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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
Redheads Revisted
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0271  Thursday, 8 May 2008

[1] 	From:	Olwen Terris <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:02:01 +0100
	Subj:	RE: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted

[2] 	From:	Arthur Lindley <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:11:58 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted

[3] 	From:	John Zinn <
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	Date:	Tuesday, 06 May 2008 22:06:52 +0000
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Olwen Terris <
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Date:		Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:02:01 +0100
Subject: 19.0264 Redheads Revisted
Comment:	RE: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted

 >A friend in the UK tells me that the RSC History plays
 >run is excellent and he heard that the Boyd production
 >of RII has the King as an obvious redhead and that
 >there are distinct parallels to Elizabeth I. I would
 >love to hear if any members have been lucky enough
 >to see this (I heard was sold-out) and what the
 >reactions are. In the meanwhile, I'll look for
 >some reviews.

Indeed Jonathan Slinger's wig (he is shaven-headed in real life, or was 
when I attended an `in conversation' lecture he gave in Stratford last 
year) is orange, luxuriant and curly as a click on the following link 
will show.

  http://www.rsc.org.uk/content/5921.aspx

It didn't occur to me at the time but no doubt the parallels to 
Elizabeth I were there. To my 21st century eye Slinger's performance 
(voice, gait, bearing - and wig ) put me strongly in mind of the writer, 
actor and gay rights campaigner, Quentin Crisp as portrayed by John Hurt 
in 'The Naked Civil Servant' , see 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/timelines/05/itvfifty_4.xml/img/timeline_hurt.jpg

I wasn't overwhelmed by the production myself but Slinger's performance 
was mesmerizing. There will be many reviews readily available now.

Olwen Terris

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Arthur Lindley <
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Date:		Tuesday, 6 May 2008 16:11:58 +0000
Subject: 19.0264 Redheads Revisted
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted

That's Jonathan Slinger, who also does a pyrotechnic version of Richard 
III in the same cycle. He's a very good R II, helped or hindered 
according to taste by a carefully constructed physical resemblance to 
Eliz I. He's an even better hunchback, this time without resemblance to E.

You can, by the way, search the websites of, for example, the 
*Guardian,* *Times, Independent, Telegraph* et al. for their reviews. 
The Royal Shakespeare Co.  website should be able to provide some 
images. You could also check the latest number of *Cahiers 
Elizabethains* (2007), which is devoted to the Complete Works season, 
including the history cycle.

Arthur

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Zinn <
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Date:		Tuesday, 06 May 2008 22:06:52 +0000
Subject: 19.0264 Redheads Revisted
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0264 Redheads Revisted

At the end of February, my wife and I went to Stratford from the USA to 
see the whole cycle. It was a great experience especially seeing all 
eight plays in such a concentrated period, including the three Henry VI 
plays in one day. Supposedly, this is the first time in history that the 
same ensemble has done all eight plays over such a short time.

Jonathan Slinger plays Richard II (also Fluellen and Richard III) and he 
starts off wearing a red wig that does spark memories of Elizabeth I. As 
things start to go, bad for Richard he takes off the wig and is bald for 
the rest of the play. Slinger does a variation of this in 3 Henry VI as 
Richard of Gloucester.

I can't say that I noticed any other parallels to Elizabeth, but I may 
have missed them. At the beginning of the play, all of the characters do 
a sort of procession towards Richard as the procession moves forward 
they reveal a dead body on the stage - the murdered Gloucester or Woodstock.

Video clips from Richard III and Henry V are available on the RSC web site.

John Zinn

[Editor's Note: My daughter Rebecca and I were quite impressed with the 
three Henry VI plays we saw two summers ago at the Roundhouse during the 
International Conference. We were fortunate that the series concluded 
with the opening night of 3 Henry VI with its ultimate stunning image of 
Henry's bleeding corpse (and we in the uppermost gallery). There seemed 
to have been virtually ten gallons of stage blood oozing from Henry's 
blood pack, the bright red from the resulting pool that formed around 
him, contrasting so well with his white garb that signifying his purity, 
the blood, representing the symbolic depleting of this Lancastrian's 
life force, fouling the costumes of all of the remaining characters on 
the stage who walked through that enormous pool surrounding him. And 
finally, on this 3H6 opening night, after the curtain (or rather 
blackout), the cast passed out red and white roses to those in 
attendance. A fine, memorable theatrical evening. -HMC]

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