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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: October ::
Gonzalo Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0614  Saturday, 25 October 2008

[1] From:   David Richman <
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     Date:   Thursday, 16 Oct 2008 15:10:23 -0400
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question

[2] From:   John Zuill <
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     Date:   Friday, 17 Oct 2008 10:55:57 +1000
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0601 Gonzalo Question


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Richman <
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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 <
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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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