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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
CORIOLANUS
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0367  Wednesday, 23 February 2005

[1]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Feb 2005 14:12:27 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0352 CORIOLANUS

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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 >
        Date:   Tuesday, 22 Feb 2005 21:54:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0352 CORIOLANUS


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 22 Feb 2005 14:12:27 -0500
Subject: 16.0352 CORIOLANUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0352 CORIOLANUS

I had the great good fortune as an undergraduate at Colorado University
in (I think) 1965 to play a Citizen in a magnificent production at the
Colorado Shakespeare Festival.   The brilliant undergraduate who played
Coriolanus, Barry Kraft, went on to a distinguished career at Ashland.
I wish I could remember the names of all the talented people involved,
but the program I kept has gone missing.  The direction was inspired,
Menenius and Aufidius as fine as anything I've subsequently seen at the
NYSF or the RSC or NTC.  Ron Ritchell, who played one of the Tribunes,
moved to Boston afterwards and founded the excellent Lyric Stage Co.,
where he specialized in classic comedy.   Last week I attended a bon
voyage party for Ritchell: he and his director wife, Polly Hogan, are
moving to Canada, near the Shaw Festival.  If you ever see Ron listed
among the actors in a Shaw production, I recommend that you go see him:
he's a splendid Old School actor who can project every nuance of a Shaw
aria to the back of the auditorium.

I thought that the Lenox Shakespeare and Company modern dress Coriolanus
of a few seasons back was pretty darn good.  There's a review of it on
my web site, <www.stagepage.info>

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Tuesday, 22 Feb 2005 21:54:21 -0500
Subject: 16.0352 CORIOLANUS
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0352 CORIOLANUS

 >Not a very good CORIOLANUS I am afraid. The subsidiary roles were
 >exchanged between actors and actresses of very little talent. The
 >Coriolanus lacked majesty, Volumnia was too nice by far, and in general
 >no one around was big enough for their respective roles.

I just came back from seeing this production (or so much thereof as I
had to sit through for politeness' sake).  Dr. Greenberg's notice is far
too short of the mark.  I cannot criticize the acting, as I found none.
  There was a deal of reciting, almost all of the bombastic variety, but
very little with an understanding of the play or even the lines.

The director, Karen Coonrad, did a magnificent job for the same
production company in 2000's KJ.  So she is capable of working with less
familiar and difficult material.  This Coriolanus is, therefore, all the
more inexplicable.

There is one point in Dr. Greenberg's post with which I disagree:  He
says that Christopher Walken's performance of Caius Martius at the
Public years ago was "extraordinary."  Perhaps it was, but not in the
sense that Greenberg intended.  Walken presented the character with the
same stiffness he brings to everything I have ever seen him do.  Surely,
there is a difference between dignified arrogance and passionless
disengagement.

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