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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: August ::
Redheads
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0532  Thursday, 16 August 2007

[1] 	From: 		Matteo Pangallo <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:00:10 -0400
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[2] 	From: 		Virginia Byrne <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:08:05 EDT
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526  Redheads

[3] 	From: 		Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:46:53 -0400
	Subj: 		RE: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[4] 	From: 		Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 10:26:33 -0400
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[5] 	From: 		Colin Cox <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 07:48:28 -0700
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[6] 	From: 		Arthur Lindley <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 16:17:08 +0000
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[7] 	From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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	Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 20:20:53 +0000
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

[8] 	From: 		Alan Horn <
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	Date: 		Thursday, 16 Aug 2007 07:50:55 -0400
	Subj: 		Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Matteo Pangallo <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:00:10 -0400
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

I'm not aware of the use of red wigs on *all* of the "menacing 
characters" in Shakespeare, but English theatrical tradition dating back 
at least to Shakespeare's age depicted stage Jews as redheads. Shylock, 
thus, may have been performed with a red wig. The practice emerged from 
the unsubstantiated legend that Judas was a redhead.

- Matteo Pangallo

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Virginia Byrne <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:08:05 EDT
Subject: 18.0526  Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526  Redheads

Sure....correct me if I am wrong (and I am sure you all will)...was not 
Shylock traditionally costumed with a red wig?

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Marilyn A. Bonomi <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 09:46:53 -0400
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

David Frankel asks about red wigs.

I cannot recall my source but Jews were often portrayed in red wigs 
(Shylock, Jew of Malta) in Elizabethan theatre.  I *believe* it was a 
holdover from some of the Medieval morality plays.  Now I need to go dig 
out my notes from my MA-English courses.

Mari Bonomi

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 10:26:33 -0400
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

I have read that it was traditional for the actor playing Shylock to 
wear a red wig, which I assumed was part of the ethnic makeup, but this 
is the first I have heard that other "menacing characters" were played 
in red wigs. Which characters in particular, and what support is there 
for this notion?

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Colin Cox <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 07:48:28 -0700
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

David Frankel writes, "one possible source for the discrimination 
against those with red hair, ". . . could date back to Shakespeare, who 
used red wigs on his most menacing characters."

Shylock, as portrayed by Richard Burbage, and Marlowe's Barabbas, as 
portrayed by Edward Alleyn, were presented as the 'villain' in red wigs 
as it was presumed that Judas Iscariot had been a 'red head'.

Colin Cox

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Arthur Lindley <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 16:17:08 +0000
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

Not coincidentally, the red wig was also used to identify a Jew, notably 
Barabas in *The Jew of Malta*.  I don't have the book to hand, but James 
Shapiro's *Shakespeare and the Jews* would be a good place to start 
looking for further information.

Arthur Lindley

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Nicole Coonradt <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 15 Aug 2007 20:20:53 +0000
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

RE: David Frankel's post on "Gingers"-- not sure about blaming the Bard 
for the discrimination, but below are three links to the amazing 
Catherine Tate's take on the problem in the UK.  (There may be more 
skits on this topic to view at YouTube should you want more.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUIRFh4pJ78  (FYI:  This is mislabeled 
"Rustic" Lodge; it ought to be "Russet" Lodge.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6GgDyqBxtk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=090BYduNSMw&mode=related&search=

And off-topic re "Gingers," but very SHAKSPER, try this one as well: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=541tEBFK0v4

For those of you unfamiliar with Tate's comedic genius, catch more of 
her work at YouTube.  There's even a Lauren Cooper skit with Tony Blair.

Enjoy!

Nicole Coonradt

[Editor's Note: Speaking of YouTube, but not of "Reds," yesterday I came 
across a five and a half minute YouTube promo for the American 
Shakespeare Center's Touring Company. Of interest is that the video 
contains shots of the Blackfriars marbled scaenae frons "before" and 
"after" it was painted two years ago 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tf66DPp4g4>. All of which further 
reminds me that the 4th Bi-annual Blackfriars Conference is forthcoming 
in October. How's that for examples of non-linear association? -Hardy]

[8]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Alan Horn <
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Date: 		Thursday, 16 Aug 2007 07:50:55 -0400
Subject: 18.0526 Redheads
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0526 Redheads

Judas was supposed to have had red hair, a tradition that is alluded to 
in As You Like It (III, v). Actors playing him in the miracle and 
mystery plays wore red wigs and beards. By extension, these accessories 
were thought suitable for early modern stage-Jews, including-as far as 
anyone knows-Shylock.

Jay L. Halio's introduction to the Oxford Shakespeare's Merchant of 
Venice gives some references.

Alan Horn

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