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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Gambon as Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0946  Thursday, 19 May 2005

[1]     From:   John Briggs <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 18:46:09 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff

[2]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 19:17:08 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff

[3]     From:   Stephen C. Rose <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 May 2005 14:15:24 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Briggs <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 18:46:09 +0100
Subject: 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff

Sandra Sparks wrote:

 >Falstaff is a great role for a special few. After all, when Kemp
 >pulled his diva act on WS and was separated from the company, there
 >was no one at the time to take his place. That's why Falstaff died
 >offstage in Henry V - he couldn't be written in, as promised.

No.  Falstaff is not a clown's role, and it is not now thought that Kemp
played him.  Giorgio Melchiori proposes that John Heminges played
Falstaff, and that Kemp was the original Bardolph.  I wouldn't rule out
Shakespeare himself playing Falstaff (whether or not he was modelled on
Shakespeare's father.)  "Merry Wives" was probably after "Henry V", but
in any case, Sir Toby Belch is another Falstaff.

Incidentally, I read Weinstein's post without noticing the signature,
but when I came to the last line I thought, "I wonder..."!

John Briggs

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 19:17:08 +0100
Subject: 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff

I was at the opening night of 1HIV and saw 2HIV a couple of days later.

Gambon's impersonation of a drunkard got in the way of his diction
pretty seriously, to the extent that one could only understand about 60%
of what Falstaff was saying. Although he pulled off most of the comedy
fairly well, there was no sense of the character's pathos in 1HIV and
only a little more in 2HIV.

1HIV was saved by a brilliant performance from David Harewood as
Hotspur. A perfect balance of tough martial nobility and childish
petulance, he revealed the extent to which the character is a
proto-Coriolanus more strikingly than I have seen before. In 2HIV
excellent comedy was had thanks to effective buffoonery from John Wood
as Shallow and Alistair Petrie as Pistol.

David Bradley offered his usual insufferable monotone arhythmic droning
in the eponymous role.

The music, by Max & Ben Ringham and Andrew Rutland, was quite good.

m

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Rose <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 May 2005 14:15:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0933 Gambon as Falstaff

Sorry: Nietzshe = Nietzsche -- an unforgivable typo. Of course, if he
had lived during Shakespeare's time.

Best, S

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