The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0517  Monday, 17 March 2003

From:           Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 16 Mar 2003 07:45:34 -0800
Subject:        Shakespeare at Stratford

1. Thomas Larque mentions Gale Edwards' production of Shrew, which I saw
in 1995.  Politically, I didn't find it offensive, merely familiar.  (I
had appeared in a similarly-conceived production ten years earlier).
Artistically, I found it highly offensive:  unimaginative, badly-acted,
ponderous and dull.  Reason enough for critical vitriol, as far as I'm
concerned.  (Of course, Mr. Larque is free to limit his reading to the
"impassionate" [sic] criticism that he prefers.  By the way, did he mean
dispassionate or passionless?).  Ms. Edwards' lifeless Shrew is one of
the many, many reasons I no longer go to Stratford.  I disagree with
Robert Brustein fairly often, but when he speaks of "the impoverishment
of the English stage," as he does in the current issue of The New
Republic, we're in perfect accord.

2. *Pace* Peter Holland, not a single entry in the Shakespeare at
Stratford series is "brilliant."  In fact, none is as good or
interesting as the best volumes in the Shakespeare in Performance series
published by Manchester University Press.  Now why is that, do you
suppose?  Could it be because Manchester does not confine its authors to
a single theatre, and to every production of a given play at that
theatre?  That the authors are free to choose the productions which
interest them most, regardless of venue? That they are consequently able
to write about stagings which they personally believe to be important,
unusual or emblematic?  That they can express their own opinion of
success or validity instead of maintaining an absurd pose of
faux-scientific neutrality?  That as a result their work is thoroughly
engaged and not just the fulfillment of a commission?


--Charles Weinstein

"The implied position of the people who know about literature (as in
every other fine art) is simply that they know what they know, and that
they are determined to impose their opinions by main force of eloquence
or assertion on the people who do not know."--Edmund Wilson

"I believe that my perceptions are better than anyone else's.  I may be
wrong, but I will go to my grave believing that."--John Simon

"The study of mediocrity, whatever its origins, breeds
mediocrity."-Harold Bloom

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