2001

Follow-up to Review of Merchant at Stratford, Ontario

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1581  Thursday, 22 June 2001

From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 10:38:52 -0700
Subject:        Follow-up to Review of Merchant at Stratford, Ontario

Hi, all.

You may recall that I posted a list to a review of a recent performance
of The Merchant at Stratford, Ontario, which the reviewer took to be
anti-Islamic.  The production has been changed, as described here:

By MICHAEL POSNER
 From Thursday's Globe and Mail

The Stratford Festival has changed its production of Shakespeare's The
Merchant of Venice after a Muslim-Canadian lobby group raised concerns
about racial stereotyping.

The changes were made this week to appease the Canadian division of the
Council on American-Islamic Relations, which formally protested against
the production's comic portrayal of the Prince of Morocco, a minor
character, as offensive to Muslims.

The character fell on his face while prostrating himself to Allah and
prostrated himself before a woman in the production. Muslims are
forbidden to prostrate themselves before anyone but Allah. The
production has been changed so the Prince does not prostrate himself.
The protest was lodged after the council's executive director, Riad
Saloojee, read Globe and Mail theatre critic Kate Taylor's review of the
May 23 opening- night performance and went to see the show for himself.
In her review, Ms. Taylor criticized the play's director, festival
artistic director Richard Monette, writing, "Apparently, (he) inhabits
some cultural bubble where anti-Semitic jokes have been banished but
anti-Islamic ones are still hilarious."

The Merchant of Venice has long been seen as one of Shakespeare's most
controversial works, in part because portions of the text are considered
blatantly anti-Semitic. The play contains negative comments about Jews
in reference to Shylock, a central character. Some schools will not put
the play on curriculums and some productions have drawn protests.  The
controversy over the Prince of Morocco arose not over the author's
dialogue, but by the way the production interpreted the character.  Ms.
Taylor noted that the actor playing the role of the Prince, Rami Posner,
appeared on stage with "with his face darkened and his body hidden in a
'Sheik of Araby' getup," sporting an oversized scimitar and "a ludicrous
accent."

In another scene, Mr. Posner "calls out to Allah, falls prostrate to the
ground and bumps his face in the process."

The Prince twice prostrates himself before Portia, for whom he is a
suitor.

The play tries to portray all of Portia's suitors comically.  After
seeing the show, Mr. Saloojee met with Andrey Tarasiuk, director of new-
play development at Stratford and an associate of Mr. Monette.  As a
result, Mr. Tarasiuk confirmed this week, "we've made a couple of minor
blocking adjustments." Henceforth, the character will no longer
prostrate himself, but other elements of the characterization will
remain.  "It's not unusual shortly after a performance opens for minor
adjustments to be made for a variety of reasons," Mr. Tarasiuk said. He
noted that this year's production of Private Lives was also changed -
herbal cigarettes were substituted for real ones out of concern for
audiences.  Sheema Khan, chairperson of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, said her board had received notification of the changes to
the production and "we are very happy with that."

Not all members of the theatrical community were pleased with the idea
of changing stage direction because of protests.

"It's dangerous territory," said Christopher Gaze, artistic director of
Vancouver's Bard on the Beach Festival. "You always need to be
sensitive, but irreverence can be a good thing. It's a shame when people
take offence at things in plays. It's a play, not real life."

Mr. Gaze, who once played Shylock in a Vancouver production of The
Merchant of Venice said trying to make a production politically correct
and please every community "is censorship."

"To me, it's gone absolutely crazy," he said.

The festival has also agreed to let the Islamic relations council
distribute a one-page information circular about Islam to audiences.
Both sides described their discussions as open and amicable.  "We
respect the importance of artistic expression and we did not ask them to
change the entire character," Ms. Khan said.

Mr. Tarasiuk said he considered the Merchant production "a strong,
courageous interpretation of the play and I think Richard (Monette) is
very proud of it. But we always welcome feedback from audience members
and the opportunity to dialogue."

Ms. Khan said the council, a grassroots advocacy organization that
monitors media stereotyping of Muslims, had previously protested against
a segment of a Royal Canadian Air Farce TV show that the CBC agreed not
to rebroadcast.

_______________________________________________________________
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: Cuthbert Burby

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1580  Thursday, 22 June 2001

[1]     From:   William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 12:31:22 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby

[2]     From:   Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 13:16:44 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

[3]     From:   Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 16:22:03 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

[4]     From:   David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 20:52:40 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 12:31:22 -0400
Subject: 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

Since Burby was a bookseller, though apprenticed as a printer, and since
all the 1592 items in STC are books printed for rather than by, the
answer would seem to be that the question of setting type doesn't
arise.  See STC (2nd ed., vol. 3); McKenzie, Stationers' Apprentices
1605-1640; and Plomer, Dictionary of Printers and Booksellers,
1557-1640.

William Proctor Williams

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joe Conlon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 13:16:44 -0500
Subject: 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

Is Cuthbert Burby the same person as Cuthbert Burbage, James's son and
Richard's brother, and a member of the Chamberlain's Men?

Joe Conlon
Warsaw, IN, USA

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Leslie Thomson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 16:22:03 -0400
Subject: 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

This is Peter Blayney's response to Will Sharpe's question:

"Cuthbert Burby was a bookseller and publisher, but never a printer. He
never owned any type to set, and only "employed compositors" in the
sense that he paid printers to print books for him."

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 20:52:40 -0600
Subject: 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1570 Cuthbert Burby Query

Will Sharpe wrote:

>Can anybody point me to a good source of information about the
>professional details of Cuthbert Burby in and around 1592, specifically
>containing answers to the question - did he set type himself or employ
>compositors (if so, who and how many) etc.?
>
>I am currently trawling through the Shakespeare Institute archives
>looking for any details I can find, but any suggestions to minimise
>trawling time would be greatly appreciated.

The obvious places to start are the STC (especially the index of
stationers in the third volume); McKerrow's *Dictionary of Printers and
Booksellers, 1557-1640* (old, but still useful for the basics); Arber's
transcript of the Stationer's Register (preferably via the index); Greg
and Boswell's *Records of the Court of the Stationers' Company
1576-1602*; Jackson's *Records of the Court of the Stationers' Company
1602-1640*; D. F. McKenzie's *Stationer's Company Apprentices
1605-1640*; and Plomer's *Abstracts from the Wills of English Printers
and Stationers from 1492 to 1630*, which included Burby's will.

Based on what I have right at hand, here are a few facts you might find
useful:

Cuthbert Burby (1565-1607) was baptized on 3 March 1565 in Arlesley,
Bedfordshire, the son of Edmund Burby, husbandman.  (Ironically, he was
just 3 months and 12 days older than King's Men sharer Cuthbert Burbage,
with whom he was sometimes confused by 19th-century researchers.) He was
apprenticed to stationer William Wright in 1583 at the age of 18, and
was made free of the stationers' company on 13 January 1592, the year
you're interested in.  Right off the bat he was involved in somewhat
shady dealings:  the first book he entered on the Stationers' Register,
on 1 May 1592, was something purporting to be a translation of "the
Axiochus of Plato" by "Edw.  Spenser", but modern scholars generally
agree that the translation is not by Spenser; Anthony Munday is a more
likely candidate.  Later in 1592, Burby's former master William Wright
published the infamous *Greene's Groatsworth of Wit* (entered "vppon the
perill of Henrye Chettle") and Chettle's own *Kind-Heart's Dream* (with
Chettle's famous apology to Shakespeare).  Later in the 1590s, Burby was
involved in publishing the Bodenham miscellanies, in which Munday and
Chettle were involved on the editorial side; he published the most
famous of these, Francis Meres' *Palladis Tamia*.  He also published Q1
*Loves Labours Lost* (1598) and Q2 *Romeo and Juliet* (1599).

Burby's business address in 1592 was given as "the Poultry, by St.
Mildred's Church" (where Wright had his shop, right smack in the middle
of London), but on 10 February 1593 he got married in St. Thomas the
Apostle Church (a little bit southwest of St. Mildred Poultry), and by
the late 1590s he had a shop near the Royal Exchange.  He began taking
apprentices soon after receiving his freedom, and presumably they would
have helped with setting type; however, something kept going wrong with
his apprentices, and it's hard to believe that this was coincidental.
Burby took his first apprentice on 3 April 1592 (John Ashton,
transferred from Humphrey Lownes), but the indenture was cancelled and
Ashton was forbidden from becoming free of the company.  On 26 March
1593, Burby took Thomas Wilkins as an apprentice, but the same thing
happened:  the indenture was cancelled.  On 24 January 1594, Burby took
on Thomas Scrogge, and 11 days later on 4 February he took on Thomas
Shotbolt, but both apprentices were dismissed from Burby's service.
Finally, on 3 March 1595, one worked out:  Henry Rocket was bound to
Burby on that date, and he served out the term of his apprenticeship and
became free in 1602.

Burby died in 1607, leaving his two shops (one at the Swan in Paul's
churchyard, the other in Cornhill near the Royal Exchange) to his
apprentice Nicholas Bourne.  His widow Elizabeth ran the business for a
couple of years before Bourne was ready to take it over.

If you're concerned with compositors, be sure you distinguish books that
Burby *published* from those he *printed*.  None of Burby's most famous
publications were printed by him:  *Plato's Axiochus* was printed by
John Danter and John Charlewood; *Palladis Tamia* was printed by
Nicholas Ling; Q1 *Loves Labours Lost* was printed by William White
(Burby's former master); and Q2 *Romeo and Juliet* was printed by Thomas
Creede.  In fact, I'm not sure that Burby had a printing press at all,
in which the question of compositors would be moot for him; however, I
don't have the full STC handy to check.

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

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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: Hall's Dream

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1578  Thursday, 22 June 2001

From:           Bill Gelber <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 11:35:05 EDT
Subject: 12.1566 Re: Hall's Dream
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1566 Re: Hall's Dream

Referring to the Hall production in the Shakespeare Centre library: it
is in black and white, although it may be a shortened version or
highlights from the show. It is not the same production by any means,
but an earlier "Midsummer" when Laughton was in the company playing
Bottom and Lear. It is set really in an Elizabethan house. Robert Hardy
plays Oberon, Mary Ure is
Titania, and Albert Finney is playing either Demetrius or Lysander (I
can't remember which.) It was directed by Peter Hall. (1962?)

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Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re: Small Cast Hamlets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1579  Thursday, 22 June 2001

From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Jun 2001 12:00:02 -0400
Subject: 12.1562 Re: Small Cast Hamlets
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1562 Re: Small Cast Hamlets

>Geralyn Horton's response to my comments re: Shakespeare & Company's
>6-actor/90-minute _Julius Caesar_ makes me <snip>
>believe that this Shakespeare & Co. production of
>Caesar, though also 90 minutes and also cast with 6 actors (this time, 4
>men and 2 women), is a newer production and not the same one seen by
>G.H. some years back.

I suspect that it is the same production re-cast.  If Epstein was in it,
surely you'd remember: he is one of the dozen great actors I have seen
in 50 years of theater going, and that 92 JC is about #4 on my lifetime
list of Best Productions.  About half of the really moving Shakespeare I
have ever seen has been at S&C, though of course they have some misses,
too.  But I always go to Lenox MA prepared to be astonished. I never
much cared for JC before I saw Tina Packer's version. 12th Night, which
I have always loved, was an opposite case.  I was in it 3 times in my
youth-- twice as Olivia, once as Maria-- and had strong opinions about
how it "should" be done. S&C's recent production, in which Epstein
played Feste, was "all wrong"-- casting, costumes, period, set.  Yet it
was a "perfect" 12th Night. Every "miscast" actor found a valid
character, and the relationships between these characters added up to a
world that was a truthful realization of the text-- filled with
surprises and discoveries and contemporary poignancies, yet sounding all
the notes of poetry and plot that I hope to hear in a good "traditional"
production.  It was like hearing a Brandenburg played on different
consort of instruments, whose blend turned out to be as beautiful as
that in a favorite recording.  The difference perked up my ears, and
enabled me to hear a text I know by heart as if for the first time.

>Which is why I second Paul's
>I recommend checking out the work of this innovative and
>energetic group.

I hope to see "Coriolanus" in their new Founder's Theatre this weekend:
Epstein is Aufidius, the title role's taken by Dan McCleary.  I played
bit parts in "Coriolanus" 35 years ago, in a rather wonderful production
at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival where Coriolanus was played by an
undergraduate named Barry Kraft. I understand Kraft went on to a
distinguished Shakespearean career at Ashland-- how I wish I could have
seen him perform at 40 or 50! Anyway, I have some strong opinions about
that play too, and will go prepared to be astonished once more.

Geralyn Horton, Newton, Mass. 02460
<http://www.stagepage.org>

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Shakespeare Monuments

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1577  Thursday, 22 June 2001

From:           Werner Habicht <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday 20 Jun 2001 17:20:17 +0200
Subject:        Shakespeare Monuments

I am trying to find out as much as possible about grand Shakespeare
monuments - those material tributes erected, mainly after the mid-19th
century, in public places or parks to commemorate heroes of the mind as
well as royalty or war heroes, though without the approval of some of
those who remembered Sonnet 55. I'm aware of such Shakespeare memorials
in Stratford-upon-Avon (Gower monument), London (Leicester Square), New
York (Central Park), St. Louis, Chicago, Sydney (facing the State
Library), Paris, and Weimar (Germany, facing the garden house of
Goethe). Would someone out there know of any others? Any piece of
information (on or off list) would be greatly appreciated.

Werner Habicht

_______________________________________________________________
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>

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