The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0258  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Alice Jane Cooley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 5 Feb 2000 22:18:00 -0500
Subject:        Backstage?

Dear SHAKSPERians,

I've a pretty good mental image of what we think an Elizabethan theatre
looked like from the audience's perspective, but I've been wondering
what is known about the innards of these theatres-backstage, dressing
rooms, etc. Does anyone know of any research / conjecture / information
regarding this? As far as I remember, none of the books I have consulted
had much to say on the subject.

Alice Cooley

DC Coriolanus

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0257  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Jimmy Jung <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 04 Feb 2000 16:58:13 -0500
Subject:        DC Coriolanus

Coriolanus is one of Shakspeare's more rarely staged plays, but
Washington's Shakespeare Theater has taken it on again.  Back in 1991,
it was a lose sort of ambling affair, with the disheveled look of a
Marine Corp encampment; the year two thousand production has a more
stylized look seeming to be set in perhaps the early forties.
Coriolanus and the Roman army are styled after the Third Reich, the
Roman senate in top hats and tails, while the Volscians soldiers seem
more contemporary, tending towards camouflage.

The play opens with an abundance of grain pouring from the ceiling into
a hole in the floor and then being sealed beneath a grating by Roman
imperial soldiers and provides a very real sense of the Roman people's
concerns with hunger; but this initial apprehension about being able to
eat, is quickly turned into a political opportunity by the tribunes,
who, in a choice that confused me, are portrayed as some form of
communist. They appear early in the production, sporting red arm bands
emblazoned with the hammer and sickle.  And as the influence of the
tribunes over the populace grows, so does the number of arms bands.  My
history is a little weak, perhaps someone could tell me if this
combination of images makes sense, but for me, it was somewhat

The stage design was highlighted with rich rosewood furnishings and art
deco touches  that further invoked  a sense of the forties, but the
overwhelming character of the set is derived from two large aluminum
bleachers (as in high school gym bleachers) that retract to provide
space for the foreground action, or to create a wall for the storming of
Corioli. Entrances in and out of the city involve marching over the
bleachers.  Shiny metal and a bright red background give the whole thing
and angry feel that mirrors the mood of the title character.

Andrew Long makes an arrogant and haughty Coriolanus, but on those
occasions, when he's required to show his sensitive side it seems to
come out of the blue.  The sudden tenderness he shows his wife at their
reunions and his emotional concessions to his mother are almost jarring
, and unjustified in light of the one sided character we have been
exposed to.  I've seen Mr. Long do some very nuanced characters, so may
be it's the playwright's fault.  There was some argument in our party
about Sheila Allen's performance as Volumnia.  My wife found her
performance full of the passionate strength that commands her warrior
son.  I thought she was a little too Edith Bunker.  Ted van Griethuysen
plays Menenius as something of a dandy and makes the belly speech quite
amusing.  Griethuysen, Long and Keith Cobb as Tullus of the Volscians,
are the highlights of the cast and really the highlights of a somewhat
flat production.  Hardy Cook describes Cobb as playing Tullus as a sex
symbol, and while I entirely enjoyed his portrayal of the character, the
sex symbol part is accomplished mostly by taking off his shirt. My wife
says he looks like superman.

One of the most amazing scenes is the "reconciliation" between
Coriolanus and Tullus.  There is a moment where they kneel before each
other wearing scar each has given the other.  And in that moment one is
left with the sense that these warriors can only be understood, and to
some extent, even loved by another warrior.  There is a silent
recognition on kinship between them, broken as the wrestle, like teenage
brothers across the stage.  For me, this was the only chance we got to
see the complexity of the title character.

PS: I did note Menenius' speech on the belly during the opening and
Volumnia's horror at seeing her son rip the bowels out of Rome, but a
digestive track progression did not strike me during the viewing.  I've
been digging through the text to look for more gutsy metaphors.  (Bran


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0255  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Simon Malloch <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Saturday, 05 Feb 2000 12:14:20 +0800
Subject:        Job Announcement

Brandeis University seeks to make an appointment, beginning Fall, 2000,
of a one-year lecturer (with rank of Assistant Professor) in pre-1800
English literature.  We would particularly welcome candidates with
expertise in both the Renaissance and the eighteenth century.   Teaching
load is normally two courses per semester.  We are looking for someone
who can demonstrate excellence as both a scholar and a teacher, and with
Ph.D.  in hand.  We plan to interview finalists for this position at
Brandeis in March.  Please send letter of application, cv, and 20 page
writing sample (with SAS postcard for acknowledgment), postmarked by
February 28, 2000, to:

        Professor William Flesch
        Chair of the Search Committee
        Department of English, MS 023
        Brandeis University
        P.O. Box 9110
        Waltham, MA 02454-9110

Brandeis University is an AA/Equal opportunity employer.  Women and
minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

Re: Shakespeare Prequel Contest

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0256  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Norman J. Myers <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 4 Feb 2000 13:30:21 -0500
Subject: 11.0248 Shakespeare Prequel Contest
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0248 Shakespeare Prequel Contest

>John Updike's new novel, GERTRUDE AND CLAUDIUS, is a prequel to
>Shakespeare's HAMLET.

Somehow all this sounds like Mary Cowden Clarke's "The Girlhood of
Shakespeare's Heroines."  Then early in this century (or last century,
depending on your point of view) Percy Mackaye wrote a dramatic
tetralogy which told the WHOLE story!

Re: Elizabeth's Nose

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0254  Monday, 7 February 2000.

From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 4 Feb 2000 18:59:21 -0500
Subject: 11.0243 Re: Elizabeth's Nose
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0243 Re: Elizabeth's Nose

I, too, wonder if there were any chance she might come across a mirror,
mightn't she think back on all the people who let her walk around like
that during the course of the day, and simply ruin their whole families
with her displeasure?

It smells fishy to me.

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