Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: July ::
Against All-Male Productions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0696  Tuesday, 25 July 2006

[Editor's Note: No further posts in this thread will be accepted. If you 
wish to continue discussing an issue raised in this thread, you must do 
so in a submission with a new Subject line that delineates the aspect of 
the discussion you wish to continue.]

[1] 	From: 	John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 24 Jul 2006 18:47:13 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions

[2] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 24 Jul 2006 23:00:25 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions

[3] 	From: 	John Crowley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Tuesday, 25 Jul 2006 07:57:23 -0400
	Subj: 	Against All-Male Productions


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 24 Jul 2006 18:47:13 -0400
Subject: 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions

Hardy M. Cook quoted David Lindley:

 >But there is simply no doubt that Shakespeare wrote for boy
 >(or male) actors, and that this must have, to some degree,
 >conditioned the way he composed his female roles.
 >
 >There is NO doubt. Hardy]

Indeed, to deny it is, ultimately, to suppose that Shakespeare did not 
know his craft. (Why is it so easy to believe that Shakespeare was a 
philosopher, a mystic, or a reformer, and so yet hard to believe that he 
was a playwright?)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 24 Jul 2006 23:00:25 -0400
Subject: 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0693 Against All-Male Productions

I believe that this thread started as a discussion of whether or to what 
extent all-male casting is appropriate on the modern stage.  There might 
be some utility to such a discussion as it deals with present 
conditions.  But I agree wholeheartedly with Hardy that there is no 
utility in speculating about what Shakespeare would have preferred if he 
had thought about it.  For all that appears, Will might have deplored an 
innovation putting women on the stage because it would have denied him 
the ambiguities he played with in his trousers roles-consider Rosalind 
(a boy playing a girl pretending to be a boy behaving as a girl) -- or 
delicious lines such as "boy my greatness."  We don't know; we can't 
know; we can't find out; and it is an utter waste of time to dispute it. 
  Maybe Shakespeare would have preferred writing for IMAX than for a 
bare platform stage, but it doesn't help us understand what he did write 
if we focus on such imponderables.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Crowley <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Tuesday, 25 Jul 2006 07:57:23 -0400
Subject: 	Against All-Male Productions

It might be relevant to the question of whether boys could 
satisfactorily play women that in Japanese Kabuki (almost 
contemporaneously) male actors -- not only boys but mature men -- were 
playing women and establishing famed dynasties of female impersonators. 
  A tradition begun when women were banned from the popular theater 
(they were of a class with prostitutes) continued even after women were 
allowed on the stage again.  There seems to be little (no?) evidence of 
that kind of adulation and following for the Elizabethan male actors who 
played women.  But the Japanese adulation and the large followings were 
originally bound up with the fact that the male actors were originally 
often prostitutes too, and so maybe the sexual mores or attitudes in 
Elizabethan social life kept fanship more quiet -- I say this having no 
particular evidence.  Maybe if we had preserved the no-women ban for 
another century or two we'd now have famed and skilled female 
impersonators (which we do have) who are not only good but also 
classically trained actors (which we don't have.) It might make all the 
difference to our opinion of all-male productions.

_______________________________________________________________
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.