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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: November ::
Empty Stage
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1945  Thursday, 25 November 2005

[1] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 12:18:08 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1939 Empty Stage

[2] 	From: 	Erika T Lin <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 13:13:14 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 16.1939 Empty Stage

[3] 	From: 	Bruce Young <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 12:14:17 -0700
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 16.1923 Empty Stage


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 12:18:08 -0500
Subject: 16.1939 Empty Stage
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1939 Empty Stage

 >"The Tempest" was written for the Blackfriars theatre.

It is unsafe to make such clear-cut distinctions between plays written 
for indoor and outdoor performance.  It is likely that Winters Tale was 
also composed for the Blackfriars, but Simon Foreman saw a performance 
at The Globe in May 1611.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Erika T Lin <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 13:13:14 -0500
Subject: 16.1939 Empty Stage
Comment: 	Re: SHK 16.1939 Empty Stage

Re: actors exiting and immediately re-entering, see Stephen Booth, 
"Doubling in Shakespeare's Plays," _Shakespeare: The Theatrical 
Dimension_, ed. Philip C. McGuire and David A. Samuelson (New York: AMS, 
1979), 103-31.  Booth argues that "most of our thinking about 
Elizabethan casting is still based on the assumed universality of 
Ibsenian practices" (108) and that we should not dismiss certain options 
for doubling simply because they would require actors to exit one scene 
and then immediately re-enter as different characters.  He notes that in 
Peter Brook's 1971 RSC production of _A Midsummer Night's Dream_ "the 
entrance of Theseus and Hippolyta at IV.i.107, immediately after the 
same actors have exited as Oberon and Titania at IV.i.106--the entrance 
that caused Ringler to say that the kings and queens could not have been 
successfully doubled-particularly delighted the two audiences I observed 
as they watched the Brook production and also seemed to delight the two 
actors (who strode back through the doorway grinning in apparent triumph 
at the transparent theatricality of their physically minimal 
metamorphosis)" (107).Even though this isn't exactly what you're looking 
for, I thought it might be of interest.

Best,
Erika Lin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bruce Young <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 23 Nov 2005 12:14:17 -0700
Subject: 16.1923 Empty Stage
Comment: 	RE: SHK 16.1923 Empty Stage

Chris Baker asks, "How frequent are empty stages in the plays?"  My 
answer would be "very frequent."  The standard scene change in 
Shakespeare involves one group of characters exiting and another group 
entering.  So presumably, unless the exits and entrances overlap, the 
stage would be momentarily empty between every scene and the next.

(By contrast, the French neoclassical stage with its "liaison des 
scenes" has at least one character continue from one scene to the next 
so that the stage is empty only between acts.)

Chris asks specifically about the transition between IV.i and V.i in The 
Tempest.  This is an unusual case since Prospero is present at the end 
of IV.i and then enters again at the start of V.i. I assume there would 
not be a substantial pause at the end of act IV, but I'm not an expert 
on the existence or non-existence of intervals in early Shakespearean 
productions.  At any rate, Prospero would need time to get his magic 
robes.  It does seem an awkward transition.  Perhaps he's "above" in one 
scene and "below" in the other.

I would be curious to know how often the plays require this sort of 
empty stage (as opposed to the normal momentarily empty stage between 
scenes) and whether there is an explanation for the unusual case in The 
Tempest.

Bruce Young

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