2011

The Othello Pattern

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0027   Thursday, 27 January 2011

[1]  From:      Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:      Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:34:47 AM ET
     Subj:      Re: SHK 22.0019 The Othello Pattern

[2]  From       Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:      January 18, 2011 12:49:33 AM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHK 22.0019  The Othello Pattern

[3]  From       Patrick Dolan Jr. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
     Date:      January 18, 2011 9:40:15 AM EST
     Subj:      Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 12 Jan 2011 to 17 Jan 2011 (#2011-6)


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Carol Barton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:34:47 AM ET
Subject: 22.0019 The Othello Pattern
Comment:      Re: SHK 22.0019 The Othello Pattern

Anyone who sees the humor in this might appreciate an ad a friend saw in one of those airline magazines 
for a luxury retirement community. Verdant grounds, happy, smiling seniors. And the caption? "A fine and 
private place."

Best to all, 
Carol Barton

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         January 18, 2011 12:49:33 AM EST
Subject: 22.0019  The Othello Pattern
Comment:      Re: SHK 22.0019  The Othello Pattern

I am looking for the Ophelia beach towel set, but alas. No dice.

Tom

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:         Patrick Dolan Jr. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         January 18, 2011 9:40:15 AM EST
Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 12 Jan 2011 to 17 Jan 2011 (#2011-6)

Well, it's red, but it's not strawberries.

Pat


_______________________________________________________________
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.

Not Prince Hamlet, Nor Meant to Be

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0026   Thursday, 27 January 2011

From:         Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         January 22, 2011 9:24:50 AM EST
Subject:      Not Prince Hamlet, Nor Meant to Be

National Theatre Live:  Hamlet starring Rory Kinnear, directed by Nicholas Hytner

Horatio loves Hamlet; he may even want to be Hamlet. But wishes are not horses, and it makes no sense to 
cast a born Horatio as Hamlet. Rory Kinnear is a thirtyish, balding plodder with all the charisma of a 
substitute teacher. He is not unintelligent: he has considered his lines, and he conveys their meaning 
clearly if not trippingly. (He has even come up with a new reading: "Soft! You, now! The fair Ophelia!"). 
But he has no charm, no brilliance, minimal wit and limited powers of invention and variation. In brief, 
he is ordinary. Ophelia tells us that Hamlet is the undisputed Star of Elsinore, and even Claudius admits 
that the common people adore him. These accolades sit uneasily upon Kinnear, who turns _The Tragedy of 
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark_ into "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
 
Nicholas Hytner has surrounded him with minimalist scenery and a few familiar concepts. For the second 
time in a year, we see Denmark as a 21st-century police state. Hytner has replaced Gregory Doran's 
surveillance cameras with a bevy of Secret Service men, but the idea is the same and entirely wrong, for 
as a police state Denmark is ridiculous. The "dangerously mad" Hamlet puts on an unvetted play attacking 
second marriages before the newly-remarried Queen. He runs riot during the performance with obscenities, 
jeers and threats. He nearly kills the unguarded King at his prayers but decides to wait. Instead, he 
visits the Queen in her room where he promptly kills Polonius. Doran and Hytner wanted to convey the 
oppressive omnipresence of Big Brother, but what we see are the serial pratfalls of Keystone Kops.
 
Matters are not helped by their depiction of the Chief Spymaster. When Peter Hall first directed Hamlet 
(1965), he reconceived Polonius as a cunning politician using the mask of befuddlement to accomplish his 
ends. Kenneth Branagh did much the same in his 1996 film. Unaccountably, Doran and Hytner opt for a 
traditional comic dullard, further dispelling the Orwellian ambience. At least Doran's Polonius was 
funny. In contrast, David Calder loses laugh after laugh through bad timing and off-kilter rhythyms.  (He 
does the same as the Gravedigger in Act V). I have happy memories of Calder's fantastical, dream-struck 
Falstaff, but that was fifteen years ago.
 
In truth, Hamlet will not bear too much updating. If you choose, like Hytner, to present Ophelia as a 
thoroughly modern young woman -- sexy, feisty, jousting with her strange anachronism of a brother -- you 
raise the question of why she yields so quickly to Polonius' silly edicts. Why does her liberated mind 
give way before the mundane pressures of a bad love-affair and an aging father's death? Sensing these 
discrepancies, Hytner suggests that Ophelia does not drown under the weight of her own distraction, but 
is instead murdered by the royal goons. This doesn't help, and Ruth Negga is too pedestrian an actress to 
make sense of the muddle. 
 
On the plus side of the ledger, Patrick Malahide is a refreshingly slimy Claudius, a serpent in the 
orchard indeed. (Some actors try to ennoble the character. Nonsense: the man murders his brother and 
marries his sister-in-law for gain, and then engineers the murder of his stepson). Clare Higgins fleshes 
out the underwritten Gertrude in both senses, showing us a once-beautiful woman whom years and alcohol 
have thickened into a harsh, unlovely middle-age. Her gratitude to Claudius is keen, but her resentment 
at the passage of time is greater.  

Among the ensemble, Matthew Barker impresses as the Norwegian Captain (a small part, but there are no 
small parts), while Ferdinand Kingsley, son of Ben, is an efficient, yuppified Rosencrantz. Giles Terera 
looks like Eddie Murphy and plays Horatio about as well as Murphy could. The tearful Alex Lanipekun shows 
us Laertes the sentimentalist but not Laertes the fanatic avenger. James Laurenson was an embarrassing 
Gaveston to Ian McKellen's Edward II (1970); as the Ghost and the Player King, he seems to have finally 
ripened into competence.    

"Hamlet without the Prince" has become a metaphor; unhappily, Kinnear and Hytner literalize it. In 
Doran's production, we saw Hamlet as Harlequin. This was shallow, but more diverting than Hamlet as 
Prufrock. One has seen worse -- one has seen Beale -- but one has also seen much better. 
 
--Charles Weinstein

 
_______________________________________________________________
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.

Corpsing?

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0024   Thursday, 27 January 2011

From:           Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:          Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:31:41 AM ET
Subject: 	     Corpsing?

Does anyone know of any references in early modern drama or associated materials to the phenomenon now 
known as "corpsing" where an actor becomes seized by laughter in the middle of a performance? There are 
obvious places for playing games of this kind in Shakespeare, when Malvolio opens his letter and when 
Falstaff abuses "the gunpowder Percy" for instance, but specific accounts are hard to come by.

Thanks, 
Tom


_______________________________________________________________
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.

Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0024   Thursday, 27 January 2011

From:         Eric Johnson-DeBaufre <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         January 22, 2011 12:28:08 AM EST
Subject:      Collier, MND, and The Oxford Shakespeare

Can anyone offer a compelling argument for The Oxford Shakespeare's decision to emend Bottom's speech in 
1.2, where he promises to "move stones" (Oxford Shakespeare 1.2.24) rather than to "move storms" as he 
does in Q1 (1600), Q2 (1619), and F (1623)?

That the editors made the change without any clear textual warrant for doing so is somewhat baffling, but 
it is even more puzzling when one considers that the basis for the emendation appears to be Collier's 
forged MS annotations to the Second Folio.

Don't we risk confusing students and readers of Shakespeare by giving editorial sanction to a 
"correction" produced by a forger?

Eric Johnson-DeBaufre


_______________________________________________________________
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.

2011 Conference Announcement

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0023   Thursday, 27 January 2011

From:         Sarah Enloe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:         Tuesday, January 25, 2011 12:19:29 PM ET
Subject:      2011 Conference Announcement

As January draws to a close, we look forward to the new year and all that it promises, and at the 
American Shakespeare Center, the promise of 2011 is the Sixth Blackfriars Conference, at which we will be 
celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Blackfriars Playhouse. Our keynote speakers will be Tiffany 
Stern, George T. Wright, Stephen Booth, and Barbara Hodgdon, and, new this year, the panels immediately 
following each keynote session will further explore the topic addressed by the talk. We will expand the 
successful Staging Sessions we introduced at the 2009 conference and invite you to consider what textual 
crux you might wish to explore on the Blackfriars Stage with the help of the ASC resident troupe. We will 
continue to hone our Roundtable discussions, both in topic and in format. In addition to the five ASC 
productions and the traditional Saturday night Menzerama, we will also offer some shorter entertainments. 
And remember: the more events we have, the more opportunities you have to compete for the Truancy Award 
by ignoring them. For more information on any of the above, or to register or submit an abstract, please 
visit http://americanshakespearecenter.com/v.php?pg=1000.

You don't have to wait until October to enjoy the work at the Blackfriars. On January 8th our actors -- 
after three days of rehearsal -- opened the first of five early modern plays in our Actors' Renaissance 
Season. This season the actors, working from cues scripts without a director, will stage The Comedy of 
Errors, The Malcontent, Look About You, 3 Henry VI, and A Trick to Catch the Old One. By showcasing the 
remarkable energy and connectivity created by the text, the process, and the playhouse, the Actors' 
Renaissance Season generates new devotees of early modern theatre every year, so if you haven't been in 
Staunton during the season -- January through the first week of April -- try not to miss it this year. 
The success of the Actors' Renaissance Season has encouraged us to develop programs take advantage of 
their work. One such program is our Actor-Scholar Council. This group gathers for conversations with the 
actors throughout the season. Past meetings have provided anecdotes and insights into the plays, many of 
which have found their way into conference papers and presentations. We would love to see you at one of 
the Actor-Scholar Council meeting, but if you can't get to Staunton you can participate by posting a 
question for us to ask on our Facebook page, or by emailing one to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 
We will also be recording and podcasting our meetings this year, so check our website to hear the 
discussion and your questions answered. For more information, see 
http://www.americanshakespearecenter.com/v.php?pg=987.

Other innovations brought about by the ARS include our courses for college students, our new magazine The 
Playhouse Insider, and many new workshops and lectures dwelling on the lessons of our process and our 
productions. We already have eight college groups scheduled for the season, and anticipate adding more as 
we go along. We encourage you to consider making the Blackfriars Playhouse your classroom, the plays your 
curriculum, and the conversations generated your seminar by signing your students up to attend. Our new 
periodical, The Playhouse Insider, considers the insights of three groups essential to the success of 
plays at the Blackfriars: the artists, the audience, and the scholars. Several of your colleagues have 
already contributed articles for the first edition, and we will be inviting more input from you in the 
coming months. Finally, consider attending our week-long camp for adults this summer, and, in addition to 
seeing several plays, attending rehearsals, enjoying the social events that bring our actors and scholars 
together, you will find a wealth of possibilities for your own classroom.

Hoping to see you in Staunton, and more than once, in 2011.

All best,
Sarah Enloe
American Shakespeare Center
Director of Education
540-885-5588 x28
540-292-3395

The American Shakespeare Center recovers the joy and accessibility of Shakespeare's theatre, language, 
and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and 
education.

[Editor's Note: Long-time subscribers -- bless you -- to this list are aware of my unabashed love for the 
American Shakespeare Center and the Blackfriars Conference and all the folks associated with these 
projects. But you don't know that Steve Urkowitz and I are planning our second annual trek to the Actors' 
Renaissance Season. Also, I think it about time that I break out of my protective shell of shyness and 
host a gathering of the many SHAKSPEReans who will be in attendance at the Blackfriars Conference. More 
to come. --Hardy ]


_______________________________________________________________
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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