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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: March ::
Re: Actors' Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0558  Thursday, 20 March 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 14:57:04 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

[2]     From:   Anna Kamaralli <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 11:09:03 +1100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0534  Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:21:47 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 14:57:04 -0400
Subject: 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

Michael Shugot writes that

>But as one who has spent many years reviewing Shakespeare productions in
>several
>American cities (admittedly all on the west coast), I believe that
>American companies can produce WS's plays in what are often called
>"regional theatres" (so-called in the pages of Shakespeare Bulletin)
>that can command the attention of serious theatre patrons.

Of course I would agree, and I've seen a number of fairly effective
productions in several different accents and before different
audiences.  My original argument was just against the assumption that
"relevancy" is the only route to engagement.  As my reference to foreign
film might suggest, things that seem foreign and even irrelevant can
elicit a great deal of interest, albeit not from all audiences.

Yours with interest,
Sean Lawrence.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Anna Kamaralli <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Mar 2003 11:09:03 +1100
Subject: 14.0534  Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0534  Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

>A King does not talk like a ploughmen - or vise versa.

Any thoughts on how Perdita should talk, then? Has she ever been played
with a Somerset accent? I'd pay money to hear that.

Anna Kamaralli.

P.S. I have a friend who does the most marvellous Cleopatra using the
sonorous tones of suburban Bolton. Virtuoso stuff.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 19 Mar 2003 12:21:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0534 Re: Shaw on Actors' Accents

Sam Small writes,

> Little has changed since Shakespeare's time.

Really? Different nations, changing accents, lots has changed. I'm
confused. Are people really suggesting that Northern Broadsides should
not use their regional accent? That productions in America starring
Americans should not use their own accent? This sounds like cultural
tyranny. Plus, there is the fact that even the kings in the history
plays or the tragedies did not use a national accent as we know it.
Henry IV and V were of Welsh descent. The latter play, perhaps more than
any other is concerned with national and regional identities. Should
Macbeth always be performed with a Scottish accent, although it rarely
is?

What I think is being said here is that, when an accent is not
specifically demanded, the actors should use the accent most natural to
themselves and their auditors. Lots has changed. There is more than one
way to do Shakespeare. The choices are infinite.

Brian Willis

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