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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Roles
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1831  Wednesday, 6 October 2004

[1]     From:   William Proctor Williams <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 05 Oct 2004 11:02:07 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1823 Twilight of the Gods

[2]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004 21:47:21 EDT
        Subj:   Comment on Polonius as a Shakespearean Role

[3]     From:   Steve Urkowitz <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004 22:02:41 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 1 Oct 2004 to 4 Oct 2004 (#2004-177)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <
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Date:           Tuesday, 05 Oct 2004 11:02:07 -0400
Subject: 15.1823 Twilight of the Gods
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1823 Twilight of the Gods

This thread and "Modified Procedures" seem to be turning into the old
problem by other means.  However, if we are picking roles we would like
to have played I've always thought that I could do a certain justice to
Alarbus.

William Proctor Williams

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004 21:47:21 EDT
Subject:        Comment on Polonius as a Shakespearean Role

Don Foster's SHAXICON work proposes a number of roles for Shakespeare.
He bases his stuff on rare-word vocabularies that are dependent on a
number of variables.  What was the author reading at the time?  And, for
an actor-author, what plays --and more particularly what roles -- did he
perform?  So, when Shakespeare's company revives Romeo and Juliet, a lot
of R&J rare-word vocabulary shows up in whatever play he's writing.
Foster's wordcrunching machinery shows that the R&J words showing up
later though are not plucked even-handedly from the whole of the play.
Rather the words from Friar Laurence's part are represented
disproportionately.  Because those words are in his "active vocabulary,"
Foster reasons, they show up in the later play his working on.

Working from my faulty memory, other rare-word concentrations are found
in the roles of Albany in LEAR, the King in ALL'S WELL and (yes) the
ghost in HAMLET but not Polonius.  Somewhere in the SHAKPER archives
there may be Don's full lists of Shakespeare's own roles.  (In my work
on some of the multiple-text plays I find that he regularly makes his
own parts more technically and emotionally difficult, more morally
ambiguous, more for-goodness-sakes Shakespearean!)

It's fun to speculate; it's work to do the figuring; it's the job of the
community to remember good work when it's done and published.  I guess
that as a larger and larger and more diverse body of scholars, actors,
students, and passionate others we live out our dreams, test our ideas,
share our convictions.  I'm happy to come back to the conversation.

Steve Urquartowitz

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004 22:02:41 EDT
Subject:        Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 1 Oct 2004 to 4 Oct 2004 (#2004-177)

 >It is after Hamlet that the male leads were all middle aged or upwards.

Two thoughts:

Pericles at least starts out as a young man seeking a bride, and though
he grows his hair uncut for fourteen years, that still doesn't make him
an old man.

And: Given the King's Men repertory, Burbage seems to have been playing
Lear-y old guys one day, scant-of-breath intellectuals the very next
day,  and maybe Romeo-antic whippersnappers on the third.

Sorry that grumpiness abounds, but even among the grum it's nice to keep
the field clear of unneeded debris.

Steve Urgrumpowitz

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