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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Her C's . . .
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1993  Friday, 27 September 2002

[1]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 11:28:28 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1979 Re: Her C's . . .

[2]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 12:38:05 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Her C's...


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 11:28:28 -0400
Subject: 13.1979 Re: Her C's . . .
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1979 Re: Her C's . . .

Don Bloom makes a good point when he points out that Viola is
specifically typed by the play as not yet or on the verge of puberty
(unbroken voice, not yet needing to shave). And while I realize that
this is a play and no one needs to prove its workability in real life,
I'm wondering if this would have seemed as unreasonable to an
Elizabethan audience as it does to us.  Weren't both men and women
reaching puberty later (I know that, before greater food intake and
various hormones in that food, girls, at least, were reaching puberty at
16-18, not 14-15). At the same time, the idea of "teenage" years as an
extended immaturity didn't exist in the same way it does today. A 16
year old would be old enough to trust with adult repsonsibilities,
whereas now we worry about trusting them to drive.

I'm not actually disagreeing with Don's point, just suggesting that it
needn't be a complete flight of fantasy to see a perhaps overprotected
and childish woman in her early twenties being attracted to a young
looking but mature acting "boy" in his late teens.

Annalisa Castaldo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Sep 2002 12:38:05 -0700
Subject:        Re: Her C's...

Don Bloom's explanation of his reasoning regarding Viola's age is very
sound. But I disagree that we are required to "suspend a good deal more
disbelief than is ordinarily required". My experience is that audiences
will suspend almost any amount of disbelief so long as they feel engaged
by the story. No one is interested in "reality". Audiences are
interested in "truthfulness" in imaginary circumstances.

I recently witnessed a 12th Night with a Viola in her thirties, a Fool
who looked nineteen, and an Olivia in her mid-twenties. I was
immediately charmed by the actress playing Viola, whose slight figure
and short stature made it easy for me to accept her as younger. I was
initially alarmed by the age of the Fool. But he was so skillful, so
economical of gesture, so multi-talented as a musician, and so damn
funny (and illuminating) that I put aside my prejudices in exchange for
the abundant pleasures of his performance.

So long as they remain engaged by the story, audiences will use their
imaginations to see past inconsequential details. How, otherwise, do we
enjoy (say) the cinema if we cannot overlook the fact that we are
watching mere light dancing on a two dimensional screen. Indeed,
virtually all performance would be impossible if we allowed ourselves to
be distracted by the implausible.

Cheers,
David Wallace

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