2003

Troubles of the Marriage-Bed

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1030  Saturday, 31 May 2003

From:           Charlie Mitchell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 24 May 2003 11:54:48 -0400
Subject:        Troubles of the Marriage-Bed

Here is a line that has always given me trouble and in production, I
felt that we never found an adequate gloss in relation to the scene.
From The Comedy of Errors:

ADRIANA
This servitude makes you to keep unwed.
LUCIANA
Not this, but troubles of the marriage-bed.
ADRIANA
But, were you wedded, you would bear some sway.
LUCIANA
Ere I learn love, I'll practise to obey.

What does Luciana mean, "troubles of the marriage bed"?  Our director
used "inability to find a husband" assuming that "this" is the servitude
that Adriana criticizes although I know the actress used "fear of the
physical act."  Any thoughts?

Charlie Mitchell

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Art Tickles

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1029  Saturday, 31 May 2003

From:           Graham Hall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 24 May 2003 15:31:26 +0000
Subject:        Art Tickles

Further to two dying strains on SHAKSPER, the June 2003 issue of BBC
History Magazine has an article by historian and broadcaster Michael
Wood on John Shakespeare's part in the (reluctant) removal of
Stratford's catholic guild chapel religious imagery in 1563 (lecture at
the Shakespeare Centre 7 June) and young Emma Smith of Hertford
continues to establish herself as a leading Harry 5 buff with an article
pointing to the continued relevance of the play in a changing world and
how the changing world manipulates the play. (I'd forgotten Bogdanov's
"F**k the Frogs" and "Gotcha" posters in his production. My how we
laughed !). And it sounded like Nicholas Hytner this morning on the
wireless discussing his production at the National, and the contrast
between the play's rhetoric and its events.  I notice that the
advertising tag line - casting an eye to Adrian Lester I presume - is
TLN 1991-3. Silence so far from the PC gang on this.

( www.bbchistorymagazine.com and  www.shakespeare.org.uk and
www.nationaltheatre.org.uk and Hinman's Folio for the perplexed.)

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!

Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1027  Saturday, 31 May 2003

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 23 May 2003 21:09:23 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.0991 Re: Hirsh and "To Be" [Coleridge and Grebanier?]

[2]     From:   Kenneth Chan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 25 May 2003 20:01:28 +0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1004 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 23 May 2003 21:09:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0991 Re: Hirsh and "To Be" [Coleridge and
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0991 Re: Hirsh and "To Be" [Coleridge and
Grebanier?]

Harry Keyishian writes, "Followers of the recent discussion of
soliloquies on the Shakespeare Electronic Conference may want to know of
the publication this week of the following book: James Hirsh,
Shakespeare and the History of Soliloquies (Madison NJ: Fairleigh
Dickinson Press, 2003). 470 pp.  This volume provides the first
systematic and comprehensive account of the conventions governing
soliloquies in Western drama from antiquity to the twentieth century.
For details, check www.aupresses.com or call 609-655-4770.  Harry
Keyishian, Director, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press."

Does Hirsh cite Grebanier and, ergo, Coleridge on Hamlet's "To Be"
soliloquy?

Grebanier devotes no less than a full query-and-answer paper within his
book The Heart of Hamlet: The Play Shakespeare Wrote on the famous
soliloquy question, pages 203-12, perforce adding elaboration of the
preceding dramatic scene and subsequent dramatic scene [adding even more
pages to his analysis and presentation] as part-and-parcel of his
extensive and prescient exegesis!  To Doubting Thomases of Grebanier's
take on Hamlet's sanity and reasons for delay, how can anyone, let alone
me, summarize Grebanier and not omit his extensive scholarship on the
way to explication?

If, indeed, Hirsch's exegesis is an elaboration of Coleridge and
Grebanier, I would be much interested in his thoughts and would consider
purchase.  Might you consult his Index, Footnotes or Bib.?

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kenneth Chan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 25 May 2003 20:01:28 +0800
Subject: 14.1004 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1004 Re: Hirsh and "To Be"

Here are some points which, I feel, argues against Hirsh's contention
that the "To Be" speech is a feigned soliloquy.

A major basis for Hirsh's argument that Hamlet was aware of being spied
upon, at this time, is the statement by Claudius: "We have closely sent
for Hamlet hither." From this, Hirsh concludes that Hamlet would
certainly suspect a set-up upon finding Ophelia at the appointed place
instead of the King. And so, Hamlet decides on a feigned soliloquy to
mislead Claudius.

The problem with this argument is that we have now to accept that
Claudius, with all his Machiavellian cunning, had made such an
elementary blunder as to plant Ophelia at exactly the place where he
himself is to meet Hamlet.  This, I feel, is rather unrealistic. So the
line "We have closely sent for Hamlet hither" should really be
understood as Hamlet having been sent for in this direction. It would be
far more logical to assume that Claudius would plant Ophelia somewhere
along the route that Hamlet would have to take, and not at the actual
appointed destination.

If this is so, there is then no reason to assume that Hamlet was aware
of being spied upon at the time of his "To Be" soliloquy.

Another point against this soliloquy being feigned, lies in Hamlet's
later statement to Ophelia: "Those that are married already, all but
one, shall live". If Hamlet's soliloquy and dialogue, at this time, was
aimed at misleading Claudius, he would surely not make this statement,
since it would practically unravel all his previous efforts at fooling
Claudius. It is unlikely that Claudius would miss this statement as a
possible veiled threat.

Thus, it is far more likely that Hamlet was not actually aware of being
spied upon at this time. He is not concerned about making this statement
to Ophelia, since Ophelia would not have a clue as to its meaning.

On top of all this, we must remember that Shakespeare never gave any
clear indication that Hamlet was aware of being spied upon.  Why would
Shakespeare not do so, if that was his intention? This would have been
so easy for Shakespeare - a single line would have sufficed. But there
is no such line. It is far safer then to work on the basis that that was
not Shakespeare's intent at all.

Kenneth Chan

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Lorne Elliot on Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1028  Saturday, 31 May 2003

From:           John Ramsay <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 24 May 2003 11:30:40 -0400
Subject:        Lorne Elliot on Shakespeare

Canadian comedian Lorne Elliot has composed the following abridgements.

John Ramsay

THE PLOT OF HAMLET

      Hamlet's Mom, she married the bum
      who killed his Dad, so he faked being mad
      Drove his would-be bride to suicide
      which made him madder; then he,
      After much pandemanium, chatted to a cranium,
      Put on a play, commenced to slay
      All his enemies who fin'ly killed him too
      To Be Or Not To Be.

      ROMEO AND JULIETTE IN TWO LIMERICKS

      Romeo and Juliette got all sappy
      which made their families unhappy
      So they thought up a plan
      To help this out and
      Sure enough things turned out crappy

      He faked taking poison one night
      Julliette, upon seeing this sight
      killed HERself. He came to
      Did Likewise. Boo hoo
      Teenagers were NEVER that bright.

_______________________________________________________________
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Re: Actors v Scholars

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1026  Saturday, 31 May 2003

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 23 May 2003 13:44:21 -0400
        Subj:   Actors vs Scholars

[2]     From:   Mary Rosenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 23 May 2003 17:18:35 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars

[3]     From:   Whitt Brantley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Sunday, 25 May 2003 09:26:10 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars

[4]     From:   Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Friday, 30 May 2003 14:57:59 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 23 May 2003 13:44:21 -0400
Subject:        Actors vs Scholars

Brian Willis writes:

"I agree that the very best actors all have a certain level of
intelligence."

Without doubt. But what I don't understand is: How can an actor play the
part of a character who is MORE intelligent than the actor him- or
herself?  Actors do it: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, and Hamlet
have all been played by actors who, while intelligent, probably were not
as intelligent as the characters they portrayed.

Are there techniques for playing someone super-smart? I understand
playing a character who is dumber than the actor, but one who is
smarter? How is it done?

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mary Rosenberg <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 23 May 2003 17:18:35 -0700
Subject: 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars

May 23, 2003

About the discussion concerning actors and scholars: when I started
teaching, half a lifetime ago (at the University of Lancaster, England),
my great ideal was Harley Granville Barker: who seemed, in his "Prefaces
to Shakespeare," to combine the attributes and insights of a scholar and
a man of theatre. I was myself trained in the purely academic tradition:
but I already recognized that Shakespeare's plays demanded to be
interpreted on the stage as well as the page (not as common a point of
view then as it is now!) and an element of reading aloud and stage
performance was a required part of my courses. Then I met Marvin
Rosenberg - and the rest, as they say, is history!

I should also add - in light of your current discussion of the best
editions for students - that I (like several of your correspondents)
favored the Signet paperback editions of individual plays. These volumes
seemed to me to carry enough notes to make the text clear for reading,
and I especially admired their selected essays at the end of each
edition (I think particularly of Maynard Mack's "The World of Hamlet",
which I wished I had written myself!). Then, too, the books were cheap
enough not to strain student resources unduly. (For more scholarly notes
and insights I recommended the New Arden.)

But when it came to a recommended Complete Shakespeare, I was less
decided: and there are many more editions available now than there were
then!. Any ideas on the best - most useful - edition of Shakespeare's
Complete Works would be most welcome. Thanks.

Mary Rosenberg

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Whitt Brantley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 25 May 2003 09:26:10 EDT
Subject: 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars

Good thread.   Baconians, Oxordians. Stratfordians, Marlovians, and the
other Ian's aside...I say to you an actor wrote these plays.  How do I
know?  Because I am an actor. How do you know Jesus is real?  Because
you're a Baptist. Some lawyers think Shakespeare was a lawyer.  Some
scholars think Shakespeare was a scholar.  Some gardeners think
Shakespeare was a gardener.  Some French think Shakespeare was French.
It's all perspective.  John Gielgud and Lawrence Olivier will serve
nicely...one thought with his head, the other with his heart.  This is
the difference between scholars and actors.  One must ultimately rule
with either respectively.  Gielgud most likely struggled to give order
to chaos.  Olivier embraced chaos.  Shakespeare embraced chaos.  Now,
going to Church did not change Darwin, and I'm pretty sure that taking
an acting class will not change a scholar when it comes to his approach
to the text.

Whitt Brantley
KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE PLOW
A Cinematic Outdoor Drama
July 24-August 16  2003
cityofcumming.net (to find out more)

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 30 May 2003 14:57:59 +0100
Subject: 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1015 Re: Actors v Scholars

I think Brian Willis and others are still square dancing around this
problem.  Academics choose to be academics - actors choose acting.  The
lifestyles are so totally opposed that there must be a deeper reason for
this radical difference with regard to the relationship with
Shakespeare.  But to further compound the problem it is almost
impossible to stereotype a typical professor or player.  Perhaps the
best we can do is ask players why they are players and not professors -
and vise versa.

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

_______________________________________________________________
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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