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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: May ::
Query: Jaques

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0191  Monday, 3 May 2010

[1]  From:      Peter Holland < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      April 29, 2010 7:33:06 AM EDT
     Subj:      RE: SHK 21.0187  Query: Jaques

[2]  From:      Robert Projansky < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
     Date:      April 30, 2010 8:52:07 PM EDT
     Subj:      Re: SHK 21.0187  Query: Jaques
 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Peter Holland < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         April 29, 2010 7:33:06 AM EDT
Subject: 21.0187  Query: Jaques
Comment:      RE: SHK 21.0187  Query: Jaques

>Greetings. I am currently part of a production of As You Like It. The
>director has suggested that perhaps Jaques is Duke Senior's younger
>brother. This would help explain why Jaques is permitted to speak with
>such candor to the Duke (besides the fact that everyone is in Arden,
>where many transgressions are permitted).
>
>Having two groups of three brothers has a certain appealing symmetry as
>well.
>
>Are there reasons against this interpretation?
>
>While the matter won't be announced to the audience, it does bear on the
>actors' choices. Any insight are welcome. 

Surely Duke Senior and Duke Frederick's missing brother is the 'old religious uncle' who 'taught [Rosalind] to speak' and is obviously the same 'old religious man' who conveniently and quickly converts Duke Frederick on the 'skirts' of the forest of Arden!

[2]=============================================================
From:         Robert Projansky < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         April 30, 2010 8:52:07 PM EDT
Subject: 21.0187  Query: Jaques
Comment:      Re: SHK 21.0187  Query: Jaques

Noel Sloboda says, in pertinent part:

>Greetings. I am currently part of a production of As You Like It. The
>director has suggested that perhaps Jaques is Duke Senior's younger
>brother. This would help explain why Jaques is permitted to speak with
>such candor to the Duke (besides the fact that everyone is in Arden,
>where many transgressions are permitted).
>
>Having two groups of three brothers has a certain appealing symmetry as
>well.
>
>Are there reasons against this interpretation?                         

Are there reasons for this interpretation? Where does it come from? What's the point? What will it add to the play for the guy (I hope) playing Jaques to remember a childhood filled with fratrigenic torments -- or kindnesses? Would imagining a new kid-brotherness really enhance an actor's ability to counterfeit the attitudes and behavior called for by the actor-proof role ofJaques?Beyond the performances heretofore managed by non-sibling Jaqueses over the last four centuries? As long as your director is making it up, how about Jaques as the Duke's blackmailer or his accountant, dad or boyfriend? Or all of the above?

And what more explanation for Jaques's candor is necessary than that Jacques is a smart-mouth non-stop ever-curious full-of-himself philosophizing waspish tactless kvetcher whom the good-natured Duke finds interesting and entertaining, e.g., "full of matter"? Also, Jacques and the others have voluntarily followed the exiled Duke Senior out to the boonies, where he has no authority beyond whatever they choose to give him out of respect and affection. (This explanation, which your director can have for nothing, has the novel advantage of a foundation in the actual words of the play, which were made up by William Shakespeare himself!)

And OK, let's suppose they are two sets of three brothers - so what? What would such symmetry add to this play besides another wrinkle for the code-and-anagram-finders and the like? (Hmm, 3 + 3 = exactly the number of points in the Star of David, the very same star that denoted German brewers, and we know Duke Senior's name is Adelbert from that thing in his first speech, so WS obviously had traveled to Bavaria, and . . . Rosicrucians and . . . Hymen = the Virgin . . . so "As You Like It" is really a prescient allegory of the Book of Mormon!) I think if such kin-based symmetry could do anything worthwhile for AYLI Shakespeare would have thought of it first and explicitly labeled Jaques as a third brother.

I too have a suggestion for the actor playing Jaques: figure out from your lines what kind of guy he is, then imagine yourself that kind of guy and make his lines your own. I also suggest your director forget about rewriting the play and concentrate on necessaries, like making sure the actors know their scansion and cutting the now-useless epilogue.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Break a leg.

Best to all.

Bob Projansky

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