Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: May ::
Stratford
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0374  Monday, 1 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 28 Apr 2006 18:16:34 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

[2] 	From: 	Thomas Larque <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Friday, 28 Apr 2006 20:55:50 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

[3] 	From: 	Robert Projansky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 03:02:16 -0700
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

[4] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 12:50:56 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

[5] 	From: 	Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 13:55:12 +0100
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gabriel Egan <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 28 Apr 2006 18:16:34 +0100
Subject: 17.0369 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

Carol Barton wrote:

 >I far preferred [to seeing Stratford] to stand at the
 >British Library viewing Caxton's _Canterbury Tales_
 >(open, to my delight, to the Wife of Bath's prologue!) . . .

As with Barton's previous expression of emotional investment, I can't 
work out why this should be moving. It's not like Chaucer would have 
recognized this object as something from his own time: he died before 
printing began in England. One might as well marvel at a CD-ROM of 
Charles Dickens's novels.  Such textual reworkings are impressive on 
their own terms, but they have even less to do with their authors than 
Shakespeare's Warwickshire childhood has to do with the plays. The 
representative 16th-century furniture in the birthplace is at least the 
sort of thing that Shakespeare would have recognized as chairs and beds.

The Caxton Chaucer was, presumably, displayed in a cabinet and hence 
Barton's delight that, although she could not turn the pages, the bit 
she'd like to see was on the opening chosen by the librarians. But what 
is she marvelling at? For all its interest to scholars concerned with 
the study of books as material objects, the Caxton Chaucer is, from a 
literary point of view, useless: you can't even turn the pages to read 
on.  The literary point of view is, surely, paramount, else Barton would 
have got just as excited about the British Library's copy of Caxton's 
_Book of curtesye_, published the same year.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Thomas Larque <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Friday, 28 Apr 2006 20:55:50 +0100
Subject: 17.0369 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

 >Brian Willis will know that I'm a patient man. But why on earth
 >would a version of Othello, given in German, be of any interest
 >to an audience in Stratford?

Is Terence Hawkes criticising Stratford audiences, or foreign 
Shakespeare? While Stratford may be struggling to attract audiences to 
such productions, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival certainly seems able to 
produce above-average audiences (by Fringe standards) for 
foreign-language Shakespeare productions, and that is usually without 
the benefit of subtitles.

I can only speak for myself, but I find foreign Shakespeare immensely 
interesting.  Some of the Polish Shakespeares that I have seen at the 
Edinburgh Fringe have been among the most atmospheric, emotional, and 
visually stunning productions that I have seen.  Hawkes might quite 
reasonably suggest that if I wanted to see Polish theatre companies, I 
might instead watch them performing Polish scripts, and I have seen some 
(again at Edinburgh), but of course watching Shakespeare gives me the 
advantage of knowing what is going on without needing to read a detailed 
synopsis of a kind that is unfortunately only occasionally provided with 
other shows. Surely experiencing the foreign theatre techniques of other 
nations cannot be a bad thing, especially for those in a monoglot 
culture like the British one?  There are certainly things that British 
companies could learn from the best foreign theatre companies.  And, of 
course, these nations do produce Shakespeare in their home cities and 
for their own audiences as a matter of course.  But then I would suspect 
that might be part of what annoys Hawkes so much in the first place.

In the end, it all comes down to personal opinion, but if the RSC are 
willing to subsidise foreign productions on very rare occasions, and can 
cope with small audiences for those productions, then this gives welcome 
opportunities to those who are interested to see foreign theatre 
companies in action.  If the RSC was hoping to rake in the money, then 
they might be disappointed, but I would suspect that the expectation was 
that these productions would be subsidised from the profits of more 
mainstream shows.

I am not an unthinking RSC cheerleader, and have seen some very bad as 
well as very good productions in RSC theatres.  I am, however, 
disappointed by the fact that I probably won't be able to travel up to 
Stratford this year. I would particularly have liked to see "Two Noble 
Kinsmen" - an even more rare opportunity than foreign-language productions.

Thomas Larque.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Robert Projansky <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 03:02:16 -0700
Subject: 17.0369 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

Sorry, but all the harrumphing notwithstanding, I've been to Stratford 
(more than an ocean away from the backwater where I live in the American 
Northwest) several times and enjoyed it each time. Although it crawls 
with tourists, to me it's not a tourist trap because I've never felt 
exploited there (the portrait tea towels are very reasonably priced). Of 
course that lovely but phony Birthplace garden and lawn should really be 
a chicken yard and dungheap, and of course the guides talk nonsense, and 
of course any place that attracts tourists will be full of pizza parlors 
and junque shops, BUT -- Stratford is still a very picturesque little 
burg surrounded by lots of green on its pretty little stream, and even 
though it doesn't have that authentic stench of yesteryear the local 
amenities are good enough for me. But best of all, it thrills me to walk 
in and around WS's hometown and his homes(ites) and church and school, 
imagining him growing up there, and then to go down to the Avon to see 
some of his plays, some of which are very nicely performed by the RSC, 
in English. And I love my souvenir teacup, too!

Best to all,
Bob Projansky

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 12:50:56 +0100
Subject: 17.0369 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

David Kathman writes ...

 >I am not aware of any evidence that the property purchased by
 >John Shakespeare after William's birth was specifically the
 >western property; as far as I recall, the records are ambiguous
 >on this point, only noting that the property was on Henley Street.
 >However, it's possible that my memory of the facts is faulty.
 >Does Mr. Bridgman have any documentation to back up this
 >assertion?

Only Ian Wilson's 'Shakespeare: the Evidence' [p.30] ...

"Although both [properties] were owned by the Shakespeare family, not a 
jot of evidence tells in which young William was born.  If it was 
either, it was more likely the eastern half, the notable Stratford 
authority Edgar Fripp arguing that the western portion was not purchased 
until 1575, by which time William was eleven.  The tenuous local 
tradition that he was born in the western part probably derives from 
this being the section that members of the family continued to occupy 
after Shakespeare's father's death, leasing out the rest".  [From 
Wilson's notes, the details of the 1575 purchase come from Fripp's 
'Shakespeare's Stratford', OUP, London 1928.]

I suspect the "local tradition" came from the fact that in the 19th 
century the western half looked something like a half-timbered Tudor 
building while the eastern half resembled a brick building with Georgian 
bay windows (see the early 19th century illustration, Plate 3, in 
Anthony Holden's biography).

Chapter 3 of Wilson's book is titled: ' 'Stratford-Upon-Avon 'One of the 
biggest frauds in England'? '  Wilson is quoting Bernard Levin in the 
Daily Mail ...

"Stratford permits - indeed encourages - one of the biggest frauds in 
England to rage unchecked.  I mean those two monumental frauds, 
'Shakespeare's Birthplace and Anne Hathaway's Cottage".

David Kathman again ...

 >As far as I'm aware, the Trust did not "demolish" the Birthplace
 >properties; they renovated and restored them to make them look
 >roughly as they would have in the 16th century, which is not the
 >same thing as "demolishing" them.  They did demolish the
 >buildings on either side of the Birthplace, to reduce the risk of fire.

If you don't like "demolished", how about "totally gutted, then 
completely and cosmetically rebuilt"?  Here's a photo of the "Birthplace"...

http://www.craigr.com/images/Stratford%20Shakespeare%20House.jpg

Bernard Levin knew mock-Tudor when he saw it.

Peter Bridgman

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Saturday, 29 Apr 2006 13:55:12 +0100
Subject: 17.0369 Stratford
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0369 Stratford

And here are two Victorian photos of the Henley Street properties, the 
first one taken before the adjoining buildings were demolished.  Note 
that the eastern "half" (the pub) was a Georgian brick building.  ...

http://www.oldstratforduponavon.com/images/henleyst_l_.JPG
http://www.oldstratforduponavon.com/images/henleyst_b_.jpg

Peter Bridgman

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.