The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0402 Friday, 24 July 2009
Date: Thursday, 23 Jul 2009 19:53:19 -0400
Subject: 20.0395 Updating Shakespeare's Plays
Comment: Re: SHK 20.0395 Updating Shakespeare's Plays
Julie Sutherland wrote:
>I absolutely agree that there have been some abominable
>'updatings' of Shakespeare, and equally abominable
>performances by women in Shakespeare. The worst productions
>I have seen, however, have been 'true' to the text and
>context (acknowledging our limited understanding of that
>context, unless we want to challenge the inerrancy of
>Hamlet in *Hamlet*, but we all know where believing in
>the inerrancy of anything gets us).
My whole post was heavily ironic, something I hoped was clear from the
"I blame the Bard himself" comment that I appended to the end. Granted
that one can always produce examples of "updatings" that are not
successful, but I prefer that to productions that take no risks at all.
Shakespeare's audiences presumably did not find it strange to watch
dramas about ancient Romans performed by cross-dressing men dressed in
Elizabethan clothing, but for some reason some scholars find it terribly
distracting or annoying to watch performances of King Lear in which the
setting evokes Sarajevo. I can understand responses that object to
particular updatings by detailing what was unsuccessful about them, but
not those that wish the practice would disappear altogether. What would
be the alternative?
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