Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fratellanza wows Oberons

Paul Manganello and Jim Manganello: Fratellanza

The Fratellanza collaborative of Jim Manganello and his brother Paul Manganello visited Oberon last night to talk about The Mute Quire, their new play running currently at Mix Studio Theater in Ypsilanti. Their energy and dedication to the art of theater thrilled us.

"They made me feel young again -- as if anything were possible." Joy T. said.

The Mute Quire is about the production of The First Folio and features, according to co-writer Jim Manganello, an antagonism between printer William Jaggard and actor John Hemminge about whether the play As You Like It should be included in the folio. Actors John Hemminge and Henry Condell signed a foreword in The First Folio testifying to the worthiness of the content and the co-signatories are often termed "editors" of the book by traditional Stratfordians. Most anti-Strats consider Ben Jonson the one and only editor of The First Folio, as Oberon chair Richard Joyrich pointed out during the discussion last night. 

While the viewpoint of The Mute Quire story may be traditional, the viewpoint of Fratellanza is emphatically iconoclastic.

"This piece is not completely exempt from the authorship question in that we're exploring the creation of the plays and not the writing of the plays,"Jim Manganello said. "Another orthodoxy I'm interested in debunking is the First Folio technique." 

Manganello said this acting technique assigns strict instructions to every aspect of the play, with slavish adherence to every word and punctuation mark in The First Folio.

"This kind of God-given, pristine text is so counter-theatrical," Manganello said. "You need to find what's important to today's audience and bring that out."

Paul Manganello agreed. Both brothers have trained in an alternative acting method that owes more to circus than to academe. Jim studied with Paola Coletto in Chicago and Paul studied with Malcolm Tulip at the University of Michigan. Both teachers studied at the Ecole International de Theatre Jaques Lecoq in Paris. Jim said the school is focused on using the body as the engine of performance and on creating work from the ground up.

"Who knows what was going on when the plays were being staged for the first time," Paul said. "They (the First Folio technique proponents) are interested in the fluidity of the work; one thing we’re interested in is toying with that fluidity and making bold, sometimes reckless, choices."

Oberon Chair Richard Joyrich, MD, approved of the Fratellanza viewpoint.

"There is a disconnect between the plays as performance and the plays as literature," Joyrich said. "I think you need to know something about the author and the circumstances. I like your approach of trying to figure
this out."

We have invited the Manganellos to talk more about their work as guest correspondents to the Oberon web log which they have agreed to do, and we look forward to their discussion. They hope to perform The Mute Quire at Shakespeare festivals and anticipate an evolutionary approach to the play, as they believe Shakespeare's actors would have done.

Jim said, "The kind of theater I‘m most interested in is the kind where the audience walks in and within two minutes they’re soaring. Shakespeare's work almost always challenges us to do that. At every moment there’s
some thing more important than the surface. I love the plays."

Paul said, "When an Anglophone speaks Shakespeare it feels like you’re at the exact center of your human experience. It’s so joyous to put those sounds out."

The Mute Quire, was written and produced by Fratellanza for the New Theater ProjectPerformances will begin at 8 p.m. this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- June 28, 29, 30, and July 1 at the Mix Studio Theater at 130 W. Michigan in Ypsilanti, MI. General admission tickets are available for $15/$10 students at Brown Paper Tickets. See video promo and more info at "Mute Choir by Fratellanza" on the Oberon web log.

See also "Alexandra Clement Jones plays Richard II" for a review of Jim Manganello's Richard II production for the University of Michigan Rude Mechanicals.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wright announces SARC seminar August 22-26, 2012

Professor Daniel Wright, Ph.D., director of the Richard Paul and Jane Roe Shakespeare Authorship Research Centre at Concordia University in Portland OR,  announced this year's Shakespeare Authorship Studies Seminar will be held August 22-26 at the center:
The summer is upon us, and that means it's time again for the SARC's annual Shakespeare Authorship Studies Seminar! This year's seminar will begin in a couple of months - specifically, at 6:00pm on Wednesday, August 22 - and will close at noon on Sunday, August 26.  The theme for this year's 30-hour intensive study week/weekend (we meet eight hours a day on the 23rd, 24th and 25th and 3 hours on the 22nd and the 26th) is "The Motive for Shakespeare."  We'll be studying why Shakespeare became Shakespeare so late in life and we will focus, Looney-like, on the plays and poems to see what revelatory offerings they may suggest about Shakespeare's purposes.  We will focus on some of Shakespeare's original sources and look at several features of these; among other questions regarding these sources, we'll ask: (a) what does Shakespeare retain? (b) what does Shakespeare delete? (c) what does Shakespeare modify? and (d) what does Shakespeare invent? Registration is $995. You can register, right now, online, at http://www.authorshipstudies.org/conference/summer2012.cfm. I hope to see many of you there in August for some good fun and lively study with friends. The summer seminar, as veterans will attest, is always a grand way to close out, in the  SARC's cool and relaxing surroundings, some of the late dog days of August.
Prof Daniel Wright, Ph.D.Director, The Shakespeare Authorship Research CentreConcordia UniversityPortland, OR 97211-6099http://www.authorshipstudies.org

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Mute Quire by Fratellanza

Our friend Jim Manganello who did such a fabulous job directing Richard II for The Rude Mechanicals has a new project playing at the Mix Studio Theater in Ypsilanti through July 1. The play, The Mute Quire, a comedy about the production of Shakespeare's First Folio, was written and produced by Fratellanza for the New Theater Project. Manganello's promo says:
Fratellanza is a new collaboration between Jim and Paul Manganello committed to generating live theater with physical rigor and imagination. [The play is] Written and performed by Jim and Paul Manganello with Josh Berkowitz. Two forgotten actors. A printer and his apprentice. An absurd clown and a sad one. All these characters collide in a print shop to publish the plays of the recently dead Shakespeare. Before ink meets paper, they're battling over the soul of poetry, drama, nonsense. Using verse and movement, Fratellanza transforms history into a living celebration of love.
The Mute Quire is told from a traditional point-of-view in a decidedly non-traditional manner. The Mix Studio Theater is at 130 W. Michigan in Ypsilanti, MI. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A collaborative Shakespeare opens the door to authorship query

Last year's release of Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare authorship film, Anonymous, caused spasms among arch-Stratfordians fearful that their candidate for Shakespeare authorship might not survive public scrutiny. But Stratfordians have more than popular media to worry about. Having barely survived the onslaught of publicity surrounding Emmerich’s film, anti-Strats must now contend with anti-Stratfordian theatrical presentations such as Monster Theatre's The Shakespeare Show, the release of authorship publications such as Richard Paul Roe’s Shakespeare Guide to Italy and films such as the recently released  Last Will. & Testament co-produced by Lisa Wilson and Laura Wilson Matthias. In addition, the academic mainstream supports oblique challenges to the Stratfordian attribution with new investigations into pseudonymity in Elizabethan England -- Starner and Traister's Anonymity in Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2011) -- and the authorship of the Shakespearean apocrypha -- Sabrina Feldman's The Apocryphal William Shakespeare. And, although Stratfordians seem to be supporting theories of Shakespearean collaboration – perhaps in the mistaken notion that collaboration allows their admittedly unlikely candidate some measure of plausibility – opening the door to Shakespearean collaboration only further unravels the sleeve of struck-by-god, genius authorship.

A recent flurry of publicity (e.g. http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1049243.ece and
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2135317/Shakespeare-help-writing-Alls-Well-Ends-Well--heres-man-pitched-in.html?ito=feeds-newsxml) regarding  Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith’s essay, A New Shakespeare Collaboration? claiming that All's Well that Ends Well was co-written by Shakespeare and Thomas Middleton prompted anti-Stratfordian John Rollett to aggregate current candidates for Shakespearean collaboration. Rollett -- an advocate of Darby as Shakespeare in his book, Shakespeare Lost and Found: evidence for William Stanley, Sixth Earl of Derby, as the Man behind the Mask -- said on the Elizaforum news list:
It has recently been claimed by Professor Laurie Maguire that All's Well that Ends Well was co-written by Shakespeare and Middleton. Maguire says Middleton's more modern grammar is evident in the text and that there is an 'arresting' stylistic match with his other plays. For example, the word 'ruttish' - meaning lustful - appears in the play and it’s only used by Middleton at that time. The use of stage directions is also much closer to Middleton's style than to Shakespeare's. This brings to nine the number of Shakespeare's plays thought to have been co-authored, or with contributions by other authors. He is also thought to have contributed scenes to the plays of others. Here is a summary of recent claims:

  • Titus Andronicus: written with George Peele per Brian Vickers, 2002
  • Pericles: written with George Wilkins per Brian Vickers, 2002
  • Timon of Athens: written with Thomas Middleton per Brian Vickers, 2002
  • All's Well that Ends Well: written with Thomas Middleton per Laurie Maguire, 2012
  • Henry VIII: written with John Fletcher per Brian Vickers, 2002
  • The Two Noble Kinsmen: written with John Fletcher per Brian Vickers, 2002
Three other Shakespeare plays were supposedly co-authored:
  • Henry VI, pt. 1 written with Nashe per Brian Vickers, 2007
  • Henry VI, pt. 1 written with Marlowe per Craig and Kinney [Hugh Craig, Arthur Kinney editors of Shakespeare, Computers, and the Mystery of Authorship]
  • Henry VI, pt. 2 written with Marlowe per Craig and Kinney
  • Macbeth written with Middleton per Gary Taylor and others
These plays have sections supposedly written by Shakespeare:
  • Sir Thomas More: by Munday (possibly) written in Hand D per Craig and Kinney
  • Edward III: Countess scenes per Craig and Kinney
  • Spanish Tragedy: by Kyd, additions of 1602 per Craig and Kinney
  • Arden of Faversham: quarrel scene per Macdonald Jackson
Rollett added this comment for Oberon readers:
Two additional items could have been incorporated:
  • Brian Vickers has carried out convincing research (which I don't think has yet been published) that Edward III was written by Kyd, with about 40-percent including the Countess scenes written by Shakespeare.
  • Thomas Merriam has concluded that the verse in Henry V was written by Marlowe; all Shakespeare did was to write the prose parts, having come across an uncompleted play by Marlowe. Merriam published this in a pamphlet, rather than an academic journal . . .
At a rough count, Shakespeare had six co-authors, and collaborated with up to three other unknown authors.
Regardless of academic embrace of linguistic analysis of the Shakespeare plays, analysis cannot show when or how textual changes were made and are therefore useless in elucidating the play-making process. Collaboration theories do nothing to damage the anti-Stratfordian proposition and do much to allow alternate-authorship theorizing a useful place in the study of Shakespeare. Rollett said:
I take 'co-authorship' to be a fairly neutral term, which might involve two people planning in advance to write a play together, or one person writing part of a play and handing it to someone else to co-write or to complete alone, or someone years later finding a play parts of which need finishing or re-writing, and so on. 

UPDATE 08/08/12: Maguire and Smith report in their blog on July 31, 2012 on response to their All's Well Shakespeare-collaboration article -- "All's Well that Ends Well -- Laurie Maguire and Emma Smith report on the state of the debate"


Boyle announces book sale at NESOL

The New England Shakespeare Oxford Library director, Bill Boyle, announced a book sale to raise funds for the library:
Last year I had a special fundraiser sale on my library bookstore site, and it worked out pretty well, so I'm doing it again this year. Here's the URL: http://www.shakespeareoxfordlibrary.org/NESOL_Fundraiser.html
There are 13 books for sale, ranging from a Star of England to a couple of Baconian texts. For each book purchased a bonus gift can be selected, either one of the library's recently published books (Jim Warren's Oxfordian Index, Hank Whittemore's Twelve Years in the Life of Shakespeare, or Charles Boyle's Another Hamlet), or a copy of the April 1999 Harper's, or a Castle Hedingham guidebook. Hope folks here can find something they like (or would like to give someone else) and can help support the New England Shakespeare Oxford Library and the Shakespeare Online Authorship Resources project.