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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: December ::
Slings and Arrows
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2397  Thursday, 18 December 2003

[1]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 13:38:33 -0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2389 Slings and Arrows

[2]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 18:14:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2389 Slings and Arrows


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 13:38:33 -0800
Subject: 14.2389 Slings and Arrows
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2389 Slings and Arrows

Actually, I just wish that the Movie Network was broadcast in western
Canada, since not only is Paul Gross one of Canada's best light
comedians (Due South, Men with Brooms) but also was a reasonably
well-reviewed Hamlet in Stratford, Ontario.  Here's hoping for a DVD.

Cheers,
Sean Lawrence.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 17 Dec 2003 18:14:26 -0500
Subject: 14.2389 Slings and Arrows
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2389 Slings and Arrows

>OK: we all do *not* get it, nor do we ever want to get it, *Outrageous
>Misinformation": Hamlet, a spiritless ghost, and madness!  When will the
>world media get some help from SHAKSPEReans--hopefully!--and trash this
>media madness?  Obviously, Shakespeare scholars have *not* been able to
>right the apple cart, after four centuries.  Slings and Arrows, and
>Outrageous Misinformation!  C'est la vie!  C'est la morte!

Bill,

I do not think that Slings and Arrows is meant to be an historically
accurate retelling of Hamlet, but is rather a clearly satirical (note
New Burbage and the director "Oliver" Welles) take on theatre life, in
which Shakespeare and his work are referenced *ironically* and
iconographically, not literally.

I realize that you, and others of your ilk, remain horrified and
appalled by modern attempts to transform Shakespeare's work into
something contemporary, or by referencing it in ways that are unorthodox
but designed to make a point other than its original intent.  The whole
point is that it has nothing to do with Shakespeare specifically, but
rather referentially.  Whether you are an admirer of Duchamps and
consider his work genius or think it should be flushed down the toilet,
the point is that contemporary art transforms and changes items as lofty
as Shakespeare's works and as mundane as your comode.

However, before you jump to a too hasty conclusion about the production,
do keep in mind that such blurbs are often written by television station
and production underlings who may or may not have a complete grasp of
the production and it's intent.  They may also *gasp* not have a strong
understanding of the specifics of Hamlet and its plot devices.
Further, the production contains a number of well known Canadian actors,
many of whom have well established reputations in Shakespearean theatre,
among other genres.

In the "Behinds the Scenes" section of the official website,
Actor/writer Susan Coyne comment: "Only actors could have written this,
actors always sit around, complaining and telling war stories. Slings
and Arrows comes from a lifetime of listening to these complaints. The
germ of the idea was the contrast between the perfection on stage and
the chaos backstage; the difference between the actor backstage trying
to remember his lines and then stepping out looking incredibly
confident."

Incidentally, the show hasn't even aired yet, but we've already fielded
several phone calls from people looking for the show on DVD.  So, no, my
comments were not tongue-in-cheek, but rather helpful advice meant to
assist those who have a genuine interest in these types of productions.

In the end, searching out such filmic and pop culture references is part
of what I do, and the fact that people tend to feel very strongly one
way or another about individual productions is part of the reason I do
it.  Thank you, Bill, for weighing in with your opinion.

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