The Upstart Crow

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Vol. 31, Annual

Dear Readers
Dear Readers, It is a particular pleasure to introduce Volume 31 (2012), "Shakespeare's Female Icons," featuring an essay section guest edited by Francesca Royster of DePaul University. Drawing from a 2010 Shakespeare Association of America seminar,...
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Introduction to "Shakespeare's Female Icons": Sorcerers, Celebrities, Aliens, and Upstarts
A Shakespearean icon might include any form of a character, scene, idea, or moment as it circulates and is reproduced in a visual mode: a particular performance frozen in memory (Sarah Bernhardt as the cross-dressed Hamlet, for example); an often quoted...
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Ordinary Stardom: The Tragic Duality of Julia Stiles's Ophelia
In 2010, Julia Stiles joined Stolichnaya Vodka's ad campaign under the tagline "Would You Have a Drink With You?" (1) Both the print advertisements and the television commercials feature two sides of Julia Stiles who meet at a ritzy club. The "Hollywood...
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Desi "Was a Ho": Ocular (Re)proof and the Story of O
In Dimitri Buchowetzki's 1922 silent film adaptation of Othello, Desdemona is by and large silent, choosing not to engage with either her father's brutish bullying or her new husband's abrupt abduction of her. Instead, she hides in Othello's shadow...
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Rosalind's Musical Iconicity in Branagh and Doyle's as You like It
In her study on androgyny and "the boy heroine," Phyllis gackin has written that "Shakespeare refuses to dissolve the difference between the sex of the boy actor and that of the heroine he plays; and he uses his boy heroines' sexual ambiguity not only...
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Ambition and Desire: Gertrude as Tragic Hero in Feng Xiaogang's the Banquet (2006)
Hamlet contains more characters than Hamlet himself, as Margreta de Grazia has recently reminded us. We still need this reminder. While Ophelia as achieved iconic status as the tragically romantic and drowning figure of pre-Raphaelite paintings, Gertrude...
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(Un)sexing Lady Macbeth: Gender, Power, and Visual Rhetoric in Her Graphic Afterlives
As audience members, we need memory in order to experience difference as well as similarity. (1) --Linda Hutcheon Lady Macbeth's status as one of Shakespeare's most devious and fascinating characters has been recognized in the proliferation of...
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Condi, Cleopatra, and the Performance of Celebrity
Condoleeza Rice dismisses 30 Rock's humiliated Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin): "Take that, Turkey." Zhe diss comes after a classical "battle of the bands," his flute no match for her agile piano solos. (1) In this dual role as Donaghy's former girlfriend...
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Shakespeare's Female Icons: Doing and Embodying
When Francesca Royster asked me to write the afterword for this special edition of The Upstart Crow, I jumped at the chance, but not because I had something canned to say. Rather, I was stymied by what the phrase "Shakespeare's Female Icons" actually...
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The 2012 Season at London's Globe Theatre
This has been London's special summer: the Olympic followed by the Paralympic Games in Stratford not upon Avon in East London--the other Stratford. Accompanying this cornucopia of sporting excellence was the cultural Olympiad. This included the BBC...
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The 2011 Oregon Shakespeare Festival
For its seventy-sixth season, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival staged a rollicking Loves Labors Lost and an energetic 2 Henry IV on the Elizabethan Stage; a stunning Julius Caesar in the New Theatre; and an intense, controversial Measure for Measure...
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The 2011 Stratford Festival: Richard III and Shakespeare' S Will
When we think about Shakespeare's women, our thoughts most often turn to his female characters: the viragos (including Lady Macbeth and Volumnia), the plucky heroines (like Imogene and Beatrix), and the love interests (such as Juliet and Desdemona)....
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The 2011 Stratford Festival: Titus Andronicus
Stratford's Titus Andronicus was gaudily lit and costumed in the style of Hollywood's historical epics of the 1950s. Bright white light highlighted white, red, and gold costuming, giving the production an air of artificial nobility, an effect that...
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The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park: As You like It (2012)
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Rosalind has more lines than any other female character in the corpus--685. Lily Rabe carried every one of them. In The Public Theater's production of As You Like It, celebrating Shakespeare in the Park's 50th anniversary,...
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Alessandra Petrina and Laura Tosi (Eds.), Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture
Alessandra Petrina and Laura Tosi (eds.), Representations of Elizabeth I in Early Modern Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. The editors of this collection, rather than following a traditional direct approach to the much-discussed topic...
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Kathryn Schwarz, What You Will. Gender, Contract, and Shakespearean Social Space
Kathryn Schwarz, What You Will. Gender, Contract, and Shakespearean Social Space. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Recent feminist Shakespeare criticism has been particularly interested in the relationship between history and...
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Philip Davis, Shakespeare Thinking. London: Continuum, 2007
Philip Davis, Shakespeare Thinking. London: Continuum, 2007. Cognitive theories of the embodied mind have energized many areas of the humanities, sparking responses that range from welcoming to skeptical. For some scholars, neuroscience promises...
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Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeare's Freedom
Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeare's Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. Shakespeare's Freedom offers an engaging reflection on the ways Shakespeare "exlores the boundaries that hedge, bout the claims of the absolute" to produce body...
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Randall Martin and Katherine Scheil (Eds.), Shakespeare/Adaptation /Modem Drama: Essays in Honour of Jill L. Levenson
Randall Martin and Katherine Scheil (eds.), Shakespeare/Adaptation /Modem Drama: Essays in Honour of Jill L. Levenson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011. Randall Martin and Katherine Scheil's volume brings together top scholars to examine...
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James Schiffer (Ed.), Twelfth Night: New Critical Essays
James Schiffer (ed.), Twelfth Night: New Critical Essays. New York: Routledge, 2011. This volume of essays on Twelfth Night offers a range of approaches to the play, from a reassessment of key editorial puzzles, to explorations of the plays social...
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James W. Stone, Crossing Gender in Shakespeare: Feminist Psychoanalysis and the Difference Within
James W. Stone, Crossing Gender in Shakespeare: Feminist Psychoanalysis and the Difference Within. New York and London: Routledge, 2010 Among the myriad of publications about gender in Shakespeare, James W. Stone's Crossing Gender in Shakespeare:...
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Vol. 30, Annual

Dear Readers
Dear Readers, Welcome to Volume XXX (2011), an open issue featuring new Shakespeare scholarship, compelling performance reviews, and an impressive book review section. The issue boasts three strong essays which shed light on previously neglected...
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Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and "The Pregnant Enemy": The Devil in What You Will
The devil is mentioned at least twenty times in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, (1) a not surprising frequency, perhaps, when one considers the festive reputation this comedy has enjoyed. One might think that festivity would not easily welcome the devil....
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Usury and Political Friendship in the Merchant of Venice
The subject of deep controversy in the late 1500s, usury was a necessary fact of life during this era of burgeoning mercantilism, despite attempts to condemn and outlaw the commercial practice. As Lawrence Danson explains, "[f]armers needed to borrow...
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Governance and the Warrior Ethic in Macbeth and Henry V
I. Introduction Macbeth and Henry V depict shifts in governance that profoundly affect th ethic of the warriors each society sends into battle. In Macbeth, this shift is from tribalism to feudalism; in Henry V, from feudalism to statism. The tribal...
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The 2011 Season at London's Globe Theatre
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In New Bedford, Masschusetts, they read Moby-Dick in full on Herman Melville's birthday. The Globe started this season, as Dominic Dromgoole explains, in order to honor its four hundredth birthday, by reciting the King James...
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The 2010 Oregon Shakespeare Festival
To observe the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch staged the two plays of the festival s inaugural season--Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice--plus 1 Henry IV and Hamlet. In all four plays,...
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The 2011 Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Julius Caesar
Caesar's assassination was a messy bit of business. With as much blood squirting as we might find in a 1980s slasher movie, it gave new meaning to Alabamas Crimson Tide. When the house lights were raised at intermission, I turned to my companion with...
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The 2010 Stratford Festival: Kiss Me, Kate and the Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Stratford Festival of Canada (or at least, its directors) knows who comes to watch its plays: theater lovers. With Kiss Me, Kate and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Stratford Festival played to its strengths by highlighting the theatrical and...
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The 2010 Stratford Festival: The Winter's Tale and the Tempest
The Stratford Festival's productions of The Winter's Tale and The Tempest explored the dialectic between power and compassion, anger and forgiveness, in highly effective theatrical terms. The conflict in both productions flowed essentially from gendered...
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Vol. 29, Annual

Editors' Introduction to "Shakespearean Hearing"
When the Chorus of Henry Ventreats the audience "[g]ently to hear, kindly to judge, our play" (1.1.35), he evokes a theatrical experience that was a much aural as visual. The early modern English playhouse, like Caliban's isle, was full of noises--drums,...
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"A Verse to This Note": Shakespeare's Haunted Songs
In the most famous episode of Rossini's opera Otello, the doomed Desdemona, on the eve of her death, hears the distant singing of a gondolier. He sings a snatch of Dantes Divine Comedy: the words of Francesca in the Circle of Lust, as she commences...
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"Here's a Knocking Indeed!": Macbeth and the Harrowing of Hell
Knock. Knock. Who's there? In the Harrowing of Hell scenes of English mystery plays, the answer to that question was no joke. The Harrowing marks the climax of the battle between God and Satan for the fate of humanity. Following the crucifixion, Christ...
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Shakespeare and the Numbering Clock
During Shakespeare's lifetime, a momentous change in the soundscape of t early modern England was in progress. Somewhere in the middle of the sixteenth century, domestic timepieces that more or less reliably indicated hours and minutes became increasingly...
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"Dining on Two Dishes": Shakespeare, Adaptation, and Auditory Reception of Purcell's the Fairy-Queen
In 1701, six years after the death of composer Henry Purcell, the managers of the Theatre Royal placed the following advertisement in The Flying Post. The Score of Musick for the Fairy-Queen, set by the late Mr. Henry Purcel, and belonging to...
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Shakespeare's Inner Music
Early modern theories of musical affection tended to describe it as a remote capacity for .touch: music was a refined substance or subtle vibration that penetrated the senses and moved directly to affect the animal spirits or soul. (1) Francis Bacon,...
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The 2010 Season at London's Globe Theatre
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] This review presents an experiment, an essay written jointly by two authors on four Shakespeare plays from the 2010 London Globe season. While in previous years, each of us has reviewed the entire Globe season, scheduling...
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The Royal Shakespeare Company 2009: As You like It: "Reviewing Shakespearean Theatre: The State of the Art," September 5-6, 2009, Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Any gathering of approximately seventy theatre lovers for a discussion of a production the previous night could quickly devolve into chaos. But as the attendees of the "Reviewing Shakespearean Theatre: The State of the Art" conference at the Shakespeare...
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The 2009 Stratford Festival: Macbeth and Bartholomew Fair
The Stratford Festival's Macbeth and Bartholomew Fair were both full of sound and fury. But the noise in director Des McAnuff's Macbeth signified an experiment in contemporary relevance that ultimately failed to harmonize the play's political and psychological...
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The 2009 Oregon Shakespeare Festival
As Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, and Paul Nicholson, Executive Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, note in their introduction to the Festival's Souvenir Program, 2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the current Elizabethan Stage and the...
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The 2010 Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Hamlet
Traveling north on Interstate 65, away from Montgomery, one happens upon an undersized off-white billboard rising on short stilts from a farmer's field; emblazoned there is a horned devil in red silhouette holding a pitchfork and ominously gesturing...
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Brooklyn Academy of Music: The Tempest (2010)
The Harvey Theatre, one of the Brooklyn Academy of Music's playing spaces, strikes one as particularly appropriate for Shakespeare s The Tempest. The theatre, itself a bit shipwrecked, shows its age in its scuffed arches; but as The Tempest teaches...
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Vol. 28, Annual

Dear Readers
Dear Readers, It is my pleasure to introduce Volume XXVIII (2009), "Politics and the Citizen in Shakespeare." This issue marks a transitional moment for The Upstart Crow: it is the last volume to draw on the annual Clemson Shakespeare Festival,...
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Again, Poets and Julius Caesar
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a dramatization of Plutarch's account of the death of Julius Caesar and the consequences of that event in the war waged against his assassins by Mark Antony and Octavian, is particularly admired for the elegance of its...
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The Ethiop's Ear: Race, Sexuality, and Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
Although it hasn't always been the case, it is now commonplace to observe that when we idealize Shakespeare's famous lovers Romeo and Juliet by seeing them s transcending their feuding social world and its limits, we "obscure" the "social function"...
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"A Carrion Death": The Theme of the Gold Casket in the Merchant of Venice
Portia: "I had rather be married to a death's-head with a bone in his mouth" (1.2.49-50). Critics in recent years, from James Shapiro in Shakespeare and the Jews and Janet Adelman in Blood Relations to Stephen Greenblatt in the popular biography...
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Domestic Economies in the Taming of the Shrew: Amassing Cultural Credit
Early in Act 1 of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, an ambitious Petruccio announces his intention of seeking fortune in the world. As he tells Hortensio, "I have thrust myself into this maze / Happily to wive and thrive as best I may. / Crowns...
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"I Woo'd Thee with My Sword, / and Won Thy Love Doing Thee Injuries": The Erotic Economies of A Midsummer Night's Dream
In a footnote to his introduction to the 1979 Arden edition of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Harold Brooks notes of the Bottom/Titania subplot that: ... though the humour resides partly in contrast between his animal form and her 'airy spirit',...
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"Duble Vantage": Tennis and Sonnet 88
When thou shalt be dispode to set me light, And place my merrit in the eie of skorne, Upon thy side, against my selfe ile fight, And prove thee virtuous, though thou art forsworne. With mine owne weaknesse being best acquainted, Upon...
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The 2009 Season at London's Globe Theatre
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] This is the second season running upon which I have reported on the Globe for The Upstart Crow. (1) I entitled my first report last year, "Looking up." While it may appear unnecessary to unpack the stuffing of my joke, it...
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The 2009 Alabama Shakespeare Festival: Othello
The Alabama Shakespeare Festival has done four previous productions of Othello, in 1978, 1987, 1994, and 2003, but the production for the 2009 season may be the best. Much of the tragedys success depends, of course, on the casting of Othello and Iago....
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The National Theatre's the Revenger's Tragedy and the Royal Shakespeare Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream (2008)
Central to both Melly Still's 2008 production of The Revenger's Tragedy for London's National Theatre and Gregory Doran's 2008 A Midsummer Night's Dream, a revival of his 2005 production, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, were the mixed energies of...
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The 2008 Oregon Shakespeare Festival Season
For reviewers concerned with the omnipresent phenomenon of "director's Shakespeare," 2008 was a difficult season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Festival mounted two early comedies and two mature tragedies: A Midsummer Night's Dream in the...
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Vol. 27, Annual

Dear Readers
Dear Readers, I am proud to introduce Volume XXVII (2008) of The Upstart Crow. Building on the 2007 Clemson Shakespeare Festival, the special feature of this issue is "Shakespeare and Tourism." Who or what is a Shakespearean tourist? How does "tourism"...
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Virtually There: Shakespeare and Tourism in the Twenty-First Century
The irony of talking about Shakespeare and Tourism is that, in doing so, we are talking about ourselves, about today, or at least the last fifty or sixty years or so, and not about the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries or even Shakespeare's characters...
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Confessions of a Shakespearean Tourist: Discovering Natural Perspectives in the Secret Pleasures of Repertorial Recognition
My name is John, and I am a Shakespearean tourist. I have been a Shakespearean tourist for most of my life. The first signs were innocent enough, nothing more than curiosity. My brother and I, cutting through the Boston Common one summery night, wandered...
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"Sportful Malice," or What Maria Wills: Revenge Comedy in Twelfth Night
Maria writ The letter, at Sir Toby's great importance, In recompense whereof he hath married her. How with a sportful malice it was follow'd May rather pluck on laughter than revenge, If that the injuries be justly weigh'd That have...
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"To Tell My Story": Narrating Identity in Shakespeare
The burgeoning of interest in the role played by narrative in human life has led to the emergence in recent decades of an extensive, if somewhat amorphous, area of inquiry in which a variety of different disciplines have sought to stake out territory....
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Watching Richard Watching Buckingham: 3.7 of Richard III and Performance Criticism
As an experienced reviewer of Shakespearean productions, I have seen numerous productions of his most popular plays in the United States, Canada, and Britain. (1) In this era of the "director's theater," I have become increasingly fascinated--and occasionally...
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Looking Up: The 2008 Season at London's Globe Theatre
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] No one ever doubted Mark Rylance's abilities as an actor. (1) As Michael W. Shurgot has demonstrated in the pages of The Upstart Crow, Rylance is a performer of skill and dexterity, an adroit interpreter of Shakespeare and...
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A Fool's Stage: Royal Shakespeare Company Productions from Stratford, England, 2007
The Royal Shakespeare Company has been in the midst of a radical self-fashioning, in which every element of its theatrical identity and mission must be revisited. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has been gutted, while The Other Place has metamorphosed...
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Chicago Shakespeare Theater Season 2007-2008
In 2007-08, Barbara Gaines' Chicago Shakespeare Theater was a huge success by anyone's standards: the company provided world-class productions of Shakespeare's plays in the fabulous location of the Chicago tourist center, the Navy Pier; was heavily...
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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2007
For its 2007 season, the last for Artistic Director Libby Appel, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival produced two of Shakespeare's early plays, The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet; one middle comedy, As You Like It; and Shakespeare's final play,...
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Measure for Measure at the 2007 Idaho Shakespeare Festival, or, as the Director Likes It
Hence shall we see If power change purpose, what our seemers be. (1) Vincentio, the Duke of Vienna, enters the stage. Casually but snappily dressed in tailored slacks and silken shirt, his shirt buttoned only to mid-chest exposing just a bit of...
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Vol. 26, Annual

Southern Shrews: Marriage and Slavery in American Appropriations of Shakespeare
I. Introduction To state the obvious, The Taming of the Shrew takes place in Italy. Like most Shakespeare plays, however, it can be translated to foreign climes, including the Southern United States. Philip C. Kolin, for instance, describes a Taming...
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Jerry Lee Lewis: Whole Lotta Shakespeare Goin' On
On March 5, 1968, the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles was packed with celebrity attendees, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones, and Angie Dickinson, anxiously waiting to witness a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello. As...
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"Spayk the Speech Oy Prithee": Dialects of Shakespeare's England and the American South
In their 1986 television series, The Story of English, Robert MacNeil, Robert McCrum, and William Cran make reference to the belief that a dialect of Elizabethan England survives in the Appalachian Mountains. While they refute this notion (countering...
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Border Wars: Shakespeare, Robert Lepage, and the Production of National Sentiment
RICHARD EYRE: But there is a Quebecois translation [of Hamlet]? I saw your Quebecois translation of Macbeth in Paris. ROBERT LEPAGE: Yes. We called it Quebecois because it's much easier to describe it that way, but it was an archaic French, the...
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Cassio's Coat
When in act 5, scene 1 of Othello, Roderigo, gulled by lago into believing that he needs to kill Cassio in order to keep Desdemona in Cyprus and thus near this foolish lover, attacks Cassio, his sword does not penetrate Cassio's body. (1) "That thrust...
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The Tempest in the Trivium
To the delight of his audiences, both past and present, Shakespeare rarely created names of stubbornly puzzling origin. In his last play, however, he seems to have been attracted to at least one nominal obscurity. I refer, namely, to Sycorax, witch-mother...
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The 2007 Season at London's Globe Theatre
For its tenth season, which Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole labeled "Renaissance + Revolution," London's Globe Theatre staged three Shakespearean plays, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and Love s Labour's Lost. Drumgoole stated that these three...
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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2006 Season
The 2006 season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was both unusual and surprising. Unusual was Artistic Director Libby Appel's choice of plays: two comedies, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Merry Wives of Windsor; one romance, The Winter's Tale; and one...
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The Experimental and the Traditional: The 2006 Alabama Shakespeare Festival's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the 2006 Stratford Festival's Henry IV, Part 1
Over the years I have tried to see as many different Shakespeare Festivals as possible, but usually I use the Stratford Festival of Canada as a standard to measure the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which I have been reviewing for over twenty-five years....
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A Midsummer Night's Dream by the American Shakespeare Center on Tour (2006)
I really did not desire to see another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in September, especially since I reviewed the play at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in the summer and had seen the comedy many, many times in the last forty-five years,...
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Clemson Shakespeare Festival XV (2006) I Married Kate: The National Players Perform the Taming of the Shrew
In some ways the National Players' production of The Taming of the Shrew might be seen as a safe choice, the more politically dangerous features of the play de-emphasized for the sake of its playful verbal and physical energy. (1) In his "Director's...
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The Clemson Players Production of Henry V (2006)
Sitting cross-legged around a bundle of sticks and stones, the Clemson Players sought "to cram / Within this wooden O the very casques / That did affright the air at Agincourt" (Prologue 12-14) in the Bellamy Theatre. (1) The campfire gathering encouraged...
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