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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Cry for Harry
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2315  Tuesday, 9 December 2003

[1]     From:   Richard Nathan <
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        Date:   Monday, 08 Dec 2003 16:27:48 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

[2]     From:   Herman Gollob <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Dec 2003 12:03:47 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

[3]     From:   Thomas Jensen <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Dec 2003 13:38:59 -0700
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

[4]     From:   John Zuill <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Dec 2003 16:12:30 -0400 (AST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

[5]     From:   HR Greenberg <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Dec 2003 20:28:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Nathan <
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Date:           Monday, 08 Dec 2003 16:27:48 +0000
Subject: 14.2307 Cry for Harry
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

I enjoyed the Lincoln Center "Henry V" more than Charles Weinstein did,
though less than the critics.

I thought Ethan Hawke gave the best performance, which was a surprise
because many of the critics I had read had stated he gave a weak
performance.  Most of the actors seemed to be posturing, whereas Hawke
seemed to be actually feeling the emotions of his character.  Part of
this could be because Hotspur wears his heart on his sleeve, - which
made it easier for Hawke to have more energy than anyone else.

The show limped to a close after Hotspur left.

Kevin Kline is an excellent actor, but he was playing the Part II
Falstaff, the aging, tired Falstaff, through the entire play.  His
Falstaff was funny, but not seductive.  I didn't feel bad for this
Falstaff when Hal banished him, they never seemed very close earlier in
the play, so the banishment wasn't much of a change.

Richard Nathan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Herman Gollob <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Dec 2003 12:03:47 EST
Subject: 14.2307 Cry for Harry
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

Thanks for sparing me the ordeal of the Lincoln Center H4.  I'll simply
replay the BBC's peerless tv adaptation, with Anthony Quayle's Falstaff,
Tim Piggott-Smith's Hotspur, and Jon Finch's H4.

Thanks, too, for the swipe at Michael A's execrable Hamlet.  I was
beginning to think that I'm the only person who loathed it.

Herman Gollob

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Jensen <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Dec 2003 13:38:59 -0700
Subject: 14.2307 Cry for Harry
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

As someone who is looking forward to seeing the Lincoln Center
production of Henry IV in the next couple of weeks, I appreciated Mr.
Weinstein's comments.  However, given his strongly negative view I found
myself curious about what he would consider successful productions of
either of the plays or less common combined versions.  Personally, I
would I would be very appreciative of other individual impressions of
the production posted to SHAKSPER.

For my part, I remain very fond of "Chimes at Midnight," and feel it is
among the best Shakespeare on film.  It is interesting to note what deep
structural changes Welles made in combining the plays, presumably to
serve his vision of an appropriate narrative arc.  I find I respond to
it as a strongly associated but different work from the two original
plays.  Of course it is film.

On the theatrical side, I did see a very unsuccessful production of the
combined plays at the Guthrie in the late 80's which failed for a number
of reasons, among which was an attempt at topicality.  By chance, Kevin
Kline happened to be in the same audience so to some extent it must have
informed the choices he has made in this production.  In the early 90's,
Adrian Noble directed both plays concurrently at the RSC with Robert
Stephens as Falstaff, Michael Maloney as Hal and Julian Glover as Henry
the fourth.  In spite of the consistency of acting, scene and costume, I
felt the difference of tone and structure between the two plays very
deeply.  I suspect it is the best live performance I've seen to date.
The complexities, ennui and real politic of part II undermine the
classical symmetries and discovered idealism of part I.

Finally, I have to comment that Anthony Quayle's interpretation of
Falstaff in both plays in the BBC series remains one of the most
appealing and frightening.  I could argue that that character is only
truly successful if he convinces the audience that he has sufficient
intelligence, wit and subtlety to deeply and truly corrupt Hal.  Quayle
convinced me.

-Thomas Jensen

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Zuill <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Dec 2003 16:12:30 -0400 (AST)
Subject: 14.2307 Cry for Harry
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

I agree with most of your comments. But these plays are done so rarely
it was great to see. I would almost recommend that a reader of your post
not avoid the production but go and see if they agree. This production
was utterly inoffensive and Klien so wants to be liked. In the beginning
I thought Klien was going for a Santa-Claus Falstaff. He veered safely
east of that but not far. Klien really knows Shakespeare and does it
well. Thats why I guess I was glad to see this. But I can think of few
performances of his that I, in my subjective heart, could say I really
favored. I detested his Bottom and I am fan of Bottom. The most
watchable thing I think was oddly enough, his Hamlet. It was accurate, I
felt and unbritish. I will watch that again.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           HR Greenberg <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Dec 2003 20:28:45 EST
Subject: 14.2307 Cry for Harry
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2307 Cry for Harry

With respect, Ethan Hawke is an exceptional actor, and was always
capable of playing Hamlet "differently" than his performance in a -- too
say the least -- an idiosyncratic reading of the play.  In the context
of the film's conception, Hawke's deliberate flattened Prince made sense
-- but if you did not like the film, it was likely you would have doubts
about Hawke.

I myself found the film intriguing, but a bit too postmodern for my
tastes.  I would like to see Hawke sans any accent but his own play
HAMLET elsewhere.

I have heard nothing but ill report about the NY Henry IV. But there is
an amazing amount of fluffery around in these celebrity-mad times. I
paid a fairly stupendous amount of cash to see ANGELS IN AMERICA with my
wife when it ran on Broadway. We were appalled at the hamfisted writing
and equally maladroit acting then. I truly wanted to give the much
flakked TV version a chance, but within 5 minutes was afflicted with
terminal accidie.

They should pipe this into operating rooms to put neurosurgical patients
out. Bah.

HR Greenberg MD ENDIT

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