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Choisya
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Re: Shakespeare

[ Edited ]
I have not seen you write this before Everyman. And which production have you seen that you liked the best, with which actor and where? And which historical production of Shakespeare which has been recorded do you think you would have like the best?






Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
I would like to know what sort of production Everyman favours because whereas he says a lot about what he doesn't like, I haven't the faintest idea what sort of productions he has seen that he did like and why.

I've said it often enough before, but I'll say it again since you clearly haven't heard me yet.

It's simple. I like productions where the focus is on the language Shakespeare wrote and the scenes he intended to present. Where the creativity is focused on how the actors present Shakespeare's words and actions. I like to see the plays done reasonably truly to the age in which they were written to be presented. Not slavishly; we don't need to research exactly what Julius Caesar wore and copy the exact fabrics he would have been clothed in, just something reasonably resembling what he would have been seen wearing. But not Julius Caesar in a zoot suit smoking cigarettes and toting a machine gun. And not bicycles or motor cars or airplanes as part of the set.

Just honest, straightforward Shakespeare with the creativity coming in the quality of the acting and staging. There is no need to tart him up. He can stand perfectly well on his own too feet.

If we want to see plays with people toting machine guns or riding around in Corvettes, then we can get modern writers to write them. If a director wants to put on a play with bicycles on the stage, get Neil Simon (is he still alive?) to write one where having bicycles on stage makes sense.

If people want to write their own new plays using the basic themes Shakespeare did but in a modern context, that's fine, as long as they write them under their own names and not pretend that they're Shakespeare. After all, Shakespeare borrowed most of his plots from other writers. But he put his own name on the plays; he didn't present them as the work of somebody else.

A great example of using the Shakespearean concepts but writing one's own work under one's own name is Leonard Bernstein did with West Side Story. That was much more creative than letting off fireworks in the middle of Titus Andronicus.

We don't do this with other artists. The novel Finn is being discussed elsewhere; it's based on Twain's character, but Jon Clinch put his own name on it; he didn't try to sell it as being by Mark Twain. Nobody that I know puts on Thornton Wilder's Our Town set in a Los Angeles barrio with the crips and the bloods feuding through the town. Nobody (unless they're intentionally parodying) takes the Mona Lisa, puts a blond wig on her and a FDR cigarette holder jauntily protruding from her lips and tries to pass it off as Da Vinci's work. Nobody takes Michaelangelo's David, dresses him in a Hawaiian shirt and puts a cell phone in his hand and tries to claim that this is Michaelangelo's work. Nobody translates War and Peace into a novel of the Civil War and claims that it was written by Tolstoy.

We don't do this to other artists. We respect their work as they presented it. I fail to understand why people feel it's okay to do this with Shakespeare.

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-18-200708:30 PM

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:01 PM

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Re: Everyman's Shakespeare



Choisya wrote:
I have not seen you write this before Everyman. And which production have you seen that you liked the best, with which actor? And which historical production of Shakespeare which has been recorded do you think you would have like the best?


We have a little Shakespeare group here on the island that puts on one or two Shakespeare plays a year in a natural outdoor amphitheater (bring your own chair if you don't want to sit on the grass, and if rain threatens, bring you raingear; the stage is covered but, like the Globe, the pit isn't.) They do Shakespeare straight, and do it well. They use local actors, so you wouldn't recognize any of them, though some retired here after quite successful careers elsewhere (John Wayne had a home up here, and others followed him).

I seldom watch movies of S because they are so often so untrue. Instead, I listen to the Arkangel recordings, which are excellent, and use my imagination.
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Re: Shakespeare

[ Edited ]
That sounds like the George Bernard Shaw plays I go to each year in the grounds of his former home at Ayot St Lawrence - picnics and all. Very pleasant. John Wayne in Shakespeare - now that would be something!

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200707:00 PM

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Re: Everyman's Shakespeare



Everyman wroteWe have a little Shakespeare group here on the island that puts on one or two Shakespeare plays a year in a natural outdoor amphitheater (bring your own chair if you don't want to sit on the grass, and if rain threatens, bring you raingear; the stage is covered but, like the Globe, the pit isn't.) They do Shakespeare straight, and do it well. They use local actors, so you wouldn't recognize any of them, though some retired here after quite successful careers elsewhere (John Wayne had a home up here, and others followed him)




How fun, my neighbours do nothing so creative.

ziki
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Shakespeare

[ Edited ]
We have a little Shakespeare group here on the island that puts on one or two Shakespeare plays a year in a natural outdoor amphitheater (bring your own chair if you don't want to sit on the grass, and if rain threatens, bring you raingear; the stage is covered but, like the Globe, the pit isn't.) They do Shakespeare straight, and do it well. They use local actors, so you wouldn't recognize any of them, though some retired here after quite successful careers elsewhere (John Wayne had a home up here, and others followed him).

I seldom watch movies of S because they are so often so untrue. Instead, I listen to the Arkangel recordings, which are excellent, and use my imagination.

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200706:58 PM

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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:Just honest, straightforward Shakespeare with the creativity coming in the quality of the acting and staging. There is no need to tart him up. He can stand perfectly well on his own too feet.





Hmmm.....it makes perfect sense to me.
thanks
ziki
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Re: Ziki : Creative staging

[ Edited ]
Ziki: Soon I hope to see an acclaimed London production of MND where trapeze artists are playing the parts of the fairies - that is creative staging and I am looking forward to it immensely. The language used is, of course, from the text and indeed, although I have seen many unusual performances, I have never seen one which departed from the text.

Do you think that Shakespeare would have lasted this long if actors and producers had not made different interpretations, some 'off the wall'? When, for instance, the Faery Queen, adapted from MND, was staged in 1691, after the War of the Theatres, the spectacular production with flying fairies was a 'wow' and helped to revive Shakespeare after a long period of banning by the Puritans. One of the scenes had a 'twelve foot high working fountain and six dancing real live monkeys'!!! Not surprisingly, it was so stuffed with 'special effects' that it became too expensive to produce.




ziki wrote:


Everyman wrote:Just honest, straightforward Shakespeare with the creativity coming in the quality of the acting and staging. There is no need to tart him up. He can stand perfectly well on his own too feet.





Hmmm.....it makes perfect sense to me.
thanks
ziki

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200704:00 PM

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Re: Ziki : Creative staging



Choisya wrote:
Ziki: Soon I hope to see an acclaimed London production of MND where trapeze artists are playing the parts of the fairies - that is creative staging and I am looking forward to it immensely. The language used is, of course, from the text and indeed, although I have seen many unusual performances, I have never seen one which departed from the text.

Do you think that Shakespeare would have lasted this long if actors and producers had not made different interpretations, some 'off the wall'? When, for instance, the Faery Queen, adapted from MND, was staged in 1691, after the War of the Theatres, the spectacular production with flying fairies was a 'wow' and helped to revive Shakespeare after a long period of banning by the Puritans. One of the scenes had a 'twelve foot high working fountain and six dancing real live monkeys'!!! Not surprisingly, it was so stuffed with 'special effects' that it became too expensive to produce.




ziki wrote:


Everyman wrote:Just honest, straightforward Shakespeare with the creativity coming in the quality of the acting and staging. There is no need to tart him up. He can stand perfectly well on his own too feet.





Hmmm.....it makes perfect sense to me.
thanks
ziki

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200704:00 PM






This must be the strength of the classics, that they can incorporate many interpretations and have something useful to offer to the human mind even after a long period of time. Like Moby Dick :smileywink:

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Re: Ziki : Creative staging

This must be the strength of the classics, that they can incorporate many interpretations and have something useful to offer to the human mind even after a long period of time. Like Moby Dick :smileywink:

ziki




Yes, just like Moby Dick:smileyhappy:

Here is a review of the MND performance - it sounds very exciting and I am really looking forward to taking my eldest daughter to see it for her birthday in April. It uses the text but in several languages, which should be challenging. I will take my copy of MND along!

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/reviews/story/0,,2033418,00.html
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Re: Ziki : Creative staging



I will take my copy of MND along!

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/reviews/story/0,,2033418,00.html




Jeezus in the skies, that sounds modern if anything...tell us how you liked that performance, "you minimus of hindering knot-grass made". The insults weren't lost on me.:smileyvery-happy:

Anyhow taking with you the copy might be a good idea but you will hardly have any time to read it in the dark especially when it is such a visual performance as the link said.

Could we westerners(is that a word?) do something like that to Krishna?

I guess the whole point is that The Text is there, everyone read it thousand times (how about exagerations?) and so the new interpretations are delivered fearlessly.

I definitely see the value in the classic performance that Everyman speaks about and I enjoy actors working in that way but the new approaches keep the wheel turning.
I am not trying to be diplomatic here,I just think these are two different approaches that actually can coexist. One is a antithesis to the other and the synthesis counts.

keep the mind flexible

ziki
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Re: Ziki : Creative staging

I like classical performances too and have seen many of them but I also like innovation which, as you say, 'keep the wheel turning'.




ziki wrote:


I will take my copy of MND along!

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/reviews/story/0,,2033418,00.html




Jeezus in the skies, that sounds modern if anything...tell us how you liked that performance, "you minimus of hindering knot-grass made". The insults weren't lost on me.:smileyvery-happy:

Anyhow taking with you the copy might be a good idea but you will hardly have any time to read it in the dark especially when it is such a visual performance as the link said.

Could we westerners(is that a word?) do something like that to Krishna?

I guess the whole point is that The Text is there, everyone read it thousand times (how about exagerations?) and so the new interpretations are delivered fearlessly.

I definitely see the value in the classic performance that Everyman speaks about and I enjoy actors working in that way but the new approaches keep the wheel turning.
I am not trying to be diplomatic here,I just think these are two different approaches that actually can coexist. One is a antithesis to the other and the synthesis counts.

keep the mind flexible

ziki


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Re: Ziki : Creative staging



ziki wrote:
Could we westerners(is that a word?) do something like that to Krishna?

Only if we wanted to start a war.
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Re: I love a good debate!

I see Shakespeare (= his material) like a clay. You can mold it. Why burn it and fix it and be left just with reverence?
I think if Shakespeare came back today he'd be happy to see his plays performed in any way possible, he'd probably add to it and make it more outrageous, funky, up to date.

The clay (=the material, the play, structure) is given...but there is a possibility to play with it, interpret and re-tell. With respect perhaps but fearlessly.

Then of course the texts can be investigated with the intention to stay close to the original frame...how was it then? and in that case the scholars come on stage and do their number.....and that is fime, too. They defined another task for themselves.

I am never sure why people fight about things like this...

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Re: I love a good debate!



ziki wrote:
I see Shakespeare (= his material) like a clay. You can mold it.

Do you see the work of all other artists this way? Do you think, for example, that it's okay to take Tom Sawyer, rewrite the book to take place in the 1980s with Tom the leader of a Chinese Tong and Huck an the son of an illegal alien father, stick in all sorts of contemporary jokes, scatter a few visits to McDonald's here and there in the book, and still sell the book as Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain? After all, it's just clay; you can mold it as you like, right?
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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:


ziki wrote:
I see Shakespeare (= his material) like a clay. You can mold it.

Do you see the work of all other artists this way? Do you think, for example, that it's okay to take Tom Sawyer, rewrite the book to take place in the 1980s with Tom the leader of a Chinese Tong and Huck an the son of an illegal alien father, stick in all sorts of contemporary jokes, scatter a few visits to McDonald's here and there in the book, and still sell the book as Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain? After all, it's just clay; you can mold it as you like, right?




Hi Everyman,
long time no see, I was AVOL and I just started to read the posts here.

I think I need to bring some nuances into this discussion so we do not throw out the "bathwater with the baby" :smileywink: (LOL).

I am not talking about the text, when I say the material is like a clay I am refering to the so called third room, the space where you mold your impressions and opinions, the creative space of your psyche.

There is the original text, fact. I do not think anyone here on the board denied that but the approaches to the text (and the understanding of it) will differ, and that is OK. That is what Cheryl was saying IMHO (=allow some space). One may like the interpretation or not but it can't be controlled.

It's part of the fun, it doesn't need to be turned into a war and a power trip.

So Sawyer is Sawyer as Twain wrote it and if someone writes another book based on that material then I see no danger that it will be mixed up with the original text. Same with Shakespeare...but as Choisya pointed out so many times a play is just a material for interpretations...(more so than a book)...and the text will be chewed on.
Scholars will have more strict approach, conservative people as well and then comes the bunch of innovative maniacs that will do outrageous things and upset or delight.

If I understood you rightly you say the classics should be treated with reverence and accuracy but if someone doesn't do that it is not a case for heart attack, is it?

ziki
Shakespeare fueled disputes for fun, perhaps this is a paralell process.
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Re: I love a good debate!

[ Edited ]

ziki wrote:
I am not talking about the text, when I say the material is like a clay I am refering to the so called third room, the space where you mold your impressions and opinions, the creative space of your psyche.



I'm not sure I understand the point you're making. Can you give me an example?

For instance, somebody knowing I like Shakespeare gave me a DVD of Richard III set in the 1930s, with the men in 1930s uniforms, tuxedos, etc., smoking cigarettes, wearing modern handcuffs when they're arrested, but speaking pretty much the original lines, which nobody in 1930s England would ever say. Since they're using the text, pretty much at least (I didn't watch much of it, so I know they modernized some references but I don't know what else they changed), would you consider this just a part of the third room?

Message Edited by Everyman on 03-19-200702:05 PM

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Re: I love a good debate!

What I mean by the 'third room' is a meeting place between reality (the text, facts) and the dream where anything is possible (= Macbeth in a submarine).

And in that 'third room' I can feel free to fabulate and 'mold the clay', speculate, create new connections.
I do not need to be restricted by the logic and neither am I helpless in a tumble of dreams and fantasy and primal processes...so creative ideas can come up from it.

And I do agree that it is good to refer to the original text so that others can follow.

MND act III sc 2:
her
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am? thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

This can remind me of a meeting a 2m long realty consultant who talks over my head and ignores me and consequently speaks 'over my head' even if it's me making all decisions...

That in itself has nothing to do with Shakespeare
but from that I can come to a conclusion that long man treat women as if they were insignificant and make some statement about a character in a play or write a poem and post it, and if I am a director and find someone who is willing to give me money I can set up a whole play based on that puttin g stress on thos eelements in teh play (or even make a whole spin off)....etc. So the text is and isn't neutral.

This I would call the molding of ideas= the text does something with me as I do something with the text...and in that process I am rather free and the process is also harmless to the text itself because the text is always there as a reference no matter what I do with it (whether I cite it or not). The text has an immunity.

This is not so for a medical doctor making a diagnosis or a lawyer or a technician/scientist who need to be precise and be able to point to the reference.
However I'd think even scientists-researchers use the imaginative thinking.

And sharing from that 'creative place' can be interesting because it is also a very private space so it takes guts, courage. We all have our ways (smart or crazy) but the contributions are not final statements or thee eternal truth.

I am not sure if I explain this well enough, it is tricky....but imagine a child playing.....both reality and fantasy are present at the same time and they merge. The child is definitely aware about the reality (it is not psychotic) but it is also totally identified with the character that it embodies (the unreal) and takes it very seriously. The reality is not harmed by the child's play....so similarly with adults and the reading.....culture (in nay form) is a meeting place for experiences of all kinds...and the text is reduced to a catalyst but at the same time not diminished in any way.

I also find this useful in a professional life because I do not need to get identified with stuff (good or bad) and I can retain certain kind of freedom, a free space from which I can make decisions.


That is how I understood the whole situation here, it was not a dismissal.
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Re: I love a good debate!

Thanks for that explanation, ziki. I think I sort of understand.



ziki wrote:
What I mean by the 'third room' is a meeting place between reality (the text, facts) and the dream where anything is possible (= Macbeth in a submarine).

And in that 'third room' I can feel free to fabulate and 'mold the clay', speculate, create new connections.
I do not need to be restricted by the logic and neither am I helpless in a tumble of dreams and fantasy and primal processes...so creative ideas can come up from it.

And I do agree that it is good to refer to the original text so that others can follow.

MND act III sc 2:
her
Because I am so dwarfish and so low?
How low am? thou painted maypole? speak;
How low am I? I am not yet so low
But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes.

This can remind me of a meeting a 2m long realty consultant who talks over my head and ignores me and consequently speaks 'over my head' even if it's me making all decisions...

That in itself has nothing to do with Shakespeare
but from that I can come to a conclusion that long man treat women as if they were insignificant and make some statement about a character in a play or write a poem and post it, and if I am a director and find someone who is willing to give me money I can set up a whole play based on that puttin g stress on thos eelements in teh play (or even make a whole spin off)....etc. So the text is and isn't neutral.

This I would call the molding of ideas= the text does something with me as I do something with the text...and in that process I am rather free and the process is also harmless to the text itself because the text is always there as a reference no matter what I do with it (whether I cite it or not). The text has an immunity.

This is not so for a medical doctor making a diagnosis or a lawyer or a technician/scientist who need to be precise and be able to point to the reference.
However I'd think even scientists-researchers use the imaginative thinking.

And sharing from that 'creative place' can be interesting because it is also a very private space so it takes guts, courage. We all have our ways (smart or crazy) but the contributions are not final statements or thee eternal truth.

I am not sure if I explain this well enough, it is tricky....but imagine a child playing.....both reality and fantasy are present at the same time and they merge. The child is definitely aware about the reality (it is not psychotic) but it is also totally identified with the character that it embodies (the unreal) and takes it very seriously. The reality is not harmed by the child's play....so similarly with adults and the reading.....culture (in nay form) is a meeting place for experiences of all kinds...and the text is reduced to a catalyst but at the same time not diminished in any way.

I also find this useful in a professional life because I do not need to get identified with stuff (good or bad) and I can retain certain kind of freedom, a free space from which I can make decisions.


That is how I understood the whole situation here, it was not a dismissal.
ziki


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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:
Thanks for that explanation, ziki. I think I sort of understand.




Perhaps we declare ourselves content with it for now. It was challenging to try to explain (thanks for asking). However, I am not sure I've done it well enough. I keep it in mind and if I see some example as we go along with the discussions I point to that.

Bu the whole MND was an example in itself.

I remember when I was little... after coming home from school I collected all the stuffed creatures, bears and dolls alike, aligned them and they had to sit in class. Then I had to fabricate their faulty written exercises so that I finally could be the teacher with the red pen, marking 'their' work and telling them the 'truth'. I was in that 'third room' aware of what I was doing but also enjoying the show as if real. I guess the key word is 'as if'.

A theater is able to 'transport us' to such a place of "all is possible no matter how crazy". We need that otherwise life feels too dry.

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Re: I love a good debate!



ziki wrote:
I think if Shakespeare came back today he'd be happy to see his plays performed in any way possible, he'd probably add to it and make it more outrageous, funky, up to date.

The is, of course, no way of knowing this. I know that's what some directors claim as a basis for doing whatever they want to.

Do you think this just of Shakespeare? Or do you think that if Jane Austen came back she would add to her books to make them more modern and outrageous and funky? Or Tolstoy? Would Constable modify his paintings to stick in factories and cell towers? If Gandhi came back today would he join Al-Qaeda? If Lincoln came back would he be a supporter of the war in Iraq? If Patton came back would he join the American Nazi Party? I expect there are people in that party would like to claim that he would, and that it's fair creative license to claim that he would.

Once we decide to speculate about what dead people would or wouldn't do, there's no limit to what we can pretend. But it's all speculation, and IMO pretty useless speculation.

We don't know what Shakespeare would think. What we know is what he wrote. And frankly, that's good enough for me.
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