The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0238  Thursday, 1 February 2001

From:           Tom Bishop <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 31 Jan 2001 13:02:00 -0500
Subject: 12.0225 Re: Rosalind
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0225 Re: Rosalind

>We plan to go ahead with the idea of Orlando becoming aware of who
>Ganymede is - but of course not 'letting on,'  It feels that this could
>give another dimension to the relationship and add to Orlando's
>character without detracting at all from Ros.  I was interested that
>Evelyn Gajowki's students thought this happens in the BBC video - I must
>get it out to watch.

My students have occasionally wanted to think the same thing (mostly
because they found NOT penetrating the disguise "unrealistic").  Usually
they've focused on Oliver's telling Orlando "greater wonders than that".
I have argued, and would still, that their anxiety about Orlando's being
so manipulated and easy to fool is something they should live with, that
the play on the face of it very clearly puts Rosalind in charge of this
action, and we should therefore give serious weight to its making HER
the only arbiter of when she will emerge, rather than giving the
audience the satisfaction of seeing her in turn hoodwinked by a
conniving Orlando ( i note that you immediately want to compensate for
this by having her know he knows, etc...). It's so rare and dramatically
interesting to have a benign female character calling the shots in these
plays that I would be very loath to undercut her authority by having it
made part of a secret joke. I don't have a good picture of how you can
do it "without detracting at all from Ros". And the earlier or wider it
happens, from this point of view, the more unfortunate. Does Jacques
know? Duke Senior? Phebe? What's "awkward" about having Orlando kiss a
boy? Why not sustain that "awkwardness" dramatically instead of making
us more comfortable by defusing it in advance? Who's hiding behind what

The proof will be in the acting, of course. But these would be my


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