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Re: I love a good debate!

[ Edited ]

Everyman wrote:smileyvery-happy:o 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? (snip)




Everyman,
you dry pumpking of an owl tribe ....you just read the 'Styx house boat tale'. Of course we speculate...there's no way of knowing, it's just a game we play. I think Constable would be forced to paint a panorama of highways. Of course I am just guessing what Shakespeare would do from what we say here about how his plays were performed.

Now look how outrageous you can be: Gandhi and Al Quaida! Gosh, isn't that over the top? Do we hit the ceiling for that? No.
I hope stratford will soon be back in this romp to cause some more waves. If not I will miss the old stinkin' pigtale of a hedgehog.

ziki
the witch in the rompers who now graduated with great Honors from the Shakespearian Insult Academy

Message Edited by ziki on 03-19-200711:03 AM

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Re: I love a good debate!



ziki wrote:
I hope stratford will soon be back in this romp to cause some more waves. If not I will miss the old stinkin' pigtale of a hedgehog.

I hope so, too. I miss him. He was probably the most educated poster about Shakespeare that we had here.

But I fear he is gone for good, which if true will be a great loss to serious discussion of the plays.
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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:


ziki wrote:
I hope stratford will soon be back in this romp to cause some more waves. If not I will miss the old stinkin' pigtale of a hedgehog.

I hope so, too. I miss him. He was probably the most educated poster about Shakespeare that we had here.

But I fear he is gone for good, which if true will be a great loss to serious discussion of the plays.




Old gentleman can be very touchy but stradford is a tough bit of a rotting wood....send him a pm but warn him no appologies will be delivered from fair ladies and witches alike; the shouting match goes on.We await his contributions. I have some rotten eggs and tomatos ready in my pocket and a bunch of 101 questions to knock out any scholar unconscious.

ziki
Will I ever be done with the MND and move on?
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Re: I love a good debate!



ziki wrote:
Will I ever be done with the MND and move on?

Shaking the Eight Ball ... shake, shake ... turn over -- look carefully through the gloom, here emerges the answer:

Not Likely
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Re: I love a good debate!

ziki:Will I ever be done with the MND and move on?


everyman:Not Likely

--------
hahah, that is encouraging, indeed! I finish Asimov and fly to Scottland. BTW Thanks for the Asimov reference. I'm fine with that book to start with.

ziki
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Re: I love a good debate!



ziki wrote:
ziki:Will I ever be done with the MND and move on?


everyman:Not Likely


No, no, that wasn't me; that was just me reporting what the 8-ball said.

Don't you remember the black globe 8-balls from our childhood?
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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:No, no, that wasn't me; that was just me reporting what the 8-ball said.




I see I see...

ziki
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see you all by break of day.
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Re: Shakespeare's 'clay'.

[ Edited ]
I agree Ziki. Shakespeare was a playwright and by definition plays are performed to give 'dramatic effect'. The word theatre is from the Greek theaomai 'to behold' and being 'theatrical' means 'calculated for effect, showy, artificial'. In his own day there were many different performances of his work by actors who had bought his scripts. Scenes were added, scenes were left out, stage directions were added or improved upon. Plays were altered to suit the leading actors by making speeches longer or shortened because the weather was cold and audiences wouldn't stay if a play was too long.

Different theatres also impose their own constraints - open air theatres on rough ground affect what can be staged and affect how the actors perform because they have to take certain stances in certain places for their voices to carry etc (before the days of sophisticated microphones that is). A small theatre cannot put on the same sort of production as a large one - Shakespeare's company were known to perform in at least 12 different theatres, all vastly different in facilities, size and acoustics. There was a great difference between Burbage's 'Blackfriars' and his 'Theatre' for instance:-

http://shakespeare.about.com/od/studentresources/a/blackfriars.htm

http://shakespeare.about.com/od/studentresources/a/woodeno.htm

http://www.london-walks.co.uk/63/james-burbage-the-theatre.shtml

Playwrights are accustomed to seeing their works performed differently, it is the nature of the 'theatre', of 'drama'. Getting people to pay money to see their plays again and again is important to their livelihood so innovations are welcome. It is impossible to stage the same play twice in the same way, performances vary from day to day, sometimes from matinee to evening performance, because we are seeing human beings with all their foibles act in vastly different places. I saw Donald Wolfit play Hamlet in 1946 and thought he was marvellous until I saw Laurence Olivier's performance at the same theatre (Stratford) ten year's later. Both, of course, used the same text.

Fashions also change in the theatre and what is acceptable to an audience of one generation is not acceptable to another. I have seen numerous performances of Chekhov in my lifetime and once elaborate sets of Russian drawing rooms were staged but now the fashion is for minimalism. Ditto Shakespeare - once sets were in the Restoration style and now they are minimalist. What does not usually change are the words, and I think this is the most important thing and where we pay homage to the author. Interpretations of those words - the emphasis by an actor, the constraints of a stage, the ideas of a producer - have gone on since Shakespeare's day but what has not changed, and what gives every performance its authenticity, are the author's words. Even the producers of the most 'outlandish' performances realise the value of these.

Then of course the texts can be investigated with the intention to stay close to the original frame...how was it then? Yes, there is the question of what edition of Shakespeare the producer, whether amateur or professional, uses and as there have been many editions since Shakespeare's day, this too is open to debate. The Arden is popular but so too is the Cambridge. Different countries also favour different editions. But what is certain is that none are 'original' because there are none of Shakespeare's own manuscripts in existence. Here are some of the bewildering array of editions - you pays your money and you takes your choice!

http://www.shakespeare.bham.ac.uk/research/ardenshakespeare.htm

http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/uni/nec/foakes63.htm

http://pages.unibas.ch/shine/linksearlyeditors.htm

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.I agree - Shakespeare the playwright/actor/producer would have a whale of a time in today's theatre with all the different stage sets, mechanical contrivances, photographic backdrop projections etc etc. In his day making a fairy or a witch 'fly' on stage was a big deal, for instance, now they could 'fly' all around the theatre. Projections of a 'blasted heath' or the gates of Macbeth's castle showing the 'everlasting bonfire' within would be no problem. Banquo's ghost could look authentically otherworldly, Macbeth's head paraded on stage would look very realistic, and so on. What fun he could have! In addition, he and his actors would no longer have to strain their voices to 'proclaim' to an audience and could be sure of every whisper being heard wherever they stood on stage - what freedom! And above all he would not have a Master of the Revels to contend with! (See above London Walks link.)





ziki wrote:
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...

ziki

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-19-200709:13 AM

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thanks

Thanks Choisya, I'll check out the links.

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



Everyman wrote:....I am both astonished and disappointed that this is how she has chosen to position this forum.

But it makes clear why she was so harsh to Stratford as to drive him away for having the audacity to actually cite the text. It's a mistake I won't make in future, since I don't want to receive the same very unkind, to put it mildly, treatment he did. I will understand that intellectual rigor is neither appropriate nor welcome here, and will be sure not to make the error of attempting it in future.




But Everyman, we are adults, not kids in a sand box. Cheryl moderates this forum and it is her responsibility to set boundaries when she feels it is called for.

She can't drive anyone away....it is really up to us, participants how we react to what people say to us. That responsibility you owe to the world around as a grown up. You can't blame the other.

Are you regressing into boys fighting your mothers? I hope not.
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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not? : Drama is a living medium



Choisya wrote: 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.






That is well said, Choisya. I guess outrageous and creative ideas can coexist with scholar approach on a forum like this.

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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not?

Genghis Khan has probably been done somewhere Cheryl, especially as he was living at the same time as Macbeth. I bet Russian or Chinese producers of Macbeth see the significance of this.:smileyhappy: He would certainly fit into the theme of Ambition!




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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Re: Genghis Khan? Why not?

I understand that cheryl says 'keep an open mind'. Only if the work can grow with us it stays alive. I guess there are some interpretations that many people agree upon and some interpretations that are not so widely supported. but for soem reason Shakespeare ha sthe ability to keep the blood boiling. ain't it something?

ziki
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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. 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.




Thanks, Cheryl. I'm not usually considered unintelligent or uneducated, but when things go on and on like this I just quit reading.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:




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.





With all due respect, Everyman, I don't think that is true. For good or for bad, how many times have people walked out of a movie, for example, and say "That was nothing like the book" or "The book was so much better than the movie". Or have you ever read a book and create the movie verion in your head? Choosing who will play what parts? I hope you have. We, as humans are able to interpret, we are able to create, have opinions and yes, as you've mentioned in a previous post, we are free to do such things. Back in my school days we were encouraged to become independent thinkers. Actually, when I think about it, independently of course, it could be what is called progress.

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Re: I love a good debate!


Carmenere_lady wrote:
With all due respect, Everyman, I don't think that is true. For good or for bad, how many times have people walked out of a movie, for example, and say "That was nothing like the book" or "The book was so much better than the movie". Or have you ever read a book and create the movie verion in your head? Choosing who will play what parts? I hope you have. We, as humans are able to interpret, we are able to create, have opinions and yes, as you've mentioned in a previous post, we are free to do such things

That's true. But it's a matter of degree. When is it interpretive license and when it is just wholesale slaughter of the original?

I do contend that we do things to Shakespeare that are not done with any other author. Can you imagine, for example, a movie of David Copperfield set in 1930s France, or Pride and Prejudice with people living in modern cities and driving around in motorcars, or Portrait of Lady set in Japan, or Our Town produced about a village in Russia in 1919, or Huckleberry Finn moved from the Mississippi to the Thames?

I'm not talking just about relatively minor changes in the approach to a work, or emphasizing different aspects of a book, or choosing actors who don't look like we think they should look like.

Can you suggest any movie made from a book or play you have seen which deviates from the original work as much as, say, a production of Richard III ripped out of any relationship with the historical people Shakespeare wrote about and set in the 1930s, or of Midsummer Night's Dream with bicycles, or done underwater with scuba tanks? I have never seen any book-based movie or non-Shakespearean play which was so deviant from the original work and still bore the original author's name. Do you know of any which have?
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Re: I love a good debate!

I hate to even mention this, but they did do a movie of Pride and Prejudice with people living in modern citites and driving around in motorcars. The 2003 version of Pride and Prejudice by Excel Entertainment Group, is a modern-day make over of Jane Austen's timeless tale, set in Utah, the Bennet's are Mormons, and instead of 4 sisters Elizabeth has 4 housemates and is a college student! I haven't watched it. B&N doesn't even carry it, but if you're morbidly curious it's on Amazon.
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Re: Macbeth controversy 18C style!

We are angels by comparison with New Yorkers of 1849!

http://members.tripod.com/Fighting9th/History28.htm
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Various productions and some weapons.

[ Edited ]
Here are a couple of video clips of a 2005 production at The Globe, which folks may find interesting:-

http://www.oldglobe.org/the_globe/show_production.asp?pPK=410

I find the red witches interesting and thought the interpretation might be that they were, in a sense, agents of revolution because their 'influence' overthrew Duncan's throne.

And a production from Alaska:-

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096414640

And here are some illustrations of the various weapons used in Macbeth productions over the centuries, which reveal the variety of historical interpretations:-

http://pw1.netcom.com/~cecilymc/article4.html

This article also made me wonder about the number of different costumes, weapons, props etc theatres have for their productions and how this must affect their productions over a number of years - assuming that an average repertory company would not be able to afford to replace such items frequently. Perhaps Alfpro could comment on this from his acting experience?

Message Edited by Choisya on 03-22-200705:15 AM

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Re: I love a good debate!



Everyman wrote:



Can you suggest any movie made from a book or play you have seen which deviates from the original work as much as, say, a production of Richard III ripped out of any relationship with the historical people Shakespeare wrote about and set in the 1930s, or of Midsummer Night's Dream with bicycles, or done underwater with scuba tanks? I have never seen any book-based movie or non-Shakespearean play which was so deviant from the original work and still bore the original author's name. Do you know of any which have?




That is a tantalizing request, Everyman. One that I simply do not have the leisure time on which to dwell. I will say however that perhaps Sh. is done so often in so many diversified ways because he is truly loved so much by so many people. The man is universal. His writing touches the heart and soul of anyone that has experienced love, hate, jealousy etc.

Also, on a previous B&N author led book club, Sarah Durant - The Birth of Venus - said something that will always stick in my thick head:smileywink:. When some of the readers were not happy with the ending of her story and mentioned ways in which they would have come to its conclusion, she said, and this is not verbatim, once I have completed a novel and it is at the bookstore, it is no longer mine. It is yours to eat, digest and make it your own.

Carmen
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