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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Cuts in Performance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2220  Thursday, 7 November 2002

[1]     From:   Ivan Fuller <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 10:45:34 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 09:13:12 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

[3]     From:   Claude Caspar <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 6 Nov 2002 18:36:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

[4]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 13:46:09 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2197 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ivan Fuller <
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Date:           Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 10:45:34 -0600
Subject: 13.2207 Cuts in Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

M. Yawney writes,

"In truth there is much evidence that even in Shakespeare's time the
plays were cut. Some of the shorter plays we have (Macbeth for example)
show evidence of having been shortened from a longer version."

Weren't the first printed versions of the plays a mixed bag of actors'
sides, remembered lines and fragmented rough copies?  If so, then we
cannot conclusively know what the original performances were like.  In
fact, can we really know anything about the original performances?

In response to Jim Slager's questions about the apparent need to cut
lines from contemporary productions... I've found that the result is
often a longer and duller production than one with no, or very few, cuts
that clips along at a dynamic pace.  I staged an uncut production of
"Shrew" a number of years ago with the audience sitting on hard, wooden
folding chairs and NO intermission.  It was thunderous hailed as the
best production of the season in my community.  Audiences ARE up to the
task of an uncut script when the production is staged FOR the audience
and not for opportunity to show off technical, acting or staging
know-how.

Ivan Fuller
Bare Bodkins Theatre Company
Sioux Falls, SD

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 09:13:12 -0800
Subject: 13.2207 Cuts in Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

>"I've rarely seen a live production of a Shakespeare play that wasn't
>severely cut in order to shorten the play.  I wonder why it is believed
>that modern audiences cannot sit through an entire play in our
>upholstered seats in an air conditioned theater.

There are additional reasons.  The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, to give
just one example, does not allow plays to run for more than three hours
in either of their indoor theaters.  They need time to strike the set,
change the stage, and install a new set between the matinee and evening
performances.  Stagehands in some union theaters receive overtime if the
show runs past a certain hour.  Managers and directors consider audience
attention and bladders, yes, but there are other factors as well.

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
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Date:           Wednesday, 6 Nov 2002 18:36:22 -0500
Subject: 13.2207 Cuts in Performance
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2207 Cuts in Performance

>I've rarely seen a live production of a Shakespeare play that wasn't
>severely cut in order to shorten the play.  I wonder why it is believed
>that modern audiences cannot sit through an entire play in our
>upholstered seats in an air conditioned theater.

There is evidence that Shakespeare's Theatre was very flexible
performance to performance, for many reasons. Who knew?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 06 Nov 2002 13:46:09 -0500
Subject: 13.2197 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2197 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film

Jim Slager <
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 > writes,

>I've rarely seen a live production of a Shakespeare play that wasn't
>severely cut in order to shorten the play.  I wonder why it is believed
>that modern audiences cannot sit through an entire play in our
>upholstered seats in an air conditioned theater.  Why could
>Shakespeare's audience sitting in uncomfortable wooden seats or even
>standing in the heat or cold endure the entire play?  It would seen that
>Shakespeare, over his long career, must have carefully tailored his
>plays to suit his audience.  Why have audiences changed so much?

Well, audiences have demonstrably changed since the 19th century, but
that "two-hours' traffic" is about all we have to go on, I understand,
as far as Shakespeare goes.

However, it is, in part, not the audiences, but the performances. Too
damn many pregnant pauses and significant stares.  I have seen the
Scottish play done, without one single word cut, in 90 minutes flat.

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