[LMB] Mercutio and Tybalt OT:

Margaret Dean margdean56 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 12 17:52:30 GMT 2022

On Wed, Jan 12, 2022 at 7:09 AM John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com>

> Same-age, same-sex casting is a
> phenomenon generated by cinema and TV, which use close-ups, and spread to
> theatre because actors' and directors' eyes and minds are now trained by

Though I think that live theater is still more inherently flexible in this
way than filmed drama is, because it's already asking more collaboration
from the audience, more of an effort of imagination in creating the play's
reality -- the sort of thing Shakespeare makes explicit in the prologue to
Henry V, for instance: essentially, "You folks are going to have to help us
out here if we're going to recreate the battle of Agincourt in this 'wooden
O'." So if the audience can pick up on a line like, "Well, this is the
Forest of Arden" and help imagine the actors into a forest, they're not
going to boggle at trifles like an actor's age or sex (or, nowadays,
complexion) not being identical with their character's.

> The other heroines seem, like Juliet, clearly teenage -- Sylvia and
> Julia, Lavinia, Helena and Hermia, Portia and Nerissa, Rosalind and Celia,
> Cressida, Ophelia, Desdemona: no reason to think any of them much above 16,
> if that -- so one might say that while being played by pre-pubescent boys
> did not make them at all masculine, it did tend to keep them young.

I remember my Shakespeare prof in college pointing out indications in the
plays that there may have been "the short dark one" (Hermia, Celia) and
"the tall blonde one" (Helena, Rosalind).

--Margaret Dean
  <margdean56 at gmail.com>

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