The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0590  Thursday, 27 March 2003

From:           Ivan Fuller <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 24 Mar 2003 09:29:01 -0600
Subject: Re: WT - Act V scene 2
Comment:        SHK 14.0573 Re: WT - Act V scene 2

In response to Joanne Gates theory for why Autolycus is not present for
the festivities at the end, I'd propose a more practical (and,
consequently, less elegant theory).  Chances are quite good that the
actor playing Autolycus also played a character needed for the final
scene... perhaps even Leontes, which is how I've double-cast the show
for my summer production.

Ivan Fuller
Bare Bodkins Theatre Co.
Sioux Falls, SD

>I have for a long time held that one unique feature of this scene
>(besides the fact that to actually stage the Perdita reunion would
>undercut the statue scene; in tragedy, Shakespeare does the same in
>keeping off stage Gloucester's death to make more prominent Lear's), is
>that Autolycus as the principal hearer of the reports by the Gentlemen
>is shown up to be excluded from all festive ending and all rewards. When
>the Clown and Shepherd appear (dressed in their gentlemen's clothes),
>it's a further dig at this rogue who didn't reform in time to enjoy the
>first-hand experience of the reunions.  The pre-eminent trickster is
>left holding the bag, because he hasn't been present for the revelation
>of the princess's identity.  I've seen it staged (I believe in Stratford
>Ontario in the late 70s) with the three gentlemen's speeches shared as
>if by individuals in a full crowd of those who witnessed the events,
>buzzing with excitement at the scene they had just witnessed.
>In reference to Matthew Baynham's comment also in this thread, on
>audience members not knowing the end of Hamlet, I attended a "Parent's
>weekend" production of Hamlet at --should I name the private college in
>the same town where I took my graduate degrees at UMass /Amherst?--
>Leaving at the intermission after a long but well-acted first part,
>after "The play's the thing where in I'll catch the conscience of the
>king," one father was heard to remark, "Very good performance," as if to
>assume that it was over at that point.  No doubt it had been a long day
>and he had worked hard all his life to pay for his offspring's tuition.
>Joanne Gates

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