2012

"Sweet Thunder"

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.058  Thursday, 9 February 2012

 

From:        Jim Carroll <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 8, 2012 6:05:53 PM EST

Subject:     "Sweet Thunder"

 

Those list members who enjoy both jazz and Shakespeare may also enjoy Delfeayo Marsalis’ CD “Sweet Thunder”, which is a re-imagining of Duke Ellington’s “Such Sweet Thunder” jazz suite/tone poem celebrating Shakespeare’s characters and themes. There are many highlights, but one is Branford Marsalis’ “Egyptian Snake Charmer” soprano sax solo on “Half the Fun”, the piece intended to represent Shakespeare’s Cleopatra.

 

Jim Carroll

Shakespearean Productions

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.057  Thursday, 9 February 2012

 

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Thursday, February 9, 2012

Subject:     Shakespearean Productions 

 

I have been exchanging emails with SHAKSPERean Alexander Huang and the subject of Shakespearean productions in the Washington, DC, area came up. Well, I raised it.

 

I began to think that the specific differences between the house styles for productions of Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Theater and at the American Shakespeare Center are perhaps emblematic of larger issues about house styles. 

 

My older daughter, Melissa, wrote her senior thesis in acting contrasting the house styles of the two when the American Shakespeare Center was still the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. The issues she raised and she and her husband Bill and her sister Becca and I have talked about endlessly are at the heart of this posting.

 

Until this season, I had subscribed to STC continuously since the mid-1970s, when it was still at the Folger before Michael Kahn arrived on the scene. In the past decade, I have generally liked the STC’s non-Shakespearean productions, like the recent Jonsons and some of the Restoration comedies. I just saw Krapp's Last Tape, one of my favorite Beckett’s, and loved it.  

 

However, for the most part, I find the Shakespeare productions to my tastes overproduced. I also intensely dislike of the cavernous and impersonal Sidney Harmon Center as a theater space, whereas I love the Lansburgh and consider it the finest theater space in DC. But what I have come to dislike most about the STC is the house style of overly enunciating and painfully slowly and sing-songly delivering the language. I also find the overly elaborate stagings and sets as intentionally playing to one segment of audience, who subsidize productions. 

 

I have gotten rather spoiled by the American Shakespeare Center, formerly the SSC, a troupe I have followed since its 1990 appearance at the SAA in Philly. To badly paraphrase Stephen Booth: I saw the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express the other evening, I am shall never be able to think the same about Shakespearean production again. The so-called original production values at the American Shakespeare Center privilege the language over and above any of the other aspects of the productions. That language is delivered quickly and distinctly in a manner suggesting normal speech rhythms. The fast pace to me presents Shakespeare in a completely accessible manner, open to everyone and not going for the bucks over great productions. 

 

I may have over stated my case above, but if I have, I have purposely done so to be provocative and to challenge others to consider Shakespeare in production, perhaps using my dialectical model as a starting point for discussion.

 

Hardy

Cymbeline: What have I missed?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.055  Wednesday, 8 February 2012

 

From:        George Angell <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 8, 2012 10:06:11 AM EST

Subject:     Re: Cymbeline Wager

 

When I directed Cymbeline a couple of years ago I used the same sort of bet arrangement that occurs in Merchant of Venice.  That is a third party, in this case Posthumus’ friend and host Philario, holds the ring, and Iachimo’s gold as well.  A legal, binding form of wager is referred to three times in the wager scene:

 

Line 137: Post.: Let there be covenants drawn between’s, 

 

Lines 150-151: Post.: . . .let us have articles betwixt us; 

 

Lines 158-160: Iachimo: . . .a covenant. We will have these things set down by lawful counsel . . . I will fetch my gold and have our two wagers recorded.

 

It is common practice to have a neutral and objective party hold the wagers and determine the final outcome. I think that Iachimo’s line about combining the prize of the bracelet with the prize of the ring is anticipatory – after all, Iachimo doesn’t have the bracelet at that moment, either. In 2.4, the resolution of the wager, my assumption was that Philario has the ring and it goes round the three of them twice – Posthumus takes it from Philario and gives it to Iachimo, Philario, protesting lack of proof, takes it back from Iachimo, whence it goes back to Posthumus once more, then finally to Iachimo.

 

At least, that’s how I worked it all out.

 

Cheers,

George W. Angell

 

Rare Words In Shakespeare

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.056  Wednesday, 8 February 2012

 

[1] From:        Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         February 8, 2012 12:40:54 AM EST

     Subject:     Re: Rare Words In Shakespeare

 

[2] From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

     Date:         Wednesday, February 8, 2012

     Subject:     Rare Words In Shakespeare 

 

 

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Steve Roth <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 8, 2012 12:40:54 AM EST

Subject:     Re: Rare Words In Shakespeare

 

@John Alvord:

 

The file you want is rarewords.txt. 

 

http://gabrielegan.com/shaxican/Roth's%20Refinements/rarewords.txt

 

Includes words (actually, strings) used 2-12 times in the corpus, and the # of occurrences for each word. 11,051 lines.

 

Throw a pivot table at it and you get this:

 

# of occurrences # of words with that occur this many times

2 3711

3 1954

4 1364

5 988

6 760

7 553

8 474

9 409

10 329

11 273

12 235

 

Thanks,

Steve

 

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Subject:     Rare Words In Shakespeare

 

My “Selected Guide to Shakespeare on the Internet” has a number of interesting sites related to words in the Concordances and Research Sites sections:

 

http://shaksper.net/scholarly-resources/shakespeare-on-the-internet

 

I am particularly fond of David and Ben Crystal’s Explore Shakespeare’s Words site with its amazing Glossary from their book Shakespeare’s Words: A Glossary and Language Companion:

 

http://www.shakespeareswords.com/Default.aspx

and especially

http://www.shakespeareswords.com/Glossary

 

I don’t seem to have a site that has rare words though. 

 

In the near, future I plan to update this list, checking the existing links and adding other useful sites.

 

Hardy

 

Cymbeline: What have I missed?

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.054  Tuesday, 7 February 2012

 

From:        Brian Bixley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         February 6, 2012 10:09:31 PM EST

Subject:     Cymbeline: What have I missed?

 

In the Wager scene (1.4 in the Oxford edition) of Cymbeline, Posthumus says to Giacomo (l.137-140): “I shall but lend my diamond till your return . . . . Here’s my ring.” After Giacomo has been to Cymbeline’s court and gathered his evidence for Innogen’s faithlessness, he meets once more with Posthumus who says: “Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is’t not too dull for your good wearing?” (2.4. 40-1) So it would appear that Giacomo has been in possession of Posthumus’s ring during this interval, an interval that includes his meeting with Innogen. Later in 2.4 Giacomo ‘shows the bracelet’ that Posthumus had given to Innogen, and says, “It must be married to that your diamond, I’ll keep them,” (l.97-8) which suggests he already has the ring. 

    

But then at 2.4. 106, we have the stage direction, ‘He (Posthumus) gives Giacomo his ring.’ Is there an inconsistency, some forgetfulness here?

 

Brian Bixley

 

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