Shakespeare in Louisville

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 203. Thursday, 29 Aug 1991.
Date: 		Wed, 28 Aug 1991 20:51:28 -0400
From: 		Chet Vittitow <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Organization: 	University of Louisville
Subject: 2.0202  Shakespeare in San Diego
Comment:      	[Re:] SHK 2.0202  Shakespeare in San Diego
Having read the reviews of the plays in San Diego, I am at last brave enough
to dare a posting of my own to this list.
Actor's Theatre of Louisville is a nationally recognized theater company.
For some reason, however, they can't seem to get the Shakespeare right.
This was borne out earlier this summer with a ludicrous production of
King Lear.
It was, for some reason, set in pre-20th-century Arabia.  (Surely Desert
Storm had nothing to do with this whatsoever!)  I am not one to play the
immutable purist when it comes to re-setting Shakespeare.  (Shakespeare
himself could hardly cry foul with Geoffrey and Saxo looking over his
shoulder.)  However, the company did nothing-- other than costume and a
bit of music-- to "localize" the performance.
Given the feudal nature of Bedouin society, this would have been quite
exciting had the play been revised along the lines of Kurisawa's *Ran.*
To have a group of actors trouping about in abbayas spouting "What Ho, Kent"
and "How now, Gloucester" was a bit much.  (France and Burgundy, in their
little foreign-legion outfits, drew a few chuckles.)  How, in the nineteenth
century, we are supposed to believe that these personages went in search
of "sauvage brides" is a bit beyond me.
Chet Vittitow

Shakespeare in San Diego

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 202. Wednesday, 28 Aug 1991.
Date:         	Sun, 25 Aug 91 17:22:07 EST
From: 		Lee Jacobus <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject: 	Shakespeare in San Diego.
Steven Urkowitz inspires me to comment on two plays I just saw in late July.
The first is a marvelous romp by Lee Blessing called FORTINBRAS.  The play
begins with Horatio's last speech and Fortinbras entering, using contemporary
English with a very jarring, "Hi!" But it's a witty play.  It centers on
"getting the story straight."  Fortinbras, true politician, says no one will
believe Horatio's story so a new one must be invented.  A Polish spy, he
reasons, infiltrating the court while he is in the field, caused all the
problem.  They invent the spy--it turns out to be Osric, the real surprise
of the play.  Ophelia and Hamlet (first locked in a TV) come back as ghosts
--as do Polonius, Gertrude, and Claudius.  All this is widly funny and
reminiscent of a Dan Quayle takeover possibility.  It was at the La Jolla
Playhouse on the UC San Diego campus.  Look for it elsewhere.
Then, San Diego's Old Globe did a flaccid and somewhat inaudible (air traffic)
outdoor THE MERCHANT OF VENICE with Hal Holbrook.  The program contained
numerous disclaimers from various antidefamation leagues.  It is not often
one sees the play, so I was grateful for the chance.  However, most of the
audience seemed worn out with the garbled lines.  The vague modernisation in
staging was not terribly effective.  Portia was well done.

Useful Pedagogical Journals

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 200. Thursday, 22 Aug 1991.
Date: 		Wed, 21 Aug 1991 23:13:53 -0400
From: 		Steve Urkowitz <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      	Useful Journals
Another useful journal:
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching
The Spring 1990 issue has an article by Thomas J. Derrick, "New
Approaches from the Folger Shakespeare Library."  It's a review of the
Vineyard Video cassette documenting the kinds of things Peggy O'Brien
has been doing with teachers over the past decade.  Immediately
following Derrick's review is a list of books and articles on
Shakespearean teaching.  The Fall 1990 issue has two articles that I've
incorporated into my own planning for the coming semester: Cynthia
Evans, "Can an 'Old, Dead Classic' Be Revived?" (on ways of using
student responses to regenerate interest in Dante), and Elizabeth
Girsch, "Doing Away with Stereotypes: Attitudes Towards 'Otherness' in
Anglo-Saxon Communities."  As with SHAKSPER, this journal seems to put me
in touch with the zannies who dance towards classroom engagement rather
than fly from it.  The editorial page says US subscriptions are $10,
others $15, and manuscript contributions should be in the MLA style.
Both would go to Judy G. Hample, Managing Editor, SMART, College of Arts
and Sciences, Stalker Hall 213, Indiana State University, Terre Haute,
Indiana 47809.  Phone 812-237-2788.  (No E-mail address!)  By the way,
I've learned recently that common practice in Engineering School classes
at CCNY establishes campus E-mail nets among the members of any class.
Students can send stuff to one another individually, sign up onto
bulletin boards, communicate in small-groups.  I'm signing up my Women's
Literature class, opening the podium for all voices, letting more thn single
pairs of eyes see the responses to student's writings . . . Oh brave new
e-world. . .    (Now someone plese tell me how to do it right the first time.)
                                            	Yours cordially,
						Steve Urkowitz

SHAKSPER Members & Biographies

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 201. Saturday, 24 Aug 1991
(1)	Date: 	Fri, 23 Aug 1991 21:27:22 -0400
	From: 	Steve <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
(2)	Date: 	Sat, 24 Aug 1991 09:27:22 -0400
	From: 	Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
	Subj:	SHAKSPER Membership
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 		Fri, 23 Aug 1991 21:27:22 -0400
From: 		Steve <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      	BIOGRAFY
In a clumsy attempt to free-up disc space in my central computer files,
I happened to come across the BIOGRAFY files sent in by people on the
SHAKSPER mailing list.  Interesting reading!  Lots of people concerned
with production rather than "straight" scholarship.  (I've always been
more happily bent in any performance work that I did than during the
more formal -- and combative -- drills as a textual scholar.)  I'd like
to encourage any of the readers who have been out there quiet as mice to
toss in their comments and passing thoughts.  The idea the Germaine
Warkentin has a book on "Astrophil and Stella" and is in the network and
could cheer us on with thoughts about that so-dramatic handbook of
narrative strategies . . . And that we have lively medievalists and
computer scientists and actor/director/designer types . . . Hey, that's
what makes soup interesting, lotsa flavors.
					Steve Urkowitz
					This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 		Sat, 24 Aug 1991 09:27:22 -0400
From: 		Ken Steele <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Subject:      	SHAKSPER Membership
I'm glad that Steve is enjoying the biography files from the SHAKSPER
Fileserver -- there are currently four of them, filled with useful and
interesting information about both past publications and work in
progress of the membership.  I would like to take this opportunity to
urge members to download these files (if they don't have up-to-date
copies) and store them somewhere convenient -- I keep copies on a
floppy diskette, where I can search them readily.
To obtain all the member biography files, and the CMS software to go
with them, just send the command "GET BIOGRAFY PACKAGE SHAKSPER" to
<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> and the files should be on their way to you.
Incidentally, thanks to the recent full-page announcement in the
Shakespeare Association of American Bulletin (for which I am grateful
to Michael Warren for his persuasive lobbying in camera, and Steve
Urkowitz for his added support at the annual meeting) membership
requests have begun to arrive from exotic locations like Hawaii,
Switzerland, Germany, and Ireland -- and of course those requests came
from scholars already on Bitnet.  If the announcement also persuades
non-netted folk to join us, it may take a little longer to gauge its
impact.  At any rate, despite some attrition, SHAKSPER has continued
its steady growth and is now just over 170 members -- not bad for a
fledgling operation, barely a year old.
Now that we're all back to work after summers spent away on research
or out on the beach, perhaps discussion here will become a little more
active, too.  I'll certainly try to do my part...
					Ken Steele
					University of Toronto

Report from Tokyo ISA

Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 199. Thursday, 22 Aug 1991.
Date: 		Wed, 21 Aug 1991 16:54:00 -0400
From: 		John Cox <COX@HOPE>
Subject:  	World Shakespeare Congress, Tokyo
    Having just returned from the fifth World Shakespeare Congress in
Tokyo, I would like to register my impressions while they are still
fresh.  These are for the benefit of SHAKSPEReans who could not attend,
but no doubt I was not the only SHAKSPERean in Tokyo, and others may
wish to add to my remarks.
    In my opinion, the Congress was well worth the substantial cost of
attending.  Apparently many others felt the same way, for about 700 people
came, from thirty-two countries.  Plenary sessions, short-paper sessions,
and seminars were spread over five days.  Three theater events were
included in the cost of registration:  a *kyogen* (farcical Noh play)
adaptation of *The Merry Wives of Windsor*, a Japanese *Lear*, and an
evening of traditional Noh.
    Everyone agreed that our Japanese hosts outdid themselves in hospitality
and efficiency.  Short-paper sessions and seminars were held at the Kyoritsu
College of Pharmacy, next door to the Shiba Park Hotel, where most delegates
stayed.  Plenary sessions were at the Toranomon Pastoral Hotel, a long walk
or short bus ride from Kyoritsu College.  The logistics of moving large
numbers of people around must have been challenging, but transitions always
seemed to go well.  A reception was also offered at the Toranomon Hotel on
Monday evening.  It was extraordinarily lavish and graciously hosted.
    The two Shakespearean productions were performed at the Panasonic Globe
Theater, a full-sized replica of Shakespeare's Globe, built in 1984.  Both
productions will be taken to England later this year as part of that country's
Festival of Japan 1991.  *The Braggart Samurai* (adapted from *Merry Wives*)
focused on the Falstaff plot but deleted Mistress Page, Fenton, and other
subplot elements.  Even so, it was unusually long for a *kyogen* but perrectly
comprehensible and delightful.  *Lear* was directed by J. A. Seazer, a
"disciple" (according to program notes) of Shuji Terayama, a poet, playwright,
and filmmaker.  Playing in about two and a half hours, without an intermission,
the production cut the text heavily, as one could tell even without knowing
Japanese.  Atmospheric effects, often spectacular, were added to enhance the
sense of chaos and decay.  An operatic soprano wandered in and out
occasionally, singing "the thoughts of Cordelia."  Rock music alternated with
a spare classical trio (guitar, cello, flute), as lighting shifted rapidly
from harsh, full white to matches lit by actors in total darkness to a full
spectrum of colored effects.  I found some moments intensely moving, though
the ending was so huddled up and poorly rendered as to be merely confusing.
Perhaps most striking was the dancing, which combined numerous styles in a
stunningly gymnastic choreography that sometimes made me worry about the
well-being of the performers.
    We were prepared for the Noh performance on Friday evening by a booklet
in our registration materials that translated both the *kyogen* and Noh plays
and discussed them briefly.  The *kyogen* seemed to have been deliberately
chosen to complement *The Braggart Samurai* that we had seen earlier, for both
featured a drunken soldier, and it was clearer to me, seeing the second one,
how the modern playwright ahd worked with traditional Noh materials in
adapting *Merry Wives* to the same medium.
    A business meeting of the International Shakespeare Association was held
on the last day of the Congress.  Presiding was Ann Jennalie Cook, president
of the ISA and former executive director of the Shakespeare Association of
America.  A resolution was passed urging the British government more actively
to support archeological excavation of the Globe Theatre site near Southwark
Bridge.  Another resolution congratulated the Deutsche Shakespeare Geselschaft
on its reunification since the last World Shakespeare Congress was held in
1986, in what was then West Berlin.  No site has been chosen for 1996.  A firm
offer to hold the Congress in the U.S. has been made by the Shakespeare
Association of America, but competing offers were invited.  A decision is
expected by next year.  No matter where the sixth Congress is held, it is hard
to imagine anyone doing a better job than our Japanese hosts did this year.
John Cox
Hope College

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