The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.1343 Thursday, 24 June 2004
Date: Wednesday, 23 Jun 2004 20:40:13 +0000
Subject: But hear you, my Lord?
Leaden skies, squally winds, freezing rain. Just the start for The
Tempest. Unfortunately the play on stage before me at the Regent's Park
Open Air Theatre is 1 Harry 4 and it's the British summer. So shaken as
we are by the wind , so wan with the cold that there is every temptation
to offer a sip of the Company's extremely expensive cheap Merlot to the
three rows of primary school children occupying the front four rows of a
matinee house where the living are overwhelmingly outnumbered by empty
seats. But they are having enough difficulty sober attempting to hear
what's being said as the howling wind in the forty foot trees that
surround the stage out rustles the Met. helicopter thundering overhead
and drowns out complete scenes. Their generation will assume that
Shakespeare is some kind of mime artist.
I leave during the interval as the sodden chair seat has wrinkled my
vital parts, I have a painful crick from straining to catch the odd
piece of dialogue, and I can't bear to watch the death of a decent
playwright through no fault of his own or the cast (who from the
blocking and gestures appear to be doing a fair turn) but of the idiocy
of a management who haven't the nouce to cancel the performance. Issuing
the poor prattlers megaphones might have been a useful option if "the
show must go on".
So if one of them reads this, could they let me know what Falstaff did
to Hotspur's corpse towards the end? I once had an interest in that sort
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