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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: Skin Deep
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0196  Sunday, 27 January 2002

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Jan 2002 09:16:17 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0177 Re: Skin Deep

[2]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Friday, 25 Jan 2002 12:29:33 -0500
        Subj:   Skin Deep

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Jan 2002 09:16:17 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0177 Re: Skin Deep
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0177 Re: Skin Deep

Let's remember that some of the most famous actors in Shakespearean
stage history were quite short: Garrick and Kean. It's actually true too
(for some odd reason) that professional actors are often 5'8" and under.
I have no book to cite for that, but it is my personal experience. Of
course, there are often plenty of taller actors but I'm saying that it
is surprising how often shorter actors are involved. The ideal image of
Hamlet as tall is a myth. Anthony Dawson, in Shakespeare in Performance,
notes that this perception actually crystallized as late as the Peter
Hall/David Warner incarnation, one of the most influential of the last
half-century.

"Pudgy" or stout is also not unheard of. Garrick wasn't exactly tall and
slender.

We've already had the debate about Burbage's weight however. Personally,
I'm getting tired of discussing actors' natural appearances. If
Shakespeare was so unspecific about such matters in most cases, why
can't we? Let's devote ourselves to subjectivity so we can debate.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Jan 2002 12:29:33 -0500
Subject:        Skin Deep

Michael Friedman writes,

"The first male character I think of who is 'specifically described as
good-looking' is Bertram from All's Well."

Yes. In Joe Price's seminal study of All's Well, _The Unfortunate
Comedy_, the author suggests that Bertram should be played by a very
handsome young man.

But what of Helena? Is her name ironic, since no one "wants" her?  That
is, is she meant to be plain, an "anti" Helen, whose face never launched
any ship?

--Ed Taft

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