2002

Re: The British Shakespeare Association

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0343  Wednesday, 6 February 2002

From:           Stuart Hampton-Reeves <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 20:47:04 +0000
Subject: 13.0320 The British Shakespeare Association
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0320 The British Shakespeare Association

Thanks to Thomas for drawing attention to the notice board on the BSA
website, which I currently run. The website has just been updated with a
new editorial section which will allow members to put forward
suggestions, ideas and visions for the development of the BSA. These are
linked directly to the notice board to facilitate debate and discussion.

By the way, since a couple of people have asked, .ws stands for 'western
Samoa.'

Stuart Hampton-Reeves
www.britishshakespeare.ws

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0341  Wednesday, 6 February 2002

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Feb 2002 10:20:25 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0319 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

[2]     From:   Ann Carrigan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 12:13:55 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0287 Reading Shakespeare Backwards

[3]     From:   Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 08:58:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0306 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Feb 2002 10:20:25 -0600
Subject: 13.0319 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0319 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

To add my two cents to the "bottom up" thread: I discovered (or imagined
I had, after reading of it someplace), that one could clarify many of
Shakespeare's plays wonderfully by starting at the end and working
backwards (or upwards). This worked with "Shrew" (first, as I recall)
and then with other commonly misunderstood / misread / over-interpreted
works ("Hamlet," "Merchant," any of the Prince Hal plays, among others).

What is the author actually saying at the end, where, if he has been
successful, the reader or audience-member is most under the power of his
work? That should be the checkpoint for all critical and dramatic
interpretations.

Two more points:

1) If you find yourself compelled to read or act the ending
"ironically," you need to reconsider whether the irony is really there,
or whether you are imposing it in order to protect some beloved
interpretive insight which would lose much of its validity if exposed to
the plain truth.

2) I have found the technique also useful in dealing with novels (pace
Forster), even those that prove the rule like "Great Expectations."

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Carrigan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 12:13:55 EST
Subject: 13.0287 Reading Shakespeare Backwards
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0287 Reading Shakespeare Backwards

Whitt Brantley wrote -

<<On the monologues, try having the students read from the bottom up. In
other words, begin with last sentence first. You'll be surprised what
you'll find.>>

Martin Steward responded:

<<I am not a teacher with a bunch of students at hand upon whom to try
this experiment; I am sure I will not be alone in wanting to know what
the effect is!!! Do tell!! One would expect gobbledygook...!>>

I, too, am curious what this will yield. It seems a bit hard to do
sometimes, because in many cases, they are not easy sentences to break
down and rearrange.

Since I'm revisiting Troilus and Cressida at the moment (in conjunction
with an online discussion elsewhere) I chose Troilus's speech upon
seeing Cressida and Diomedes. Here it is rearranged (as close to "by
sentence" as I could muster).

<<The bonds of heaven are slipp'd, dissolved, and loosed;
And with another knot, five-finger-tied,
The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
The fragments, scraps, the bits and greasy relics
Of her o'er-eaten faith, are bound to Diomed.

Cressid is mine, tied with the bonds of heaven:

Instance, O instance! strong as heaven itself; strong as Pluto's gates;

Instance, O instance!

Within my soul there doth conduce a fight
Of this strange nature that a thing inseparate
Divides more wider than the sky and earth,
And yet the spacious breadth of this division
Admits no orifex for a point as subtle
As Ariachne's broken woof to enter.

where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
Without revolt: this is, and is not, Cressid.

Bi-fold authority!

O madness of discourse,
That cause sets up with and against itself!

If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimonies,
If sanctimony be the gods' delight,
If there be rule in unity itself,
This is not she.

If beauty have a soul, this is not she;

no, this is Diomed's Cressida:

This she?>>

I'm not sure what I gleaned from reading it backwards except to note
that in reverse, Troilus grows more confused. And the rhythm is lost.
Maybe I'm not giving it the right spin?

One activity I have on occasion found very rewarding in understanding
character is to do what Joseph Papp suggested in his introduction to The
Festival Shakespeare edition of Troilus and Cressida. He lay out
Cressida's lines in the "parting scene" (if memory serves, a
continuation of 4.2 and 4.4) by themselves -- essentially, the "sides"
for Cressid's part. Absent everyone else's speech, it can inform on a
character and a situation from a a single perspective. Try just Shylock
or just Caliban, p

--Ann Carrigan

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 08:58:22 -0500
Subject: 13.0306 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0306 Re: Shakespeare from the bottom up

> I've observed it in action a few times in the past.
>
> Once, was with a professional actor who was having trouble connecting
> the thoughts in the monologue.  He tended to gloss over what he
> subconsciously did not or could not understand.
>
> I think it was the opening speech in Richard III.  Anyway, the director
> asked him to go line by line....backwards.  And in his opinion, it
> seemed to help give each line a new and distinct clarity...an
> independence within the whole...
>
> It also help him to find where the transitions were in the speech.

Some of you may be familiar with David Ball's marvelous little book,
"Backwards and Forwards," in which Ball, who, in his youth, served as
dramaturg at the Guthrie Theatre, lays out this technique
systematically.

Cheers,
Ed Pixley

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Place of Performance

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0339  Wednesday, 6 February 2002

[1]     From:   Laura Blankenship <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 23:16:43 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance

[2]     From:   John V. Knapp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Feb 2002 23:24:04 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Response to Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance

[3]     From:   David Wallace <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 08:46:36 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Laura Blankenship <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 23:16:43 -0500
Subject: 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes

I agree with Jay that performance is extremely important in teaching
Shakespeare.  I've done reading and staging to demonstrate how a scene
might be played.  I also constantly ask, "So how would this look on
stage?  Where would the people be?  What props would you have?  What
tone should the actor have?"  These questions sometimes inspire stunned
silence.  But I persist.  I have also created web pages with visuals and
links to visuals so that students can see in still version what the play
might look like.  I shun movies in general because they take up a lot of
time and I end up with sleeping students.  I do encourage students to
view films on their own if they like and even write a paper than
compares the movie to the play.

An interesting thing is happening in my current course where I'm
teaching a play and then an adaptation of the play.  Right now we're
finishing up A Thousand Acres, an adaptation of King Lear.  Generally my
students have said that the novel "fills in" a lot of the details and
"has more character development."  Perhaps there's some way to encourage
them to use the novel to help "fill in" the details of King Lear.  That
is one thing, I guess, that adaptations try to do.  Staged, I think
Lear's details fill in pretty clearly.  It's true though that
motivations are somewhat less clear--one of the key sticking points that
engenders much discussion.

I guess my point is that performance certainly does help students really
understand the play and brings it to life.  My sense is, from my
students, is that they lack the ability to imagine the physicality of
the play.  In fact, many of my students admitted on the first day of
class that they had never seen a play.  Though what Jay is trying to do
is to involve the students in the actual performance, being an audience
member is also enlightening.  Perhaps there's a way to do a few
scenes--or cut versions--and include all aspects--to really stage the
play, even if it's only for the class.  Have sets, sound effects, etc.,
just on a much tighter budget.  And I would think you would need to
discuss the effect, from both sides of the "curtain."

What about having students in groups do a play (maybe even uncut) and
videotape it?  This could be done as a final project.

I'm thinking out loud to some degree, but I think Jay is on to something
interesting.

Laura Blankenship

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John V. Knapp <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 5 Feb 2002 23:24:04 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance in English
Comment:        Response to Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance in English
Lit Classes

Jay Johnson --

If you're not already familiar with it, I might recommend the following
essay collection on teaching S.  The collection is somewhat uneven: some
good essays; some not-so-good.

Ronald E. Salomone & James E. Davis, eds., *Teaching Shakespeare into
the Twenty-First Century.*  Athens: Ohio State UP, 1997.

Cheers,
JVK

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 06 Feb 2002 08:46:36 -0800
Subject: 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0327 Place of Performance in English Lit Classes

> I would be interested in hearing the opinions and experiences regarding
> performance in the classroom of other teachers, instructors, or
> professors of English literature who teach Shakespeare at the high
> school and undergraduate level.
>
> Cheers,
> Jay Johnson

Jay,

I teach both Drama and English at the high school level. I'm afraid that
the size and composition of my English classes has prevented me from
incorporating student performance in any really substantial way. An
ordinary English class might include 10-12 students for whom English is
a second (3rd or 4th) language, 2 or 3 students with a designated
learning disability, 1 or 2 garden variety incorrigibles, a sleeper, and
a dozen native speakers of various dispositions and aptitudes. I show
and lecture from video. I invite students to perform short scenes with
me. I set aside several classes to have students perform key scenes,
some of which I edit substantially to make them easier for inexperienced
students to "sight read". Without doubt, I think it important to have
English students read aloud from Shakespeare. It helps demystify the
language, it can be fun, and it provides variety to classroom routine.
I've had limited success. My students enjoy my classes and tell me I'm
one of the "good" teachers. I'll have to take their word for it because
I'm not satisfied that I'm working to my potential and I feel certain
that they aren't.

On the other hand, I've had moderate success with students performing
Shakespeare in senior acting class and have had decided success with
students performing full length Shakespeare as an extra-curricular
activity. In fact, as far as Shakespeare goes, my best teaching/learning
conditions occur after school - a circumstance which provides me with no
financial compensation and the students with no direct academic credit.
Wouldn't it be pleasant if schools had sufficient flexibility to allow
me to be paid for what I do well and students to receive credit for
demonstrating "learning outcomes" in a very concrete fashion?

A professional acting company could easily spend a hundred hours in
rehearsal preparing a fairly routine production of any given play. A
really ambitious production would take more time. A hundred hours is
pretty close to my entire contact time with an English class over the
course of a year. In that time I will generally handle a couple or three
novels, a Shakespeare, a unit on short fiction, and a unit on poetry -
weekly grammar and usage lessons, media, creative writing and so on. If
I abandoned all else to Shakespeare, sure I could get something
intriguing accomplished with even my most "challenging" English class.
But would it be worth it? If you gave me 20 motivated students for 6-8
hours a day over the course of a month - no sweat. I could perform the
whole canon over the course of five years. But schools aren't organized
that way. They are organized like factories. There is no question that
high school students (and under grads) can do a credible job of
performing Shakespeare (or any other playwright). A bit of creativity in
the way we schedule classes could facilitate such endeavours. I'm sure
teachers in other disciplines could accomplish all manner of
extraordinary things given a little flexibility. But, presently, simple
things such as a field trip may involve losing a day's pay, spending
many hours on paperwork, and enduring the complaints of other teachers
who feel their students are losing valuable class time.

When we stop managing our schools like factories, when we oblige
students to really take charge of their own education, and when we allow
teachers and administrators to get creative with time management - well
you won't have this problem. Will you?

Cheers,
David Wallace

_______________________________________________________________
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://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Re: Authenticity

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0340  Wednesday, 6 February 2002

From:           R. A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 05 Feb 2002 10:29:55 -0600
Subject: 13.0325 Re: Authenticity
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0325 Re: Authenticity

>> Brian Willis wrote,
>>
>>> recent scholarship has suggested that putting up
>>> plays were truly a COMPANY effort for COMPANY
>> profit.
>>
>> Can you point us to that scholarship?

Peter Thomson, SHAKESPEARE'


Re: Romeo and Juliet on Film

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0338  Wednesday, 6 February 2002

From:           David Kathman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 4 Feb 2002 19:38:29 -0600
Subject: 13.0314 Romeo and Juliet on Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0314 Romeo and Juliet on Film

Richard Burt wrote,

>I saw a trailer for it the other day and it looked like the film has
>some relation to R and J.  Anyone seen it?

No, but here are links to some reviews.  It doesn't seem to have much to
do with Romeo and Juliet:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/movie-1101050/

Rottentomatoes.com is generally a good place to go to find reviews of
recent movies, and many older ones too.

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://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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