2003

Re: Request for Opinions

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1503  Thursday, 24 July 2003

[1]     From:   Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 17:00:40 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions

[2]     From:   Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 23:20:49 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions

[3]     From:   Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 13:30:31 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 17:00:40 +0100
Subject: 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions

Sorry, but if you come to the Globe at the height of the GCSE / AS / A2
exam preparation season, or on the mandatory legacy trip to London
season, I fear that the general behaviour in the Pit is absolutely
appalling, and very, very distracting to anyone intent upon more than a
tick box approach to London sights.  'Back pack thugs' are ubiquitous
and aggressively territorial, and are pretty ruthless in shouldering
anyone else out of the way.

I took a relatively young and few in number group to Merchant of Venice
a few years ago, and they found themselves elbowed aside, and eventually
watching exclusively from the side of the stage, and, dare I say it, the
major places at the front were colonised by large Australians and
Americans, who, as far as one could tell, did not understand very much
beyond the visual humour, and were incapable of much more than ignorant
dumb show and noise. I was genuinely shocked. I really had NOT expected
this at all - my kids were pretty negative about the whole experience,
and I lost a lot of hard-worked-for ground with them and some
credibility in trying to make them feel positive about live Shakespeare.

Maybe it is closer to Shakespeare's day than we think?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 23:20:49 +0100
Subject: 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions

Graham Hall is a snob.  Nothing more.  The Globe on the Southbank is my
favourite place in London.  I feel happy in there.  It's not exactly the
hallowed timbers of old but it's some idea of what real theatre is
really all about.  That stage is vast (I was lucky enough to stand on it
once) and has unflattering ambient lighting.  Actors have to act when
they come through those wings and you know it when they do and you know
it when they don't.  And yes, Graham, there are all sorts of unreliables
in there - and yes, it is a tourist attraction - but sometime, somewhere
deep in the minds of almost every tourist bonehead in earshot they hear
something of the glitter and the glory of that wonderful language.  At
least I hope so.

SAM SMALL

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 13:30:31 +0100
Subject: 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1491 Re: Request for Opinions

Graham Hall writes,

>thereby reflecting the short-sighted (!) loutish attitude of many of the
>Pit transitees whose consistency parallels their baggage and which
>diminishes in inverse ratio to the amount stage frontage ground they
>invade and fiercely occupy. If these dolts would move around more within
>a small remove from "their" stage edge territory not only would they
>gain a better perspective of events but would permit the increased
>enjoyment of the four fifths of the others who have severe difficulty
>peering through their static bulk and avoiding stumbling over their
>ludicrous "essential" multiple accoutrements.

I'm afraid I have also been irritated by the proximity of the plebs in
the yard at the Globe, but I have suppressed my intolerance and
attributed it to my own snobbishness in the presence of the High Culture
that is Shakespeare. Of course "foreigners" whose notion of personal
space is different to my own British one can also be wildly distracting
(why do they have to stand so CLOSE?).

But surely this alienating effect at the Globe is partly what demarcates
it as a different theatrical environment from other theatres where we
are allocated our own piece of space and can sit in the relative
isolation and privacy of the darkened auditorium.  At the Globe, the
fact that your fellow spectators are just as much "in your face" as the
performers is surely suggestive of the original conditions of the
Renaissance outdoor theatres.  The audience at the Globe is far more
insistently PRESENT than at most other theatres and this is one of the
things that makes it such a fascinating illumination of the Renaissance
convention of audience address.

Perhaps Graham Hall should exercise his right to go and watch
Shakespeare elsewhere.  I recommend the RSC's current production of
Coriolanus at the Old Vic, where the actors keep looking out into the
auditorium in what seems to be a vague attempt to address an entirely
abstract idea of an audience.  A more uncomfortable attempt to negotiate
the performers' relationship with the audience would be hard to find.

For my taste, the unruly and ill-mannered at the Globe are a vital
factor in making the players really work for our applause -- and the
unrestrained cheering at the last performance of Richard2 that I saw was
proof that both actors and audience had earned their pleasures.

Kathy Dent

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Re: The Order of the Sonnets

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1502  Thursday, 24 July 2003

From:           Ted Nellen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 10:13:41 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 14.1496 Re: The Order of the Sonnets
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1496 Re: The Order of the Sonnets

Interesting discussion this. I have used Gerald Hammond's _The Reader
and Shakespeare's Young Man Sonnets_ 1981 Barnes and Noble as a guide.
Is this book familiar to others who work the sonnets and is it valid in
their work?

Ted Nellen

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CFP: Shakespeare and the Classroom

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1500  Thursday, 24 July 2003

From:           Susan Oldrieve <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 11:08:28 -0400
Subject:        Call for Papers: Shakespeare and the Classroom

The first message got truncated in cyberspace.   Here is the complete
message.

In celebration of 10 years of publication, Shakespeare and the
Classroom  (http://www.onu.edu/org/shakespeare/welcome.htm) is
soliciting essays and studies concerning the teaching of Shakespeare and
other early period British authors and texts.  Building on the work of
Ernest Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered and the Carnegie Foundation's
Carnegie Academy of Teaching and Learning
(http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/CASTL/), and in response to the
recent publication of Elaine Showalter's Teaching Literature and Eve
Kosofsky Sedgwick's Touching Feeling, we are interested in starting a
regular discussion about the scholarly teaching of early British
literature and scholarly writing about teaching.

Some of the questions we hope that contributors will consider are:

What standards should be set for the scholarly teaching of Shakespeare
and early British literature and for scholarly writing about such
teaching?

What methods for approaching the scholarship of teaching are most
appropriate for our particular field?

What benefit will accrue to our field by pursuing such scholarship?

What will it take to gain the same respect for the scholarship of
teaching in our field that we give to more traditional forms of
scholarship?

In addition we are, as always, interested in essays discussing the
benefits and applicability of specific classroom approaches to
Shakespeare and other early British writers.

The submission deadline for the fall issue is September 12, 2003, but
submissions will be accepted at any time for future issues as well.  All
published essays will be listed in the MLA bibliography.

Inquiries and essays for consideration should be sent in hard copy or
electronically (the essays preferably as Word documents) to Susan
Oldrieve, Professor of English, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio
44017 email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks for your support of this project!

Eva McManus, Editor, Ohio Northern University
Susan Oldrieve, Associate Editor for Pedagogy, Baldwin-Wallace College

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Re: Colour-Blind Casting

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1501  Thursday, 24 July 2003

[1]     From:   Ted Dykstra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 08:00:49 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[2]     From:   Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 09:05:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[3]     From:   Bruce Fenton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 10:38:58 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[4]     From:   Jonathan C. Dietrich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 09:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[5]     From:   Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 13:09:05 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[6]     From:   Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 14:18:18 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

[7]     From:   Jane Brody <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 12:21:45 EDT
        Subj:   Color blind casting


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ted Dykstra <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 08:00:49 EDT
Subject: 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

Re "casting"

It seems to me that the only important qualification for an actor to
play any part is that they have the qualities the director is looking
for which will enhance his/her vision. The true supporters of the
concept of colour blind casting (I of course speak for all of them!) are
simply saying that someone can be dead right for a part because of what
they COMMAND on stage, and we should not be denied the opportunity to
see them in any number of roles simply because they are not the implied
race of the character they essay.

Who would want anyone but Peter Sellers to be playing that part of the
East Indian in THE PARTY? He had all that was required and more to play
that part.  Unfortunately we are not so forgiving when it comes to other
races portraying "white" characters. Too bad for us.

Where colour blind casting falls apart, and I have seen it MANY times,
is when the director wishes to cast against race simply to make a point.
It never adds to the play, and does the whole concept a huge disservice.
I have seen many marginal actors playing parts that were beyond them,
cast simply because they weren't white, not because their artistry
enhanced the production.

Ted Dykstra

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 09:05:27 -0400
Subject: 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

>I'm becoming very twitchy reading the number of posts that seem
>unawareof, or hostile to, theatre that extends beyond realism. Realism
>is no longer the default option for theatrical style, and hasn't been
>for some decades. The theatre is simply not required to placate the
>literal-minded.

Thank you, Anna Kamaralli, for bringing this discussion out of the
1950s.  That period of realism, which, from beginning to end, lasted
less than a century, is a very brief one in the history of theatre.  The
ancient Greeks, we all remember, used three actors to play all the
roles.  This past week I had the privilege of seeing a stunning
production of Euripides' ORESTES by the Franklin Stage Company which
made a bow to that tradition with some of its own double casting.  A
single woman (also a professional concert soprano) played the role of
the Chorus, with remarkable comic effect, while the casting of a single
actor to play Menelaus/Helen/Phrygian Slave and another to play
Tyndareus/Pylades/Messenger made for striking ironies one could not have
found with separate casting of the roles.  I realize that the above is
not the same as color-blind casting, but some of my most memorable
Shakespeare experiences have resulted from color-blindness.  James Earl
Jones' KING LEAR is certainly the most memorable I have ever seen, and
Denzel Washington's RICHARD III had some exquisite moments, but one of
the most memorable in that production was Mary Alice's Queen Margaret.
The shocking impact of her performance was not from her being Black, but
from her looking like such a sweet, motherly kind of woman.  When the
venom came from her lips, it made the hair stand on end.  Let's leave
realism (or representationalism) to film producers.  They do it so much
better.

Ed Pixley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bruce Fenton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 10:38:58 EDT
Subject: 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

>skin colour matters not - in anything - in
>any way - in any play. It's
>nonsense, of course. Skin colour is a
>physical attribute - like age,
>gender, height, and weight. A director casts

Just yesterday I received an essay yesterday that speaks to this very
issue.  I don't want to get off-topic by posting the whole page here:
essentially the author, Louis Walker, makes a case for a more color
blind society basing hiring on merit (presumably including acting jobs)
and elimination of the term "African American" (replaced with "black")
for precisely the reasons mentioned in the above post.  Anyone
interested, drop me an email and I will forward it to you.

Bruce Fenton

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jonathan C. Dietrich <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 09:54:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1484 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

First a word about myself, as this is my first time posting. My name is

Jonathan C. Dietrich and I am a Drama graduate from University of
Waterloo, Ontario Canada. I have many roles under my belt
(http://hotsos.ca/jcd/acting.asp), and am considering directing a
community theatre Shakespearean production in the future.

At a community level, I think my casting is not going to be casting to
type or even casting realistically, but primarily casting to skill.
Nothing is worse in my eyes than seeing a pretty cast that can't carry
engage the audience with the text.

 >one wonders why directors and actors insist on forcing audiences to
 >suspend their disbelief more than is usual by idiosyncratic casting
 >choices.
 >
 >Larry Weiss

I think that unfortunately when most directors (at least a the community
theatre level) decide to cast "colour-blind" or "gender-blind" it is
primarily because they are trying to "make a point". I think a lot of
young directors are scared to take the text for what it is, and feel
some sort of safety in mucking with, or that because Shakespeare's works
have been produced so often that they are obligated to add something new
to it.  Not enough time is spent with the text and ensuring actors *know
what they are saying* and can effectively *convey it to the audience*,
instead time is spent being clever in working their theme into the work
(often poorly done at that!).

However, I believe that if the performances are excellent the audience
will gladly suspend their disbelief, as that is why they are there! They
can watch movies, television, documentaries or even people in the mall,
but they have paid to see theatre.

I think of it like photography and painting. If you want a realistic
interpretation, use a camera. If you want an interpretation, use a
painter. Few criticize Dali for "forcing audiences to suspend their
disbelief more than is usual".

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 13:09:05 -0400
Subject: 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

>Has anyone chosen to play Othello as an Arab lately? I know there's a
>strand in the 19th and early 20th century that a black Othello couldn't
>be as noble as Shakespeare made him (it is, they suggest, just not
>realistic), so he must have been a North African.

Anthony Hopkins played Othello as a Berber in the BBC/Time Life
production, produced and directed by Jonathan Miller.  It was the worst
performance I ever saw Hopkins give.  It could have been due to Miller's
directorial choices -- he was the guy who decided that Petruchio is
really a boring Puritan.  But Bob Hoskins was a superb Iago.

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kathy Dent <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 14:18:18 +0100
Subject: 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1489 Re: Colour-Blind Casting

Patrick Dolan writes|:

>By the way, Nancy Mairs, a fine, prickly writer who has MS, does a
>wonderful little beat in one of her essays about how she prefers the
>word "crippled." I have no idea if she's the only one who is attempting
>to reclaim and revalue the word, but I've seen it done in print. And
>very well, too.

Yes, some people with disabilities do use the word "cripple" - in a
similar way, I think, to the way that some black people use "nigger"-
but I, being white and able-bodied, would be careful to avoid both.

I haven't followed this thread too closely, but isn't there an issue
about equal job opportunities for everyone employed in the acting
profession?  I mean, none of us really think that the actor playing, for
example, Lear is related to the three playing his daughters, do we?  So
why should we be preoccupied with whether they have a family
resemblance?  And once we've freed ourselves from that level of
naturalistic expectation, surely we can't get bothered about whether one
or some of them are also black. They're just PRETENDING, aren't they?

Kathy Dent

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jane Brody <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 24 Jul 2003 12:21:45 EDT
Subject:        Color blind casting

I believe in colorblind casting because the more we do it, the more it
will become a non-issue.  In plays where all of the women were
originally played by men, a bit of "blindness" would not seem to me to
be a problem.  There are directors who cast "to type" and those who cast
for "skill." I personally tend to cast for skill, but realize that some
of the preconceptions of the audience need to be addressed.  However, we
really need to keep examining how far we bow down to the audience's
prejudices.  I for one didn't have a problem with Simon Beale's casting,
but of course, I am a short chubby person.  The idea that heroes are
handsome and white, that leading are sexy and shapely with low voices
and that ingenues are slender and blond is really boring.  As a former
casting director for film and TV, I know how limiting this can be.  I
find that dissonance between the actor and the role can be intriguing
and illuminating.

Jane Brody

_______________________________________________________________
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.

Doubt Arose

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1499  Wednesday, 23 July 2003

From:           Graham Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 23 Jul 2003 11:33:10 +0000
Subject:        Doubt Arose

UK TV Quiz exchange:

Q. Shakespeare said that this by any other name would smell as sweet...

A. Soap?

Best wishes,
Graham Hall

_______________________________________________________________
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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