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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: December ::
Shakespeare as Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0817  Saturday, 8 December 2007


[1] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 04 Dec 2007 23:43:48 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff

[2] 	From:	John Briggs <
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	Date:	Wednesday, 5 Dec 2007 17:51:31 -0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Tuesday, 04 Dec 2007 23:43:48 -0500
Subject: 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff

 >what part in Hamlet would the player of Falstaff take?

Polonius seems the obvious choice.  If so, then working backwards, 
Falstaff might have been played by Heminge.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Briggs <
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Date:		Wednesday, 5 Dec 2007 17:51:31 -0000
Subject: 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0811 Shakespeare as Falstaff

Herb Weil wrote:

 >"Maturing" in quotes certainly did not suggest biographic age, but the
 >increasing skill in portraying complexity.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy that. Increasing complexity in roles is 
the province of the playwright. It is up to the leading actor to be able 
to fulfill those requirements.

 >Why not just forget the word and question whether the leading actor
 >played both parts?

That's a tough one! The leading actor was a sharer in both the company 
and the theatre. His family were also sharers and built the theatre. 
Would the leading actor take the leading role? What would your call be?

 >Then what part in Hamlet would the player of Falstaff take?

Steve Sohmer (who is hovering on the fringe of this discussion) will 
tell you that Shakespeare played Polonius and the Gravedigger. I am less 
convinced that he played the Ghost.

A rather more cogent question would be to ask who played what in 
"Twelfth Night" (1601/2)? I would say that whoever played Falstaff 
played Sir Toby - would anyone argue? But which role did Richard Burbage 
take? The other leading male roles are Malvolio and the Duke (probably 
in that order). (The play is remarkable for having three strong female 
roles.)

John Briggs

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