The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1653  Wednesday, 20 August 2003

From:           Brian Willis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003 11:18:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.1642 Thirteenth Night
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1642 Thirteenth Night

I wonder at the wisdom of attacking productions on the basis of the
amount of text they cut. There is evidence of Shakespeare's company
themselves cutting the text quite substantially, and no less an
authority than Andrew Gurr made a significant case in February at the
Huntington Conference for Henry V being cut nearly in half for
performance. One example drew a chilling gasp from all those assembled:
"Once more unto the breach".

Go ahead and criticize the verse speaking. Quite a few productions
deserve it. But the idea and the time of the sacred unalterable text
seems to have passed quite a long time ago. It's not an artifact. It's a
script.  And even the best scripts sometimes need to be reconstituted in
order to suit limits of time, adequacy, and the audience. As much as I
enjoy watching a good performance of the complete text, I can also
understand the reasons for cutting it. Especially in circles below the
RSC and the top level professional companies.

Brian Willis

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