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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Re: Shakespeare's Dogs
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0292  Monday, 17 February 2003

[1]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 10:45:03 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

[2]     From:   Claude Caspar <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 11:01:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

[3]     From:   Robert Shaughnessy <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:12:20 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

[4]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:32:58 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dog

[5]     From:   Graham Hall <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 21:18:25 +0000
        Subj:   Dogged Topic

[6]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 13:49:31 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

[7]     From:   Tom Pendleton <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 2003 21:59:10 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 10:45:03 -0500
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

I don't know of any modern productions of *Taming* that have employed a
dog, but in Sam Taylor's black and white film version of the play
(1929), Douglas Fairbanks as Petruchio famously delivers his soliloquy
after arriving home to Troilus (a Great Dane, if I remember correctly),
which is overheard by Katherine.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 11:01:54 -0500
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

One thinks of Kafka's parable, Leopards in the Temple. Dogs were
everywhere as the film, "Shakespeare in Love," nicely portrayed.  I
don't doubt you have hit upon a perfect instance of its crowd-pleasing.
I also think of Auden's great poem,

W. H. Auden          (1907 - 1973)                        20
Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters:   how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully
along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Brueghel's Icarus, for instance:  how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun s hone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Shaughnessy <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:12:20 -0000
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

Michael Dobson has an amusing and informative piece, 'Renaissance Dogs:
The Transformation of the Onstage Canine, 1550-1850', in Performance
Research, Vol 5, No. 2 (Summer 2000).

Robert Shaughnessy

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 16:32:58 -0000
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

>a) is there much evidence of use and training of animals
>in Elizabethan theatre in general?

I believe that poore Elizabethan dogges were trained to fight with bears
& lions, and that they sometimes did so in playhouses.

See Arthur MacGregor, "The Household Out of Doors: The Stuart Court and
the Animal Kingdom": Cruickshanks, ed., The Stuart Courts (Stroud 2000),
pp.86-117

martin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 21:18:25 +0000
Subject:        Dogged Topic

James Doyle asks about woofers. They ran (?)last year in various guises.
However, the mechanicals for starters give pause....."part to tear a cat
in"...."..this is my dog..."

Best wishes,
Graham Hall

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 13:49:31 -0800
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

James Doyle asked:

>b) is there anything to support my idea of a dog in the Shrew, or in
>other of Shakespeare's plays?
>c) has a dog been used in a modern production of the Shrew,
>and to what comic effect?

A famous actor once said something to the effect, Never share the stage
with a dog or a child--they'll steal the scene. However, in your
context, it looks like it would be a great gag.

Al Magary

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Pendleton <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 2003 21:59:10 -0500
Subject: 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.0290 Shakespeare's Dogs

I doubt that Crab is a spaniel. Launce says he's as big as ten of what
seems to be a lap dog ("the other squirrel") that Proteus wanted him to
deliver to Silvia. I can't imagine a spaniel ten times as big as
anything canine. And Shakespeare seems not to have liked
spaniels--"fawning like a spaniel" is all over the plays.

Crab wouldn't really have to be trained to do anything but sit there,
although there are references to performing horses and bears in
Shakespeare's time.

I don't think relying on a dog to clean up the on-stage food is a good
idea.  Dogs usually will eat anything and everything, except when they
won't. And that would leave you with a mess on stage, and maybe a mess
on stage.

Tom Pendleton

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