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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Acting the Bard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0922  Wednesday, 3 April 2002

From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Apr 2002 18:13:43 +0100
Subject: 13.0915 Re: Acting the Bard
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0915 Re: Acting the Bard

>One of the reasons why Shakespeare and other playwrights are most
>vague
>on motives in the most demanding roles (Hamlet and Lear also
>come to mind)
>is that the role needs to be elastic enough to
>accommodate a variety of actors, who will play the roles from a
>variety of angles.

I have a feeling this might be a little biased towards modern ideas of
Shakespeare's plays.  Surely Shakespeare was writing for a series of
specific individuals, most of the time at least, and was more or less
unconcerned about the fact that somebody other than Richard Burbage
might ultimately end up playing what to Shakespeare (writing for a
specific actor in a specific company) was undoubtedly going to be
Burbage's role.  Is not the concept of drama being free from the author
and determined by the interpretation of a long string of different
actors and directors something which was created more recently?  Might
not the ambiguities of the characters be a function of the literary form
in which Shakespeare wrote, rather than a simple preparation for the
fluidity of acting interpretations?  Shakespeare, for example, could
easily have *told* Burbage whether Hamlet was really mad or not, so many
of the problems that confront modern actors would not have caused
difficulties for Shakespeare's original casts.

Thomas Larque.
"Shakespeare and His Critics"
http://shakespearean.org.uk

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