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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: July ::
Most Popular Shakespeare Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1430  Wednesday, 14 July 2004

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 06:33:06 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 12:30:43 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

[3]     From:   M Yawney <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 13:28:01 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 06:33:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

Martin Steward quotes me, "Bill Arnold writes about the 'Old World' and
its 'post-WWII fascination with existentialism as an answer to 'Who am
I, why am I here?', before contrasting that with America, 'a God-fearing
nation of willful doers without a passive bone in our bodies."

Then Martin Steward writes, "I don't know about 'God-fearing'... but
surely one of the cornerstones of existentialism, in whatever form, is
its characterisation of human agents as 'willful doers'...?"

OK: an exception to the rule is that passive motley crew "waiting for
God[ot]"!  And after the comments about contrasting the Old World Europe
with the New World America, I put in the SHAKSPERean "TIC"!!  After-all,
it *IS* the dog days of summer.

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

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 12:30:43 -0400
Subject: 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

 >>Why is Godot not performed so much in USA?
 >
 >Here's my swing at it: amateur drama might have a problem with putting
 >on a play that has no major female roles, given the demographics of U.S.
 >drama clubs.

Not just no female roles: most clubs and colleges high schools have
among their female majorities many actors who are able and willing to
play male roles (just as male Elizabethans were able and willing to play
females).  Beckett disapproved of this, and his estate refuses the
rights to productions that cast females.    He also disapproved of casts
that include "people of color".  This may or may not be illegal under US
law, and the estate is not as vigorous in enforcing it-- I have seen
some non-traditional casts.   I've also seen women in Godot-- but only
in out-of-the-way venues or classrooms.  Presumably their casting did
not come to the attention of the copyright holders.

Geralyn Horton, playwright
<www.stagepage.info>

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           M Yawney <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jul 2004 13:28:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1418 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

 >>Why is Godot not performed so much in USA?
 >
 >Here's my swing at it: amateur drama might have a
 >problem with putting
 >on a play that has no major female roles, given the
 >demographics of U.S.
 >drama clubs.
 >
 >Pat

I will say again that the assertion that Godot is not much performed in
the USA is simply wrong. It is more frequently seen in amateur and
school productions, but that is the case with most popular plays more
than a decade old--including Shakespeare.

Having seen this "little-performed play" more times than I care to
count, I can attest that it is often with at least one of the roles
played by women. I have seen the play done with a completely female
cast, and with Vladmir and Estragon as a female pair, female Pozzos, a
female Luckys, but strangely enough only once have I seen the boy played
by a woman.

Some of the women have played the roles as men, others made them
women--and for two Luckys I could not determine what gender they were
meant to be.

Gender change is less frequent in high-profile Beckett productions, than
in Shakespeare, but I suspect this is only because Beckett's work is
still under copyright protection and his estate has been prickly about
production choices.

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