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cheryl_shell
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Too Far?

[ Edited ]
With respect to Shakespeare productions, we know what Everyman thinks is too far. But what about the rest of you? What are your limits on strange and (not-so)wonderful productions?

Message Edited by cheryl_shell on 03-20-200708:11 PM

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cheryl_shell
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Interpretations of Shakespeare's Plays: How Far is Too Far?

[ Edited ]
Well, since the debate over how far is too far in interpretations and productions of Shakespeare's plays doesn't seem to be dying down, I thought I'd better find a more appropriate spot for it.

And this is it!


(For those of you who've been following my progress trying to make this moving messages thing work, I think I've finally got it straight!)

Message Edited by cheryl_shell on 03-20-200708:08 PM

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cheryl_shell
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Unsupported opinions welcome!


stratford wrote:
Not in Macbeth's case. It only leads to hallucinations, murder, insecurity, paranoia, madness, insanity, murder and more murder, and eventually death. I guess I am missing the profit and gain that you apparently see. You say you are using your words, not Shakespeare's. That is the whole problem. When a person critically examines a text he/she must support his/her opinions with factual material from the text itself, or those opinions remain only that, opinions. A person can't just say anything he/she pleases or anything that comes to mind. It must be factually supported by the text in order to be believed by others and back up claims made, opinions, etc.



LizzieAnn wrote:
Isn't becoming king "profit & gain"? (My words - not Shakespeare's) Macbeth gains a higher positions and every thing that goes along with being king. So if he kills Duncan to become king - he gains a higher place & profits from his actions & from his new station in life.



stratford wrote:

Where in the play does it say Macbeth committed murder for profit and gain?










Stratford, I think you might want to back off just a little bit. The Shakespeare Book Club is designed primarily for the entertainment of its members. While it's true that some of our members are scholars and well versed in the works of Shakespeare and will happily engage in reading and discussing literary criticism, many others are here only to read the plays and enjoy discussing them with others. As long as a member doesn't violate the basic rules of Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, it's perfectly acceptable for anyone who comes to the club to express opinions--no matter how outlandish--about the topics offered here, without the slightest obligation to ensure that his or her views are "factually supported by the text." You may not accept the opinions of some of the members here, but then you are free to disagree, as is every other participant. When you start using words like "must" and "can't" you move away, in my opinion, from friendly conversation and its goal: to learn and share in stimulating company.
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Everyman
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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome!


cheryl_shell wrote:
Stratford, I think you might want to back off just a little bit. The Shakespeare Book Club is designed primarily for the entertainment of its members... As long as a member doesn't violate the basic rules of Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, it's perfectly acceptable for anyone who comes to the club to express opinions--no matter how outlandish--about the topics offered here, without the slightest obligation to ensure that his or her views are "factually supported by the text." ...When you start using words like "must" and "can't" you move away, in my opinion, from friendly conversation and its goal: to learn and share in stimulating company.

I appreciate the intent of your response, Cheryl, but I'm disappointed that you feel that there is not the "slightest obligation" to offer opinions that are factually supported by the text and that "outlandish" opinions are perfectly acceptable.

I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?

I agree that it would have been kinder if stratford had avoided saying that people "must" do this or that. But I think he is quite correct when he says that "When a person critically examines a text he/she must support his/her opinions with factual material from the text itself, or those opinions remain only that, opinions."

I know this isn't a course (though in BNU it was presented as such), but I for one really appreciate the participation of posters who believe in supporting their views from the text, either by direct quotation or at least by reference.

If I were stratford, I would have called off the "discussion" several posts earlier if I had concluded that there was no apparent interest in actually looking to the text to support the opinions offered. But on the other hand, I hope we can encourage posters who are serious about studying the text along with those who are here primarily for friendly conversation.
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Choisya
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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome! (Off topic)

And yet Everyman, there have been many 'outlandish' interpretations of Shakespeare's plays, perhaps even some that use the ideas you have suggested here. It seems to be a mark of what we call 'good' literature, especially Shakespeare, that it can be endlessly re-interpreted whilst using the original words. Elsewhere someone has mentioned the madness of Macbeth in Verdi's opera but I have seen productions where madness/insanity has not been an over-riding theme, as has been suggested here. Macbeth can be portrayed as purely evil, a psychopath, for instance (and some would not call this madness within the psychological meaning of the term.). He can also be interpreted as weak and worried, driven on by his wife. Then we have the different interpretations of witches, which have been discussed here, or whether to include the witch scenes at all. There are no 'pure' interpretations, particularly when we do not have any evidence of what was first performed under Shakespeare's direction. Fortunately, the plays are brilliant enough to survive any interpretation and we as theatre-goers (or readers) can always keep our favourite one in our own mind's eye.




Everyman wrote:

cheryl_shell wrote:
Stratford, I think you might want to back off just a little bit. The Shakespeare Book Club is designed primarily for the entertainment of its members... As long as a member doesn't violate the basic rules of Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, it's perfectly acceptable for anyone who comes to the club to express opinions--no matter how outlandish--about the topics offered here, without the slightest obligation to ensure that his or her views are "factually supported by the text." ...When you start using words like "must" and "can't" you move away, in my opinion, from friendly conversation and its goal: to learn and share in stimulating company.

I appreciate the intent of your response, Cheryl, but I'm disappointed that you feel that there is not the "slightest obligation" to offer opinions that are factually supported by the text and that "outlandish" opinions are perfectly acceptable.

I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?

I agree that it would have been kinder if stratford had avoided saying that people "must" do this or that. But I think he is quite correct when he says that "When a person critically examines a text he/she must support his/her opinions with factual material from the text itself, or those opinions remain only that, opinions."

I know this isn't a course (though in BNU it was presented as such), but I for one really appreciate the participation of posters who believe in supporting their views from the text, either by direct quotation or at least by reference.

If I were stratford, I would have called off the "discussion" several posts earlier if I had concluded that there was no apparent interest in actually looking to the text to support the opinions offered. But on the other hand, I hope we can encourage posters who are serious about studying the text along with those who are here primarily for friendly conversation.


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Everyman
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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome! (Off topic)

Yes, Choisya, I do recognize that you are a supporter of the acceptability of outlandish interpretations of Shakespeare without any attempt to ground them in the text. We have disagreed about this before, and will probably disagree about it in future if the issue should re-arise, since neither of us tends to be silent about our opinions on this matter.

We will just have to accept that our views on this differ and will probably never be reconciled, and not spend more of BN's bandwidth on further discussion of it.



Choisya wrote:
And yet Everyman, there have been many 'outlandish' interpretations of Shakespeare's plays, perhaps even some that use the ideas you have suggested here. It seems to be a mark of what we call 'good' literature, especially Shakespeare, that it can be endlessly re-interpreted whilst using the original words. Elsewhere someone has mentioned the madness of Macbeth in Verdi's opera but I have seen productions where madness/insanity has not been an over-riding theme, as has been suggested here. Macbeth can be portrayed as purely evil, a psychopath, for instance (and some would not call this madness within the psychological meaning of the term.). He can also be interpreted as weak and worried, driven on by his wife. Then we have the different interpretations of witches, which have been discussed here, or whether to include the witch scenes at all. There are no 'pure' interpretations, particularly when we do not have any evidence of what was first performed under Shakespeare's direction. Fortunately, the plays are brilliant enough to survive any interpretation and we as theatre-goers (or readers) can always keep our favourite one in our own mind's eye.




Everyman wrote:

cheryl_shell wrote:
Stratford, I think you might want to back off just a little bit. The Shakespeare Book Club is designed primarily for the entertainment of its members... As long as a member doesn't violate the basic rules of Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, it's perfectly acceptable for anyone who comes to the club to express opinions--no matter how outlandish--about the topics offered here, without the slightest obligation to ensure that his or her views are "factually supported by the text." ...When you start using words like "must" and "can't" you move away, in my opinion, from friendly conversation and its goal: to learn and share in stimulating company.

I appreciate the intent of your response, Cheryl, but I'm disappointed that you feel that there is not the "slightest obligation" to offer opinions that are factually supported by the text and that "outlandish" opinions are perfectly acceptable.

I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?

I agree that it would have been kinder if stratford had avoided saying that people "must" do this or that. But I think he is quite correct when he says that "When a person critically examines a text he/she must support his/her opinions with factual material from the text itself, or those opinions remain only that, opinions."

I know this isn't a course (though in BNU it was presented as such), but I for one really appreciate the participation of posters who believe in supporting their views from the text, either by direct quotation or at least by reference.

If I were stratford, I would have called off the "discussion" several posts earlier if I had concluded that there was no apparent interest in actually looking to the text to support the opinions offered. But on the other hand, I hope we can encourage posters who are serious about studying the text along with those who are here primarily for friendly conversation.





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Choisya
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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome! (Off topic)

You brought it up for discussion Everyman! :smileyhappy:

I agree that interpretations are best 'grounded' in the text but I see the problem as being that everyone interprets texts differently - especially with an author so 'worldwidely' read as Shakespeare. For instance, both Liz and I here 'grounded' our interpretation of 'profit and gain' in the text references to kingship, crown, castle and banquet but another poster, perhaps more than one, disagreed with our interpretation. Even the reading of a play cannot be 'pure' because we all bring something to that reading.

As the language of Shakespeare is archaic and often ambiguous, I think multiplicities of interpretations will always abound and producers will continue to use them, as will actors. I wish I had a ten pound note for every different onstage interpretation I have seen of Macbeth, all by the leading actors of our day, under the direction of leading producers - and who am I (or you?) to gainsay them? Particularly as none of us know what was in Shakespeare the playwright/actor/producer's mind in the first place.




Everyman wrote:
Yes, Choisya, I do recognize that you are a supporter of the acceptability of outlandish interpretations of Shakespeare without any attempt to ground them in the text. We have disagreed about this before, and will probably disagree about it in future if the issue should re-arise, since neither of us tends to be silent about our opinions on this matter.

We will just have to accept that our views on this differ and will probably never be reconciled, and not spend more of BN's bandwidth on further discussion of it.



Choisya wrote:
And yet Everyman, there have been many 'outlandish' interpretations of Shakespeare's plays, perhaps even some that use the ideas you have suggested here. It seems to be a mark of what we call 'good' literature, especially Shakespeare, that it can be endlessly re-interpreted whilst using the original words. Elsewhere someone has mentioned the madness of Macbeth in Verdi's opera but I have seen productions where madness/insanity has not been an over-riding theme, as has been suggested here. Macbeth can be portrayed as purely evil, a psychopath, for instance (and some would not call this madness within the psychological meaning of the term.). He can also be interpreted as weak and worried, driven on by his wife. Then we have the different interpretations of witches, which have been discussed here, or whether to include the witch scenes at all. There are no 'pure' interpretations, particularly when we do not have any evidence of what was first performed under Shakespeare's direction. Fortunately, the plays are brilliant enough to survive any interpretation and we as theatre-goers (or readers) can always keep our favourite one in our own mind's eye.




Everyman wrote:

cheryl_shell wrote:
Stratford, I think you might want to back off just a little bit. The Shakespeare Book Club is designed primarily for the entertainment of its members... As long as a member doesn't violate the basic rules of Barnes and Noble Book Clubs, it's perfectly acceptable for anyone who comes to the club to express opinions--no matter how outlandish--about the topics offered here, without the slightest obligation to ensure that his or her views are "factually supported by the text." ...When you start using words like "must" and "can't" you move away, in my opinion, from friendly conversation and its goal: to learn and share in stimulating company.

I appreciate the intent of your response, Cheryl, but I'm disappointed that you feel that there is not the "slightest obligation" to offer opinions that are factually supported by the text and that "outlandish" opinions are perfectly acceptable.

I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?

I agree that it would have been kinder if stratford had avoided saying that people "must" do this or that. But I think he is quite correct when he says that "When a person critically examines a text he/she must support his/her opinions with factual material from the text itself, or those opinions remain only that, opinions."

I know this isn't a course (though in BNU it was presented as such), but I for one really appreciate the participation of posters who believe in supporting their views from the text, either by direct quotation or at least by reference.

If I were stratford, I would have called off the "discussion" several posts earlier if I had concluded that there was no apparent interest in actually looking to the text to support the opinions offered. But on the other hand, I hope we can encourage posters who are serious about studying the text along with those who are here primarily for friendly conversation.








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Everyman
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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome! (Off topic)

Actually, Cheryl brought it up in her response to stratford. I merely highlighted it.

Sadly, stratford hasn't posted since then. I hope the negative comments haven't driven him away.



Choisya wrote:
You brought it up for discussion Everyman!

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Re: Unsupported opinions welcome! (Off topic)



Choisya wrote: Fortunately, the plays are brilliant enough to survive any interpretation and we as theatre-goers (or readers) can always keep our favourite one in our own mind's eye.






And that is the beauty and value of the classics, I guess (we said it many times).

ziki
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cheryl_shell
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Genghis Khan? Why not?


Everyman wrote:


I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?






Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do. Within the boundaries of civil discourse, all voices are welcome in this conversation, just as all spectators with the price of admission were welcome in Shakespeare's theater!

And, hey! I kind of like that Genghis Khan idea!
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Everyman
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not?

Well, Cheryl, if you're serious about that -- that you think any thought no matter how outlandish expressed without any regard at all for what the text says is actually a positive addition to the board -- I'm probably in the wrong place. I have too much respect for Shakespeare and for intelligent discussion of his works to fit into your desired criteria for constructive discussion.



cheryl_shell wrote:

Everyman wrote:


I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?






Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do. Within the boundaries of civil discourse, all voices are welcome in this conversation, just as all spectators with the price of admission were welcome in Shakespeare's theater!

And, hey! I kind of like that Genghis Khan idea!



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Choisya
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not?

[ Edited ]
Respect and intelligence are not qualities confined to traditional interpretations of Shakespeare or anything else and there is a lot to be said for divergent thinking when it comes to the production of drama.

Drama is a living medium and its successful production is dependent upon the different interpretations by actors and producers - in Shakespeare's case, over the centuries. If theatrical productions had retained the same interpretations since the 1600s (assuming we knew what they were) they would have ossified long ago. Shakespeare and his actor friends, like producers today, were dependent upon getting what is now called 'b***s on seats' and change and novelty are part of this strategy. Some 'outlandish' ideas fail, some catch on but they are all grist to the mill of living theatre. We may only be discussing plays here but IMO we should always remember that they are plays and what thoughts people have about them, outlandish or not, text-based or not, are contributing to the process of keeping Shakespearean drama alive. Folks here are therefore showing respect and using their intelligence to do just that and Cheryl, as a good Moderator, is encouraging them.




Everyman wrote:
Well, Cheryl, if you're serious about that -- that you think any thought no matter how outlandish expressed without any regard at all for what the text says is actually a positive addition to the board -- I'm probably in the wrong place. I have too much respect for Shakespeare and for intelligent discussion of his works to fit into your desired criteria for constructive discussion.



cheryl_shell wrote:

Everyman wrote:


I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?






Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do. Within the boundaries of civil discourse, all voices are welcome in this conversation, just as all spectators with the price of admission were welcome in Shakespeare's theater!

And, hey! I kind of like that Genghis Khan idea!


Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:15 PM

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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? : Drama is a living medium

I can understand that people who don't much like dialogue will be happy to throw away the text and forget about even trying to make any interpretations text based, because dialogue is all we have in a play. For myself, if we toss the text out the window I'm not particularly interested in what's left behind. But if you and Cheryl are happy just to throw away the text, so be it. I have too much respect for Shakespeare to play that game.

Choisya wrote:
As one of Cheryl's specialised areas of study and teaching is Shakespeare Everyman, I am sure that she also has a lot of respect for Shakespeare, as have many other producers of Shakespeare's plays who offer what others might call 'outlandish' interpretations. Respect and intelligence are not qualities confined to traditional interpretations of Shakespeare or anything else and there is a lot to be said for divergent thinking when it comes to the production of drama.

Drama is a living medium and its successful production is dependent upon the different interpretations by actors and producers - in Shakespeare's case, over the centuries. If theatrical productions had retained the same interpretations since the 1600s (assuming we knew what they were) they would have ossified long ago. Shakespeare and his actor friends, like producers today, were dependent upon getting what is now called 'b***s on seats' and change and novelty are part of this strategy. Some 'outlandish' ideas fail, some catch on but they are all grist to the mill of living theatre. We may only be discussing plays here but IMO we should always remember that they are plays and what thoughts people have about them, outlandish or not, text-based or not, are contributing to the process of keeping Shakespearean drama alive. Folks here are therefore showing respect and using their intelligence to do just that and Cheryl, as a good Moderator, is encouraging them.




Everyman wrote:
Well, Cheryl, if you're serious about that -- that you think any thought no matter how outlandish expressed without any regard at all for what the text says is actually a positive addition to the board -- I'm probably in the wrong place. I have too much respect for Shakespeare and for intelligent discussion of his works to fit into your desired criteria for constructive discussion.



cheryl_shell wrote:

Everyman wrote:


I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?






Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do. Within the boundaries of civil discourse, all voices are welcome in this conversation, just as all spectators with the price of admission were welcome in Shakespeare's theater!

And, hey! I kind of like that Genghis Khan idea!





Message Edited by Choisya on 03-16-200711:50 PM




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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? :

[ Edited ]
Who has said anything about throwing away the text?It is interpretation of the text that is the question here. Nor is dialogue all we have in a play - we have actors, stage directions, costumes, props, lighting etc etc. all of which play their part in interpretation. The emphasis which an actor puts on certain words can change a scene, costumes can put us in another location, their colours in Elizabethan times had a code of their own, props can change all manner of things, as can lighting. Do you suppose that if actors just stood around reciting the dialogue as written, without all the paraphernalia of the theatre, that audiences would flock to see them? This can happen with the famous monologues of course but not, I suggest, with the plays themselves. Suggest it to a successful Shakespearean play director and see what response you get.

I think you can show less respect for Shakespeare by not treating his work as the dramas they are and not taking into consideration everything that is involved in mounting a production. Shakespeare was not a novelist using dialogue, he was a playwright. He was also an actor and a producer and so knew all the 'tricks of the trade', which would have included what aspects of production, other than the text, would get audiences into the theatre. Interpretration of the text is part of this process and if Macbeth dressed as Genghis Khan gets them to the Box Office, so be it.




Everyman wrote:
I can understand that people who don't much like dialogue will be happy to throw away the text and forget about even trying to make any interpretations text based, because dialogue is all we have in a play. For myself, if we toss the text out the window I'm not particularly interested in what's left behind. But if you and Cheryl are happy just to throw away the text, so be it. I have too much respect for Shakespeare to play that game.

Choisya wrote:
As one of Cheryl's specialised areas of study and teaching is Shakespeare Everyman, I am sure that she also has a lot of respect for Shakespeare, as have many other producers of Shakespeare's plays who offer what others might call 'outlandish' interpretations. Respect and intelligence are not qualities confined to traditional interpretations of Shakespeare or anything else and there is a lot to be said for divergent thinking when it comes to the production of drama.

Drama is a living medium and its successful production is dependent upon the different interpretations by actors and producers - in Shakespeare's case, over the centuries. If theatrical productions had retained the same interpretations since the 1600s (assuming we knew what they were) they would have ossified long ago. Shakespeare and his actor friends, like producers today, were dependent upon getting what is now called 'b***s on seats' and change and novelty are part of this strategy. Some 'outlandish' ideas fail, some catch on but they are all grist to the mill of living theatre. We may only be discussing plays here but IMO we should always remember that they are plays and what thoughts people have about them, outlandish or not, text-based or not, are contributing to the process of keeping Shakespearean drama alive. Folks here are therefore showing respect and using their intelligence to do just that and Cheryl, as a good Moderator, is encouraging them.




Everyman wrote:
Well, Cheryl, if you're serious about that -- that you think any thought no matter how outlandish expressed without any regard at all for what the text says is actually a positive addition to the board -- I'm probably in the wrong place. I have too much respect for Shakespeare and for intelligent discussion of his works to fit into your desired criteria for constructive discussion.



cheryl_shell wrote:

Everyman wrote:


I frankly don't think it would be helpful to either learning or congenial discussion to have someone perpetually arguing, for example, without any reference to the text, that Macbeth was actually intended by Shakespeare as a reincarnation of Genghis Kahn, or that the battle of Birnham Wood was intended to justify the artistic community's support for the enclosure of lands and the clearcutting of Scottish forests, or that the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth.

Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?






Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do. Within the boundaries of civil discourse, all voices are welcome in this conversation, just as all spectators with the price of admission were welcome in Shakespeare's theater!

And, hey! I kind of like that Genghis Khan idea!


Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:13 PM

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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? : Drama is a living medium (OFF TOPIC)



Choisya wrote:
Who has said anything about throwing away the text Everyman

In fact, Cheryl did.

Let me do the outlandish thing and actually refer to the text of this discussion.

I asked: "Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these* without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?"

Cheryl replied: "Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do."

There is no need for a text at all. Throw it away.



* "These" ideas included, for example, that "the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth."
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not?

[ Edited ]
'Throwing the text away' was not an option but your alternative suggestion about the characterisation of the three witches was. As Shakespeare left us no inkling of how he intended us to interpret his plays and we have no record of how his or other c1603 players interpreted them, the suggestion you make here is as good as any other, if it can be made to work within the conceptual framework of the play and using its dialogue. Ditto Macbeth as Genghis Khan. If you were to put on a production of Macbeth using the original dialogue and any of the ideas you put forward as 'outlandish' and if the play held together as a conceptual whole, drew in paying audiences to see the production over a period of time, you would only be doing what people have been doing since the plays were written. In Shakespeare's day, when actors were producers, a great many liberties were taken with dialogue and production too - stage directions were inserted or removed, speeches were either enhanced or cut etc etc. The pure, golden time in which you envisage the plays being performed unsullied by a hand other than Shakespeare's has not happened since Shakespeare's own first production and we have no record of that.




Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Who has said anything about throwing away the text Everyman

In fact, Cheryl did.

Let me do the outlandish thing and actually refer to the text of this discussion.

I asked: "Do you really think that somebody expressing opinions such as these* without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text adds to the conversation?"

Cheryl replied: "Yes, Everyman, I most emphatically do."

There is no need for a text at all. Throw it away.



* "These" ideas included, for example, that "the three witches were intended to represent the three persons of the Trinity and the fire over which the cauldron boils is a substitute for the burning bush, and so what we are hearing there is the Christian God speaking directly to Macbeth."

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:10 PM

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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? : Drama is a living medium (OFF TOPIC)

But you say "if it can be made to work within the conceptual framework of the play and using its dialogue." That's different from expressing an opinion "without any attempt to justify it by reference to the text," which is the language I used and which Cheryl "emphatically" agreed was appropriate.

You have never yet said that you support concepts or interpretations which are made "without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text." Rather, you do say that ideas should be made using the plays dialogue, which is very much using reference to the text.

When you sign on to that specific language, when you support ideas which are put forward "without any attempt to justify [the ideas] by reference to the text," which Cheryl accepted, I'll know that we have totally parted ways.

Until then, there's still a sliver of hope.
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? :

[ Edited ]
Without the dialogue of a play, nothing could be performed (or read here) so who would suggest 'throwing it away'? Certainly not a Shakespeare scholar like Cheryl or an avid theatregoer like myself. It is just that dialogue is open to many interpretations and with a drama it is also linked to the acting, costumes, stage direction etc etc. as I have said before. So opinions on part or whole of the dialogue are justified. If you were a producer with a group of actors you might well have them read a play with close attention to text and then ask them what their opinions were about the characters, what did they feel was the main theme etc etc. Widely differing interpretations (like Genghis Khan) would come out of such an exercise which could be used to stage an original production and they might not have quoted the text at all. This sort of 'brainstorming' is often used in the theatre. And to a large extent that is what we are doing here and it is, IMO, what Cheryl is trying to encourage. After all it would hardly be in B&N's interest for one of its Moderators to say 'throw away the text'!!




Everyman wrote:
But you say "if it can be made to work within the conceptual framework of the play and using its dialogue." That's different from expressing an opinion "without any attempt to justify it by reference to the text," which is the language I used and which Cheryl "emphatically" agreed was appropriate.

You have never yet said that you support concepts or interpretations which are made "without any attempt to justify them by reference to the text." Rather, you do say that ideas should be made using the plays dialogue, which is very much using reference to the text.

When you sign on to that specific language, when you support ideas which are put forward "without any attempt to justify [the ideas] by reference to the text," which Cheryl accepted, I'll know that we have totally parted ways.

Until then, there's still a sliver of hope.

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:09 PM

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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? : Drama is a living medium (OFF TOPIC)

Your defense of Cheryl's statement is vigorous, but unconvincing.

But we're getting nowhere, and just boring everybody else, so let's just quit now.
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? :

[ Edited ]
But we're getting nowhere, and just boring everybody else, so let's just quit now.


I agree and I hope that everyone has avoided reading these Off Topic exchanges. I also hope that you will continue to discuss Macbeth and cite text wherever and whenever you feel it is necessary.




Everyman wrote:
Your defense of Cheryl's statement is vigorous, but unconvincing.

But we're getting nowhere, and just boring everybody else, so let's just quit now.

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-17-200702:03 PM

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:07 PM

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