Shakespearean Productions

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.060  Friday, 10 February 2012

 

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

     Date:         February 9, 2012 2:45:05 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Productions

 

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

     Date:         February 10, 2012 12:50:57 PM EST

     Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Productions

 

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

     Date:         Friday, February 10, 2012

     Subject:     Shakespearean Productions

 

 

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

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

Date:         February 9, 2012 2:45:05 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Productions

 

Dear Hardy,

 

I am in complete agreement with your assessment of the Shakespeare Theatre and, more importantly, of your celebration of the American Shakespeare Center. I first saw ASC play in the summer of 2002, and I have been hooked—deeply hooked—ever since. No one says it better than Stephen Booth, of course, but, when asked, I’ve described being at the Blackfriars for a play feeling like a celebration or the way a child feels on Christmas morning. In a word, it’s exhilarating. 

 

This isn’t to say that the Shakespeare Theatre doesn’t produce good work; it does. In fact, the theatres are so different in so many fundamental ways that it’s hard to compare them. And it even feels more like a difference in style. At ASC, you don’t just experience a production of a Shakespeare play (or a Marlowe, Middleton, or Marston—no one does so many productions of Shakespeare’s contemporaries) -- you experience house style that is the result of a crystal-clear a point-of-view, a point-of-view one that every member of ASC believes in!

 

I’m happy to say that ASC isn’t the only theatre restless to explore Shakespeare’s staging practices. The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com), located in Ellicott City, MD—a stone’s throw from DC—is just as hungry to reach its audiences with energy and with an ironclad commitment to privileging language above all. As an artistic associate of the company, I have to admit my bias, to be sure; but as a member of CSC, I can say, first-hand, just how committed we are to playing Shakespeare in ways that are, in your words, “completely accessible.”  

 

Thanks for starting a great conversation.

 

Kevin Costa

Education Director & Artistic Associate

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com

 

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

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

Date:         February 10, 2012 12:50:57 PM EST

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Productions

 

Dear Hardy Cook:

 

I think you’re talking about the differences between the convictions/beliefs of Ralph Cohen and Michael Kahn, both of who have strong opinions about how Shakespeare should be played.  They’re not alone.

 

Paul Barry

 

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         Friday, February 10, 2012

Subject:     Shakespearean Productions

 

Dear Kevin and Paul,

 

Thank you both for taking the time to respond to my attempt at provocation. 

 

Obviously, I would not have continued to pay for 1 to 4 subscriptions every year for the past 35 years if I had not gotten something out of attending the Shakespeare Theater.

 

And just as obviously, Ralph Cohen and Michael Kahn have strong opinions that inform the house styles of both institutions. However, I think I was trying to suggest some issues that transcend opinions.

 

All those many years ago, I wrote my dissertation on “Reading Shakespeare on Television.” What I was theorizing were matters of what strategies of Shakespearean production are effective/appropriate to then what we called the “small” screen. It was a cross-disciplinary study in English/Theater/Film. As a consequence of this immersion, I continue to think about what seems to work, or is appropriate if I dare go so far, to productions in different media, different conditions of production. 

 

When I attend a production of Verdi’s Otello, let’s say at the Kennedy Center Opera House, I expect to see the production in a HUGE space and hear performers doing the musical equivalent of declamation. However, I do not have the same expectation when I see/hear Shakespeare. Now, the logical response to what I have just typed is that I am now casting my points as expressions of my expectations—the theatrical experience as reader response. This would be a fair position. 

 

Let’s consider the space of performance for a moment. I have a preference for having my Shakespeare performed in more intimate rather than cavernous spaces. I find the dynamics of production deeply affected by the space in which it is performed. One could note the differences between acting styles on the 19th Century stage and on stages like the Globe reconstruction in London and the Blackfriars in Staunton. The space of performances of Shakespeare was only one of the issues I was hinting at in my initial post.

 

I was also alluding to matters of appeal to audiences, in I believe what was an overly polite way. But do not different convictions/beliefs/opinions have influences on the audiences to which those productions are directed and thus the audiences those productions attract, or can afford, and thus on accessibility in many senses?

 

I am not trying to lay down laws or strictures. I am genuinely interested in having discussions exploring various matters of Shakespeare as produced today.

 

I am going away for a few days to visit my younger daughter at her college and to see the Van Gogh exhibition in Philadelphia. Later next week, I am having surgery on my left hand and not knowing how long it will take me to regain my lightening fast (do not believe all that is written on SHAKSPER) typing speed, so I thought I would get some of my thoughts out now. Finally, apologies if I have been somewhat distracted as I composed this message, but Becca, that younger daughter, just introduced me to Christophe Maé, whose upbeat music I have been listening to as I wrote. One advantage of my having children relatively late in life is that they keep me young in so many ways.

 

Hardy

 

Rare Words in Shakespeare

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.059  Thursday, 9 February 2012

 

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

Date:         February 9, 2012 9:57:18 AM EST

Subject:     RE: Rare words in Shakespeare

 

Another way to get at rare (and common) words in Shakespeare is to use WordHoard - which I rate as the best Shakespeare analysis site available:

 

http://wordhoard.northwestern.edu/userman/index.html

 

the interface is very good, and the manual is excellent.

 

If you look in the manual for the ‘lexicon’ feature:

 

http://wordhoard.northwestern.edu/userman/lexicon.html

 

you will find that this gives you a list of all words in Shakespeare with their frequency counts - you can order this list by ‘count’ to see all once-only words.

 

Double clicking on a word takes you to summary information on that word and (eventually with more clicks), the word's location in a text.

 

Happy searching!

jh

 

[Editor’s Note: I second that. WordHoard is the work of Martin Mueller, SHAKSPERean and member of the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel. –Hardy]

"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

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

 

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.