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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0787  Friday, 25 April 2003

[1]     From:   Ben Spiller <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 20:05:59 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0764 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

[2]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 16:42:54 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0726 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Spiller <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 20:05:59 +0100
Subject: 14.0764 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0764 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

Typing error in last message -- '1620' should have read '1623' --
apologies!

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 16:42:54 EDT
Subject: 14.0726 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0726 Re: The Public Theater's AS YOU LIKE IT

I'd imagine the incredibly-small cast productions where actors play more
than one character simultaneously, essentially talking to themselves,
like Basil Fawlty chewing out his invisible cook in Waldorf Salad, work
better for comedies than for more serious plays.

That said, I agree that casting for a minimum cast can bring out some
interesting resonances. We're all familiar with Theseus and Hippolyta
being doubled with Oberon and Titania in MND. I once experimented on
paper with seeing how few actors I could cast an essentially uncut
Hamlet with. Some liberties were taken-- just one ambassador not two;
guards or soldiers represented by just one guy with a spear, and that
guy might be Ophelia with a helmet and a cloak-- but some interestingly
resonant doublings suggested themselves. I got it down to just 11
actors: 8 men and 3 boys/women.

Hamlet of course is too large a part to double, though in a pinch he
could play one of the sailors who delivers Hamlet's message to Horatio--
a little irony there-- but perhaps even more irony in the sailors being
played by Rosencranz and Guildenstern, bringing news of their 'own'
deaths.

Maybe this has been noticed before, but I was surprised to find that it
is easy to double Claudius and the Ghost. The fact that they are
brothers resonates with the actor's resemblance to 'himself', one self
noble seeming, the other corrupt seeming.

Then, for a small troupe with just one leading comedian, you can double
[or rather triple] Polonius, the 1st Gravedigger and Osric. Quite a
range of comic characterization, and an opportunity for a tour de force
by the principal clown.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the Mutt-n-Jeff team, playing Marcellus
and Barnardo, the sailors, and other small parts, especially after they
go to England and die.

If you double Francisco and Fortinbras, you can start and end the play
with the same actor. Fortinbras speaks the last line; and though it's
the second not the first line that Francisco speaks, it is he who is on
guard at the start of the play and is them approached by Barnardo. If
you're feeling Joycean you can then start the play all over again...

Laertes the ranter makes a good First Player, who should play the
Prologue and Lucianus rather than the Player King. Then you have
[Laertes] killing [Hamlet (Sr)] several acts before Laertes kills
Hamlet.

The maximum scenes are the final scene; and the play within the play
scene where two men and a boy act four parts for a court consisting of
Claudius and Gertude, Hamlet and Horatio, Polonius and Ophelia, and
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, four resonant pairs.

Anyone for Tempest?

Bill Lloyd

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