The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0021  Wednesday, 3 January 2001

From:           Don Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 03 Jan 2001 07:35:09 -0600
Subject: 12.0007 Shakespeare The Player by John Southworth
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0007 Shakespeare The Player by John Southworth

 Richard Nathan writes:

>Some of what he has to say about doubling is entertaining.  He believes
>in "COMEDY OF ERRORS" the part of the twin Dromios were both played by
>Kempe, and that the twin Antipholuses (Antipholi?) were also doubled,
>although he doesn't speculate as to who played them.  I would think that
>doubling the twins would be confusing to an audience, not to mention the
>problems it would cause in the last scene.

Actually the doubling of the twins works very well -- until the
recognition scene. I was in such a production, and if you have strong
actors doing Antipholus and Dromio (as we did), the audience is never
confused. The problem of the last scene comes with finding actors who
look sufficiently like the leads to bring it off well. But that, of
course, applies to not-doubling as well (which also requires that all
four actors be strong).  I suspect that Southworth may have been in a
doubled production and so made that assumption.

This is also commonly done with Viola/Sebastian in "Twelfth Night," but
there the problem is compounded with finding a male actor who looks
enough like the woman playing Viola not to distract the audience. Here
the advantage lay with the Elizabethans and their use of boys for the
female roles. Two actors in their early teens may look very much alike
who in ten years (or less) will look utterly different.


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