Latin
Title-Page Mottoes As a Clue to Dramatic Authorship,"
*Library*, 4th series, 26 (1945), 28-36.

Here is some of the commentary on the couplet that I can put my hands on
right at the moment:

T.S. Baynes, "What Shakespeare learnt at School," *Fraser's Magazine*,
Jan. 1880, p.99ff.  (reprinted in his *Shakespeare Studies* (1894)):
"The quotation is one which, from the circumstances of the case, could
hardly have been chosen by any but a scholar, or at least by one who
knew the original well.  >From their setting in the 'Elegy,' the lines
would fail to attract special attention and be relatively unimportant in
a translation... It is a characteristic utterance on the part of Ovid,
and... is perhaps still more characteristic of the mouth of
Shakespeare...  In these lines he avows himself the child of Apollo, and
declares that henceforth his elixir vitae will be full draughts from the
Castilian spring.  The same proud not of confidence in himself and
devotion to his art reappears again and again in the Sonnets... [The
quotation] shows that Shakespeare had extended his study of Ovid...
beyond the books usually read in schools."

Richard Wilbur, "Introduction" to the Narrative Poems in the Pelican
Shakespeare (1969), p.1401: "The epigraph, moreover, was taken from
Ovid's Amores.  Shakespeare was thus promising in some measure to
emulate a witty, charming, and delicately sensual Latin poet.  He was
also choosing to retell a tale which every literate person knew in the
original, and which had already been variously treated by English poets:
by Golding in his moralized translation of Ovid, by Lodge, and by
several others."

John Roe, New Cambridge edition of Shakespeare's Poems (1992), p.78:
[After citing the Ovidian source and giving Marlowe's translation]: "By
invoking Ovid the poem may be signalling the rarefied eroticism that is
to follow (see Introduction, pp.15ff)." [The relevant section of Roe's
introduction is called "The Literary Context and Tradition", and
compares Shakespeare's poem to Ovid's and to other Elizabethan poems in
the Ovidian tradition.]

Richard Halpern, "'Pining their Maws': Female Readers of the Text in
Shakespeare's *Venus and Adonis*," in Philip C. Kolin, ed., *Venus and
Adonis: Critical Essays* (1997), p. 377: "The prefatory material to
Shakespeare's *Venus and Adonis* is a study in disingenuousness and
misdirection, beginning with the epigraph from Ovid's Amores: "Vilia
miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo / Pocula Castalia plena ministret
aqua." ("Let cheap things dazzle the crowd; may Apollo serve me cups
filled with water from the Castalian spring").  In what is at once a
change of genre and a change in vocation, these lines apparently signal
Shakespeare's conversion from popular playwright to classicizing poet.
[note] (In Sonnet 111 he would similiarly disparage his playwrighting as
"public means which public manners breeds.")  But of course his
abandonment of the stage was hardly voluntary; he turned to writing
Ovidian verse in 1593 not because he had heard a higher calling but
because the theaters had been closed on account of the plague.

Moreover, *Venus and Adonis* bears more than a little resemblance to the
plays that Shakespeare seems to be rejecting.  The poem divides rather
neatly into comic and tragic halves, and the former of these explores
issues central to Shakespeare's early romantic comedies.  By depicting
the sexual fascination exerted by a beautiful and androgynous young man,
Shakespeare draws on the appeal that the boy-actors added to his
crossdressing plays.  Indeed, Venus' frustration at the sight of a
physically compelling but sexually unforthcoming youth foreshadows
Olivia's plight when confronted with the disguised Viola in *Twelfth
Night*.  Despite the Apollonian pretensions of its epigraph, *Venus and
Adonis* is neither nobler nor purer than Shakespeare's "cheap" plays."
[note: "In Amores I.xv, Ovid gives thanks for the privacy and leisure
needed for lyric poetry.  Early in that poem he thanks Envy for not
"prostituting my voice in the ungrateful forum" ("me / Ingrato vocem
prostituisse foro") (5-6), thus clarifying what he later means by the
"vilia" that please the crowd.  This reference to public oratory makes
it even likelier that Shakespeare takes "vilia" to refer to public
theater."]

Dave Kathman
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Re: Programmes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1395  Wednesday, 6 June 2001

From:           Lindley Arthur D L <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 6 Jun 2001 10:16:31 +0800
Subject: 12.1367 Re: Programmes
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1367 Re: Programmes

The RNT Bookshop should be able to supply back programmes.  God knows,
they're still selling posters for shows that closed 10 years ago.  Try
going through their website.  The Theatre Museum's library also has a
very extensive collection which can be consulted if or when you're in
London.  They also have videotapes of most NT productions going back at
least 10 years.  To see one of those you should write to them in
advance, by the way.

Arthur Lindley

> I don't know the answers to your questions.  To the extent that having a
> copy of the program may help, on a couple of occasions I have been able
> to purchase programs from the RNT for shows that have closed.  I just
> asked the man at the bookstall when things were quiet enough for him to
> run to the back room and grab one.  Not recommended near show times, and
> I have not done this in a few years, so I can't promise this will still
> work.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.