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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: June ::
Hamlet in Other Plays?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1259  Monday, 14 June 2004

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Jun 2004 10:28:11 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.1244 Hamlet in Other Plays?

[2]     From:   John Reed <
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        Date:   Friday, 11 Jun 2004 21:32:36 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Hamlet in Other Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Jun 2004 10:28:11 -0400
Subject: 15.1244 Hamlet in Other Plays?
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.1244 Hamlet in Other Plays?

 >... "Cymbeline" as source material for "Snow White" ...

Is there testimony for this? Snow White is not derived from Cymbeline.
Volumnia probably told it to little Marcius when he was in diapers. Not
only are there the Seven Rishis with their sister (and wife) Arundati,
but they are derived from the Seven Wise Ones who laid the foundation of
Uruk in the Gilgamesh epic in which Enkidu also prophecies to Siduri who
had lured him into the city: "the wife, the mother of seven, shall be
forsaken." They probably connect the seven stars of Ursa Major with the
origin of the seven day week.  This "mother of seven" is probably Ishara
tamtim, the Scorpion-goddess whose seven sons are notorious with her in
Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. The Puranas also connect these seven Rishis
with the Milky Way, as white as snow and feminine, which becomes the
source of the Ganges near the North Pole;  the "Road of the gods"
(devayana) runs ...south of the Seven Rishis, the Big Dipper. Vishnu
Purana 2.8

The Siberian Kirghis call the three stars of the Little Bear nearest the
Pole star...a "rope" to which ... two horses, are fastened. One of the
horses is white, the other bluish-grey. The seven stars of the Great
Bear they call the seven watchmen, whose duty it is to guard the horses
from the lurking wolf. When once the wolf succeeds in killing the horses
the end of the world will come.

There is also the Elamitic Narundi, sister of the Sibitti, the "Seven",
known as such since Babylonian times

Since these same seven stars of the Big Dipper are also the crank that
turns Hamlet's Mill, Cymbeline and Hamlet may have a common source in
Helgakvida Hundingsbana II, 2-4, where Helge--seeking refuge from king
Hunding--works in a mill, disguised as a female... (or a boy actor
disguised as Imogen disguised as Fidele?). These universal myths of a
maiden and seven sages which go far beyond their Mesopotamian origins
may have become the folk tales of Snow White, Rose Red (Mars/Nergal) and
the seven dwarves long before the Romans got to Britain.

Quotes above from Hamlet's Mill haphazardly cited.

Clifford Stetner
http://phoenixandturtle.net

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Reed <
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Date:           Friday, 11 Jun 2004 21:32:36 -0700
Subject:        Re: Hamlet in Other Plays

I should have been on my way to London to see a performance of Much Ado
About Nothing with all women, but my flight got cancelled, so I'm
posting here instead, after not paying attention to this thread for some
reason.

Annalisa Castaldo wrote:

 >In terms of the original query about plays for an advanced playwrighting
 >class, it would be a lot of fun to start with the three versions of
 >Hamlet or the two versions of King Lear and look at them specifically
 >as records of theatrical adaptations/performances.  It seems you could
 >learn a lot about Shakespeare's (or at least 17th century English)
 >theatrical practice that way.

End quote.

Annalisa Castaldo -- what a nice name; that really rolls trippingly off
the tongue.  Would you like to trade names with me?  I'll give you all
my properties on Boardwalk and Park Place plus 500 dollars.  Sometimes
posts bring to mind odd things: in this case, the contest the San
Francisco Chronicle had one time in order to come up with nicknames for
the players on the Forty Niners.  Somebody wrote in and said anybody
with a name like "Joe Montana" didn't need a nickname, he needed a real
name, like Charles W. Gibson III.

As long as we're talking about records of theatrical productions, I
wonder how much of a performance is specified by an old document, such
as an F or Q version.  Suppose this were opera, such as Otello.  Suppose
it were older than it really is, and the record we had of it only
included the words, what do they call it, the libretto.  Then a modern
performance is done using that as a basis, plus the restriction that we
also knew next to nothing about 19th century music.  The reconstructed
performance might be much different than the original one.  Same thing
if we had only the music (and no words).  I think the situation with
Shakespeare's plays is analogous, since we have the words, but
negligible other specifications, especially those for action.

Then another question is whether different document content actually
represented different performance content.  I am thinking probably a lot
of the plays where  F is largely based on a Q have differences, but none
of those differences necessarily indicate a different performance.

Another related problem is whether everything in the source was actually
printed.  I have seen two scripts for Star Wars, one typed and the other
printed (and that one had illustrations, too).  The printed one
(granted, it could have been based on a different draft) had fewer
editing specifications (less cuts); I think it was about 525 versus 450.
  The printed one had a tendency to not print changes in location unless
someone gave lines in that location.  Sometimes I wonder if there might
have been a similar printing house convention back then such that unless
a character has lines, he is not mentioned in the entrances and exits.
The actual Star Wars had, of course, 2,160 cuts.  I counted them once.
I'm saying cut but really it had dissolves, wipes, and other complicated
variations.  Suppose we had the script to Star Wars and made a movie out
of it, without knowing what the video looked like, or having any other
knowledge of 20th century movie editing.  Would we get close to that
2,160 total?  Suppose we went with the 525 specified; what difference in
impact would there be (compared to the real one)?  I'm thinking it might
be a lot like an opera of Otello where the music is represented only by
the string bass section of the score.  And it could masqerade as the
real thing, since it's exactly based on the text (this hypothetical text
I'm imagining).

Being able to see just one of those old performances might be a mind
expanding event.  That reminds me of something else: "You can observe a
lot, just by watching."  Quiz: who said that? (hint, he bats left,
throws right (as do I), and is in the Hall of Fame).  Someone somewhere
characterized him as being a "genius" with language - and it might have
been Steven Pinker in one of his language books.

To my way of thinking most of what goes into a modern performance is
based on an unconscious application of modern dramatic theory.  Did I
ever mention I don't like modern performances?  Well, I don't.  I must
be more perturbed about that flight being cancelled than I thought.  Oh,
after spewing all of the above out, I might also mention I think a lot
about 17th century dramatic practice, probably to no avail, but maybe
one could get a better handle on it by comparing the older versions.

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