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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: November ::
Shakespeare as Falstaff
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0765  Tuesday, 13 November 2007

[1] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
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	Date:	Friday, 09 Nov 2007 11:49:08 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff

[2] 	From:	Dan Venning <
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	Date:	Friday, 9 Nov 2007 12:11:30 -0500
	Subj:	Re: SHK 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
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Date:		Friday, 09 Nov 2007 11:49:08 -0500
Subject: 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff

 >Steve Sohmer has argued (persuasively, it seems to me) that
 >Shakespeare played Julius Caesar (as well as Polonius).

I thought it is generally believed that Heminges played Polonius and 
Shakespeare played the Ghost (maybe doubling as Player King).

As for the possible puns in Falstaff's name, let us not overlook the 
phallic one.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Dan Venning <
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Date:		Friday, 9 Nov 2007 12:11:30 -0500
Subject: 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff
Comment:	Re: SHK 18.0756 Shakespeare as Falstaff

Jack Heller writes: "Another problem particularly for this idea about 
Falstaff is that he appears in three plays, once as the lead character. 
Do we ever hear of Shakespeare taking a lead role?"

Having dramaturged THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, I definitely feel that 
while Falstaff is the largest role, the leading role of that play is 
actually Master Ford. Ford's jealousy, suspicion, and disguises provide 
as much dramatic action as Falstaff's lust, greed, and bumbling 
seduction, and are in many ways the high point of that play. It could 
also be argued that the wives themselves (together) are the main 
characters. It's a bizarre play, because Falstaff is neither the 
funniest character nor the central character in the play he dominates, 
in my opinion. We did it with puppets, directed wonderfully by Sean 
Daniels at California Shakespeare Theater.

This is straying somewhat far from topic, my apologies. Although I don't 
know of any evidence to suggest that Shakespeare played leading 
characters, I am fairly certain that he was known for playing kings and 
old men. If I remember correctly, he is listed as playing Tiberius in 
Jonson's SEJANUS HIS FALL--a king and a secondary character, although 
only barely; Tiberius is almost equal in size and importance to Sejanus 
in that play. It seems far more likely to me, considering what we know 
about his parts, that Shakespeare played Henry IV in those plays. But as 
with much in this topic, that's just speculation on my part.

Dan Venning

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