Criticism of Erne

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.206  Friday, 24 April 2015


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

Date:         April 23, 2015 at 8:32:46 PM EDT

Subject:    Erne redux re-ducks


Happily granting that Lukas Erne is a gentleman, yes; nevertheless, he may still be completely (albeit mannerly) wrong about the literary-more-than-theatrical or literary-unto-ANTI-theatrical derivations of Shakespeare’s long scripts. One big chunk of his case depends on there being a two-hour-or-so constraint on play length operating in Shakespeare’s company. Michael Hirrel argues in Shakespeare Quarterly that Shakespeare’s long plays could easily fit into the likely four-plus hours given to an afternoon’s entertainment-session in a playhouse, simply by the company expanding or contracting the opening and closing auxiliary chunks of tumbling, stand-up comedy, rope-dancing and jigs that passed the rest of the time. Gabriel Egan (?) suggests that Erne refutes Hirrel in a prefatory essay affixed to the 2nd edition of Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist  (2013).  Alas, the Good Lukas only points to some minor disagreements but fails to address Hirrel’s basic claims about the enwrapping entertainment sessions.  My own essay (in Shakespeare Bulletin 2012) shows that “two-hours traffic” was a metaphor, not “120 minutes” in a city where church clocks had no minute hands, and every “hour-glass” kept its own time varying even by the day’s humidity, and portable watches were rare treasures, and King James himself greatly enjoyed university plays running  five to seven hours. Some “lunch hours” are 40 minutes, some go on ‘til quitting time.


Meanwhile, that Fabulous Fisher in Archives, Tiffany Stern (my source for the horological lore in the paragraph above), has uncovered many references to the widespread presence of printed books and pamphlets being held, consulted, and even read aloud by audience-members in playhouses before and even during performances. [Tiffany Stern, “Watching and Reading: The Audience and Written Text in Shakespeare’s Playhouse,” in How to Do Things with Shakespeare: New Approaches, New Essays, ed. Laurie Maguire (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), 136-59.] 


Imagine, then, that the imperfect but generally serviceable Q1 text (claimed by Erne and others as at least an approximation of what was performed in a playhouse) was available to audiences in the Theater in just this way from the time it was published in 1597.  Stern tells us that peripatetic “chapmen,” “hawkers,” and female “Mercuries” would find in the playhouses a ready market for such texts. But imagine further, then, what might happen if Shakespeare and his company, perhaps prompted by the burgeoning histrionic skills of a leading boy actor, prepared the already-popular Romeo and Juliet in a “Newly corrected, augmented, and amended” script for a freshly-imagined  production. The earlier edition from 1597 would no longer match the augmented play as presented. A holder of the old version would be stumped if she tried to follow along a performance in the playhouse which was playing the new version. What a great opportunity for publisher and acting company to bring out a new edition, more "authorized" this time, updated, accurate, and offered for sale in the newly corrected, augmented and amended Globe playhouse! Welcome to Q2,1599. 


But let’s go back in imagination to 1599 and propose a little mind-experiment, mostly to twit my scholarly textual-buddies like Lukas Erne and Andrew Gurr and Stephen Orgel. Imagine for the while that Erne is correct, and the Q1 text does indeed reign onstage, clipping along at a two-hour pace. What if our imagined literate theater-goer purchased the 1599 text and brought it to the playhouse where, according to Orgel and Gurr and Erne, she would see and hear only a text the size and shape of the earlier 1597 text, even unto some performance late in 1599, or 1600, or 1601, etc. “Whoa up, you Players,” she calls out from her place. “You’re skipping all the juicy parts!” she objects to the players, since the title page of her book says “As it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Servants.” Does Richard Burbage, who we know plays Romeo, lean over to say, “Oh, no, my Lady!  Here in the Theater we play only The Viewer’s Digest Condensed Book version. Put away that ‘literary’ text for now. That one is for the privacy of your study at home. And in a few years, my dear, when we’re rebuilt across the river at the Globe, we’ll do the same kinds of cutting and then later printing of another long text to replace the short one that we’ll actually be playing, for our next planned blockbuster, Hamlet.” Glug! Pull the plug on that one. Experiment over!  But likely lots of souls will go on believing with Lukas that R&J as Shakespeare wrote it was just too long.  


Part of the great fun of having studied the sciences as an undergraduate was in testing and then tossing out lots of theories that just didn’t fit the evidence. The practical course after the first 10 credits of calculus was “ordinary differential equations,” where you did just about nothing other than testing one theory, one way of getting at a problem, after another. Bing, bang, boom. That one don’t fit. Must be one in our tool-box somewhere. Try, try again. The ghastly aspect of becoming a literature student was when I observed so many theories being enshrined by the simple process of ejecting the evidence that failed to fit the favorite theory. Lukas, I love your passion for the subject. But we have here a classic instance of “confirmation bias.” Chucking out the “evidence-babies” instead of the “theory-bathwater.” That ain’t evil; it’s very, very human. I know from being wrong, I see it over and over in my very own mirror. But we all in the traveling band of happy Shakespeareans do have to look clear-eyed at one another’s evidence as well as those o-so-attractive theories. 


Steve Urquartowitz, from the back o’ th’ groundling spaces

Trustee, American Shakespeare Center, Staunton VA,

And home, home, on the wide open Lobster Ranges of Maine


Shakespeare MOOC through University of Wisconsin Madison

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.205  Friday, 24 April 2015


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

Date:         April 24, 2015 at 11:51:58 AM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare MOOC through University of Wisconsin Madison


My colleagues, Professor Jesse Stommel, Catherine DeRose, Sarah Marty, and I have set up a Shakespeare MOOC that runs from 23 April through 22 May 2015.  The University of Wisconsin Madison is sponsoring the course, which is on the Coursera platform.  We are discussing four plays, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, and The Tempest.   People can register for the course, Shakespeare in Community, at www.coursera.org  As always, the course is free and does not carry college credit.


We have about 16,000 participants so far and the discussion forums are involving a lot of people world-wide.


R L Widmann

Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) of Hybrid Pedagogy Inc.

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Shakespeare’s Globe Pops Up Downunder

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.203  Friday, 24 April 2015


From:        Team Pop-up Globe <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         April 23, 2015 at 2:37:56 AM EDT

Subject:    Shakespeare’s Globe Pops Up Downunder


Here’s a fun story for Shakespeare’s birthday today - and the 399th Anniversary of his death. We’d be really grateful if you could find space to put this up, and help us to build the Pop-up Globe in time for next year’s 400th Anniversary.

Please feel free to contact us or Tobias Grant - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want any more info or to do any interview via Skype etc.

You can see some coverage here:




The release is below, and loads more stuff at www.popupglobe.com  


High res stuff - images, video, press release - is at our media centre: http://bit.ly/1GkmFeR

Best wishes,

The Pop-up Globe Team

Media release - 23 April 2015.

For immediate release.


Shakespeare’s Globe Pops Up Downunder

World-first full-scale Pop-up Globe Theatre to rise 

in New Zealand for 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death


In exactly a year’s time the quatercentenary of William Shakespeare’s death will be marked with a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in stunning Elizabethan costumes, staged in the world’s first Pop-up Globe - a full-scale temporary replica of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre - in Auckland, New Zealand. 


Pop-up Globe is the brainchild of New Zealand-born UK-trained Doctor of Shakespeare Miles Gregory. 


“Seeing Shakespeare’s plays performed in the environment they were written for is a completely unique experience – as much a party as a performance” say Dr Gregory, who has twenty years international experience producing and directing theatre, including for Shakespeare’s Globe, London. 


Pop-up Globe will be a full-size temporary working replica of Shakespeare’s second Globe Theatre, made to its exact dimensions, designed using the world’s leading research, and big enough for a thousand people.


“This has never been done before”, Gregory adds.


Pop-up Globe will be built by Camelspace, local experts in constructing extraordinary temporary structures, present three months of theatre, celebrate Shakespeare’s life and work with a gala event on 23 April 2016, then tour the world.


“This is for more than Shakespeare lovers,” says Gregory, “It’s a thrilling live experience that puts the audience at the heart of the action. And with tickets starting from just $10, we can’t wait for opening night.”


The project has met with enthusiasm from Shakespeare's Globe London. "What a great idea” says Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. “Touring Shakespeare has been a tradition since the plays were first written 400 years ago. We are delighted that the Globe building itself is now traversing the planet".


Tim Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor at Sydney University, on whose ground-breaking research the design has been based, says “Our research answers important questions around the shape and size of Shakespeare’s Globe, and challenges some of the fundamental assumptions made in the past about this fascinating theatre. People are going to be coming from the Northern Hemisphere to see this”. 


“It’s a game changer” says Nick Brown, facilitator of Dramanet, a global forum of 695 drama teachers, and Pop-up Globe Education & Outreach Consultant.


“We’re expecting to see literally thousands of teachers and students participate in Pop-up Globe. It will radically alter the way Shakespeare is taught and understood in New Zealand for years to come”.


Pop-up Globe has launched an international Kickstarter campaign for funding the first-phase construction of the theatre.  A multi-channel approach will then see final construction and operation funded through a combination of box office ticket sales, sponsorship, and state grants.


Dr Gregory says “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve already received from individuals and businesses both locally and internationally.”


“Now we’re looking for sponsors, arts donors, and proud New Zealanders to join us and help make this project the best it can be”.



MEDIA CENTRE: For press release, high-res images and video, visit: http://bit.ly/1GkmFeR


Website: http://www.popupglobe.com

Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/popupglobe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PopupGlobe

Twitter: @popupglobe


For further information contact: 

Tobias Grant 

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

T: +64 21 607 277


About Shakespeare’s Second Globe Theatre


The first Globe theatre was built in 1599 and stood for only 14 years. It burned down during a performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII, when a piece of wadding fired from a cannon set the thatched roof alight. Incredibly, all three thousand audience members apparently escaped without injury, except for one man whose flaming trousers were doused by a bottle of ale.


The second Globe was immediately built on the same foundations at the then vast cost of  £1,400. It thrived for almost 30 years, from 1614-1642, when the outbreak of the English Civil war forced its closure and eventual demolition some years later.


The design of the Pop-up Globe is rigorously based on the groundbreaking historical research undertaken by Professor Tim Fitzpatrick and Russell Emerson of Sydney University Department of Performance Studies over a five year period. 


This  has resulted in a new reconstruction of the probable shape and size of the second Globe Theatre that is quite different in size and shape from Shakespeare’s Globe completed in 1997 on Bankside, London.


Fitzpatricks research indicates that the standing space in the yard should be nearly 50% smaller than the London Globe, and the stage should have only two doors. The dimensions of the building itself are some 10% smaller than the London Globe. 


About Dr Miles Gregory 


“At long last, a director that does Shakespeare – and indeed theatre - the way it should be done” The Stage, UK  


“Fizzing with talent”, The Independent, UK


Aged twenty Miles Gregory experienced a Shakespeare performance at Shakespeare’s Globe, London for the first time. The experience changed his life. He realized his destiny would be to bring the magic of Shakespeare alive so that others can enjoy the same incredible experience that for him was so profound. 


Dr Gregory holds a PhD in Shakespearean performance from the University of Bristol and a Master of Fine Art in Staging Shakespeare from the University of Exeter. He is an acclaimed international director and producer of Shakespeare. Miles grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, and has returned to bring to life his dream: Pop-up Globe.


The idea struck him when he was reading a book about theatres with his youngest daughter. “The Globe Theatre literally popped up,” he recalls, “and my daughter asked me if we could go there. I thought long and hard, and this is the result.” 


Stream of MeaSURE

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.204  Friday, 24 April 2015


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

Date:         April 24, 2015 at 1:01:49 AM EDT

Subject:    Stream of MeaSURE


Stimulating and challenging.


Available til 12 on 27th gdt. Maybe later on YouTube. The live stream has now ended but the performance is available to watch until midnight on April 27.


It is performed in Russian, with subtitles


Telegraph readers can see a vibrant production of Shakespeare in April, and they won't even have to leave their home to do so. 


Cheek by Jowl’s acclaimed production of Measure for Measure, which features actors from the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow, has a two-week run at the Barbican Centre in April, and it is being streamed on the Telegraph website. 


Cheek by Jowl artistic director Declan Donnellan on why you should watch Shakespeare in Russian


The production will be available to watch on Telegraph.co.uk until April 29. 


Politics at play: Cheek by Jowl’s production focuses on the corruption of the powerful


The production, which has previously played in Madrid, Estonia and Paris, is directed by Declan Donnellan, who co-founded Cheek by Jowl in 1981 with Nick Ormerod. 


It is performed in Russian, with subtitles. 


Measure for Measure, Silk Street Theatre, Barbican Centre, 15 – 25 April 2015, then Oxford Playhouse, 28 April – 2 May


FOLLOW UP: On the stream I saw, the play begins after 41 minutes, mostly blank, but concluding with 7 minutes of interviews with the director and the designer.


Fast forward and don’t despair.


Herb Weil

University of Manitoba

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The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 26.202  Friday, 24 April 2015


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

Date:         Friday, April 24, 2015

Subject:    Hiatus+


Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers,


Next web Ron Severdia will be redoing the SHAKSPER web site for smoother operations, a newer look, and better e-mail functions. So there will be no further Newsletters until installation and migration are completed. It should take about a week to complete. MY This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. address should still be working so you may keep sending in submissions.


In a few hours, I leave with my older daughter Melissa and son-in-law Bill for the weekend to see my younger daughter Rebecca in her final college performance (graduation May 16th) as Richard Burbage in Bill Cain’s Equivocation.


The Bryn Mawr College Shakespeare Performance Troupe is one of the oldest and most popular organizations at Bryn Mawr College. All in the area are invited.


A notice about the production is below:


Come see Bryn Mawr College Shakespeare Performance Troupe’s second spring production: Equivocation, by Bill Cain. Complete with a lot of Shakespeare-inspired humor, political thrilling-ness, the gunpowder plot of 1605, a Scottish king, a priest, WITCHES, sarcasm, actors playing actors playing characters and MORE! 


Friday, April 24th at 7:30 PM

Saturday, April 25th at 7:30 PM

All in Rhoads Dining Hall

Doors for each production open 30 minutes before curtain (7:00 Friday and Saturday)


Content Warning: this show features simulated hangings, a beheading, discussion of and some simulation of torture (a la 1605), and strong use of language


Questions? Contact Lindsey Foster at lcfoster.brynmawr.edu or Lyntana Brougham at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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