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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: October ::
Roles
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1874  Saturday, 9 October 2004

From:           M Yawney <
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Date:           Friday, 8 Oct 2004 08:16:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1862 Roles
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1862 Roles

Todd Pettigrew lists three assumptions about the roles Shakespeare
played in his own works. They are:

 >1. Shakespeare would have been able to choose a role
 >that he wanted to
 >play, especially later in his career, and thus would
 >have known, while
 >writing, which role was to be his.
 >2. Shakespeare would have taken smaller roles to
 >leave time for writing.
 >3. Shakespeare would have taken especial interest
 >and care in his own roles.

However, I would like to point out that these may not necessarily be
true. Roles (especially in a rep company) do get switched around for
various practical reasons, so Shakespeare might well have played roles
in his own plays that he never intended to when writing.

Also, when writing roles with himself in mind, it is possible that he
would take LESS care. Every playwright is different, but my experience
has been that actor/playwrights that while some do more carefully craft
their own roles, just as many take less care with their roles (perhaps
with the assumption that they will bring more to the play in production
than the other actors will).

I have worked for about two decades in theater and publishing. In that
time I have observed that writers working methods vary greatly, so I
recommend great caution in making any assumptions about how a any writer
approached his or her work. This is especially true for playwrights,
whose work is especially prone to be affected by practical concerns that
print authors do not face.

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