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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Movies and Luhrmann
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1310  Tuesday, 14 May 2002

[1]     From:   Joseph Sullivan <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 May 2002 10:42:46 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

[2]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 13 May 2002 11:58:12 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Sullivan <
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Date:           Monday, 13 May 2002 10:42:46 -0400
Subject: 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

I agree with Sam Small.  I often find myself asking: what would
Shakespeare do?

Still, since the texts that we read today are more often than not the
constructions of editors both modern and early modern, I have to admit
that my fundamental faith sometimes lapses in the authority of the text.

That's not to say that the plays have no shape and that we can make them
mean whatever we desire.  I believe that we should strive with humility
to discern Will's will, knowing that he is there amongst us whenever
three gather in his name.

Your brother in Bard.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 13 May 2002 11:58:12 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1293 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

> But to
> me Shakespeare's
> plots are just as importantly thought out as the
> poetry.  The poetry of
> R&J's deaths go with the plot points - every one,
> In fact I
> would say that in Shakespeare plot is poetry.
> Nothing less.  In short,
> trust Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's plots are, for the most part, not his own. Nearly one
third of those plays are history plays with some invented plot elements.
The comedies and tragedies, with the exception of some subplots and a
couple of plays, are lifted from sources. And yet, you don't say that
"to rewrite Ovid or Plutarch is arrogant". Shakespeare was an adaptor
himself.

Equally as dangerous as careless adaptation is the blind assumption that
Shakespeare was perfect.  Shakespeare, as brilliant as we all think he
is, is not a god. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't rewrite any of his
plays. I just think that his plays should inspire creativity rather than
blind allegiance to a fictional creative superpower. Trust artistic
freedom and creativity. It's what gave Shakespeare the power to write
what he did. If you don't like these new versions, don't watch them. I
can certainly think of far more heinous "crimes" against some
four-hundred-year-old dead guy than the small infractions that Luhrmann
puts in his film. If we followed Sam's lead, we would film one
definitive version "as performed by the Lord Admiral's Men" and never
perform it again. That would be a crime.

Brian Willis

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