The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0498  Wednesday, 20 February 2002

From:           Werner Broennimann <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Feb 2002 11:16:12 +0000
Subject:        Implied Stage Directions

Catching up with hundreds of unread SHAKSPER messages has given me a
giddier brain than excess of single malt at Markus Marti's private
wooden O bar will ever cause.  And there is Basel carneval.  Still, I
would like to respond to Brandon Toropov's observations on implied stage
directions.  This was one of the favourite research topics of the late
Rudolf Stamm, memorable Professor of English at Basel University. At a
time (the 60s) when academic drama criticism almost completely
disregarded the theatrical and communicative dimension of dramatic
texts, he insisted on the performance aspect of Shakespearean plays,
emphasising that the text was a score that only achieved completion in
performance (on the stage or--here he made concessions--in our heads, if
the text was read aright). He investigated the signs in the
Shakespearean text that pointed to the stage, systematising and
discussing words that in subtle or obvious ways duplicated non-verbal
stage sights, sounds, movements. Terms like "gestic impulse" (deictics
like 'thus') or "mirror scene" were daily fare in his seminars.  It
would be a mistake to assume that implied stage directions are an easy
topic; the relationship between verbal information and its stage
realisation is not a trivial one. Publications include Stamm's
"Shakespeare's Theatrical Notation: The Early Tragedies", The Cooper
Monographs, Francke: Bern, 1989 and J 

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