The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0944 Thursday, 4 April 2002
Date: Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 07:56:46 GMT0BST
Subject: An Appeal for Information from Those with Long Memories
I am currently trying to complete a book on The Tempest at Stratford
since the war (for the Arden Shakespeare/Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
series 'Shakespeare at Stratford'). As is inevitable in any attempt at
performance history there are many lacunae in the information,
particularly concerning the earlier productions. But particularly
galling is the absence of any details of the comic business employed in
Peter Brook's 1957 production (with Gielgud as Prospero). Many
reviewers comment approvingly on the double-act of Stephano and Trinculo
and on the inventiveness of the comic business, but none gives any
detail, beyond a tantalising reference to 'business with hats', and a
tirade by Harold Hobson about 'disgusting' business with urination. The
former suggests, just possibly, that Brook was making some kind of
gesture towards Waiting for Godot, which had received its first
performance some three years earlier.
I wonder, despairingly, if there is any among the more senior
contributors to the list who can recall any detail at all about this
business? Neither the promptbook nor the fairly scanty photographic
record are of any assistance.
Please reply offline - any help will, of course, be fully acknowledged.
Professor David Lindley
Head, School of English
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