2003

Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2115  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

From:           Alan Tarica <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 03 Nov 2003 16:47:10 -0500
Subject:        Michael Wood and Some Issues Raised

[Editor's Note: These questions are from someone who is not a member.
Please be so kind as to copy any replies to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

I recently attended a Michael Wood lecture sponsored by the
Smithsonian.  His talk was quite fascinating. I need help verifying and
understanding several of Wood's claims.

For one he stated that every item that appears in Robert Arden's Will
also appears in Shakespeare's works.  I have never heard this claim
before and it seems odd to me to suggest that Shakespeare sprinkled them
throughout the works.  Wood didn't state how they appear however so the
items might be grouped together.  I was wondering if you have ever seen
the will of Mary Arden's father or know where it might reside.  A
transcript would be ideal of course.

Secondly Wood also claimed that recent evidence for "The Phoenix and the
Turtle".  Quoting him from another article in Financial Times on Jun 28,
2003:

"But we now know it was a memorial poem for Mrs Anne Line, a Catholic
widow executed at Tyburn in February 1601. The poem describes a ritual
commemoration of the dead person, and may have been recited at the
secret burial service of Mrs Line held by her supporters, with music by
William Byrd, another adherent to the Old Faith."

Do you have any idea who made this discovery or where one might read the
particulars?

Thanks in advance if you have the opportunity to respond.  I would
greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Alan Tarica

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Portia

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2114  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

From:           Dana Wilson <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 3 Nov 2003 09:22:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Merchant

Forum,

A correspondent has suggested to me that the name, Portia, has a special
significance in the context of the Merchant, something about Force in
the guise of Justice, but I can't remember the correspondent or his
arguments.   Is anyone else familiar with this thesis?

D-
_______________________________________________________________
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.

TNK in NYC

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2112  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Nov 2003 09:25:41 -0500
Subject:        TNK in NYC

"Students of terrible acting and directing (from which much can be
learned) should seek out the Public Theater's The Two Noble Kinsmen, by
John Fletcher with a hand (only a small one, one hopes) from William
Shakespeare.  Of interest as the last of Will--though one might have
wished for his earlier retirement--this tragicomedy is seldom performed,
and for good reason.  Based on Chaucer's tale, it concerns Palamon and
Arcite, noble Theban knights and fond cousins, who fall in love in the
same instant with Emilia and are therewith torn between fraternal
devotion and mortal combat until one of them conveniently dies.

We start at the court of Athens, where the wedding of Duke Theseus and
the Amazon queen Hippolyta (familiar from a much better play) is
interrupted by the plea of three widowed queens that Theseus avenge the
murder of their husbands by Creon, tyrant of Thebes.  That two of the
queens are played by men says less about the economics of casting than
about the absurdities of Darko Tresnjak, the director who also casts a
woman in drag as a doctor.  Tresnjak and his designer, David P. Gordon,
give us a triangular stage, with the audience on two sides of the
triangle, and some of the action in shadow play behind the translucent
hypotenuse.  Onto this stage is rolled a triangular cage for the
important prison scenes, the widely spaced bars forming a jungle gym for
the captive Palamon and Arcite to perform their monkeyshines on.  Yet
for all this triangulation, Tresnjak cannot find the locus of the play,
what with the kinsmen sorely lacking the eponymous nobility and, like
most of the rest, inept at Shakespearean, or even Fletcherian, diction.
Tresnjak's concept of classical acting is crass exaggeration, and when
in doubt, shout.

In the subplot that concerns the jailer's daughter's hopeless passion
for Palamon, until she goes mad and is inveigled into marrying her
humble wooer (who impersonates the dark-haired Palamon by wearing a
canary-yellow dish mop on his head), Jennifer Ikeda is such a
hyperactive, Ritalin-deprived Daughter that her subsequent
over-the-Everest madness cries out for a prompt padded cell, triangular
or otherwise.  Emilia, played and spoken by Doan Ly as a ditsy Valley
Girl, would induce only two very astigmatic knights to fall in love with
her at first, or any, sight.  Opal Alladin plays the Amazon queen as a
piece of wood lost in dreams of its native forest; and Tyrone Mitchell
Henderson's majordomo seems to have been recruited from a shady East
Village bar.

As Palamon, Graham Hamilton is making his professional debut playing
something like Arcite's infant brother, and shakes his Shakespeare like
a baby's rattle.  David Harbour's Arcite is a big lug who, when he stops
reciting or ranting, can actually approximate well-spokenness.  Liam
Craig's Wooer might speak even better were he not misdirected into
ninnydom.  Sam Tsoutsouvas, as Thesues, flaunts his habitual love affair
with his overripe voice with an orotundity that reeks of
self-adulation.  However, the talented Gordon's scenery is not without
appeal, though it should be in front of, not behind, the actors."

--John Simon, New York Magazine, November 3, 2003

I haven't seen this production and don't know whether I would embrace
every one of Simon's strictures.  However, I am familiar with David
Harbour's work and can attest to both his talent and his persistent
problems, of which a tendency to lapse into ranting loutishness is
indeed one.  I do share Simon's irreverence towards the play itself,
which is a ceremonious bore from beginning to end (the jailer's daughter
and a stray speech or two excepted).  Finally, I join in Simon's
loathing of cross-gender casting, which always prevents a role from
being successfully realized.

--Charles Weinstein

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Burgess Short Story

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2113  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

From:           Debra Murphy <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 2 Nov 2003 18:16:36 -0800
Subject:        Burgess Short Story

A friend of mine was asking about a short story by Anthony Burgess,
apparently a parody of the authorship question, in which someone intent
on discovering the "true author" of the Plays travels back in time with
a book of the Plays in hand, or at least one play (Hamlet?), and hunts
down Shakespeare, who promptly kills him, takes the book for copying,
and makes a comment to the effect that "they've sent another
one"...sound familiar to anyone?

Thanks in advance,
Debra Murphy
http://www.bardolatry.com

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Stage Weapons

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2111  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

From:           Susan St. John <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 01 Nov 2003 20:17:59 -0700
Subject:        Stage Weapons

I am writing to my educator friends to see if your schools or school
districts have any sort of policy about stage weapons.

We had a controversy in my school district when a principal tried to
cancel a show based on the fact that the teacher had signed a "no
weapons" policy which includes fake weapons.  The principal said that
the swords being used in "12th Night" were a violation of the school's
policy.

We are contending that stage weapons should be exempt from the weapons
policy, as drama teachers are trained in their use, and train their
students; the stage prop weapons are kept under lock and key and are
highly supervised during use.

If we are not allowed to use weapons on stage our choice of scripts will
be greatly reduced, taking out just about every Shakespeare play, and an
awful lot of musicals!

Have any of you run into this issue, and do you know of any wording that
a weapons policy could include to EXCLUDE stage weapons?

Thanks for your help.
Susan St. John.

_______________________________________________________________
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.

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