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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: February ::
Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0053  Sunday, 1 February 2009

From:      John Briggs <
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Date:      Monday, 26 Jan 2009 20:01:02 -0000
Subject: 20.0043 Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet'
Comment:   Re: SHK 20.0043 Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet'

Mike Shapiro wrote:

 >In Malvolio's reading of the forged letter supposedly
 >from the Countess, the playwright's object is to expose
 >M's inflated ego and inevitable downfall of those who
 >believe they have cornered the market on moral authority.
 >Other letters such as the Much Ado, Leonato letter are
 >purely exposition vehicles. An actor can look at the
 >letter see that the words are correct but his mind should
 >be creating the author's intention. It's easier to have
 >memorized the lines and tend to the author than read the
 >actual text which adds another task to the already
 >burdened actor.

It may be easier *now*, but it is generally accepted (e.g. by Simon 
Palfrey & Tiffany Stern, Shakespeare in Parts, 2007) that in the 
original productions anything written on a letter, etc, was read and 
*not* memorised - not least because of the number of plays in the 
repertory. All in all, it's probably not a good idea to think too much 
about an author's "intention".

John Briggs

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