2003

Psychology of Gertrude

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2455  Wednesday, 31 December 2003

[1]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:05:16 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude

[2]     From:   Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:25:01 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude

[3]     From:   Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:46:43 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:05:16 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude

"In the case of G, I think she probably feared for her life, and felt
compelled to marry Claudius.

Psychologists tell us that compulsion creates a disassociated state in
which we feel the need to create rationalizations to hide our own
humiliation.  It is obvious to me that it is compulsion which has broken
G's discrimination."

Leaving the larger questions of how to recognize (and/or define) beauty,
and whether or not beauty is the same as goodness, I will limit myself
to disagreeing with Gertrude's reasons for marrying Claudius.

It seems to me that if Gertrude feared for her life and only married
Claudius out of that fear, she would be more, not less likely to cling
to him after her son murders Polonius, tells her outright that her new
husband is a murderer and then is sent away from the court. Yet we see
her lie to protect Hamlet and Gertrude is actually more active and
assertive in 4 and 5 than in earlier acts.

Second, it hardly makes psychological sense for Claudius to kill for
love if the object of his affections is afraid of him!

Third, if Gertrude fears Claudius, fears for her life, than Hamlet's
character takes a nosedive. He spends the first three acts complaining
about her fall from grace because of overriding lust; if she's really
just afraid, he's a lot less perceptive than I think most of us want to
believe.

Finally, I have always found that Hamlet's glorification of his fathr
and the Ghost's "Oh what a falling off" speech caused me to believe
Gertrude was better off with Claudius than with Old Hamlet. Perhaps itis
postmodern feminism, but both Hamlets are so absolute in their adoration
of the "good Gertrude" (or at least the wonderfulness of her marriage)
and in their contempt for any flaw. Yes Claudius is a murderer, but he
seems to love the alive, real, flawed Gertrude, not want

Annalisa Castaldo

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Abigail Quart <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:25:01 -0500
Subject: 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude

"In the case of G, I think she probably feared for her life, and felt
compelled to marry Claudius." - Dana Wilson

Compulsion? A sudden widow in medieval times. What is to become of her?
A convent? Well-endowed with narrow beds. A life of being ordered
instead of ordering?

But if she just pretends that one is like the other, if she merely makes
that little, tiny leap into the arms of the brother, with the similar
eyes and hands and smile, with the dark and shadowed passion always
sidewise glancing out of his eyes......why nothing has to change.
Nothing. She is still the queen. Hamlet is still the heir presumptive
because this man will no more breed heirs off her than did his brother.
Gertrude's fertility is a one-time wonder. So it could be considered
thoughtful and unselfish to do this. It could. Motherly. After all, as
king he could have any woman. He could have a young and fertile woman
and then where would Hamlet be? So if she allows Claudius to have what
he thinks he wants, nothing will change. No decisions will have to be
made. Such an easy, comforting, tiny leap...

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:46:43 -0700
Subject: 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2448 Psychology of Gertrude

Dana Wilson's post intrigued me when she wrote:

 >Hamlet holds two miniatures out for G and asks her how any mind can fail
 >to discriminate the beautiful from the ugly.

Even if it is true that Claudius is the "ugly" to King Hamlet's
"beautiful" in Hamlet's opinion, I choose to believe the old saw "beauty
is in the eye of the beholder."  I'm no psychology expert (and I'm not
sure what FA Crits are, those who give critiques of the fine arts?) but
it seems obvious to me that a son would idolize his father, and it's not
unreasonable to think that the son's description goes a bit overboard.

When my ex was running for mayor of our town, I had to listen to a lot
of adulation from my 10 year old son that rivaled Hamlet's grace on the
brow, front of Jove, eye like Mars and station like Mercury.  However,
having no Claudius in the picture, I chose to support my son's support
of his father, even though I cast my secret ballot for the incumbent.

Then Dana writes:

     It is obvious to me that it is compulsion which has broken
     G's discrimination.   What excuse can the rest of us make?

Having played Gertrude a couple of times my excuse was this:  King
Hamlet was a great king, always concerned with matters of state, but
ours was not a love-match...it was a political marriage, and not a very
warm and loving one.  Claudius on the other hand is quite passionate and
exciting; an excellent lover in all the ways his brother couldn't be.

Just for the record, I don't think G was in on the murder, nor do I
believe she was unfaithful to King Hamlet...but after he was dead she
willingly turned to the big strong man who was there to take charge, as
he swept her off in a haze of newly awakened sensuality, lust and passion!

Made for a fun choice in playing the role anyway...

Susan St. John.

_______________________________________________________________
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Launce and Crab

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2454  Wednesday, 31 December 2003

[1]     From:   Alan Somerset <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 09:09:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[2]     From:   Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 09:04:40 CST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[3]     From:   Ben Spiller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 15:29:29 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[4]     From:   Todd Pettigrew <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 12:03:14 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[5]     From:   David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:23:56 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[6]     From:   Todd Gutmann <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 08:31:43 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[7]     From:   Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:32:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[8]     From:   Sidney Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:14:11 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[9]     From:   M. Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:20:51 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[10]     From:  Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:28:43 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

[11]     From:  David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 10:46:17 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan Somerset <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 09:09:56 -0500
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

In a touring production, *Two Programmes of Shakespearean Comedy*
(1962), Eric Christmas presented Launcelot Gobbo's soliloquy about
Crab's behaviour, and the scene made a virtue out of necessity (how do
you tour with a dog??).  Launcelot referred repeatedly to Crab,
gesturing in the dog's direction over his shoulder, but never actually
looked at 'him', which made a wonderfully effective comic point -- there
was no dog, just a leash, with a collar attached to it.

Alan Somerset
University of Western Ontario

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris Gordon <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 09:04:40 CST
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

I was involved as dramaturg with a production of Two Gents; we used a
stuffed dog for Crab, and it worked just fine. I would think that you
would need a well trained dog if you choose to use a live one, but it
could be very engaging. Ask your students if anyone has a particularly
clever dog.

Chris Gordon

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ben Spiller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 15:29:29 -0000
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

Dear Susan,

I saw a production of _Two Gents_ in Wadham College Garden, Oxford, this
Summer.  The Oxford Shakespeare Company found an ingenious solution to
the staging challenge posed by Crab: the actor who played Julia also
played the dog.  It was set in the 1920s (or thereabouts), and Julie
wore a long black evening dress.  To become Crab, she simply added long
black silk gloves (pads visible on the fingers) and a black clown nose.

I'm not suggesting that you copy the idea, but I suppose there is a case
for doubling Crab with another character in the play.  As for the
doubling with Julia, the decision made possible a connection between the
two characters: the almost animalistic passion of Julia was there in the
dog (if the actor who played Julia/Crab in the production ever reads
this, then please accept my apologies if this all comes across as rather
rude!)  The actor did not run around on all fours pretending to be a
dog, but played Crab as a slightly modified version of Julia.

Good luck with the production, if you do decide to go for the _Two
Gents_ (or even if you don't!)

With best wishes and Happy New Year,
Ben.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Pettigrew <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 12:03:14 -0400
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

I was once in a production of Cymbeline that had a live dog in it. The
rather large puppy had been borrowed from the local humane society and
was kept from misbehaving onstage by means of a leash and small pieces
of sausage fed to him discreetly.  Since the dog had no name, I
suggested off-handedly that we call him "Prop" and the name stuck. One
member of the cast liked the dog so much that he adopted him, and the
happy creature was spared a trip back to the doggy joint.

Several years later I was called on to walk a dog across stage in a
production of Guys and Dolls and the dog I was given seemed familiar.
His name, I was told was "Prop," and thus I was reunited with my old
co-star.

Todd Pettigrew

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:23:56 -0500
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

The Crab I recall was from the prop department--a mop-sized mutt on the
end of a spring-steel leash, which allowed his Launce to produce very
life-like pounces, lie-downs, sit-ups, and other antics.  I think this
is an old piece of vaudeville schtick; in any case, in the hands of a
gifted clown (alas, I can't remember who) it was hilarious.

Crabbily,
Dave Evett

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Todd Gutmann <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 08:31:43 -0800
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

Launce's speech, it's been said, is so written that whatever the dog
does, from yipping madly to sitting dull and unmoving, it only makes the
speech funnier. That comment makes sense to me.

I've seen Two Gents only twice, once with a memorably funny (small,
impassive) live dog, once with an unmemorable dog (I'd remember if
something else had been used).

The practical offstage problems of working with a live dog you're
familiar with from your Oz experience.

Todd Gutmann

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:32:45 EST
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

Use a live dog. Audiences like it. Find a nice, mature, calm,
housebroken dog that can come to rehearsals as well as performances.
Assign an assistant stage manager to be a dog sitter so you do not have
a loose dog in the dark backstage.  Do not wait until opening night to
have the dog experience the noise and lights.

Make sure the dog gets along with the actor playing Launce. Even more
importantly, make sure the actor playing launce is good with the dog.
Crab is not on stage that often, unless you want to add him in.

More important, in my estimation, is what to do with the rape scene.

Billy Houck
Arroyo Grande High School

[8]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sidney Berger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 11:14:11 -0600
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

Dear Susan;

Having produced the show twice and seen various other productions, I
urge you to use a live dog. They may be recalcitrant on stage, which is
the common problem. However, The London Globe production played off of
that with delight for the audience. Having also seen it with a fake dog,
I assure you that the scene loses all its humor and charm.

The scene plays best, in my view, with a mutt or hound.

Sidney Berger
Houston Shakespeare Festival

[9]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M. Yawney <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:20:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

The Globe production came to NYC where I saw it at the New Victory. The
Crab was probably the best I ever saw because he seemed to be completely
untrained,

Launce led him in on a rope leash and tied him to a stage pillar. The
dog just acted like a dog (rather than a trained animal) and it was up
to Launce to adjust his staging and delivery to suit what the dog was
doing. (Some pacing, some lying down.)

The dog always looked out at the audience when we laughed, which was
such a natural and real response that it was impossible for us not to
respond.

It was a real revelation to see an animal doing what it normally does.
The doggy action so suited the text that I cannot help but think that it
was designed with such a dog-performance in mind.

[10]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 10:28:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

I've seen it with a live dog (Henry, the Dirty Duck pub dog for those
who know of him) and also with a stuffed animal. Both were quite funny.
I think the humor of the situation derives mostly from the novelty of a
dog being a character in the scene (and the speeches themselves), and
the inability of the dog to respond to Launce's portion of the dialogue.
Hence, there is no witty interplay between them as there is with Launce
and Speed for instance. Also, depending on what type of live dog, they
can make the humor for themselves. If they sniff about, notice the
audience or act bemused, they steal the scene. No wonder Shakespeare
abandoned dogs after (arguably, I admit) his first play. Best of luck
with the production.

Brian Willis

[11]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 10:46:17 -0000
Subject: 14.2447 Launce and Crab
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2447 Launce and Crab

 >I am thinking about directing Two Gents next fall for my high school
 >advanced acting class, and I was wondering about
 >your experiences with Crab, the dog.

 >Have you seen (or been involved in) productions with a live dog?  what
 >type/size?  problems or pluses?

The RSC production in the Swan some ten years ago(?) had a beautifully
trained real dog - which worked wonderfully well, its indifference to
Launce's soliloquy heightening the comedy.  Whether it was accident or
design the dog yawned at the end - and brought the house down.

But it would have to be an exceptionally well-trained dog!

David Lindley

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Bartolozzi Engravings

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2452  Wednesday, 31 December 2003

From:           Larry Barkley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 17:28:40 -0800
Subject:        Bartolozzi Engravings

Dear All:

Currently on eBay under the search criteria [Francesco] Bartolozzi, a
seller, lonsom719, is auctioning what he/she claims are two Bartolozzi
engravings of scenes from Shakespeare; the seller does not indicate why
he/she believes the scenes are Shakespearean. The engravings do not
bring immediately to mind (for me) any moments from the plays. For those
interested, the items numbers are 3649645898
(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3649645898&category=1016
9) and 3649646625
(http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3649646625&category=1016
9).  Both auctions end 03 Jan. @ 17:17. I have no connection with the
auction, just a passing interest in Bartolozzi.

Larry Barkley

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Ophelia's Hamlet's True Love So It Seems

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2453  Wednesday, 31 December 2003

From:           L. Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 20:02:29 -0600
Subject:        Withdrawing an unsound objection

Too-hasty Swilley wrote, quoting:

 >> Music do I hear? /Ha, ha! keep time.  How sour sweet music is/ When time
 >> is broke and no proportion kept.

Ignore the above.  On more careful review, it doesn't apply.

L. Swilley

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Bob Monkhouse

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2451  Wednesday, 31 December 2003

From:           Robert Shaughnessy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 30 Dec 2003 20:40:56 -0000
Subject:        Bob Monkhouse

Today's Guardian obituary for the 'much-loved' comedian and TV gameshow
host Bob Monkhouse mentioned that, in between TV and stage appearances,
writing more than 100 porn novels, and selling gags to Bob Hope, he was
responsible for the 'Peptalk Polonius serial'.  I'm assuming that the
Shakespearean connection is either laughable or non-existent, but does
anyone have any information on this?

'They laughed when I said I was going to become  a comedian.  They're
not laughing now.'

Robert Shaughnessy

_______________________________________________________________
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
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