2003

Re: Reviews

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0381  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 17:13:54 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0360 Re: Reviews

[2]     From:   Graham Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 09:58:30 +0000
        Subj:   A Farewell to criticism


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 17:13:54 -0000
Subject: 14.0360 Re: Reviews
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0360 Re: Reviews

"The artists have already completed their work, and it stands,
vulnerable, as it is. This to me is so much braver and more interesting
than the armchair speculations of people who have never known what it is
to be vulnerable in their own work, who seldom if ever acknowledge that
nothing can be created without the bravery of the artist... I'd have to
say no critic has ever come close to giving us what the artists they
criticize have. Without the artists, in fact, they cannot even exist".

This is far too easy. For a start, as Johnson put it, it's like saying
we should give up our right to criticise the carpenter who makes us a
rickety chair. I may not be a carpenter, but I know what a chair is
supposed to do.  It also ignores the fact that artists respond to
critics just as surely as critics respond to artists (I liked the chair
you made for my friend - but could you make one for me with a higher
back, and without armrests?). Quite a few critics were artists too, of
course - Horace, Dante, Ronsard, Sidney, Daniel, Jonson, Dryden, Pope,
Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Arnold, Eliot... One only has to
consider how far new productions of Shakespeare's plays incorporate new,
"armchair" readings of those plays to understand that this is one of
those chicken-and-egg questions.

Best to acknowledge that there is an "art of criticism" that is just as
valid as the arts it represents, challenges, interprets...

martin

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Graham Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 09:58:30 +0000
Subject:        A Farewell to criticism

(Weinstein. 23 Feb)
"Similarly, Mr. Hall's jocular pan of "Romeo & Juliet, The Musical"
(November 25, 2002) is a string of conclusory statements conveying the
single message "It stinks" in a variety of humorous ways."

And there was I shortening my digits on my laptop and ruining my
eyeballs scanning the British Press Arts Sections thinking I was
constructing a witty parody of the professional critics of the time. Ah
me! Sad hours!  I think I'll go and live a fool the rest of my dull
life.

But enough, this text is now foolish and for me the thread has run
ragged.  What is more, I am required to provide instantly a viva voce
critical appreciation of "The Mr Men" (vols 10 and 21) by Charlotte (age
4) and Christopher (age 3). The dilemma is, shall I offer a jocular pan
or a strawberry lollipop.Hmmmmm.......

Boo!

Grandad Hall

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Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0380  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

From:           William Proctor Williams <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 12:13:03 -0500
Subject: 14.0361 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0361 Re: Endings of Titus Andronicus

Richard Burt has turned my "there is almost no evidence that the text of
a play quarto mattered a great deal to 16th- and 17th-century printers.
.  . [and] very little evidence that most Stationers of the Early Modern
period were very much concerned with such matters" into his "there is
almost 'no evidence' of how they [Elizabethan printers] worked"  In
fact, we know a good deal about how these printers worked, what they
printed, and where surviving copies are located.  Much of this
information is to be found in introductions to critical editions, in the
STC and ESTC and their attendant research tools, in Greg's Bibliography,
and in numerous articles and books of analytical and descriptive
bibliography, book trade history, and the like.  Perhaps I should have
said, "of the extensive evidence we have of the history of the Early
English book trade there is no indication that a play quarto mattered a
great deal to a 16th- or early 17th-century printer."  If Richard Burt
is truly interested in investigating the Q1 and Q2 endings of Tit. then
a survey of the existing evidence might be a good way to begin.

William Proctor Williams

_______________________________________________________________
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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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Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0378  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

[1]     From:   Peter D. Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 12:00:37 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

[2]     From:   Jan Pick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 18:23:15 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

[3]     From:   Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 14:42:31 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter D. Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 12:00:37 -0500
Subject: 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

Charles Weinstein quotes Shaw:

"[T]he true critic...is the man who becomes your personal enemy on the
sole provocation of a bad performance, and will only be appeased by good
performances." --George Bernard Shaw

But who is the 'your' in Shaw's sentence? Presumably the performer.
Critics and performers are often enemies but why should we trust Shaw or
Charles Weinstein that that is a good thing? There are many actors whose
bad performances annoy me (as they do Charles Weinstein) but I really do
not understand why I should break my friendship with them or they with
me as a result. By talking to his/her friends, a good critic might be
able to help an actor understand what was bad about a performance, just
as an actor might be able to help a critic, even one as good as Shaw,
understand why a review was mistaken, for even Shaw, one of the greatest
of all theatre reviewers, may not always have been right. As Churchill
said, jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jan Pick <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 18:23:15 -0000
Subject: 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

The American company that put on Cymbeline at The Other Place - sadly
the last commercial production in that theatre - were excellent.  It was
a great experience and a sharp answer to those who carp!  None of the
actors were celebrity film stars, though.

Jan Pick

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Janet Costa <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 14:42:31 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0367 Re: "The Shakespeare Session" on PBS

Re: Matthew Henerson: "But table any knee-jerk Anglophilia with regards
American classical acting until you've seen the pros."

Matthew, bravo! Thank you sooooooooooo much for providing the excellent
list! My only hope is that someday there will be a cure for RP myopia.

Janet

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0379  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

[1]     From:   Peter D. Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 12:07:40 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accent

[2]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 21:54:59 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter D. Holland <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 12:07:40 -0500
Subject: 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accents

Charles Weinstein quotes Shaw on actors' accents without comment. Does
he mean that he wants to hear Shakespeare in the accents of the 1890s?
Everything we know about early modern pronunciation suggests big rich
round vowels, though not with the intrusive connective 'r' of which Shaw
was complaining. Shaw would probably have complained about the voice of
the 1590s as of the voice of the 1890s (and Weinstein of the 1990s and
after).  Bad voices deserve no defence but I am far from convinced that
the narrow vowel range and tight throat and consonantal forms of English
RP of the late 1950s and early 1960s -- when I started going to the
theatre and heard great actors (about whose brilliance Charles Weinstein
and I might well agree) -- are preferable to the vowels good actors now
have at their disposal.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 21:54:59 -0500
Subject: 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0368 Shaw on Actors' Accents

>Be it ahnce, aw cat, aw be-ah/ Pahd. aw boa-ah, with b'istled hai-ah/In
>thy eye that shall  appea-ah/When thou wak'st, it is thy dea-ah.

Shaw had to make do without the rigorous subtleties of IPA (not, alas, a
kind of beer, but the 170+character International Phonetic Alphabet,
which allows linguisticists in Kuala Lumpur and Boston and Montivideo to
share reasonably accurate information about the pronunciation of
languages and dialects and regional accents in print).  Unfortunately,
his transcription of what he calls "Piccadilly " seems to me to
represent an upper-class old-school Bostonian who for some reason went
to college at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. and is remembering getting
drunk and going on a visit to the zoo during his student days.  But why,
after all, should Oberon not choose Piccadilly as his favorite haunt
when he's visiting London?  Where should he have gone instead?

This is to say that from the perspective of the intellectual elite in
London around the turn of C20, when the way you pronounced English
might, indeed, give fairly reliable clues to your social class (cf.
*Pygmalion*) and, for the less privileged, the locale where you grew up,
it made some sense in theatrical performances mostly patronized by
members of that elite to use those phonetic cues as an economical way to
locate the characters socially.  When the
social-educational-economic-regional distinctions begin to lose their
force, however, such a narrow system becomes problematic.  (I say this
as somebody who has in the past recommended the systematic use of
American regional accents as a way to help audiences grasp the social
relationships in Shakespeare--having the Greeks in *Troilus* speak in
the way of educated New Yorkers, and the Trojans like graduates of the
University of Mississippi, for instance.)  How on earth can one settle
on a Right Way?  My friend Barrie Rutter, formerly a company member at
both the RSC and the National, the artistic director of the very
well-received one-trunk company Northern Broadsides, who grew up on the
docks of Hull and is proud of it, believes the best way to do
Shakespeare is in broad Yorks--you jettison the social distinctions in
order to let the strongly voiced consonants and relatively short vowels
of that accent give the speaking more energy than most other regional
and class accents can.  (Their productions, not much cut, typically run
2 hours, not much more.) The conviction also ties in with the company's
conscientious effort to take Shakespeare to audiences that would not
normally see these works.  The position has the merit of being based on
a stated principle.  But most American auditors, and many British ones,
would at least initially find it strange, maybe even inaccessible.  Does
that make it wrong?

Phonetically,
David Evett

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0377  Wednesday, 26 February 2003

[1]     From:   Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 09:50:52 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 17:00:18 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 09:50:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

Two excellent reviews. Both were very specific in several details of the
production, and illustrated successes and failures of the director and
actors. I feel like I have a better idea of what the production was
like, even though I did not see it.

I think that someone could take note of how to write such a balanced
review and learn from it. It is with even more glee that I can say that
both reviewers come from the academic setting, not that of a
professional reviewer.

Brian Willis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 25 Feb 2003 17:00:18 -0000
Subject: 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0359 Re: Review of The Tempest at the Old Vic

"The Caliban seemed neither one thing nor another; the blotched make-up
tried to suggest the scars of Prospero's punishment, but he seemed
merely resentful rather than enraged."

Is there evidence that Caliban has ever been physically punished by
Prospero? I always get the impression that he has only ever witnessed
such punishments - against Sycorax and Setebos - and that this acts as a
deterrent that holds him in awe. This would seem to agree with the
notion that Prospero exerts a sort of "spectacular" power, in which his
presence is disguised as absence in order to give in the illusion of
divinity...

martin

_______________________________________________________________
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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