2008

Gonzalo Question

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0614  Saturday, 25 October 2008

[1] From:   David Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 15:10:23 -0400
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question

[2] From:   John Zuill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Friday, 17 Oct 2008 10:55:57 +1000
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Richman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 15:10:23 -0400
Subject: 19.0601 Gonzalo Question
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question

I have acted Gonzalo; much later, I acted Prospero on a production staged on 
Appledore Island, one of the small islands off the coast of New Hampshire.

I would strongly advise NOT cutting the utopian vision. One of the play's points 
is the holding up of competing visions of the isle. Antonio's and Sebastian's 
reactions to Gonzalo reveal important aspects of their characters. Gonzalo's 
kindliness and ineffectuality are necessary features of the play. You are 
endanger of diminishing the audience's impression of all these factors if you 
excise the speech.

David Richman

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John Zuill <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Friday, 17 Oct 2008 10:55:57 +1000
Subject: 19.0601 Gonzalo Question
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question

I would leave it in.

 From you e-mail, it's clear to me that you have decided on a particular 
direction with the play. If the island is a karma bin, then Gonzalo brings his 
Karma same as everyone else. And as you say, it's good. It's also Gonzalo that 
saved Prospero from a destiny for which he is somewhat responsible for bring 
upon himself. Hm, your Karma idea has legs.

When my company did it, I was struck by how Gonzalo seems to want to change the 
island into a kind of resort. Or he wants to rework the problems of his homeland 
in this new country, just as his shipmates are thinking of reworking the 
structure of governance at home by killing the King on the island.

I think he is a necessary counterpoint; that Gonzalo provides a "karmic" balance 
that allows the mercy of Prospero later. By the way, we had Gonzalo played by a 
woman who had a romantic interest in saving Prospero. I don't defend this 
casting choice on strictly academic principles, it's just that we had a good 
actress and no budget and were looking for simple solutions. It worked quite 
well, especially at the end, more dumb show (which I avoid), but then we had a 
cat that kept crossing the stage in the middle of performances too (it was in a 
park), and that breaks all kinds of rules.


_______________________________________________________________
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Theseus's Private Schooling

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0613  Saturday, 25 October 2008

[1] From:   Arnie Perlstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 18:04:55 -0400
     Subt:   Theseus's Private Schooling

[2] From:   Suzanne Westfall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Sunday, 19 Oct 2008 08:57:44 -0400
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0595 Theseus's Private Schooling


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Arnie Perlstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 18:04:55 -0400
Subject:    Theseus's Private Schooling

Thank you three gentlemen for your very interesting answers. It's fascinating to 
read such well-argued claims for two ostensibly opposite interpretations. But I 
think they are not automatically opposite, but instead can be seen as 
complementary, i.e., a third claim could consist of a combination of the other 
two. We can see Theseus hedging his bets, as a canny politician, giving himself 
two bites at the apple. He simultaneously puts public pressure on Lysander and 
Hermia, but also twists Aegeus's and Demetrius's arms in a private, politically 
savvy way that allows Aegeus to save face.

I think this also ties in very nicely with another idea, i.e., that Oberon and 
Theseus are alter egos (which is famously reflected in the frequent casting of 
one actor to play both Theseus and Oberon). I see, on a metaphorical level, a 
kind of "chain of command" where Theseus wants something to happen, his "monster 
of the id", Oberon, picks it up on his "antennae" and then acts on Theseus's 
wish, and then Oberon gives an explicit command to Puck to carry out that wish. 
Like parallel universes.

Theseus has two problems -- what to do about Hermia and Demetrius, and keeping 
Hippolyta in line. And look at what Oberon orders Puck to do.

First Puck is instructed to cause Demetrius to reciprocate Helena's love (the 
fairyland analog to that "private schooling"). But, tellingly, Puck initially 
follows Neil's solution, by changing Lysander's feelings. Of course, it does not 
take Oberon long to correct that error. So we see both of Theseus's plans for 
resolution in action.

Second, Puck is instructed to take Titania down a peg or two, and this is what 
Puck carries out faithfully. How that relates to Hippolyta's subsequent behavior 
is something someone else may want to take a stab at.

Those familiar with the movie Fantastic Planet will have noticed my usage of 
"monsters of the id", and I think it's very interesting for this thread that the 
movie was based on The Tempest. The parallel between the Oberon:Puck dyad with 
the Prospero:Ariel dyad is obvious, and I think it also points to the kind of 
analysis I have attempted in this message.

Arnie

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Suzanne Westfall <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Sunday, 19 Oct 2008 08:57:44 -0400
Subject: 19.0595 Theseus's Private Schooling
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0595 Theseus's Private Schooling

In regard to Theseus' "private schooling": both Theseus and Egeus have to get 
offstage and change, since both are doubling. Theseus has to dress for Oberon, 
which might take a bit of time. That's the actor's answer.

This reminds me of one of my favorite moments of theatrical text /dramatic text 
discord. A roomful of academics were contemplating how three murderers could 
kill Banquo, one of the finest soldiers in the land. Some suggested he was 
distracted by defending his son. Some went with the "Macbeth is the third 
murderer" theory. Others mused long and hard about the effects of the 
supernatural on the play. When asked about his theory, the actor playing the 
murderer replied, "we have to get the torch out, kill him, and get the body 
offstage, and we've got 15 seconds."

'nuff said!

And "heroes?" I nominate Hardy for tilting at the SPAM windmills, and coming to 
class even though we haven't got our papers. I'd call both actions selflessly 
heroic!

Cheers,
Suzanne

[Editor's Note: Thank you, Suzanne. How kind. Welcome and appreciated words, 
these are. Yoda]

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Freud on Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0610  Saturday, 25 October 2008

From:       Jack Heller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Saturday, 18 Oct 2008 14:23:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:    Freud on Shakespeare

Colleagues:

I was asked recently to track down some writing Sigmund Freud had done on Lady 
Macbeth, and I think I have found some of it on the Internet. However, I have 
not been able to track down the entire text, titled "Some Character-types Met 
with In Psycho-analytical Work," which apparently includes some discussion of 
Richard III as well. My question: Is there any book that has gathered everything 
that Freud has written on Shakespeare?

Jack Heller

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

Heroes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0612  Saturday, 25 October 2008

[1] From:   Jason Rhode <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:39 PM
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0602 Heroes

[2] From:   Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 20:16:28 -0700
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0594 Heroes


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Jason Rhode <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:39 PM
Subject: 19.0602 Heroes
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0602 Heroes

Alan Pierpoint brings up an excellent point. However, courage, stoicism, one's 
own value system, desire to do good, etc. aren't quite enough for me.

To my mind, the conditio sine qua non of heroism is unselfishness, or to put it 
broadly, a capacity for honest self-sacrifice.

If we use the broad definition of "one who does great and good, completely 
morally pure deeds," then, no, Shakespeare is absent heroes.

However, if we use the criteria defined by the NPR broadcast, and add to that 
the virtue of unselfishness, there are several characters that might meet our 
standard: Cordelia, Bottom, Lear's Fool, and Horatio.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 20:16:28 -0700
Subject: 19.0594 Heroes
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0594 Heroes

I suspect we don't have a surplus of heroes these days because, unlike a three- 
or five-act drama, our 24/7 media ensures we will eventually know too much about 
them. The media that makes heroes may unmake them quickly, but minimally reveals 
them as merely human. Periodically an ordinary person --say, a passerby who 
rescues someone from a burning house -- gains instant heroism, but next day may 
gain infamy -- police say he's the guy who set the fire. At the leadership 
level, heroes are few, especially beyond the moment.

I have wanted to write about a Shakespearian figure in recent history: Col. Tim 
Collins. You may remember the Iraq War's beginning was marked in the British 
contingent by remarks both somber and inspirational by Col. Collins of the Royal 
Irish Regiment. This off-the-cuff talk, in March 2003 to a group of his men 
poised to cross the Kuwait border into Iraq, was picked up by the press and 
widely compared to Henry V's -- or, shall we say, Shakespeare's -- Agincourt 
speech. Iraq War skeptics noted the contrast between Collins' compassion on the 
eve of battle compared with President Bush's insensitive, comic-book rhetoric. 
(Nonetheless, Bush pinned up a copy of the Collins speech in the Oval Office.)

The Collins speech may be found, with commentary by the Daily Mail reporter who 
was present, at http://journal.dajobe.org/journal/2003/03/collins/   For a BBC 
series this year called "10 Days to War" the producers found a most appropriate 
actor, Kenneth Branagh, to do a re-creation of Collins' speech in the desert: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpdeNcH1H8A

Henry V is as solidly enshrined in the hall of heroes as Richard III is 
positioned in the chamber of horrors. It would be hard to think of any single 
work of art that would so totally place a figure from the last hundred years. 
Nonstop news, backstopped by occasional history, ensures continuous development 
of plots or storylines so that, very often, the tales of heroes and men seem to 
have no end. Who would argue that the story of John F. Kennedy ended November 
22, 1963?

To return to Col. Collins, a chronology of headlines tells the story of his 
sudden rise, near fall, redemption, and anomalous current status. Even this 
month he is still in the spotlight.

Papers praise moving war speech
Irish commander is new U.K. hero
Commander's speech to troops raises eyebrows
Inspiring officer to be groomed for greatness
Heroes: are they really so hard to find?
Prince 'moved' by officer's battle speech
        *
Has a British officer incited war crimes?
Hero or villain?
British war hero probed over alleged crimes
Colonel Tim shopped by the U.S.
Colonel Tim: I'm no war criminal
RIR battalion commander faces second inquiry
Brit colonel fights to clear name
Col. Tim Collins cleared of charges of mistreating Iraqi civilians
        *
Cleared colonel awarded Iraq war OBE
Iraq War colonel quits Army
Col. Tim Collins wins double libel damages
Colonel accuses Allies over Iraq
Colonel Tim spurns politics for life on the small screen
Back into battle
        *
Tim Collins trained troops to fight with white phosphorus
Je ne regrette...Tim Collins
Basra pull-out leaves UK military 'damaged', says Colonel Tim Collins
Famous speech by Colonel Tim Collins 'left men fearful'
Hero colonel in war of words with his deputy over famous eve-of-battle Iraq 
speech that
        'demoralised' British troops
Soldiers clash over speech
Did the Sarge win this war of words?
. . .

I suggest that the creator who makes a story out of such headlines must depart 
substantially from reality. As we know, Shakespeare did with the muddled stuff 
of Hall's and Holinshed's history.

Cheers,
Al Magary

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

OTHELLO Moment

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0609  Saturday, 25 October 2008

From:       L. Swilley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:       Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 15:23:03 -0500
Subject:    A Delightful Moment in Alley Theatre's "Othello"

In an otherwise soporific production of the Alley's recent "Othello," I was 
awakened by a marvelous touch of invention for the character of Iago: in IV, 2, 
Desdemona kneels before the villain, begging his help; Iago's hand hovers a 
instant in near-sympathy over the innocent's head -- then it swiftly moves 
behind his back. If ever a character needed softening in presentation, it is 
surely Iago, who is otherwise a monster. (And the play, of course, is so 
curiously Iago's, not Othello's.)

L. Swilley

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email 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.

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