Love’s Labor’s Lost, 4.2

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.427  Tuesday, 30 September 2014


From:        Gerald E. Downs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         September 29, 2014 at 12:09:08 AM EDT

Subject:    Love’s Labor’s Lost, 4.2  


In the last few weeks I’ve read Love’s Labor’s Lost for evidence of reporting. Someone might be interested but as my “introduction” runs long (as usual) and lists reasons why few are likely to be interested, I’ll begin instead (almost) with the playtext, which is by definition (Shakespeare) worthy of attention. As we know, F derives from Q1, which is itself at least Q2. F editors correct and botch but they’re not relevant. I use Q1, Furness, and Arden3 (Woudhuysen, who does as well as can be expected when reporting is not on the horizon). I haven’t yet troubled with much else on the same passages I’ve analyzed.


I’ll focus on speech prefixes at 4.2, which are confused (to say the least). According to Arden3, Hibbard explains that Shakespeare “began the scene in London and tried to finish it while out of town”; so much for editorial rigor, but that’s how “foul papers” are (not) explained.


       Enter Dull,Holofernes,the Pedant and Nathaniel.


[Dull is the constable, Nathaniel the curate, Holofernes a schoolmaster. Pedant also designates Holofernes, which doesn’t quite seem clear to the Q1 printers. I guess that s.p.’s were added to Q1 copy piecemeal and not by a lone agent. Alternatively, Shakespeare (the author!) accounts for this muddle much as it stands. We should ask which guess best explains the text.]


  Nat. Very reuerent sport truly, and done in the testimonie

of a good conscience.

  Ped. The Deare was (as you know) sanguis in blood, ripe

as the Pomwater, who now hangeth like a Iewel in the eare

of Celo the skie, the welken the heauen, & anon falleth like

a Crab on the face of Terra the soyle, the land, the earth.

  Curat Nath. Truely M. Holofernes, the epythithes are

sweetly varried like a scholler at the least: but sir I assure ye

it was a Bucke of the first head.     1160

  Holo. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

  Dul. Twas not a haud credo, twas a Pricket.

  Holo. Most barbarous intimation: yet a kind of insinua-

tion, as it were in via, in way of explication facere: as it were

replication, or rather ostentare, to show as it were his inclina-

tion after his vndressed, vnpolished, vneducated, vnpruned,

vntrained, or rather vnlettered, or ratherest vnconfirmed fa-

shion, to insert again my haud credo for a Deare.

  Dul. I said the Deare was not a haud credo,twas a Pricket.

  Holo. Twice sodd simplicitie, bis coctus, O thou monster

ignorance, How deformed doost thou looke. 1172

  Nath. Sir he hath neuer fed of the dainties that are bred

      in a booke.

He hath not eate paper as it were: he hath not drunke inck.

His intellect is not replenished, he is only an annimall, only

      sensible in the duller partes: and such barren plantes are

      set before vs, that we thankful should be: which we taste,

      and feeling, are for those partes that doe fructifie in vs

      more then he.                      1082                                  (foole

For as it would ill become me to be vaine, indistreell, or a

So were there a patch set on Learning, to see him in a schole.

But omne bene say I, being of an olde Fathers minde,

Many can brooke the weather, that loue not the winde.

  Dul. You two are book-men, Can you tel me by your wit,

What was a month old at Cains birth, that's not fiue weeks

      old as yet?                                                1191


[If speech headings were assigned by scanning the dialogue it is possible that Nathaniel’s lines are mistaken: ‘He hath not eate paper . . . to see him in a schole’ may belong to Holofernes, when Nathaniel resumes at ‘But omne . . . .’ Though I suggest this change no one can insist on either version. Yet the evidence below suggests ascription errors should be diligently searched out. We shouldn’t rely on a non-existent (disqualified) Q1 authority. Actors can spout the wrong speeches as if they mean business but some good must come from setting things right.


F alters Q1 at 1080 to ‘which we taste and feeling, are . . .’ with no improvement; Tyrwhitt’s ‘(which we of taste and feeling are)’ is accepted. F’s failure to correct Q1 is typical of evidence that shouldn’t be ignored by those who believe implicitly in the general authority of the Folio and its punctuation. But there’s way too much of this kind of evidence to kick around here.]


  Holo. Dictisima goodman Dull, dictisima goodman Dull.

  Dul. What is dictima?

  Nath. A title to Phebe, to Luna, to the Moone.     (more

  Holo. The Moone was a month old when Adam was no

And rought not to fiue-weeks when he came to fiuescore.

Th'allusion holdes in the Exchange.                     (change

  Dul. Tis true in deede, the Collusion holdes in the Ex-

  Holo. God comfort thy capacitie, I say th'allusion holdes

in  the Exchange.

  Dul. And I say the polusion holdes in the Exchange: for

      the Moone is neuer but a month olde: and I say beside

      that, twas a Pricket that the Princesse kild.

  Holo. Sir Nathaniel, will you heare an extemporall Epy-

taph on the death of the Deare, and to humour the igno-

rault cald the Deare: the Princesse kild a Pricket.


[Misspellings occur by accident (‘indistreell’, ‘ignorault’) but one should take heed of all strange spellings because scholars love to think Shakespeare couldn’t spell. Latin and Italian are muffed especially; Arden3 blames that on compositors (as if they wouldn’t have reason to follow their copy in unfamiliar languages). Spellings in John of Bordeaux generally and fully explain these phonetic matters, which recur in many bad quartos.]


  NathPerge, good M. Holofernes perge, so it shall please

you to abrogate squirilitie.

  Holo. I wil somthing affect the letter,for it argues facilitie.

The prayfull Princesse pearst and prickt    1216

    a prettie pleasing Pricket,

Some say a Sore, but not a sore,

    till now made sore with shooting.

The Dogges did yell, put ell to Sore,

     then Sorell iumps from thicket:

Or Pricket-sore, or els Sorell,

     the people fall a hooting.

If Sore be sore, then el to Sore,

     makes fiftie sores o sorell:

Of one sore I an hundred make          1225

     by adding but one more l.

  Nath. A rare talent.

  Dull. If a talent be a claw, looke how he clawes him

     with a talent.             1229


[I don’t know who gives the fullest explication of the sexual punning in these lines but I credit Martin Green. Capell ‘instantly’ saw the possibilities in the title of the poem. Herbert A. Ellis gives an amazing rundown of the whole play.]


  Nath. This is a gyft that I haue simple: simple, a foolish

extrauagant spirit, full of formes, figures, shapes, obiectes,

Ideas, aprehentions, motions, reuolutions. These are begot in

the ventricle of Memorie, nourisht in the wombe of prima-

ter, and deliuered vpon the mellowing of occasion: But the

gyft is good in those whom it is acute, and I am thankfull

for it.                                                   1236

  Holo. Sir, I prayse the L. for you, and so may my parishi-

oners, for their Sonnes are well tuterd by you, and their

Daughters profite very greatly vnder you: you are a good

member of the common wealth.          1240

  Nath. Me hercle, yf their Sonnes be ingenous, they shal

want no instruction: If their Daughters be capable, I will

put it to them. But Vir sapis qui pauca loquitur, a soule Femi-

nine saluteth vs.


[In these and the following lines Q1 assigns the pedant’s speeches to the curate and vice versa. In authorial manuscripts every prefix would contradict such errors unless there were no s.p.’s at all. Is that circumstance credible through many changes of speakers (and over many playtexts)? Yes, say the foul-paper people—Shakespeare didn’t bother to assign speeches. Alternatively, stenographers and their editors had no choice: they identified speakers from dialogue, when mistakes couldn’t be avoided.]


                  Enter Iaquenetta and the Clowne.

  Iaquenetta God giue you good morrow M. Person.

  Nath. Maister Person, quasi Person? And if one shoulde

be perst, Which is the one?                                         (head

  Clo. Marrie M. Scholemaster, he that is liklest to a hoggs-

  Nath. Of persing a Hogshead, a good luster of conceit

in a turph of Earth, Fier enough for a Flint, Pearle enough

for a Swine: tis prettie, it is well.

  Iaque. Good M. Parson be so good as read me this letter,

it was geuen me by Costard, and sent me from Don Armatho:

I beseech you read it.                     1256

  Nath. Facile precor gellida, quando pecas omnia sub vmbra ru-

minat, and so foorth. Ah good olde Mantuan, I may speake

of thee as the traueiler doth of Venice, vemchie, vencha, que non

te vnde, que non te perreche. Olde Mantuan, olde Mantuan,

Who vnderstandeth thee not, loues thee not, vt re sol la mi fa:

Vnder pardon sir, What are the contentes? or rather as Hor-

race sayes in his, What my soule verses.


[Shakespeare didn’t care to punctuate, either: ‘. . . as Horace says in his—What? My soul! Verses!’ (Theobald); stenographers couldn’t take time for punctuation. The difference is that shorthand reports will have pointing problems while “foul papers” must excuse them.]


  Holo. I sir, and very learned.                    1264

  Nath. Let me heare a staffe, a stauze, a verse, Lege domine.

If Loue make me forsworne, how shall I sweare to loue?

Ah neuer fayth could hold, yf not to beautie vowed.

Though to my selfe forsworne, to thee Ile faythfull proue.

Those thoughts to me were Okes, to thee like Osiers bowed

Studie his byas leaues, and makes his booke thine eyes.

Where all those pleasures liue, that Art would comprehend.

If knowledge be the marke, to know thee shall suffise.

Well learned is that tongue, that well can thee commend.

All ignorant that soule, that sees thee without wonder.

Which is to mee some prayse, that I thy partes admire,

Thy eie Ioues lightning beares, thy voyce his dreadful thũder

Which not to anger bent, is musique, and sweete fier.

Celestiall as thou art, Oh pardon loue this wrong [woug Qu],

That singes heauens prayse, with such an earthly tong.

  Pedan. You finde not the apostraphas, and so misse the

accent. Let me superuise the cangenet.         1285

  Nath. Here are onely numbers ratefied, but for the ele-

gancie, facilitie, and golden cadence of poesie caret: Ouiddius

Naso was the man. And why in deed Naso, but for smel-

ling out the odoriferous flowers of fancie? the ierkes of in-

uention imitarie is nothing: So doth the Hound his maister,

the Ape his keeper, the tyred Horse his rider: But Damosella

virgin, Was this directed to you?


[At 1264 Nathaniel speaks (not Holofernes); at 1265 Holofernes (not Nathaniel) asks Nathaniel to read the verses; at 1266 Nathaniel reads, ‘finding not the apostraphas,’ as the pedant says, who asks to see the canzonet at 1285, and who finds ‘only numbers ratified’ (proper meter). That is, Q1 gets almost all the prefixes wrong. With authorial speech headings in Q1 copy, these mistakes would have been virtually impossible.]


  Iaq. I sir from one mounsier Berowne, one of the strange

Queenes Lordes.                                      1295

  Nath. I will ouerglaunce the superscript.

  To the snow-white hand of the most bewtious Lady Rosaline.

I will looke againe on the intellect of the letter, for the no-

mination of the partie written to the person written vnto.

     Your Ladiships in all desired imployment, Berowne.

  Ped. Sir Holofernes, this Berowne is one of the Votaries

with the King, and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent

of the stranger Queenes: which accidentally, or by the way

of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and goe my sweete,

deliuer this Paper into the royall hand of the King, it may

concerne much: stay not thy complement, I forgine thy

dewtie, adue.                                                    1307

  Mayd. Good Costard go with me: sir God saue your life.

  Cost. Haue with thee my girle.                                  Exit.

  Holo. Sir you haue done this in the feare of God verie reli-

giously: and as a certaine Father saith

  Ped. Sir tell not mee of the Father, I do feare colourable

coloures. But to returne to the Verses, Did they please you

sir Nathaniel?

  Nath. Marueilous well for the pen.

  Peda. I do dine to day at the fathers of a certaine pupill of

mine, where if (before repast) it shall please you to gratifie

the table with a Grace, I will on my priuiledge I haue with

the parentes of the foresaid childe or pupill, vndertake your

bien venuto, where I will proue those Verses to be very vn-

learned, neither sauouring of Poetrie, wit, nor inuention.

I beseech your societie.

  Nath. And thanke you to: for societie (saith the text)

is the happines of life.

  Peda. And certes the text most infallibly concludes it.

Sir I do inuite you too, you shall not say me nay: pauca verba.

Away, the gentles are at their game, and we will to our re-

creation.                                                              Exeunt.


This passage is hard for editors; solutions are iffy. Hudson describes the mysteries as “stark nonsense” but he teams with Theobald, Daniel, and others to find improvements. Furness explains the key: “In view of the confusion in the distribution of the speeches . . . it seems permissible . . . to add other instances”. Presumably, emendation is also permissible because reassigning the speeches doesn’t solve every problem. And it may help to suppose that agents attempting to set the prefixes right actually caused further problems. Shorthand invites error and correction; “foul papers” accepts stark nonsense as Shakespearian. From Furness:


“Inasmuch as Jaquenetta had already said that the letter was sent to her from ‘Don Armatho,’ her present assertion presents a difficulty which is not diminished when she adds that Berowne was ‘one of the strange Queen’s Lords.’” P. A. Daniel adopts Theobald’s conjectural ‘from one Berowne *to* one of the strange Queen’s *Ladies*’. Daniel allows ‘I sir’ to Jaquenetta but gives the rest of her line to Nathaniel, who “had already overread the letter.” The ‘maid’ could not read and her interest was in Armado (the father of her baby).


All editors assign ‘I will overglance . . .’ to Holofernes. The rest, down to ‘adue’, seems to be his also. But in the next scene (4.3) Jaquenetta implies that it was Nathaniel who sent her to the King with the letter. She could have got her impression of the parson’s opinion that the letter was treasonous only during this scene. Arden3 suggests the confusions indicate revision. That’s no explanation.


Q1 assigns 1301 to the pedant, who begins, ‘Sir Holofernes’. But Holofernes is the pedant. No matter how this mistake occurred, the compositor seems not to have tumbled to the identity. Modern acceptance of ‘Sir Nathaniel’ (Theobald) may be wrong. If different hands added s.p.’s then Holofernes could have been a redundancy mistaken for dialogue when it was meant as a replacement for pedant. When the compositor can’t be accused of analyzing the prefixes in any case, there is no reason to suppose he even knew who was who. Nevertheless, I favor another solution based on my presumption that a phonetic shorthand system will generally reproduce something near to the performance: Nathaniel could be rendered Holofernes only by an actor’s unlikely error. Interestingly (not to everyone), this same mistake is assumed at 5.1.110:


  Bra. Sir, it is the Kings most sweete pleasur & affection, 1822

to congratulate the Princesse at her Pauilion, in the posteriors

of this day, which the rude multitude call the after-noone.

  Peda. The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is liable,

congruent, and measurable for the after noone: the worde is

well culd, chose, sweete, & apt I do assure you sir, I do assure.

  Brag. . . . . . I do implore                                             1842

secretie, that the King would haue me present the Princesse

(sweete chuck) with some delightfull ostentation, or show,

or pageant, or antique, or fierworke: Now vnderstanding

that the Curate and your sweete selfe, are good at such erup-

tions, and sodaine breaking out of myrth (as it were) I haue

acquainted you withall, to the ende to craue your assistance.

  Peda. Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies, 1850

Sir Holofernes, as concerning some entertainement of time,

some show in the posterior of this day, to be rended by our

assistants the Kinges commaund, and this most gallant il-

lustrate and learned Gentleman, before the Princesse: I say

none so fit as to present the nine Worthies.          1855

  Curat. Where will you finde men worthie enough to pre-

sent them?

  Peda. Iosua, your selfe, my selfe, and this gallant Gentle-

man Iudas Machabeus; this Swaine (because of his great lim

or ioynt) shall passe Pompey the great, the Page Hercules. 1861


At 5.2.600 Berowne refers to ‘The Pedant, the Braggart, the Hedge-Priest the Foole, and the Boy,’ by which (with similar references) the dialogue identifies the speakers. The headings, therefore, needn’t be Shakespeare’s own.


Armado and Holofernes trade pleasantries. However, we shouldn’t assume that Holofernes is perfectly serious with the “braggart”; many of the play’s characters are quick to notice others’ defects while keeping up their own absurd ways. At 1851 Holofernes again seems to refer to himself before repeating his and Armado’s phrasing. As in 4.2, editors emend the reference to ‘Nathaniel’.


The likelihood is that after Holofernes proposes “The Nine Worthies,” the lines following 1850 belong instead to Nathaniel, who also has some fun with the braggart’s style before agreeing to the presentation: ‘Sir Holofernes’ is addressed to the curate’s friend and the casting question ends his speech. Editors think that only Nathaniel merits the title, but as the two repeatedly address each other by Sir, I see no reason to bar it here. Besides, an audience needs a name now and then; in performance the player may supply one on his own.


Editors also note the corrupt assignment of the “Worthy” roles by Holofernes (without much success in its correction). Reprinting a bad quarto, Q1 obviously inherits mistakes; but reports suffer from their share of printer’s errors. In this case I suspect Holofernes is meant to say, ‘Joshua, yourself [Nathaniel]; myself, Judas Maccabaeus; this gallant gentleman, Hector; this Swain . . . and the page, Hercules.’ If by eyeskip (one haecceity to another) ‘this . . . Hector’ was lost, found, and miscorrected in the earlier edition; then neither Q1 nor Shakespeare originated the error. It isn’t necessary for this guess to be right for it to show how common error accounts for text better than authorial revision when nonsensical anomaly is the only evidence. Applying the 5.1 inference to 4.2, ‘Sir Holofernes’ probably begins Nathaniel’s speech for this sequence:


  Nathaniel. Sir Holofernes, this Berowne is one of the Votaries

with the King.

  Holofernes. And here he hath framed a letter to a sequent

of the stranger Queenes: which accidentally, or by the way

of progression, hath miscarried.

  Nathaniel. Trip and goe my sweete, deliuer this Paper into

the royall hand of the King, it may concerne much.

  Holofernes. Stay not thy complement, I forgine thy dewtie, adue.

  Mayd. Good Costard go with me: sir God saue your life.

  Cost. Haue with thee my girle.                                  Exit.

  Holo. Sir you haue done this in the feare of God verie reli-

giously: and as a certaine Father saith—

  Nathaniel. Sir tell not mee of the Father, I do feare colourable


  Holo. But to returne to the Verses, Did they please you

sir Nathaniel?

  Nath. Marueilous well for the pen.


Correction of the s.p.’s solves a lot of the problems. Arden3 suggests that “either Jaquenetta is alarmingly confused or Shakespeare was.” But these are transmission issues: 1) ‘Sir Holofernes’ is right. 2) The curate directs the (former) maid to the King, as she says. 3) The flowery language is the pedant’s. 4) The ‘religious’ compliment is directed to the curate, who respects God and the King. 5) It’s Nathaniel who fears ‘certain fathers,’ who may not be of the official persuasion. 6) It isn’t Nathaniel’s style to say, ‘Stay not thy complement, I forgive thy duty, adieu.’ Arden3 (and others) take this to mean something like, “never mind the niceties of your farewell.” But Holofernes is just being himself: “Don’t delay completion (= complement) of your task; I make it (forgive = give) your duty.”


Q1 LLL (1598) is almost always taken to be printed from Shakespeare’s holograph manuscript. That’s the only way to skirt the issues—but with this play scholars seem not even to be aware of the issues. Arden3 cites Werstine’s detailed 1984 bibliographical argument to the effect that Q1 is a reprint, which “in turn argues . . . that a putative lost earlier quarto may not have been a ‘bad’ one” (306). That doesn’t follow: a reprint of a bad quarto is still a bad quarto and evidence of reporting may remain. In LLL it is manifest.


I suspect Woudhuysen follows Werstine, who concluded that “if the first printing of LLL served as printer’s copy for the entire first extant quarto . . . the first printing must have been a good quarto, not a bad one.” By good quarto in this instance Werstine must mean “foul paper” copy: few suppose LLL is a finished product. From 1990 on, Werstine forcefully argues against foul papers as a concept with any likelihood of historical occurrence. I presume he has changed his mind about this play and his earlier statement.


I follow my hero van Dam to think that LLL was finished, played, revised, reported, printed, and reprinted. Throughout, the play preserved remarkable wordplay—enough to preclude editorial thought of shorthand transmission. However, I believe good productions were well reported, as was John of Bordeaux; its lessons are all-important.


Though LLL is by almost all standards one of a kind, there are two mutually exclusive categories wherein this phenomenon is one of many. Printed from “foul papers,” Q1 finds itself grouped with other Shakespeare texts only because it is problematic but not answermatic. Never mind that the texts aren’t alike in other respects because foul papers knows no boundaries; rough drafts subdue evidence like The Blob. Now it’s OK to make up categories because everything has to be categorized. But when the upshot is to set thought aside there’s no scholarly point. Let the evidence out and we see none of it supports even a definition of the group, much less a guide to study the texts, other than individually and blindly. “Shakespeare was out of town.”


As a shorthand report (we are allowed our personal categories, mind you), Q1 is subject to testing by shared criteria that allow its other characteristics to come through almost intact. Recognizing traits of reporting in a playtext doesn’t set it apart from others in the same fix. Rather we are handed the tools to solve many problems and the tools can be handed back; continuous threads link reports.


Absent the foul-papers mind-set the speech ascription problems, of which I have noted only a portion, are sure signs of reporting. Recognition of this probability could lead to solutions of the major cruxes of the play. As with R&J, the near certainty that LLL derives from another corrupt text allows transmission a more likely cause of error than authorial bumbling.


Speech headings weren’t left out because Shakespeare ‘tripped and goed’to Anne or because Fletcher was a dope. At least, we can’t know these causes. But shorthand omitted prefixes by necessity and there happen to be a lot of plays with mixed-up or late-added speech headings: Bordeaux, Lear, Woodstock, Philaster, etc. Reporting explains these errors (and more).


Reports were fair game for printing and reprinting. Editing varied and sometimes went awry. I suppose the other muddles in LLL (e.g. the “Katherine/Rosaline Tangle”) might be explained by shorthand transmission and printers’ goofs. It might even be easy.


Gerald E. Downs


The Met’s ‘Macbeth’

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.426  Tuesday, 30 September 2014


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         September 28, 2014 at 9:46:04 AM EDT

Subject:    The Met’s ‘Macbeth’


From The New York Times


A Malevolent Consort, Utterly in Command

In the Met’s ‘Macbeth,’ Anna Netrebko as the Scheming Wife


By Anthony Tommasini


For months, there had been so much buzz over how Anna Netrebko would fare this season when she sang Lady Macbeth for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera, you would have thought that she was a highly anticipated newcomer rather than a house favorite who had sung there 134 times since 2002.


But the lead soprano role in Verdi’s “Macbeth” is not just a daunting challenge. For Ms. Netrebko, who turned 43 last week, it represents a shift from the lyric soprano and bel canto roles with which she made her reputation to vocally weightier repertory. Lady Macbeth is particularly risky and demanding.


She first sang the role this summer in Munich. And on Wednesday night, she brought it to the Met for the first “Macbeth” of the season, a revival of Adrian Noble’s grimly powerful modern-dress 2007 production, with the admirable baritone Zeljko Lucic in the title role, and the conductor Fabio Luisi leading a distinguished and authoritative performance. This was Ms. Netrebko’s night, however, from her first scene, when Lady Macbeth, having had a premonition that something has happened, receives a letter from her husband relating the stunning prophecies of the witches he encountered in the wood.


Even before she sang a note, after the urgent orchestral opening of this scene, Ms. Netrebko, in long blond locks and a creamy satin nightgown, rose from her bed and read Macbeth’s letter with a subdued intensity and regal presence that pulled you in. She then sang the first chilling phrases of Verdi’s dramatic recitative and arioso, and you knew the role was hers.


Her sound was plush yet smoky, her voice powerful yet unforced. Her husband, she sings, has ambition in his heart. But does he have the ruthless resolve to make the prophecy that he will be the king of Scotland come true? This will be her task, and as Ms. Netrebko sang “Vieni! T’affretta!,” the ultimate aria of willful determination, you did not doubt her.


[ . . . ]


Haider’s Shahid Kapoor on Being the New Hindi Hamlet

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.425  Tuesday, 30 September 2014


From:        Hardy Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         September 27, 2014 at 4:17:49 PM EDT

Subject:    Haider’s Shahid Kapoor on Being the New Hindi Hamlet 


From The Guardian


‘I have a dark side’: Haider’s Shahid Kapoor on being the new Hindi Hamlet


The Bollywood heart-throb discusses his exciting new role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy


Shahid Kapoor epitomises the archetypal Bollywood hero, commonly associated with the conventional masala films that cater to an audience that readily gorges on escapist fare. A trained dancer, with moves that would have impressed Michael Jackson, Kapoor was catapulted to stardom at just 21 with his first movie Ishq Vishk (2003) a teen romance that had him instantly pegged as a romantic idol. Now aged 33, clocking 11 years and 24 films as a star of Hindi cinema, he’s still a heart-throb for millions, and it’s easy to see why. Ruggedly handsome, he retains a glimmer of the boyish charm of his youth. Now he is ready for what could be a career-defining role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, titled Haider.


Are you a tragic figure? Do you have anything in common with Hamlet?

His journey is very complex. I wouldn’t say that I have seen such drama in my personal life, but yes I have seen a lot early in life, so I could connect with the emotions the character went through. But if you can’t draw a parallel in your life, then you’d pretty much be at a loss to play the part. You feel you don’t know if this guy is OK or a bit off his rocker. It’s nice to delve into the dark side a little bit. I enjoy that. I have a dark side, for sure. I don’t think I could play this role if I didn’t.


Your father, Pankaj Kapur, was a well-known classically trained stage and screen actor. What did he teach you?

Since a very early age I’ve been heavily influenced by my father – specifically acting being discussed, not just being a star. When I started, my dad would tell me: “If you’re going to act, do Hamlet.” It’s funny that all these years later, that’s what I’m doing.


Taking on Shakespeare is another level from Bollywood, considering all the legends who have played the role?

Yes, playing Hamlet is something that’s extremely exciting and at the same time it’s a little scary. It’s a big ask from any actor, and every actor has said that, from the greatest actors who have performed it. I don’t know why Vishal chooses to cast me, but I just feel very thankful that he does.


What prompted you to shave your hair off?

There are certain films you do just for the box office and there are certain films you do which are a cinema of passion. If I hadn’t have shaved my head, it would be like, “Dude, it’s just make up.” You need to tell people: “This film is a big deal for me.”


Has it interfered with your status as India’s most eligible bachelor?

My father wants to get me married off. He thinks I’m getting old now because I’m 33 and I’m not going to be able to find a girl any more. He says: “You’ve got so used to being on your own that you probably won’t be able to adjust to anybody now.” I get those lectures quite often. I do crave normalcy. It’s nice to find somebody that you can have a normal relationship with.


How would you sum up the ‘journey of Shahid’?

I’m an actor at heart. It’s probably the biggest part of my life. When I’m not working I feel I’ve had a loss of identity; like I don’t know who I am. I’ve given 11 years of my life to this and probably all of my adulthood. I don’t know who else I am. This is me.


Maps of the 16th and 17th Centuries: A Tribute to the Works and Times of William Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.424  Tuesday, 30 September 2014


From:        Sarah Enloe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Subject:    Maps of the 16th and 17th Centuries: A Tribute to the Works and Times of William Shakespeare


News Release


Contact: Cathy Bagwell Marsh 

540.885.5588 ext. 26 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Explore More of Shakespeare’s World at Staunton’s R.R. Smith Center 

Staunton, VA, September 3, 2014 – The American Shakespeare Center, in partnership with Scott Ballin and with funding from Altria Client Services Inc., proudly announces a new exhibit at the Augusta County Historical Society Gallery in the R.R. Smith Center in Staunton. Maps of the 16th and 17th Centuries: A Tribute to the Works and Times of William Shakespeare, on display September 12- November 30, explores the world as Shakespeare would have known it by featuring approximately 40 original maps from the 16th and 17th centuries. 


The maps highlight various places where Shakespeare set his plays, including England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Near and Middle East, and North Africa, and include works by famous early modern cartographers Mercator, Ortelius, Hondius, Blaeu and Speed. Ranging in size from large wall maps to small pieces that travelers would have carried, these works of art retain their original color and many include detailed illustrations. 


Collector Scott Ballin says of the exhibit – 


“My idea was to put together something that would appeal to a variety of audiences and a variety of interests and to hopefully stimulate people to think about what the world was like when Shakespeare was writing his plays. This exhibit is about history. It is about art. It is about geography. It is about what was happening in England, Europe, and the rest of the world at the time.” 


Amy Wratchford, Managing Director of the ASC, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Scott on this exhibit to not only share his wonderful collection with a wider audience, but also highlight the breadth of geography covered in these plays. Shakespeare’s canon provides a wealth of perspectives and opportunities to explore more.” 


On September 12th, the exhibit will kick off with an Opening Night reception at the R.R. Smith Center, catered by Mike Lund Food. 


The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, recovers the joys and accessibility of Shakespeare’s theatre, language, and humanity by exploring the English Renaissance stage and its practices through performance and education. The ASC’s Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, is open year-round for productions of classic plays, which have been hailed by The Washington Post as "shamelessly entertaining" and by The Boston Globe as "phenomenal…bursting with energy." Founded in 1988 as Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the organization became the American Shakespeare Center in 2005 and can be found online at


Ralph Cohen Receives Wanamaker Award

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 25.423  Tuesday, 30 September 2014


From:        Sarah Enloe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Subject:    Ralph Cohen Receives Wanamaker Award


News Release

Contact: Cathy Bagwell Marsh 

540.885.5588 ext. 26 

Cell: 336-402-5698 

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Ralph Cohen becomes first American to receive prestigious Wanamaker Award 


London, England (Saturday, June 14 at 5pm): Shakespeare’s Globe has named Ralph Alan Cohen as the recipient of the 2014 Sam Wanamaker Award. Ralph Alan Cohen is co-founder and director of mission at the American Shakespeare Center and was the project director for the re-creation of the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia. The Sam Wanamaker Award is the most prestigious prize granted by Shakespeare’s Globe and is given annually, in the name of the Globe’s founder, to celebrate work which has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare. Ralph is the first American to receive the award. 


On accepting the Sam Wanamaker Award, presented to him on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe on Saturday 14 June, Cohen commented: “I hope that Sam would have liked the fact that this year the award named for him goes to an American. In a way, Sam’s quest to build the Globe was an expression of the American desire to be connected to Shakespeare’s plays and in honouring the work we have done in Staunton, Virginia, the Globe honours Sam's own yearning.” 


Neil Constable, chief executive, Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “In his TED talk last year Ralph eloquently spoke of audiences ‘held hostage in the dark’ and has long championed Shakespeare productions in which actors and audiences share the same light. We want to shine the light on Ralph and recognize the enormous contribution he has made to the appreciation of Shakespeare performance, teaching, scholarly debate and, not least, for being a major inspiration behind our own candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.” 


Sam Wanamaker spent the final 23 years of his life tirelessly campaigning, advancing research into the appearance of the original Globe and planning its reconstruction. The Sam Wanamaker Award was instituted by Shakespeare’s Globe in 1994 to honor work which has a similar quality to Sam’s own pioneering mission. Cohen follows former illustrious recipients of the Award, the first of whom was Dr Rex Gibson, creator and editor of the Cambridge School Shakespeare; Janet Arnold for her pioneering research into Elizabethan clothing; Professor Stanley Wells, Shakespeare scholar and former Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust; John Barton, founding member of the Royal Shakespeare Company; and actor and director, Mark Rylance. 


Ralph Alan Cohen, who is Gonder Professor of Shakespeare and Performance and founder of the Master of Letters and Fine Arts program at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia, was the Theo Crosby Fellow at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2009. He was also a member of the Architectural Research Group, chaired by Globe Education’s Head of Higher Education and Research, Dr Farah Karim-Cooper. His experience of reconstructing Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, the Blackfriars Playhouse, in Virginia was an important contribution in planning for the recently opened Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London. 


Cohen has directed 30 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, including America’s first professional production of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle. He also directed the first revival of Thomas Middleton’s Your Five Gallants and co-edited the play for Oxford University Press’s Collected Works of Thomas Middleton. 


He is the author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching Shakespeare. He twice edited special teaching issues of the Shakespeare Quarterly and has published articles on teaching Shakespeare as well as on Shakespeare, Jonson, and Elizabethan staging. He founded the Studies Abroad program at James Madison University, where he won Virginia’s award for outstanding faculty. 


He has frequently directed summer institutes on Shakespeare and staging sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001 he established the Blackfriars Conference, a biennial week-long celebration of early modern drama in performance. 


A pivotal point in Ralph’s career was founding the American Shakespeare Center with Jim Warren in 1988. Then named Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, the company started by performing in schools and community centers across Virginia under the idea that using Shakespeare’s staging conditions – simple stage, multiple roles, acoustic music, and the lights staying on – would bring back the fun and accessibility of Shakespeare’s work. The idea worked, and using Shakespeare’s staging conditions, particularly universal lighting, created a fun, lively, interactive, experience- one that quickly grew in popularity. By 1999 the company had performed in 47 U.S. States, 5 other countries and one U. S. Territory. 


In 2001, the Ralph and Jim found a permanent home for their company in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley by building the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre - the Blackfriars Playhouse. Built from Virginia Oak, the 300-seat Blackfriars Playhouse has been established as one of America's premier Shakespeare destinations, called by Andrew Gurr “one of the most historically important theatres in the world.” Delighting tens of thousands of audience members per year, the American Shakespeare Center has helped transform the town of Staunton into a top national destination (Travel + Leisure, Smithsonian Magazine) and become a global center for the study of Shakespeare in performance. 


In 2008, Cohen and ASC co-founder Jim Warren earned the Commonwealth Governor’s Arts Award. In 2013, Cohen was awarded the Shakespeare Steward Award by the Folger Shakespeare Library in recognition for outstanding contributions to the innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and his doctorate at Duke University and has honorary degrees from St. Lawrence University and Georgetown University.  


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