Studio 360: All Shakespeare All the Time

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.137  Wednesday, 20 April 2016

 

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

Date:         Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Subject:    Studio 360: All Shakespeare All the Time

 

http://www.wnyc.org/story/all-shakespeare-all-the-time/

 

On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, we look at the ways his work continues to change and adapt to the culture we live in. In the 19th century, Shakespeare’s work got caught up in minstrel shows — and African-American actors are still struggling to claim the Bard as their own. Also, we find out how a father-son team is changing the way Shakespeare sounds by bringing back his original pronunciation. And we go inside the pioneering immersive theater experience “Sleep No More,” which might be the longest-running Shakespeare adaptation ever.

 

 

ABOUT STUDIO 360

 

 

The Peabody Award-winning show and podcast about creativity, pop culture, the arts and ideas hosted by novelist and journalist (and “Spy” magazine co-founder) Kurt Andersen. Email the show at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Produced by PRI and WNYC.

 

Identity of the Clown in Othello

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.136  Tuesday, 19 April 2016

 

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

     Date:         April 18, 2016 at 1:48:23 PM EDT

     Subject:    Identity of the Clown in Othello 

 

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

     Date:         April 18, 2016 at 2:29:34 PM EDT

     Subject:    Identity of the Clown in Othello 

 

 

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

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

Date:         April 18, 2016 at 1:48:23 PM EDT

Subject:    Identity of the Clown in Othello 

 

Laurie Johnson wrote: 

 

“I haven’t yet been convinced by anything in the arguments about the Clown in Othello being Iago in disguise, and I would like to pose one problem with the theory that the text of the play exposes. In Act 3, Scene 1, the Clown exits and Iago enters on the same line (line 31 in the Folger digital copy, the Clown exiting on “I shall seem to notify her”). From a staging perspective, this seems to me to make it unlikely that the playwright expected the two characters to be one.”

 

Laurie,

 

I addressed this very issue 4 weeks ago in my second post in this thread, and explained how the immediate shift from Clown onstage to Iago onstage was a positive not a negative in terms of staging, as follows:

 

“What if Iago’s disguise as the Clown were maintained intact for the audience until the Clown exits during 3.1, whereupon, instead of entirely leaving the stage, we would see him at the extreme side of the stage, behind some sort of wall so as to be out of sight from Cassio, shed his disguise as the Clown, to reveal himself as Iago, and then for him to enter again right away as Iago! I believe this would be a wonderful, even electrifying moment, from a dramatic point of view, and it would allow for the message to get through to the audience, which would have just experienced the same sort of duping as Iago inflicts on everyone else in the play, but where we are rescued from our duped status before the play continues. I.e., we feel what it is like to be deceived, and so we can no longer rest assured that we would not be gulled by Iago if we were there. It takes us all down a peg.”

 

In short, it’s no accident that Shakespeare wrote the entrance of Iago to immediately follow the Clown’s exit, with no gap but also no overlap - it’s a giant hint and invitation to a creative director.

 

 

Cheers, 

Arnie 

 

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

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

Date:         April 18, 2016 at 2:29:34 PM EDT

Subject:    Identity of the Clown in Othello

 

Marianne Kimura wrote: 

 

“I think the clown figure in Othello may indeed be a double of Iago, sort of a psychic shadow meant to underline or highlight Iago’s festive origins as a Vice/Lord of misrule/fool figure”

 

Thank you very much for your above reply, Marianne, which is representative of some other replies I’ve received so far, and also of some of the prior scholarly takes I’ve read on the subject of the Clown in Othello. 

 

In a way, it’s a middle ground between the extremes of seeing no particular connection between Iago and the Clown, on the one hand, and my claim that Iago is the Clown, on the other.

 

What I find most fascinating is the greater willingness of those in the middle like you, Marianne, to see Shakespeare as presenting close parallels between two characters which have no basis in the realism of the world of the play, rather than those parallels being evidence of those two characters being the same character—which,again, would be totally realistic given Iago’s being such a shapeshifter in every other way.

 

I’d love to hear what your underlying thought process is on that point! 

 

Cheers,

Arnie

 

 

 

Vickers One King Lear

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.135  Tuesday, 19 April 2016

 

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

Date:         April 19, 2016 at 3:35:51 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Vickers One King Lear

 

Thanks to Jerry Downs for his thoughts on Sir Brian’s new book. I’d like to read more comments, from Jerry and others, on the book. 

 

In the meantime, even without Stone we can surely dismiss on its merits the suggestion that the line “What safe, and nicely I might well delay” (TLN 3100) was cut from Q1 to save paper. Just a few lines further down the Q1 page, Albany’s “Shut your mouth” speech gets turned from verse to prose, saving one line, so another speech could have been treated in the same way. And just after that we get two short lines, “I do forgiue thee” and “Edg. Let’s exchange charity,” which could easily have been merged into one. With these obvious and less damaging alternatives available to save space, if space needed saving, why should we believe that someone cut TLN 3100 instead?

 

If anyone wants to look at the page in question it is here: http://prodigi.bl.uk/treasures/shakespeare/pagemax.asp?page=75&strCopy=26&vol=&disp=s

 

 

 

CFP MAPACA Conference

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.134  Tuesday, 19 April 2016

 

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

Date:         April 19, 2016 at 10:05:21 AM EDT

Subject:    CFP MAPACA Conference

 

Beowulf to Shakespeare

 

The wealth of material found in the Middle Ages and Renaissance continues to attract modern audiences with new creative works in areas such as fiction, film, and computer games, which make use of medieval and/or early modern themes, characters, or plots. This is a call for papers or panels dealing with any aspect of medieval or Renaissance representation in popular culture. Topics for this area include, but are not limited to the following:

 

-Modern portrayals of any aspect of Arthurian legends or Shakespeare

 

-Modern versions or adaptations of any other Medieval or Renaissance writer

 

-Modern investigations of historical figures such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Richards, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scotts

 

-Teaching medieval and Renaissance texts to modern students

 

-Medieval or Renaissance links to fantasy fiction, gaming, comics, video games, etc.

 

-Medieval or Renaissance Dramas

 

-The Middle Ages or Renaissance on the Internet

 

-Renaissance fairs

 

Panel and Workshop proposals are also welcome.

 

Submit a 250 word proposal including A/V requests and a brief biography by June 30, 2015 to our online submission form at mapaca.net

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly

 

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

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

 

Co-Chairs Beowulf to Shakespeare 

 

Annalisa Castaldo

Associate Professor of English

Widener University

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

 

 

Identity of the Clown in Othello

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 27.133  Monday, 18 April 2016

 

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

     Date:         April 15, 2016 at 2:09:07 PM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown 

 

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

     Date:         April 15, 2016 at 5:40:20 PM EDT

     Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown 

 

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

     Date:         April 16, 2016 at 1:29:46 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown 

 

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

     Date:         April 16, 2016 at 3:18:36 AM EDT

     Subject:    Re: Othello's Clown 

 

 

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

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

Date:         April 15, 2016 at 2:09:07 PM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown

 

Dear Carol,

 

I couldn’t agree more. There were quotation marks around the phrase—just quoting Coleridge. Perhaps my tone was a bit flippant—if so, sorry. 

 

I still don’t think Iago was a woman in disguise, though. What about Emilia? Too much just doesn’t work.

 

Thanks,

Jinny Webber

 

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

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

Date:         April 15, 2016 at 5:40:20 PM EDT

Subject:    RE: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown

 

I haven’t yet been convinced by anything in the arguments about the Clown in Othello being Iago in disguise, and I would like to pose one problem with the theory that the text of the play exposes. In Act 3, Scene 1, the Clown exits and Iago enters on the same line (line 31 in the Folger digital copy, the Clown exiting on “I shall seem to notify her”). From a staging perspective, this seems to me to make it unlikely that the playwright expected the two characters to be one.

 

Laurie

Associate Professor Laurie Johnson

(English and Cultural Studies)

Vice-President of ANZSA (Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association)

University of Southern Queensland

 

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

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

Date:         April 16, 2016 at 1:29:46 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: SHAKSPER: Othello's Clown

 

The idea that the clown is somehow a double of Iago is very convincing. Robert Weimann's "Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theater" makes it clear that addressing the audience directly, as Iago notoriously does, was "a trait of the comic or disreputable characters". Moreover, Weimann links the Vice character (in the older morality plays) to the Lord of Misrule, the festum slutorum, i.e. to the oldest figure in drama, the leader of the seasonal processions in pre-Christian festivals. Iago has often been compared to older Vice characters by many scholars.

 

The word “ass” that Iago uses three times (to say how he will turn Othello into one) also recalls the fool. Ass’s ears were worn by fools. Why? Here is Weimann:

 

“Consequently, the origins of the fool in the folk play must be sough in the native traditions of mimetic ritual that is of central importance to all popular dramatic or semi-dramatic activities. It is this background that explains the relationship between the fool’s motley, and the pagan traditions of vegetation magic, and throws considerable light on some of his most endearing accoutrements, such as the calf’s hide which he still wore in the Mummer’s play, the coxcomb, the antlers, horns, or donkey’s ears and the foxtail.” (p.31)

 

Iago also carouses drunkenly (or pretends to) in Act II, scene 3, where he sings drinking songs, reminiscent of the Lord of Misrule leading a procession of revelers. In fact, Iago even says “’Tis a night of revels” (II.iii.43) He does not wear ass’s ears but instead, he uses the word “ass” three times, making the image ‘stick’ to him.

 

I think the clown figure in Othello may indeed be a double of Iago, sort of a psychic shadow meant to underline or highlight Iago’s festive origins as a Vice/Lord of misrule/fool figure.

 

Marianne Kimura

 

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------

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

Date:         April 16, 2016 at 3:18:36 AM EDT

Subject:    Re: Othello's Clown

 

Arnie,

 

Your idea that Iago was disguised as the Clown in the original performances is intriguing, and I thought I’d hazard a remark.  As you know, it is the so-called Augustinian position that the Ghost in Hamlet is a disguised evil spirit.  And it’s my idea (I love my own ideas) that Seyton (in Macbeth) is likewise a disguised evil spirit—he doesn’t really do much, he’s just there supervising, and adding a general malign influence.  With all these evil spirits and plays with a pronounced spiritual warfare component abounding, I wonder what you think of the idea of the Clown in Othello being another disguised evil spirit?  Maybe the one Iago refers to as “divinity of hell?"

 

John Reed

 

 

 

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Search

Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.