The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1704 Monday, 13 September 2004
From: Richard Burt <
Date: Friday, 10 Sep 2004 22:26:28 -0400
Subject: Let Slip The Dawgs
Shakespeare and war
Let slip the dawgs
Sep 9th 2004 | CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition
A few bloody and unnatural acts to motivate the troops
WHEN the curtain rises at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama this
weekend, troops in the audience won't be eyeing the usual leggy
morale-boosting blondes; instead, they will be confronted by men in
kilts. The strange alliance of the Pentagon and the National Endowment
for the Arts (NEA) is sending a "very earthy" production of "Macbeth" to
tour 13 bases.
Although the blood-splattered Scottish play is not known for its
morale-inducing qualities, the touring Alabama Shakespeare Festival
hopes for an effect "like Braveheart". The Pentagon has coughed up $1m
(under special congressional authorisation) to bring the Bard to the
troops. The actors will also do workshops for them.
Dana Gioia, the NEA's chairman, insists that the choice of "Macbeth"
reflects no underlying message; it is just a short, well-known and
portable play with a small (and rapidly diminishing) cast. Besides, he
adds, it's a play about soldiers. Well, yes, they do appear
occasionally, sometimes as trees.
[ . . . ]
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