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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Stratford
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0361  Thursday, 27 April 2006

[1] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 20:51:45 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0353 Stratford

[2] 	From: 	Brian Willis <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 26 Apr 2006 02:53:43 -0700 (PDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0353 Stratford (and the Complete Works)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Apr 2006 20:51:45 +0100
Subject: 17.0353 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0353 Stratford

Gabriel Egan writes ...

 >It seems implied here that the birthplace is a fake and that
 >Barton was disappointed when she realized that it was. If
 >so, evidence is required. If not-if Barton was just disappointed
 >that a 16th-century house isn't as she expected-then I'd suggest
 >that this was a valuable learning experience.

Carol Barton is entirely right.  The so-called "birthplace" is an 
outrageous fake.

In Shakespeare's time there were two adjoining timber-roofed properties 
on the site of the present detached tile-roofed "birthplace".  WS must 
have been born in the eastern property as his father only purchased the 
western property when WS was 11 (the western half now has the period 
cradle!).  At some time between 1603 and 1646 a tenant in the eastern 
property transformed it into a pub called the Maidenhead (later the Swan 
and Maidenhead).  In 1762 Richard Greene made a sketch of the two 
buildings, showing dormer windows in the roofs and a porch in front of 
the western property.  Thirty years later, dormer windows and porch were 
already gone and the western property was now a butcher's shop.  In 1808 
a new buyer, Thomas Court, removed the exterior timber framing and 
refaced the eastern property, i.e. the pub, in red brick.  Only in 1847 
was a Shakespeare Birthplace committee formed to purchase the two 
properties and set up a birthplace monument. Incredibly, they demolished 
both buildings and built the present fake-Tudor building to resemble 
Greene's 1762 sketch.  None of the period furniture in the present 
building has any connection with the Shakespeare family.

Peter Bridgman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Brian Willis <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 26 Apr 2006 02:53:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 17.0353 Stratford (and the Complete Works)
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0353 Stratford (and the Complete Works)

Lest we all forget: this is a theatrical festival. Surely there will be 
some atrocious productions but they are bound to be some enlightening 
experiences.

One thing that I am already experiencing (since I am working on my Ph.D. 
at the Shakespeare Institute): an appalling lack of interest in the 
"foreign" companies speaking in their own languages/adapting 
Shakespeare's plays. While most of the productions offering twelve or 
less performances sold out within days of their release to the public, 
the German Othello, which plays for only four performances, is giving 
away tickets. I attend it tonight (paid), and my own anticipation has 
heightened considerably as it has approached. Sure, it may disappoint or 
it may be a truly cathartic experience. But without the "Complete Works" 
festival, I would not even have the opportunity. Bring on the Berliner 
Ensemble's Richard II.

Brian Willis

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