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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0276 Thursday, 28 June 2012
Date: June 27, 2012 4:18:08 PM EDT
Subject: Re: SHAKSPER: Performance
On the matter of boy actors, Shakespeare’s heroines would likely have been played by surprisingly old boys (17-19?), since the age of puberty has been declining since then. (This is evident even in my own lifetime. When I was a choirboy, boys’ voices often changed at 14; now, I gather, the norm is 13 or even younger). This means a boy actor would not only be relatively mature, but he could be quite experienced. As for the matter of persuasiveness, I recommend taking in one of the authentic productions at the New Globe. I found Mark Rylance (admittedly moved on now) a startlingly convincing woman as Olivia in TN. It’s largely a matter of deportment and gesture, as well as intonation (nothing like the screechy characters Monty Python used to do).