The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0402 Friday, 5 May 2006
Date: Thursday, 4 May 2006 11:16:00 -0500
I was reminded today, teaching Stoppard's R&G Are Dead, what his head
Player says about the dumb show (which his troupe stages). I figure
Stoppard counts as a thoughtful reader of Hamlet.
GUIL. What is the dumbshow for?
PLAYER: Well, it's a device, really -- it makes the action that follows
more or less comprehensible; you understand, we are tied down to a
language that makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.
The rehearsal of the dumbshow continues then to the murder, after which
ROS asks, "Who was that?" and the PLAYER replies, "The King's brother
and uncle to the Prince."
Stoppard goes on to shuffle the Hamlet data brilliantly, etc., but here
at least, if we're asking GUIL's question, a brilliant practicing
playwright's practicing head Player suggests, I guess, that the dumbshow
enables the proper apprehension of Murder of Gonzago obscurities.
Whatever those are.
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