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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Men in Tights
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0879  Friday, 29 March 2002

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 09:48:27 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

[2]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 14:23:45 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

[3]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 18:07:45 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

[4]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 10:46:28 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 09:48:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 13.0869 Men in Tights
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

Karen,

The Globe's Twelfth Night is apparently in period costume. But I suppose
that is a special case, a company that feels a certain obligation of
"authenticity" (troublesome enough) with occasional period costuming.
Still working on hopping the pond...

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 14:23:45 -0400
Subject: 13.0869 Men in Tights
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

A few years ago I saw a very decent Richard III in Stratford, Ontario,
which was memorable for a few reasons. One was that the actor who played
Buckingham that afternoon had played Petruchio the night before and was
arresting in both roles.  Another was the costuming was period, though
stylized and quite well done.  The second half opened with Richard
onstage wearing an enormous red cape that poured over the thrust stage.
As the lights slowly came up, my first impression was that Richard was
surrounded by blood; then I realized it was actually a giant, regal
cape; then I realized my first impression was also, metaphorically,
correct. I found it chilling.

A few years before that, I had directed a production of The Tempest on a
shoe-string budget; the production saw Caliban doubled with Gonzalo and
I had the costume designer create a cape that was two-sided: a fine side
for the noble counsellor, and a ragged one for the "demi-devil".  The
actor would walk out of one scene as Caliban (change his cape and
demeanour in view of the audience as all the actors were), and
immediately  walk back in as Gonzalo or vice versa.  The effect was
appropriate, I thought, to the magic and transformation themes of the
play.

I think it a shame if directors or critics necessarily equate creative
costuming with non-period costuming.  Costuming Shakespeare in 20th C
style is not, in itself, a particularly daring choice anymore.

t.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 18:07:45 -0000
Subject: 13.0869 Men in Tights
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

What does "doing Shakespeare in period costume" mean? If Karen Peterson
has seen productions in which the actors all where Italo-Fascist
outfits, surely that is "period costume"?

In Shakespeare's day, of course, all plays were done in modern dress.
You might have seen Roman togae or Persian robes & hats, but apart from
that it was all sumptuous costume from the period 1600. Can one imagine
Cymbeline on the Blackfriars stage in a loincloth (or whatever...?).

m

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Mar 2002 10:46:28 -0800
Subject: 13.0869 Men in Tights
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0869 Men in Tights

Karen,

>Do men in tights (not to mention women in wimples!) still tread upon the
>boards?

About four years ago, the Utah Shakespearean Festival had three of their
four productions in the dress of Shakespeare's period.  The exception
was *Hamlet.*  One of the actors told me that he and the director had to
go to the Artistic Director and justify setting the play c. World War 1.
Thus, I gather early modern style is preferred at this festival, unless
the creative people receive special dispensation.

Mike Jensen

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