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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: September ::
Arrest That Actor!
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1724  Wednesday, 3 September 2003

[1]     From:   Nancy Charlton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Sep 2003 09:51:15 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!

[2]     From:   Judi Wilkins <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 03 Sep 2003 10:08:00 +1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Sep 2003 09:51:15 -0700
Subject: 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!

>Thought you'd all find this as strangely funny as I did.
>
>Ted Dykstra
>
>Shakespeare Actor Arrested for Sword
>The Associated Press
>
>PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - When, five minutes before [curtain], one of the
>leading actors in Portland's Northwest Classical Theatre Company's
>production of "King Henry VI, Part 1" was arrested, his colleagues
>ensured that the show went on.

Darn! I went to see this production the wrong week! I saw it on the 23rd
and it went off swimmingly and legally, the greatest mishap being that a
cross-brace on the middle step went cr-r-r-r-unch about five minutes
into the production, and there was some anxiety as to whether the next
use would break it altogether. The actors caught on right away, though,
and very conspicuously stepped down on one end or the other without
missing a beat.

Altogether, this performance was well done, if a bit uneven and perhaps
a big stiff in action. Talbot ("Scott" Carson) dominated the show with
his bold moves and intense speaking. This play isn't performed very
often, and NWCT have in recent years done Timon of Athens and Two
Gentlemen of Verona, also among the less-frequently performed plays. (I
wrote about TGV on SHAKSPER two years ago.) They seem to operate on next
to nothing, and they are a welcome addition to Portland's vastly
stripped down theatre offerings.

To put this arrest in some context, the park where this play is
performed is right downtown. The amphitheatre is at the lower end of the
block across from the courthouse and few weeks ago a sizeable number of
protesters had been camping out in the upper end, right across from City
Hall. They made themselves a bit too much at home and the mayor finally
ordered a sweep. It didn't get bloody, but it wasn't peaceful either.
Add to that, an ongoing brouhaha over the police chief, who was last
week forced to resign, being perceived as a gay-basher and the whole
force as trigger-happy. You can see the police might not take
kingly--I'm going to leave that typo--to swords being waved around. They
were real swords, too, or at least real stage swords. This play has a
lot of fighting, and it was done well in the production.

I think the police overreacted, though I could imagine from his
performance that the intense Mr Carson may not have realized that behind
the threat of the sword may have been the greater threat of an
over-literal and under-educated sensibility on the part of a police
force that sees itself as beleaguered and maligned just for doing its
job. I salute the director's improvisational ability and wish I had gone
down to see the play again.  While Mr Carson will have to face the
consequences of any criminal activity, the police needn't have punished
the whole audience.

Still, a police officer calling 911 from a pay phone?

Nancy Charlton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judi Wilkins <
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Date:           Wednesday, 03 Sep 2003 10:08:00 +1000
Subject: 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1718 Arrest That Actor!

Not Shakespearean, but nonetheless, one suffers for one's art!!!!

In the 1970s, Robert van Mecklenberg, the actor playing Alan in a
touring production of Shaffer's Equus was arrested for indecent
exposure.  This occurred in Geraldton, Western Australia.  Some city
worthies went, presumably on freebies, on the opening night, were
shocked and disgusted by what they saw, and on the second night, as
Alan/Robert disrobed, a couple of big, burly country coppers went on
stage, covered the offending bits, handcuffed him and dragged him off to
the cells, where he was charged.  The tale has entered theatrical
folklore and has acquired almost urban legend status.  Some 10 years
after the alleged event, I was working with Robert in a production of
the Hindemith opera, Joan of Arc at the Stake, and he swore to its
veracity.  He was fined and invited never to go to Geraldton again!!!

Cheers,
Judi

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