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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2263  Tuesday, 12 November 2002

[1]     From:   Abigail Quart <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 2002 14:52:10 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.2236 Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen

[2]     From:   Haddon Judson <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Nov 2002 17:26:18 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 13.2236 Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen

[3]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 12 Nov 2002 01:50:09 -0600
        Subj:   Appalachian Ado


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 2002 14:52:10 -0500
Subject: 13.2236 Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen???
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2236 Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen???

I love the idea. But whether it works or no, the play's untouched,
intact at the end, ready for the next attempt to find the truth of it.

There are two sublime experiences for a playwright: for the words to be
performed exactly as imagined and be wonderful, and for the words to be
performed as never imagined and be better.

Much Ado will survive and triumph.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Haddon Judson <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Nov 2002 17:26:18 -0500
Subject: Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen???
Comment:        SHK 13.2236 Much Ado About . . . Mountainmen???

Dear Alan J. Sanders

>1. Has this setting been tried or witnessed by anyone?  If so, what was
>the result?

#1 Yes...If I can remember the production names will forward same to
you...but they were on film and were "Hollywood Hillbillies".  I realize
that the term "Hillbilly" is a product of Hollywood.  The characters
were not portrayed as stupid and the end result was very amusing.  I
seem to remember that the "Weaver" family was in the film.

>2. What are the 'gut reactions' of those who regularly attend
>Shakespeare performance in choosing this locale and regional accent for
>the story of "Much Ado"?

#2 Any statements would be snobbish and subjective.  One would have to
see the production first before any criticism could be made.

>3. Lastly, is there really any truth to the comment of this idea of a
>preserved English dialect in the hills of Appalachia?

#3 Over the past 40 years I have heard of studies being conducted by
various groups from both the UK and the US.  Opinions varied but the
overall view was that in Tenn., GA, KY and North Carolina there were/are
pockets that have retained some vestige of pre-colonial English.  You
might start with Duke Univ.  Appalachia starts in Pennsylvania and ends
in Arkansas(?).  This is a large piece of territory and so there would
be many variations in dialect.

Sincerely,
Haddon (Hadd) Judson

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 12 Nov 2002 01:50:09 -0600
Subject:        Appalachian Ado

Question 1.  Has this been tried?  Yes. this year by RSC to do Winter's
Tale in multiple U.S. accents and set it in Appalachia.    It bombed.
reviews were horrific and the audience walked out on the show some of
them, the night I saw it.

2. Gut reaction is that it will bomb.  Much Ado relies on a chic upper
middle class decor and witty byplay esp. between B & B, but also in
other parts of the show.  Southern drawl is not the language for witty
byplay.

3.  Proven fact that the base language of Appalachia is Jacobean or I
suppose later seventeenth century when the region was being colonized by
Anglophone speakers..  The early modern English dialect froze in place
in the isolated mts. of Appalachia and still survives.  A number of
nouns and verbs seem to be right out of a Shakespeare play.

Cheers for experimental staging.

j.w.v.

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