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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Audrey in AYL 3.2
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2331  Monday, 25 November 2002

[1]     From:   Anthony Haigh <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 08:31:39 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2324

[2]     From:   Chris Whatmore <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 16:38:25 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

[3]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 22 Nov 2002 21:07:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

[4]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Saturday, 23 Nov 2002 21:21:34 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anthony Haigh <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 08:31:39 -0500
Subject: 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

I never really understood Audrey until I saw the all male production at
the National Theatre many years ago where a burly John Stride played the
role.  The all-maleness of this production opened up lots of doors.  If
one assumes four apprentices in the Chamberlain's Men then it might also
be assumed that the least able apprentice played the fourth woman.  This
was the approach taken by this production.  Audrey was an apprentice
well past his sell-by date, whose voice had broken and who was unwilling
to play female roles any longer.  Much fun was made of his hairy body,
bad wig, "sluttish" costume and manly voice.  The mistake Joe may be
making here is to assume Audrey is in any way a "real" woman with
womanly motivations.

Respectfully,
Tony

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Whatmore <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 16:38:25 +0000
Subject: 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

Joe Canzoneri writes:

>I am working on a performance of a truncated version of 3.2 of As You
>Like It with a group of high school students, and we're struggling with
>the Audrey role.

Not sure how (or why?) you've truncated the scene, but see if these
suggestions help:

1. Audrey and Touchstone, like everyone else in this play, have fallen
in love - or in lust - at first sight. By the time we first see them
together (and scholarly reservations about motive notwithstanding), it's
pretty clear that their main objective is to get into bed just as fast
as they possibly can. And if getting into bed means getting married,
then so be it - they'll find the nearest thing to a preacher, say the
words and go for it!

2. T, being T, is not about to commit himself to any 'real' relationship
(or to anything at all, for that matter) and is spinning his usual
half-digested classical allusions as an exercise in ironical distancing.
(That's not to say he doesn't have genuine soft spot for A - he just
can't quite deal with it head-on. Men, eh?)

3. A hardly understands a word T says (in contrast to Jaques, who not
only understands every word but can also identify every literary
source). But luckily, A doesn't care. She's not terribly interested in a
meaningful relationship either - which is doubtless one reason why T
loves her. She knows he has the hots for her and is happy to play along
with whatever verbal foreplay he cares to offer. In this sense, she's
just as sure of her own ground as T is of his - perhaps more so.

4. A hasn't an ironical bone in her body and DOES understand everything
she herself says. She knows what a slut is and wants to make it clear
that she isn't one. She's happy to be 'foul' because that's what T's
chopped logic has led her to think he wants her to be. Whatever it
takes, honey...

5. If, as you imply, you've cut A's final line "Well, the gods give us
joy", I'd strongly advise that you reinstate it. It's a delicious,
lip-smacking rejoinder to T's reference to 'coupl[ing]' in his previous
speech, and it sends him off on another, almost panic-stricken, round of
verbal diarrhea that climaxes (if that's the word, which it probably is)
with Martext's entrance.

That's one reading, anyhow. Have fun exploring others!

Chris Whatmore

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 22 Nov 2002 21:07:45 -0500
Subject: 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

I believe the mainline tradition is that Audrey has freckles, speaks
with a thick regional accent, is completely brainless, and doesn't even
know what chastity is about.  But she's good-hearted and enthusiastic.
A sort of sexy female Clem Kadiddlehopper, if you're old enough to
remember that name....

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Saturday, 23 Nov 2002 21:21:34 +0000
Subject: 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2324 Audrey in AYL 3.2

>I am working on a performance of a truncated version of 3.2 of As You
>Like It with a group of high school students, and we're struggling with
>the Audrey role.  In our scene, her part has been reduced to a mere six
>lines.  She asks four questions re: Touchstone's features, the
>definition of poetical, being "poetical" and being honest. She then
>comments on her lack of "fairness" and concludes with the "I am not a
>slut" line. I know she's supposed to be a simple shepherdess. How much
>of what she says does she actually understand?  Does she know the
>meanings of "foul" and "slut"?  Is she attracted to Touchstone?  What's
>her (gasp! I know many on this list despise the term) objective?  The
>rest of the scene has been progressing smoothly, but this segment has
> been flat and dull.  I'd love some feedback...

She fancies Touchstone, if only as am economic prospect, and is flirting
with him in a rustic sort of way, but clearly doesn't understand half
the words he uses ("features", "poetical").  Some of the others are
ambiguous, and the exchange is further complicated by the fact that the
two seem to take them different ways (she simply, he ironically):
"honest" = law-abiding or honourable/chaste, "foul" = unclean
(physically/morally)/ugly, "slut" = promiscuous/slovenly woman.

Peter Groves
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