Original Pronunciation (or, Shakespeare in Mummerset)

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0247  Friday, 15 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June14, 2012 4:47:17 PM EDT

Subject:     Original Pronunciation (or, Shakespeare in Mummerset)

 

[I should really be posting this on September 19, which is International Talk Like A Pirate Day]

 

I don’t think this has been previously mentioned here: earlier this year, the British Library released a CD: “Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation: Speeches and Scenes performed as Shakespeare would have heard them”. (That “would have” might not be the correct tense . . . )

 

This is the latest development in the “Original Pronunciation” movement, which is making steady (if painfully slow) progress (Shakespere’s Globe have been noticeably reluctant) – young people are apparently quite enthusiastic (but pirates are cool . . . ) Perhaps inevitably, this CD is a Crystal family production, with Ben Crystal taking the leading part (David Crystal has a bit part as the Fourth Plebeian in Julius Caesar, Act 3.)

 

This is essential listening (American listeners may be baffled by track 1, which is Sonnet 116 “in modern English”) – and it is available from Amazon.

 

I have to confess that I was slightly underwhelmed - I thought I heard more emphasis on accent (a generalised Mummerset) than on pronunciation. There is one glorious inauthenticity – the female parts are taken by women rather than by boys (but that is a whole other can of worms . . . )

 

John Briggs

 

Call for Papers: “Hammering It Out”

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0246  Friday, 15 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June 15, 2012 11:13:31 AM EDT

Subject:     Call for Papers: “Hammering It Out” 

 

Call for Papers

 

“Hammering It Out”: Shakespeare and Cognitive Reading(s)

 

44th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

 

March 21-24, 2013

Boston, Massachusetts

Host Institution: Tufts University

 

Whether in his frequent use of soliloquies, on-stage debates, or vivid metaphorical imagery, Shakespeare dramatizes cognitive processes employed by stage characters; e.g., as imprisoned Richard II notes, “I’ll hammer it out. / My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul, / My soul the father; and these two beget / A generation of still-breeding thoughts” (Richard II 5.5.5-8). We are now more than six decades in to what Howard Gardner has termed the “cognitive revolution,” yet one of its pioneering practitioners in Shakespeare studies, Mary Thomas Crane, recently noted that “cognitive approaches are still not part of the mainstream of literary and cultural criticism” – because the approach does not lend itself to the production of self-contained “readings” or “interpretations” of texts (Representations 108 [Fall 2009], 76). Is this true? This panel invites short (fifteen-minute) paper presentations exploring the theoretical impact, or demonstrating the methodological efficacy, of cognitive approaches to Shakespeare. Presenters may present their own original research findings on individual plays or non-dramatic poems, or engage in a meta-critical survey of the place of cognitive theories in Shakespeare studies today.

 

Deadline for Abstracts: September 30, 2012

 

Please send proposals (paper or electronic) to:

 

Dr. Phil Collington

Associate Professor of English

Dunleavy Hall

5795 Lewiston Road

Niagara University, NY 14109

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Please include with your abstract:

 

Name and Affiliation

Email address

Postal address

Telephone number

A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)

 

The 2013 NeMLA convention continues the Association’s tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. The 44th annual event will be held in historic Boston, Massachusetts, a city known for its national and maritime history, academic facilities and collections, vibrant art, theatre, and food scenes, and blend of architecture. The Convention, located centrally near Boston Commons and the Theatre District at the Hyatt Regency, will include keynote and guest speakers, literary readings, film screenings, tours and workshops.

 

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable.

 

http://www.nemla.org/convention/2013/cfp.htm

Yale Repertory Theatre to Mount Hamlet in 2013

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0245  Thursday, 14 June 2012

 

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

     Date:         June 13, 2012 12:33:49 PM EDT

     Subject:     Re: Yale Hamlet 

 

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

     Date:         June 13, 2012 11:24:10 PM EDT

     Subject:     Yale Hamlet 

 

 

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

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

Date:         June 13, 2012 12:33:49 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: Yale Hamlet

 

I may be setting myself up to be shot down, but it always amuses me how non-actors enjoy discoursing on what makes a good actor and what does not. The only proof of the efficacy of Giamatti’s Hamlet will be in the playing. Go see the production.  If he knocks your socks off, that’s it, that’s everything, nothing more.

 

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

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

Date:         June 13, 2012 11:24:10 PM EDT

Subject:     Yale Hamlet

 

Brian Willis writes:

 

“Has it come to this? Do we really require our actors to have ‘leading-man’ looks, whatever that is supposed to mean? I thought being an actor—let me clarify, being a GREAT actor—is so much more than this. By this criteria, John Gielgud had no business playing Hamlet.”

 

Ophelia describes Hamlet in the following terms:

 

The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers. . . . 

 

To me, that sounds like leading-man looks, which the young John Gielgud certainly possessed, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/theatre-obituaries/1366805/Sir-John-Gielgud-OM.html.

 

--Charles Weinstein

 

Maria

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0244  Thursday, 14 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June 13, 2012 8:15:21 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER:  Maria

 

Anna Kamaralli wrote:

 

>Richard Madeleine [..] has [...] put forward the theory that as boys 

>probably ‘shadowed’ specific senior actors, some comic female roles 

>may have been written for boys apprenticed specifically to clowns.

>

>Maria’s absence during the uncovering of the gulling of Malvolio could 

>be because the boy’s mentor has been taken off stage at V.1.192 and 

>couldn’t be there to shepherd him.

 

A few points:

 

1. Yes, the female roles were almost certainly played by boys apprenticed to the senior players. See Juliet Dusinberre’s classic paper “Boys Becoming Women in Shakespeare’s Plays”. That is the whole point of the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra: Richard Burbage is upstaged by his own apprentice!

 

2. Yes, inexperienced boys needed mentoring - and that is probably what is behind Touchstone’s “Bear your body more seemly, Audrey” in AYLI (5.4.68-9)—for this see Juliet Dusinberre’s masterly (mistressly?) Arden3 edition. (I wish she had edited TN for Arden rather than Keir Elam - I find his fixation with castration tiresome.)

 

3. There is a world of difference between Audrey and Maria—the latter is a major role (149 lines rather than 20)—and in any case, Maria does not spend most of her time onstage with Sir Toby.

 

4. Sir Toby is not a clown’s role (Feste is the clown in TN)—and I think it was played by Shakespeare himself.

 

John Briggs

 

The Curtain Theatre Unearthed

 

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0243  Thursday, 14 June 2012

 

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

Date:         June 13, 2012 8:15:41 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: The Curtain

 

Hardy M. Cook quoted Maev Kennedy, writing in The Guardian (and presumably following an overheated press release):

 

>Well preserved remains of Shakespeare’s original “wooden O” stage, the 

>Curtain theatre where Henry V and Romeo and Juliet were first performed,

>have been discovered in a yard in east London

 

Henry V was, indeed, probably first performed at The Curtain, but R&J was first performed at The Theatre.

 

John Briggs

 

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