The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1058  Wednesday, 17 April 2002

From:           David Lindley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 16 Apr 2002 17:51:14 GMT0BST
Subject: 13.1052 Re: Productions at New Globe
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1052 Re: Productions at New Globe

I agree with Karen that the Caliban-groundlings by-play was fun, but was
it Shakespeare?  And is it consistent with the character?  I saw the
production too.  But I'm a bit puzzled by this question - the words were
all Shakespeare's, and that's about all one can say.  All performances
have to do something with the Stephano-Trinculo-Caliban scenes; they
clearly demand that comic business be invented.  What this production
did, of course, was by its choice of business to minimise any sense of
Caliban as oppressed, and to diminish the potential malevolence of his
exploitation by Stephano in particular.  It's a performance choice that
doesn't necessarily please everyone - but does make one think about the
potential complexity of these scenes which are almost always passed over
lightly in critical commentary on the play.

I agree that

>Redgrave was weak, but I didn't find her portrayal gimmicky, just flat.
>She played the part sufficiently androgynously to make me believe she
>was male.

It was just about the most disengaged Prospero I've ever seen; it seemed
as if this normally very thoughtful and politically committed actress
had decided to give her brain a rest.

I thought the most interesting bit of this production (I agree, one not
high on anyone's list of great Tempests) was the treatment of Antonio
and Sebastian.  The emphasis was upon the effort Antonio had to make to
get a very dim Sebastian to see the point he was making as he tried to
get him to murder his brother.  Again, playing the second half of 2.1
for laughs might not be to many people's tastes - but then hardly any
performance of the scene succeeds, however it is played.

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