The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2250 Thursday, 27 November 2003
From: Al Magary <
Date: Wednesday, 26 Nov 2003 15:57:30 -0800
Subject: Voice Dissents on Merged H4 & Beard of Avon
Amy Freed's Oxford argument, in a jape called Beard of Avon, is in NYC
again, while uptown there's a new production of a merged Henry IV, Parts
1 and 2. In the Village Voice, Michael Feingold casts a couple of
"This week I am at a loss. Everyone has been running around raving about
The Beard of Avon and Henry IV, both of which bored me, the first to an
inconceivable degree, the second slightly less. Either my colleagues
have all been so bludgeoned by the last few months' flood of theatrical
dreadfulness that they're desperate for something to like; or, as usual,
sanity flies out the window when Shakespeare arrives...
"Let's start with a simple fact: Shakespeare, like Brecht, wrote his own
plays. That our era has expended so much effort trying to discredit both
men is a sign of our own stupidity and fraudulence, not theirs. Granted
that Shakespeare (again like Brecht) had flaws, as well as a concept of
theatrical authorship somewhat different from today's. It's still so
easy to perceive, with a little intelligent effort, the degree to which
he spun his borrowed materials into dramatic gold, that anyone who tries
to remove him from his authorial position can safely be called an
So much for Amy Freed. Off with her head.
He calls the Jack O'Brien/Dakin Matthews Henry IV mash "an ungainly,
indecisive, and sometimes confusing thing," though it is "brisky
paced." He hated Kevin Kline's Falstaff, a "mild, sauntering fellow, on
whom the fake added weight and the snowy beard sit so symmetrically . .
. unimaginable as the blowhard guzzler of gallons of sack."
Maybe Feingold liked his Thanksgiving turkey more.
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