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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Launce and Crab
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2460  Thursday, 1 January 2004

[1]     From:   Edward Pixley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:35:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

[2]     From:   Nancy Charlton <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 16:41:22 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

[3]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:17:36 -0700
        Subj:   TG Rape Scene (was Launce and Crab)

[4]     From:   Susan St. John <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:29:19 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 09:35:18 -0500
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

Obviously, the possibilities with a fake dog -- or no dog -- are quite
wonderful.  But, having played Launce at the University of Wisconsin
when I was in grad school, I come down on the side of a live dog.  It
does not need to be trained.  It need only be friendly and, preferably,
passive.  My Crab was a young golden retriever owned by friends.  The
audience loved the dog.  My former undergraduate theatre director was in
the audience one night and thought that Lindy was a wonderfully trained dog.

Mainly, however, I had the greatest lesson in "in the moment" acting
that I had ever experienced.  It was "live" theatre at its best.  No
chance to "phone in" my performance, because Crab, who became quite
stage-struck, would always yawn, roll over, turn his sad eyes to me at
the most surprising moments.  Sometimes, when I was not looking at him,
I had to make instant adjustments in response to the howling laughter
from the audience, which I had not caused.  No matter what he did, the
text always allowed me to improvise my action around his antics.  It is
brilliantly written, so that the dog's actions can play either with or
against the text to create the humor.

Ed Pixley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 16:41:22 +0000
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

In September 2001 I reviewed a Two Gents production that featured a live
dog, and you can see it on the SHAKSPER web site:

SHK 12.2111  Wednesday, 5 September 2001

I enjoyed all the accounts today of different ways of doing this play.
Happy New Year to all.

Nancy Charlton

[Editor's Note: This review can be found at
http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2001/2101.html]

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:17:36 -0700
Subject:        TG Rape Scene (was Launce and Crab)

Billy Houck <
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 > writes,

 >More important, in my estimation, is what to do with the rape scene.

Well, yes there is that too -

But when I read that scene (V, iv) it seems so easy to make it
minimal...Proteus says he'll woo her like a soldier, by force; Sylvia
says "O, Heaven"; Pro says he'll force her to yield; Valentine enters
and stops it with an 11-line speech; Pro is filled with shame and guilt.
The short amount of time in which this scene occurs, the lack of stage
directions, and the speed with which Pro feels remorse seem to indicate
that there is no serious rape attack.

Also, Sylvia has already said, to the outlaws in V iii, "A thousand more
mischances than this one Have learned me how to brook this patiently."
This says to me that Sylvia is a girl who does not frighten easily by
brute force.  Since I teach in an inner city, highly integrated school,
I have no problem casting a Sylvia who has a basically sweet temperament
but can display at-tee-tood and can defend herself when necessary!

The bigger problem then becomes how to justify Valentine GIVING Sylvia
to Proteus; and WHY Sylvia has no more lines at all!

I'm thinking this could play if Val knows that Julia is in disguise, and
offers Sylvia as a way to help Julia reveal herself and hear Pro's true
feelings toward her.  I can see Sylvia TRYING to speak up, but Val
giving her a 'just-hold-it-a-minute-and-you'll-see-my-plan' sign.

But I'd appreciate any comments from the list on this subject too!

Thanks again,
Susan.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan St. John <
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Date:           Wednesday, 31 Dec 2003 11:29:19 -0700
Subject: 14.2454 Launce and Crab
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2454 Launce and Crab

WOW!  What a lot of responses - I am thrilled with everyone's
willingness to share, and especially intrigued by the seemingly 50-50
split of well-trained dogs vs. UNtrained dogs!

Thanks to all of you for your input.  I'll keep you posted on the
production when we get into it next fall.

Gratefully yours,
Susan.

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