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Some dozen or sixteen lines

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.048  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

From:        Gerald E. Downs < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 4, 2015 at 12:01:24 AM EST

Subject:    Dozen or Sixteen Lines

 

Steve Roth began a Hamlet discussion:

 

> which lines in the Gonzago mousetrap play are

> the “dozen or sixteen” that Hamlet composed.

 

Steve’s comments are interesting and his solution may have some merit but the topic invites counter-argument at every step. He mentions:  

 

> four and a half pages of small print on the subject

> in Furness’s Variorum Hamlet, (citing, among other

> sources, more than thirty pages of discussion in a single

> issue of the Transactions of the Shakespeare Society).

> Only two suggestions emerge from all that: 

> 1. Lucianus’ six poisoning lines beginning

> “Thoughts black, hands apt...” 

> 2. The twenty-eight-odd lines of ponderous philosophical

> musing by the player-king.

 

Volume I of The Transactions of the New Shakspere Society is available online. I wanted to see if any of my thoughts were anticipated in 1874; some were. The exchanges between Seeley and Malleson and other comments are interesting. Dr. Brinsley Nicholson observes that S&M

 

“appear to take it for granted that the sub-play is a real play and not Shakspere’s. [Its features] show that the play is the abridgement of an abridgment manufactured for the occasion. That it is Shakspere’s is also shown by every speech in it, and his art is distinctly manifested in the way in which in so little space he has contrived in Gonzago’s speech to open out Hamlet’s thoughts and character . . . . If the sub-play be stilted and artificial, it is so made on the principle that leads a painter to paint a picture within a picture rudely and artificially, namely, that his own presentment may appear more true and life-like.”

 

Notwithstanding the authorship question, I see nothing wrong in searching for Hamlet’s added lines or in ascribing to him a life before, during or after Hamlet itself. No other characterization in literature evokes such feelings, or drags in others to seem “real.” My objections in this case are that textual history is seldom taken into account and that “real” stops short of really “real.” For example: Hamlet, meeting the players, hatches a plan to ‘catch the conscience of the king’, in part by adding a dozen lines to a play. What stops a real Hamlet from adding another dozen? Stopping the flow wasn’t his strong suit. Malleson makes this point.

 

I think the task then expands to identify all of the lines more likely betraying Hamlet’s “plot” or special feelings than fitting the “original sub-play.” I think Steve finds some credible candidates but there may be others. Among the old searchers, Malleson observes that the parallel murders of King Hamlet and Duke Gonzago are “so exact as to make one suspect that Hamlet altered the manner of the murder to make it tally precisely with the . . . secret fact. If not, it is strange that so odd, if not impossible, a way of committing murder should have occurred in both plays.”

 

If this “out” were not allowed, as others note, playgoers (other than the ‘million’) would see the coincidence (both, both ears!) as bad drama: Who ever heard of non-metaphorical ear-poison? Yet the contrivance would get Claude’s attention if he thought he had committed the “perfect murder.” Innocent, he wouldn’t blink; guilty, he would probably suspect a set-up; which Hamlet goes out of his way to discount by basing the sub-play on a historical incident.

 

I’m inclined to agree with Furnivall and others that a particular new speech that Hamlet alludes to is represented by the interrupted lines of Lucianus. In “reality,” the sub-play may not have got as far as the rest of the addition, or to any of it. But even if that speech can’t be sorted out, whether other additions can be found is a good question.

 

The dumb show is non-Shakespearean bunk and Hamlet’s ‘poison’ double-speak is corrupt, in my opinion. The first is literary, the second theatrical elucidation. Claudius wasn’t boneheaded enough to miss these allusions to his crime; his response was to Lucianus’ praise of the deadly concoction. Whether the set direction rightly administers it aurally (a ‘Wet Willie’) is unlikely. Textual transmitters are not to be trusted; Housmen, they’re not. F does add a Shakespearian touch to the dumb show, however: ‘two or three mutes.’ Who else would think of that?

 

> Q1 . . . offers a seriously adumbrated, rearranged,

> and predictably somewhat mangled version.

 

More than somewhat, but Q1 is also instructive, as elsewhere. Remember, the text and its makers are much closer in time and circumstance to Shakespeare than we are. They can be dumb as hell while retaining a legitimacy we can’t approach.

 

> I’ve underlined the passages I think Hamlet added—fourteen

> lines, or sixteen if you include the last underlined couplet.

> . . . 

> The play reads perfectly well absent these lines.

 

That’s what they all say, and it’s true; but not necessarily meaningful as evidence.

 

> The king’s “Tis deeply sworne” half-line makes no sense

> if the if the

 

Dittography is common in the in the computer age. Transmission error also abounded in the old days, in every way, sans wavy green lines.

 

> preceding speech isn’t there. (Ditto Hamlet’s “If she

> should break it now” and “shee’le keep her word.”)

 

Neither phrase makes sense to me. Q2’s ‘O but shee’le keepe her word.’ repeats Q1 exactly and Q2 adds only ‘it’ to Q1’s ‘If she should breake now.’ I suspect “correction” of Q2 from Q1 copy. ‘Dutchesse Baptista’ apparently does not keep her word anon (woman, frailty, etc.). Q2 is most important in textual matters, though an independent Ms. shared Q2 copy-duty for F’s printing.

 

> So if Hamlet added that speech he must have also

> added that half-line.

 

The problem here is that Steve has commandeered (underlined) all of Baptista’s phraseology, some of which is deeply sworn but not meaningful as lines added by Hamlet. ‘Tis deeply sworn’ isn’t an issue.

 

> The last underlined couplet may or may not be Hamlet’s

> addition. It works either way—fourteen or sixteen lines.

 

Thirteen and seventeen are prime numbers.

 

> The two (or three) additions are the very passages

> that Hamlet feels inclined to comment on.

> In the context of the play . . . the additions are wildly

> inflammatory. “None wed the second, but who kild the

> first”? “A second time I kill my husband dead”? The implicit

> accusation—that Gertrude killed the king—is *not* thickly

> veiled. (cf Hamlet’s line in the closet scene: “almost as bad,

> good mother/As kill a king and marry with his brother.”

> Gertrude: “As kill a king?”)

 

‘The instances that second marriage moue / Are base respects of thrift, but none of loue,’ is not inflammatory at all; why place the couplet between the other two? It’s better for Steve’s theory that it stands in the “original” MOG.

 

The other two couplets are zingers, however. Steve rightly ‘singles’ them out, but for the wrong reasons and not as one-liners. There’s no implication anywhere that Gertrard kild her husband.

 

‘In second husband let me be accurst, / None wed the second, but who kild the first.’ The usage giving the sub-play its dated feel is primarily inversion: “Steve a big mistake makes.” Taking that into account and accepting the self-willed curse as a curse, it seems to say, “If I remarry, let my second husband be the one who killed my first husband.” Brother, that’s wormwood; a dose of vermifuge to make Claudius feel wormy. As Gertrard is unsuspecting of murder the lines mean nothing to her. Q1 misremembers: ‘O speake no more, for then I am accurst,’ which makes no sense without the ‘let me be.’ The lady spoke for herself, not generally. Yet the curse held true for Hamlet’s mom, which could be grasped only by Hamlet, Horatio, and Claude.

 

‘A second time I kill my husband dead, / When second husband kisses me in bed.’ Inversion induces an idiomatic tautology into the meaning: “I killed him dead!” But the reference is to the metaphorical killing of the memory of the dead husband: “My husband would die if he wasn’t dead already.” Q1, for what it’s worth, remembers the line, ‘A second time I kill my Lord that’s dead,’ which supports the innocent reading. Hamlet’s accusation in the bedchamber scene, as far as it applies to his mother, is to recall to her the Duchess’s lines, which they have just heard. Gertrard’s is not exactly a waist of shame; she wasn’t the sharpest tack on the bulletin board.

 

> It’s certainly Hamlet’s intent to “catch the

> conscience of the king” with this play (it fails),

 

I don’t understand Steve’s insistence on this error. Horatio and Hamlet intently watched the king and they were convinced of his guilt. Claudius admits as much directly after, in “prayer.” Why deny the obvious? The sub-play necessarily kild the king in five minutes but Hamlet has a ways to go.

 

> But whether or not these proposed additions are

> Hamlet’s, the King/Queen interchange takes aim at

> one person and one person only: Gertrude.

 

Because Claudius is privy to his crime his interest in the whole dialogue would be greater than that of Hamlet’s mother, who has no reaction. “Gertrude only” can’t be right:

 

My fault is past, but oh what form of prayer

Can serue my turne, forgiue me my foule murther,

That cannot be since I am still possest

Of those effects for which I did the murther;

My Crowne, mine owne ambition, and my Queen; (Q2)

 

The earth doth still cry out vpon my fact,

Pay me the murder of a brother and a king,

And the adulterous fault I haue committed: (Q1)

 

King. O for two special reasons

. . .

Which may to you perhaps seem much vnsinnow’d,

But yet to mee tha r strong, the Queene his mother

Liues almost by his looks, and for my selfe,

My virtue or my plague, be it eyther which,

She is so concliue  [conjunctive, F] to my life and soule,

That as the starre mooues not but in his sphere

I could not but by her . . . (Q2 4.7.9ff)

 

Theirs wasn’t the first mismatch made in heaven.

 

> No production that I’ve seen has depicted how thoroughly

> unpleasant this sixteen-year-old boy is in the mousetrap

> scene. He accuses his mother of murdering his father,

> and—nephew of the king—depicts the nephew of the king

> *murdering the king* (this murder was already in the play,

> needed no help from Hamlet except his “nephew” chorus)—all

> right in front of the king and queen. And that’s before even

> considering his snide shots at elderly Polonius, or his nasty

> attacks on Ophelia for jilting him because he’s no longer heir

> to the throne. (He’s now instead a dangerous hereditary rival

> to the king and his toady and chief supporter, her father.

> It’s only one irony that Laertes, not Hamlet, leads a rebellion

> to overthrow Claudius and take the crown.)

 

I’ve underlined elements of Steve’s own Hamlet narrative and some of his “added” conjectures. Brief let me . . . O, never mind: The argument that Hamlet was sixteen isn’t strong. By our rules we don’t know what was already in the play. Hamlet doesn’t accuse his mom of her husband’s murder (and neither does the guy who was done in, although the joke could be on Purgatory). The king was a duke, according to the chorus, printed speech headings aside. Polonius was elderly, but what of it? To be too busy is dangerous. Ophelia jilted Hamlet because her father ordered it, not because she wanted to be a queen. Hamlet threatened because, according to Claudius (the murderer), ‘there’s something in his soule / Ore which his melancholy sits on brood, / And I doe doubt, the hatch and the disclose / VVill be some danger.’ Against all this it seems enough to note that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father and married his queen, which Hamlet learns from his dad’s spirit (returned from the dead to confirm religion on the one hand and to demand revenge on the other). How pleasant is that?

 

> We can certainly understand why Claudius is so furious,

> why he stops the play and calls for lights. It need have

> nothing to do with feelings of guilt. He’s pissed off.

> And with good reason.

 

Yes, it was past his prayer-time.

  

> One last note: Two of Hamlet’s interjections—“That’s

> wormwood” and “If she should break it now”—are

> printed in the right margin in Q2. . . . They’re the only

> speeches printed that way in the whole quarto. . . . I have

> no idea what to do with that (if anything), would welcome

> any thoughts.

 

As noted, I think these comments may be foul-proof additions from Q1, where Q2’s forme was corrected without disturbing type already set. Q1’s ‘O wormewood, wormewood!’ agrees with F’s ‘Wormwood, wormwood.’ As elsewhere, this may indicate that the Q1 and F texts are nearer to each other than they are to Q2. Q1 omits the couplet intervening between the unnerving “additions” that Steve points to and its wormwooding follows ‘kisses me in bed.’ F and Q2 are surely right to place it at the more damning couplet. But F was printed from Q2.

 

Printers tended to regularize or to reproduce good copy; when lineation is anomalous it may be caused by foul-proofing. The little evidence here is likely insignificant in any case.

 

> Could Shakespeare have penned certain lines as

> having come from Hamlet’s quill? Sure. Did he?

 

With those couple couplets I think Steve is right to think so.

 

Gerald E. Downs

 
 
Mr WH

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.047  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

[1] From:        William Rubinstein < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         February 3, 2015 at 7:59:37 PM EST

     Subject:    The Sonnets Dedication 

 

[2] From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

     Date:         February 4, 2015 at 10:20:32 AM EST

     Subject:    Mr WH 

 

 

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

From:        William Rubinstein < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 3, 2015 at 7:59:37 PM EST

Subject:    The Sonnets Dedication

 

The identification of “Mr. W.H.” with William Holme is in my view rather unlikely: 1. As Holme had died in 1607, he would not be known as “Mr.” W.H., strongly suggesting a living person. 2. Why the secrecy? Why not say “To the late William Holme”? “T.T.” surely wanted to conceal his identity. 3. As Holme was dead, the reference to his being wished “all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever living poet” is surely sacrilegious; in any case “eternity” was promised by Jesus Christ, not by a poet. 4. No plausible explanation is given as to how Holme acquired the 154 Sonnets. 5. Holme’s property at his death in 1607, including the Sonnets if he actually owned them, must have come to a specific heir named in his will, or to his residuary legatee. Can this be checked? Did he leave a will? Who owned his property between his death in 1607 and the publication of the Sonnets in 1609? 6. The most striking thing about the Sonnets Dedication (or one of them) is that the work was published on almost the same day as the granting of the Charter of the London Virginia Company- with which neither Thorpe nor Shakespeare had any connection whatever- this is clearly evidenced by the reference in the Dedication to “wisheth the well-wishing adventurer,” an “adventurer” (as today in “venture capital”) being the term used for shareholders in the London Virginia Company, of whom there were 570 or so. 

 

William D. Rubinstein 

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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

From:        Ian Steere < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Date:         February 4, 2015 at 10:20:32 AM EST

Subject:    Mr WH

 

Geoffrey Caveney’s theory, summarized in the article posted by Hardy (SHAKSPER, February 2) is essentially a variant on the flawed William Hall proposition originated by Sidney Lee.

 

Like the latter, Caveney interprets “begetter” as “procurer”, a stretch of English unsupported by the literature of the time. Like Lee, he is unable to find evidence to support possession of the manuscript poems by his WH. Each takes Thorpe’s address to represent a tribute to WH, though that which is unambiguously wished for the latter is confined to “all happiness”. And neither takes account of Thorpe’s position as an experienced publisher, who would have known that some of the content of the poems would (as corroborated by history) be distasteful to the public.

 

Caveney’s interpretation is further compromised by the anonymity, opaqueness and brevity of what he postulates to have been a memorial tribute to the recently deceased William Holme. However, in their favor, neither theory (unlike others) is forced to deform the title and/or acronym of the postulated addressee.      

 

I suggest that Caveney could eliminate most of the above-outlined shortcomings in his theory, were he to read Thorpe’s address as an excuse, rather than as a tribute. This would allow a radically different interpretation in current-day English, as set out below in bold lettering (with Thorpe’s corresponding original words placed below in italics):

 

I - the well-meaning entrepreneur - in

arranging their printing wish all happiness

to the sole instigator of this resultant book of poems

Mr WH and that the venture delivers the immortality

promised by our famous and never-to-be-forgotten poet

 

The well wishing adventurer in

setting forth wisheth all happinesse

to the onlie begetter of these insuing sonnets

Mr WH and that eternitie

promised by our ever living poet

 

Unlike other interpretations, the above accords with the parlance of Thorpe’s time and (without distorting Thorpe’s presentation of his addressee) all the historical circumstances of the 1609 Quarto. An implication emerges: that Thorpe was acting as agent for WH, who wished for, and who financed, the largely unexpurgated printing of potentially defamatory manuscript poems in his possession. From this perspective, it appears that the “well wishing” Thorpe’s address was cleverly designed to place all the responsibility for the publication with WH and to appease, so far as possible, anyone likely to be offended (including, it seems, the author) - all without undermining the only begetter of the venture or the publication itself.

 
 
‘Titus Andronicus,’ From New York Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.046  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 4, 2015 at 9:17:31 AM EST

Subject:    ‘Titus Andronicus,’ From New York Shakespeare 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/theater/titus-andronicus-from-new-york-shakespeare-exchange.html

 

Don’t Ask the Royal Cook for Any Pie Recipes

‘Titus Andronicus,’ From New York Shakespeare Exchange 

By Anita Gates

Feb. 2, 2015

 

In New York Shakespeare Exchange’s electric production of “Titus Andronicus,” at Here, the Clown (Kerry Kastin) is fatally stabbed repeatedly, standing in for several doomed characters. One of them is the nurse forced to announce that the white emperor’s white wife has just given birth to a black child. (Yes, that’s the way Shakespeare wrote that subplot in the 1500s.)

 

In the Shakespearean canon, “Titus Andronicus” is singular: It’s the one in which the queen finds out that the main ingredient in the meat pie she’s eating is her sons. It’s the one with the most gore. The program credits a fight choreographer (Alicia Rodis), as well as someone in charge of “violence design” (Cassie Dorland). But the characters who commit these murders, rapes and mutilations (which are blessedly stylized in this staging) have their reasons.

 

Titus (the excellent Brendan Averett), a beloved Roman general just home from war with the Goths, makes his first mistake by refusing to become emperor. That job belongs to Saturninus (Vince Gatton), he insists. Saturninus repays him by announcing that he will marry Titus’ radiant daughter, Lavinia (Kate Lydic). When Saturninus’ cute younger brother, Bassianus (Adam Kezele), reminds everyone that he’s already engaged to Lavinia, Saturninus says, O.K., I’ll just marry this glamorous prisoner of war that Titus has brought me: Tamora, Queen of the Goths (the fabulous Gretchen Egolf).

 

Tamora can work with that. Smiling deviously and giving her first royal wave (a delicious moment), she plots against Titus. Her adult sons (Nathaniel P. Claridad and Ethan Itzkow) kill Bassianus and rape Lavinia, cutting off her hands and her tongue for good measure.

Tamora’s secret lover, Aaron, a Moor (Warren Jackson), hacks off one of Titus’ hands. The revenge game escalates, but the play ends with a thud, which is the fault of Shakespeare, not Ross Williams, who has adapted and directed with self-assurance and an ardent sense of character.

 

Elivia Bovenzi’s handsome costume design enhances character, too, dressing Tamora in black leather pants and Lavinia in ballerina’s tulle. The burlap-look disguises that Tamora and her sons wear, posing as visitations from hell, are inspired and actually witty. Heaven knows these people can use a few laughs.

 

“Titus Andronicus” continues through Sunday at Here, 145 Avenue of the Americas, at Dominick Street, South Village; 212-352-3101, here.org.

 
 
‘Decoding the Renaissance,’ at the Folger

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.045  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 4, 2015 at 9:16:50 AM EST

Subject:    ‘Decoding the Renaissance,’ at the Folger 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/arts/decoding-the-renaissance-at-the-folger-shakespeare.html

 

Cracking Codes Through the Centuries

‘Decoding the Renaissance,’ at the Folger Shakespeare

By William Grimes

Feb. 3, 2015

 

WASHINGTON — The Sigaba encryption machine squats in the Folger Shakespeare Library here like a thuggish interloper. Used by the American military in the 1940s and 1950s to send coded messages, it looks like an oversize, boxy typewriter with rotors rising above the lid like a mechanical brain. No object could seem less Elizabethan, yet appearances deceive.

 

“Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers,” an exhibition that runs through Feb. 26, draws a straight line from the cipher discs devised by the humanist polymath Leon Battista Alberti in the 1460s and Francis Bacon’s discovery of bilateral ciphers — a way of writing coded messages with just two letters — to Sigaba, the American answer to the German Enigma machine.

 

[ . . . ]

 

Together, the Folger Library and the Library of Congress, a major lender to the exhibition, hold one of the world’s deepest collections of works on cryptography. This material constitutes the spine of the show, which sets forth the basic principles of code-making, a topic of fevered study during the Renaissance.

 

“It was a period of cold war, in effect,” said Bill Sherman, the head of research at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and a professor of Renaissance studies at the University of York, who organized the exhibition. The Pan-European tensions between Protestant and Roman Catholic states, the rise of international trading systems and the newfound importance of diplomatic missions demanded spy networks, secrecy and subterfuge — “all the things you get in a John le Carré novel,” Mr. Sherman said.

 

The exhibition includes the earliest printed book on cryptography, “Polygraphiae Libri Sex,” written by the Benedictine abbot Johannes Trithemius and published in 1518, as well as a coded letter from Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s spymaster. A letter from George Digby, the Second Earl of Bristol, on behalf of Charles I, reports on the progress of rebel forces under Oliver Cromwell using a set of substitutions known as a nomenclator. The number 154, for example, means “danger,” and p5 means “with.”

 

One of the rarest books in the exhibition is “A New Method of Cryptography” (1666), written during the English Civil War by Samuel Morland. His proposal for a cyclologic cryptographic machine, illustrated on the book’s last page, relies on a series of cipher wheels that make it a close cousin to Sigaba and Enigma.

 

[ . . . ]

 

The road to modern cryptography leads through the stupendous brain of William F. Friedman, chief cryptologist for the American military in both world wars and a primary focus of the exhibition.

 

Mr. Friedman, whose family emigrated from Kishinev, Russia, as the threat of pogroms mounted, started out as a plant geneticist. That career path was derailed when, in 1915, he joined Riverbank Laboratories, a research institute founded by the eccentric textile magnate George Fabyan.

 

Mr. Fabyan subscribed to the popular theory that Francis Bacon had written the works attributed to Shakespeare and had embedded coded clues to that effect in the First Folio and other texts. Mr. Fabyan assigned a team to work on the project. Mr. Friedman met and married one of the Bacon researchers, Elizebeth Smith, and quickly became drawn into the world of cryptography, for which he displayed an almost supernatural talent.

 

The Friedmans gave up on the Bacon theory, which they debunked in 1957 in the book “The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined,” but Riverbank’s Bacon research made it an ideal cryptographic training center for military personnel during the First World War. The exhibition includes a panoramic photograph of the school’s Class of 1918, whose members line up to spell out Bacon’s maxim “Knowledge is power” in a code expressed by the way their heads are turned. There were only enough students, however, to spell “Knowledge is pow.”

 

[ . . . ]

 

He [Friedman] kept one foot in the Renaissance until the end of his life, a connection that explains the centerpiece of the exhibition, the mysterious Voynich manuscript. The document, an illustrated codex written in an unknown language and script in northern Italy in the early 15th century, is named after Wilfrid Voynich, the Polish antiquarian bookseller who acquired it in 1912.

 

[ . . . ]

 

“Decoding the Renaissance: 500 Years of Codes and Ciphers” continues through Feb. 26 at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington; 202-544-4600, folger.edu. 

 
 
Tales of Woo and Woe

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.044  Tuesday, 3 February 2015

 

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

Date:         February 3, 2015 at 4:54:07 PM EST

Subject:    Tales of Woo and Woe

 

Tales of Woo and Woe: a journey of the heart opens Friday for a 2-weekend run at Center Stage Theater, upstairs at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara. Please join us! 

 

February 6,7, 13 and 14 at 8 p.m.; matinees at 2 p.m. Sunday February 8 and Saturday Feb 14. The show runs about an hour and fifteen minutes without intermission. 

 

General admission $23; students and seniors $18 from the Center Stage box office. www.centerstagetheater.org; 963-8198

 

Here’s the playwright's note I wrote for the program:

 

How dare I collaborate with the bard, dead for 399 years? I’m grateful to DramaDogs for offering me this challenge. Shakespeare has much to say about how “the course of true love never did run smooth.” The five-part structure of Tales of Woo and Woe draws on his plays, poems and songs to create a new arc: the journey of the heart. There’s the thrill of love at first sight, then follies committed in the name of love, and then the exchange of vows. Alas, promises can fail, tormenting the heart with grief, loss, and jealousy. Valentine’s month requires a happy ending: the enduring power of love. Tales of Woo and Woe, a journey of the heart, requires little knowledge of Shakespeare’s works: its focus is on the universal challenges and delights of love that we experience in our own lives. As Romeo says, Love ‘is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like a thorn,’ and yet—it offers transcendent joy.

 

[A blogpost on writing in collaboration with William Shakespeare may be viewed at www.jinnywebber.com, Sex and Gender in Shakespeare's England Blog]

 

See you at the theater!

Jinny Webber

 
 
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