2006

What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0497  Thursday, 25 May 2006

[1] 	From: 	Noel Sloboda <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Tuesday, 23 May 2006 13:37:20 -0400 (EDT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?

[2] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Date: 	Thursday, May 25, 2006
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Noel Sloboda <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 13:37:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?

Thank you for all of the responses to my query.

I made it because I am serving as dramaturg for a _Lear_ production, and 
the actress playing the Fool (who is NOT, by the way, playing Cordelia) 
was having trouble figuring out how to leave the stage near the end of 
3.6.  We decided not to kill her, as Noble did, during the mock trial.

If the Fool goes with Lear, the actress asked, why is she never again 
seen with him?  The actress was also wrestling with questions of 
motivation: Why would she go with him-especially as a young fool with a 
future (a decision necessitated by casting in this production)?

We're still in the planning and rehearsal stages, but I last heard that 
the Fool is going to sneak back on stage after helping Kent with Lear's 
exit, then abscond in the opposite direction right before Edgar's 
soliloquy.  This interpretation suggests that she is getting away from 
Lear who is, by this time, mad and unable to protect her-or be "fooled" 
by her.  She is, Feste-like, hitting the road, possibly even becoming a 
Tom o' Bedlam (not literally a madman like her former master but one 
feigning madness for alms).

Thanks again for the thought-provoking discussion of the Fool in _Lear_!

Sincerely,
Noel Sloboda

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Thursday, May 25, 2006
Subject: 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0486 What happens to the Fool in _Lear_?

Stated in this manner, we focus on an entirely different matter - 
performance choices regarding the absence of the Fool from 3.6 to the 
end of the play.

On one level, it really doesn't matter what happens to the Fool; 
nevertheless, many directors have elected to explain the Fool's apparent 
disappearance.

One of the more satisfying choices I recall is that made my Michael 
Elliott in his Granata Television <I>Laurence Olivier's KING LEAR</I>. 
Elliott concludes 3.6 with a shot of the Fool, played by John Hurt, 
convulsed from an ague, presumably pneumonia that he contracted in the 
storm.

I discussed in March during a discussion of ASL Productions one of the 
least satisfying choices I saw performed 
<http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2006/0182.html>:

A few years ago, The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., offered a 
production of *Lear* in which the part of Cordelia was played by a 
hearing-impaired actor who signed all of her lines, which were 
subsequently translated by speaking members of the cast, most often the 
Fool.

It was an interesting take on Cordelia's absence of a voice:

Lear: 	 	. . . what can you say to draw
    		A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.

Cordelia:	Nothing, my lord.

The production was unfortunately marred by the directorial choice to 
have the Fool dragged in with a noose around his neck at the line "my 
poor fool is hanged."

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Shakespeare's Hidden Catholicism

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0496  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

From: 		John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 12:46:31 +0100
Subject: 17.0473 Shakespeare's Hidden Catholicism
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0473 Shakespeare's Hidden Catholicism

Duncan Salkeld wrote:

>It's equally if not more likely that this Gulielmus came from
>Stratford, London, than Stratford upon Avon (no hyphens in
>Shakespeare's day).

As the place-name "Stratford" means 'ford by which a Roman road crossed a 
river' it is hardly surprising that there are at least twelve places in 
England with that name.  All except the one in Bedfordshire have a 
distinguishing epithet.

John Briggs

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

A Roof on the Globe?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0494  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

From: 		David Crystal <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 May 2006 10:44:57 +0100
Subject: 17.0481 A Roof on the Globe?
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0481 A Roof on the Globe?

Well, regardless of the issue of whether the Globe was right to do it, I 
have to report that the opening night of Titus last Saturday was a 
triumph, judging by the eruption of applause from the full house at the 
end. The most striking feature of the production, to my mind, was the way 
so much of the action was moved into the yard. The opening political 
exchanges are carried out by the actors on moveable towers which are 
wheeled about and used again at various points in the play. The arrival of 
Titus carried by prisoner Goths on a palanquin is made through the yard. 
The hunt scene takes place to and fro across the yard. A large net is 
dropped down into the yard from the front of the stage to form the pit 
into which Bassianus et al. are thrown. And so on. It was the most 
creative use of the yard space I have ever seen. And the groundlings loved 
it. A message on a board warned them on arrival that they would have to do 
a lot of moving around, and they certainly did. Indeed, I saw a couple of 
them join in the hunt! I say 'them'. Next time I see it I'm definitely 
going in the yard.

To relate this to the topic of this thread: I think the roofing effect 
works extremely well. You have to realize that it isn't functioning on its 
own. The back of the stage is entirely swathed in black. As are the 
columns. Smoke rises in the yard. The triangles of material which form the 
valerium reinforce all this, especially as our attention it drawn so much 
to what is going on in the yard. To me they seemed like the fingers of an 
ominous claw, pressing down on the action - and on us. The audience wasn't 
allowed in until ten minutes before the play went up, and the initial 
effect was quite startling.  The general reaction I heard around me was 
'wow'.

So, if you get the chance, see it. I predict it will be one of the most 
talked-about performances that the Globe has put on, for its design and 
directorial innovation alone. I could go on about the excellent cast and 
the haunting music and the unexpected moments of high comedy and... but 
this would be off-topic. Yet I should at least mention them, for, after 
all, the play's the thing. And this is indeed a Titus to remember.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Richard III

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0495  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

From: 		Elliott Stone <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 22 May 2006 21:43:05 -0400
Subject: 	Richard III

It was at least 10 years ago since the day I was in Chicago and took in a 
wonderful Richard III at the Shakespeare Theatre. As I was leaving the 
theatre I noticed the two young brothers who had just performed as the 
Young Princes in the play. They probably were waiting for their mom to 
pick them up. I approached the younger one and asked him why he thought 
Shakespeare had the lines in the play concerning the question to 
Buckingham about the Tower. "Did Julius Caesar build that place, my lord?"

He answered, "I don't know those are my brother's lines." The brothers 
then jumped into their mom's car and drove off leaving me perplexed all 
these years

Well, I was just thumbing through the Fourth Shakespeare Companion which 
contained an excellent explanation by David Scott Kastan in his article on 
"Shakespeare and English History p 167 @ 178. I will leave it to the 
reader to seek out his explanation.

Kastan earlier in his article quotes the line from Jonson's "The Devil Is 
An Ass" 2.4.8-14 where the dense but cunning Fitzdotrel points to his 
source of superior historical knowledge which is not the Chronicles "No, I 
confess I had't it from the play-books/ and think they're more authentic".

I admit to being one of the Shakespeare lovers who take very seriously 
Prince Hamlet's admonitions. One of which is "The players tell all"!

I also think that I now understand in Richard III why the Bishop of Ely is 
sent out for the strawberries III iv 46. They did not have a footnote on 
that in my high school text but they never do when it concerns a matter of 
sex!

Best,
Elliott H. Stone

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Seattle All-Female Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0493  Tuesday, 23 May 2006

From: 		David Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Monday, 22 May 2006 17:18:15 -0400
Subject: 17.0478 Seattle All-Female Hamlet
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0478 Seattle All-Female Hamlet

Ah! for certitude.  How about casting girls as Shakespeare's boys?  I 
think Ellen Terry, both in her youth, and again in her age, played 
Mamillius.

And I suppose the productions before 1661 also didn't work?  Alas, for His 
Majesty's Servants.

David Richman

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.