Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Anything Goes
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2319  Wednesday, 20 November 2002

[1]     From:   David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 13:07:25 GMT0BST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

[2]     From:   Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:29:52 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

[3]     From:   David Evett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 15:13:07 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

[4]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Wednesday, 20 Nov 2002 10:05:29 +0800 (SGT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

[5]     From:   Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:18:00 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 13:07:25 GMT0BST
Subject: 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

>To Mr. Lindley:  Why bother to "re-create" what should never have been
>created?  Most productions are unworthy of intellectual resurrection.
>Or is everything produced at Stratford automatically exempt from that
>judgment?

No, everything at Stratford is not exempt from 'judgement'.  My point
is, precisely, that 'judgement' is not the point.  Different things are
being brought together as if they were the same.  The review of an
individual performance, is an attempt to 'judge' it, in order that the
readers of the review can decide whether or not they wish to see it.  I
might agree with you, indeed, about the quality of some film
performances of Shakespeare, and even echo your disparaging comments on
some (though by no means all) RSC performances.  But in writing the book
- as with other scholars putting together the line-by-line commentaries
in Shakespeare in Performance / Shakespeare Performed series, which you
also aimed a side-swipe at in a previous post - judgement of the
individual performance is not the primary (or even the secondary) aim.
Instead, one is attempting a number of different things, as I suggested
in my post, and won't reiterate again.

A bad performance can be as interesting as a good one, if one is not
simply bringing it to 'judgement', but trying to see why it is as it is,
and what that might tell us of its particular cultural moment. In
exactly the same way, in my work on the literature of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, a not very good text may be enormously revealing
of cultural attitudes etc. etc.  One might want to argue precisely that
it is in the second and third rate artistic productions of any period
that one can most accurately discern what is specific and confined to
that period.

To be interested in the larger issues raised by performances, whatever
their quality, is what distinguishes the academic from the
journalistic.  (I should emphasise that this is not a hierarchy, but a
difference - I rely on good journalism and good reviewing when deciding
whether to go and see something..)

David Lindley
University of Leeds

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:29:52 -0600
Subject: 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

Michael Shurgot

>Apparently Mr. Weinstein would have us all believe
>that such productions [regional professional, as those of the Seattle Rep
>(which I remember fondly)] re worthless, not only aesthetically and
>theatrically, but also pedagogically.

I don't believe that is what CW either meant or said. As I recall, he
was complaining about the propensity of SIP experts to treat the vast
number of mediocre productions as important critical topics, to fail to
sort out the wheat from the chaff -- and let the chaff blow away. I am
in no position to evaluate the validity of this complaint, but it
wouldn't surprise me. All of literary / artistic / cultural studies
seems to be collapsing into an apology for snobbery that involves the
denial of any degrees of quality whatsoever.

I feel a little sorry for people who believe so little in the meaning
and value of what they have devoted their lives to.

Cheers,
don

(After all, Scooby-Doo has probably influenced more Americans than WS,
hasn't it?)

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 15:13:07 -0500
Subject: 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

>To Mr. Evett:  What would "relativity" mean in this context?  "X's
>performance was bad in absolute terms, but compared to what an even
>worse actor might have done, it was acceptable?"

I'm a little disappointed that Mr. Weinstein, who seems to take pride in
his abilities as a comic actor, is not, apparently, witty enough in
himself to be comfortable in that aspect of the Falstaffian role that is
"the cause that wit is in other men."   My clerihew doubtless does not
use the term "relativity" with that scientific rigor I ought to have
invested it with.  But I am prepared to surmise that most members of the
list will agree with me that Mr. Weinstein has displayed in his many
postings over the years a critical attitude that can fairly be called
"absolutist," in which actors are either good or bad, productions are
either "landmarks" or "justly forgotten," and not to ignore the mediocre
utterly is to nourish it.

I do wonder how he can dare to let himself be cast, knowing as he must
know that the production is almost certainly doomed to fail.  Or, if
cast, how he can bring himself to think hard and work hard on his part.
Because of course, by his argument, it could not then matter to some
student of the piece a week or a decade later that Mr. Weinstein's own
performance was worth analyzing and remembering, however mediocre its
context.

Indeed, I am generally puzzled by his invocation of the Johnsonian "test
of time," surely a very difficult thing to apply to material as
inherently evanescent as theatrical production, even of "landmark"
calibre.

Relativistically,
David Evett

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Nov 2002 10:05:29 +0800 (SGT)
Subject: 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

>To Mr. Lindley:  Why bother to "re-create" what should never have been
>created?  Most productions are unworthy of intellectual resurrection.
>Or is everything produced at Stratford automatically exempt from that
>judgment?

I am not aware of what Mr. Weinstein is responding to.  Presumably he
has me mixed up with someone else.

Arthur Lindley

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:18:00 -0800
Subject: 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2300 Re: Anything Goes

My friends, have we missed the point?  Apparently, Mr. Weinstein's
comments were as clueless as so many of you have described, but hidden
within them is the possibility that he will not post any more of his
snide, cruel reviews where he compares actors unfavorably with animals
and makes those homophobic comments.  This strikes me as something to be
encouraged.

We'll just go about our work spreading knowledge and publishing
discoveries that inform each other.  He doesn't have to know.

All the best,
Mike Jensen

______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.