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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: October ::
Re: Passion in Pieces
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2024  Monday, 7 October 2002

From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Sunday, 6 Oct 2002 18:26:21 -0400
Subject: 13.2012 Re: Passion in Pieces
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2012 Re: Passion in Pieces

>It seems likely that the supposed obscurity of Shakespeare for modern
>audiences is the Bloom view that often the actor is only mouthing words
>not mouthing ideas.  According to the principle above, the audience gets
>nothing out of some lines because the actor does not understand them
>him/herself.

John Velz's notion is attractive, because it suggests that if actors and
directors just did more in the way of preparing the text the problems
would disappear.  But over the decades I've been going to the Stratford
Festival, where the company enjoys weeks of rehearsal time and a great
deal of effort is expended on making sure that the actors know what
their lines mean, I have heard far too many conversations in the lobby
at the interval or after the performance in which Spectator A tried to
explain to Spectators B and C the familial relationships among Richard
II, York, Lancaster, Bolingbroke, and Aumerle, or how the Duke,
Isabella, and Mariana propose to save Claudio's life, to suppose that
the notion really works.  I assume that over his years of teaching, John
selected the editions of the plays he had the bookstore order for his
classes at least partly on the basis of the glosses and notes and
introductions and other ancillary materials provided to help readers
make their way through the real complexities of the Shakespearean
texts--if I'm wrong, and he got them facsimilies of the quarto or folio
instead, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Dave Evett

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