2002

Re: Anything Goes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2300  Tuesday, 19 November 2002

[1] From:       Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 14:18:34 -0500
Subject: 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes

[2] From:       Michael Shurgot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:59:21 -0800
Subject: 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes


[3] From:       Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 17 Nov 2002 08:15:40 -0500
Subject:        Anything Goes or All's Right With the World

[4] From:       Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 17 Nov 2002 08:18:05 -0500
Subject:        Anything Goes: Sundry Replies


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 14:18:34 -0500
Subject: 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes

Re: Poor old Charlie Weinstein!

It took me quite some time to realize that the eloquent curmudgeon on
SHAKSPER  is the same C. Weinstein as the Boston area actor whose
performances I have enjoyed over the years.  I did a name search of my
theatre reviews for the 1997-2002, and it came up empty-- apparently my
general impression that Charles is excellent in the quality he professes
is not based on a recent instance.  I'm sure that if I had his resume in
hand it would jolt my memory and I would recall at least some of his
roles. However, I did discover that his name is on my list of good
mature actors to recommend if somebody calls me asking.  And I can vouch
for Charles' good reputation among the "lower rung"--Independent
Reviewers of New England critics I gossip with; and for the generosity
he has shown to obscure playwrights.  I have performed with him in
staged readings for the authors at Playwrights Platform-- I think he
once even condescended to read in something of mine.  Probably not a
very good something, since I seem to have suppressed the memory of which
play.

Geralyn Horton
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
playwright, actor, critic
Newton, MA
http://www.stagepage.info

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Shurgot <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:59:21 -0800
Subject: 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.2282 Re: Anything Goes

Dear Colleagues:

Though I try to avoid "getting involved" in postings that I consider too
personal, too ad- hominem, I sense that the latest round of postings on
Mr.  Weinstein's arguments about performance criticism and performance
reviews, as well as performances themselves, requires a response. Since
I write performance criticism, and review Shakespearean productions out
here in the cultural wastelands of western Washington and Oregon, oh so
far from NYC and the Folger and (egad!) the RSC, I and my work are
presumably the target of one of Mr. Weinstein's scud missiles. Hence
this response, which shall be my only one on this acerbic exchange.

I teach at a small community college in Olympia, WA., the state capitol,
a town of @ 40,000 that is surrounded by very small towns inhabited
mostly by people who work(ed) in logging, fishing, etc. I have one
Shakespeare course per academic year, and in each class I take my
students to see a live performance in one of the theatres from Seattle
south to Portland, OR. I have been reviewing these various theatres for
seven years in Sh. Bulletin, and I believe that many of the productions
I have reviewed have been superb (esp. at Intiman Theatre and Seattle
Rep. in Seattle). Further, for many of my (mostly rural) students this
is the first live theatrical production they have ever seen,
Shakespearean or not. Apparently Mr. Weinstein would have us all believe
that such productions are worthless, not only aesthetically and
theatrically, but also pedagogically. While the Seattle Shakespeare
Company is not DC, nor NY, NY, nor (thank goodness!), the RSC, their
productions are in fact often quite good, and for my students immensely
valuable. To argue a priori that such productions that Mr. Weinstein has
not seen are worthless is to argue for a cultural and artistic hegemony
that I cannot imagine any educated person embracing. Are all
performances of J. S. Bach's violin concerti artistically worthless
because they are not performed by The English Concert or The Academy of
Ancient Music? Do we want to argue analogically that no one in Seattle
or Portland can REALLY play a Baroque violin? Or articulate a
Shakespearean soliloquy?

As for performance criticism, I would argue that it is most valuable
precisely because it evaluates the artistic and theatrical value of
interpretations of Shakespearean scripts that are alive because they are
performed around the world, just as is Bach's music. I would also
challenge Mr. Weinstein and others who denigrate performance criticism
to try writing honest performance criticism to see how difficult it is,
and to realize how much such criticism necessitates a thorough grasp of
the script whose performance one is reviewing. Examples of such writing
from the many fine reviewers in Sh. Bulletin and especially performance
scholars such as Alan Dessen in his annual review essay in SQ testify to
the historical and scholarly value of performance criticism, which has
always seemed to me to be much more lively and engaging than the
foot-note laden tomes that dominate SQ and similar journals.

Finally, I would urge colleagues to spend some time hanging around with
actors, who will tell you that the only ideas about a Shakespearean
script that have any real value for them are those that can be realized
in performance. This view is one-sided, I admit, but it does remind us
after all of what Shakespeare wrote and why. Academic scholarship can
certainly help all of us understand,  explain, and analyze Shakespeare's
plays, for ourselves and for our students; certainly has intellectual
interest and value; and obviously provides the basis for further
research. But most such "scholarly" ideas about a play survive mainly as
forgettable footnotes that pale besides an engaging, riveting
performance of a script, such as Derrick Lee Weeden's as Othello two
years ago in Ashland. Such performances demand to be recorded, and
justly.

But this apologia is already too long. Enough.

Regards,
Michael Shurgot

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 17 Nov 2002 08:15:40 -0500
Subject:        Anything Goes or All's Right With the World

Not so very long ago, big-studio films were seen as the quintessence of
crassness, hucksterism, superficiality and artistic compromise.  That
judgment was correct.  The alleged interregnum of a golden age in the
Sixties and Seventies was short-lived at best:  there is nothing at
present to call the time-honored judgment into question.  Yet if a
big-studio film happens to be a Shakespearean adaptation, academics
instantly hail it as an object worthy of deep and appreciative study.
Those same academics would view any other industrial product with
condign suspicion; yet let it be a movie and their skepticism vanishes,
along with their aesthetic and intellectual standards.  And so (for
example) they do not see the vulgarity, cynicism and tastelessness
involved in casting Clare and Leo as Romeo and Juliet, or turning the
play itself into a blaring rock concert that jettisons over half of the
text.  What accounts for such myopia?  Arrant with-it-ness?  The frantic
need to justify their tenure by forging a new canon, regardless of
whether the material deserves to be canonized?  Or could it be what John
Simon called the "confusion [that] stems from critics' trying to treat
the aristocracy and hierarchy of art as a democracy or chaos; either
because they refuse to admit that, along with their high tastes, they
have low tastes as well; or that, along with their low tastes. they have
no high tastes at all"?

--Charles Weinstein

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 17 Nov 2002 08:18:05 -0500
Subject:        Anything Goes: Sundry Replies

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?"

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?

To Mr. Willis:  If the beast were truly dead, I would stop beating him;
but he seems to have plenty of malign vitality left.

To Mr. Egan:  Right you are.  Not bad for a man who "usually doesn't
read" my posts.

Regards,
Charles Weinstein

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"Esperance!"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2299  Tuesday, 19 November 2002

From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 17 Nov 2002 15:42:24 -0800
Subject:        "Esperance!"

J.L. Speranza on the HEL-L list wrote:

>Of course, "Speranza" should not be confused with its vulgar
>epenthetic variants, such as "Esperance", which happens to
>be an entry in the OED2, as used by Shakespeare in one of his
>famous plays (An Anglo-Norman battle cry, as I recall).

I was working with Hall's Chronicle--a principal source for Sh.--last
night and ran across that motto or battle cry of the Percy family (earls
of Northumberland).  At the battle of Shrewsbury, July 21, 1403, between
Henry IV and rebels led by the Percies:

"Then sodaynly the trumpettes blewe, the kyn- / ges parte cried sainct
George vpon them:  The aduersaries cried Espe- / raunce Percie, and so
furiously the armies ioyned."  (1550 ed., fol.  22r, line 44 to fol.
22v, line 1; online facsmiles at
http://dewey.library.upenn.edu/sceti/furness/index.cfm).

In Henry IV, Part I, Sir Henry Percy (Hotspur) twice uses the motto.
The first reference is somewhat ignoble:

"That roan shall be my throne.
Well, I will back him straight: O esperance!--
Bid Butler lead him forth into the park."  (Act II, Sc. iii)

Later, at Shrewsbury:

"...and here draw I
A sword, whose temper I intend to stain
With the best blood that I can meet withal
In the adventure of this perilous day.
Now, Esperance! Percy! and set on.
Sound all the lofty instruments of war,
And by that music let us all embrace;
For, Heaven to Earth, some of us never shall
A second time do such a courtesy."  (Act V, Sc. ii)

Good stuff, far more stirring than Henry IV's speeches, but the king won
and Hotspur was killed and later drawn and quartered.  So much for
expectation or hope?

Al Magary

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
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DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
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Re: "Speaking Shakespeare"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2297  Tuesday, 19 November 2002

From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 16 Nov 2002 17:12:35 -0000
Subject: 13.2280 Re: "Speaking Shakespeare"
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2280 Re: "Speaking Shakespeare"

Brian Willis says:

Seeing as how Sam Mendes is now accomplished on both stage and screen, I
wonder if he has been tempted or will be tempted to film Shakespeare. A
thought. I suppose that one day, he will attempt it.

I hope not.  "American Beauty" was one of the worst films I ever saw.
Full of overstuffed stereotypes - weird teenage son - wooden-headed army
father - acerbic teenage daughter direct from the script of "Married
with Kids" - slutty school vamp - and on and on.  When poor writers
choose the occupation of an unsympathetic character it is almost always
an Estate Agent! (Real Estate Brokers in the US)  Mendes was also
harping on that threadbare string, so often plucked by English middle
class chatterers, that suburbia is the Devil's own community of sin.  A
1960's preoccupation, I remember. Mendes has no real understanding of
individuals - everything is translated and interpreted in terms of
mythical groups that the left always hate or adore.  Please Sam, leave
Shakespeare alone.

(And yes, I do get the irony)

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

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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
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TOC: Theatre Survey 43.2 (Nov 02)

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2298  Tuesday, 19 November 2002

From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 16 Nov 2002 06:00:15 -0600
Subject:        TOC: Theatre Survey 43.2 (Nov 02)

Theatre Survey
Volume 43 - Issue 02 - November 2002

Buckingham's Patronage and The Gypsies Metamorphosed
John H. Astington 133-47

Performing Ophelia: The Iconography of Madness
Judith Wechsler 201-21

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Re: Edmund and Edgar

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2296  Monday, 18 November 2002

[1]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:39:14 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

[2]     From:   Matthew Cheung <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 21:51:46 +0000
        Subj:   Edgar and Edmund

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 14 Nov 2002 12:19:08 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 11:39:14 -0600
Subject: 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

>Yes. And, indeed, all of the play can be read as a conflict between law
>and nature, with specific "trials" at central points,

Can it be acted as such?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Cheung <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 13 Nov 2002 21:51:46 +0000
Subject:        Edgar and Edmund

I don't think Edmund acts as an older brother because he tells his
brother what to do.  I think he's acting more like a devious brother.
He's initiating all of this strife, so he would want  to be in control
of the situation. What's strange is that neither Gloucester or Edgar
call him on it.  Gloucester doesn't ask to see the letter and Edgar
believes him wholeheartedly.   Edmund is a very intelligent and
observant person.  He knows exactly what to tell Gloucester and Edgar to
get them to do what he wants.  He's probably noticed that Gloucester has
a fear of being usurped by his son and that Edgar really cares about his
father. He has to tell them exactly what to do or else the whole plan
will blow up in his face.

Matt Cheung

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 14 Nov 2002 12:19:08 -0000
Subject: 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2283 Re: Edmund and Edgar

Puzzles ... Where does the idea that Edmund behaves as "the older son"
come from?  He's certainly dominant, but ...

His soliloquy in I.2 begins with age and +ends+ with bastardy, with an
elide somewhere in the middle.

Carol Barton pointed out to me that the whole idea of primogeniture in
the play is undercut, as if it ran, Goneril would inherit all.

Then there's Richard's initial soliloquy in RIII, where he complains
that no one loves him, and in the next scene, he successfully woos
Anne.  Dramatic action undermines motivational statement.  OK, 1591
isn't 1606, but I think there are parallels.  And neither play can
usefully be read in terms of psychological realism.

And (admitedly page, not stage) Edmund's I.2 soliloquy has exactly the
same number of lines as Edgar's 1st solilioquy at II.2, which also turns
on (though the word isn't explicitly used) nature.

Then at the end, Edgar the masked avenger confronting a
triumphantly-ennobled Edmund mutters through his visor, "My blood's as
good as yours, mate."

I think what I'm trying to say is you can't rip Edmund's soliloquy
out-of-context and expect to make sense of it.

Oh, add to all that, Mosca's parasite soliloquy in III.1 (?) _Volpone_.

Who's picking which pocket here?

Robin Hamilton

(As to Edmund's the one and t'other loved me juggling act over Goneril
and Regan, and the influence of Jonson on Restoration drama {which can
prolly be located in the Grace Wellborn sub-plot of _Bartholomew Fair_},
let's not even start on that.

You can't even rip bloody Lear from its source -- Bill goes OUT OF HIS
WAY to kill Cordelia.  Before Tate (or was it Cibber?) rewrites with a
happy-ending, the source-texts have Cordelia alive alive-o.)

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

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