Shakespeare, W - Much Ado About Nothing (Arden, 2006).pdf

Cited in furness 353 the elizabethan dogberry on the

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(cited in Furness, 353) The Elizabethan Dogberry, on the other hand, was originally played (if we go by the Quarto's speech prefixes) by the athletic clown Will Kemp, whose notoriety - 'one . . . that hath spent his life in mad jigs and merry jests' (Wiles, 24) - may have contrib- uted to his presence and popularity (and mostly likely would have seen him leading the jig which traditionally followed the close of 94
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• J I I- 11 Dogberry and the Watch (4.2), in the 1976 RSC production, directed by John Barton. Left to right: Conrade (Brian Coburn), Borachio (Bob Peck), Watchmen (Paul Whitworth, Greg Hicks, David Howey, Leonard Preston), Dogberry (John Woodvine) and Sexton (Keith Taylor)
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Introduction 12 Dogberry addresses the Watch in 3.3, engraving by Henry Meadows (1845) 96
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Introduction a play) (see Fig. 2). 1 Kemp, if the actor of Falstaff, was no stranger to padding. Not just the heroes but the villain are shaped by directorial choice. Is Don John himself portrayed as motiveless in his malig- nity, or is he given some pretext, such as an unrequited attraction to Hero (indicated by means of longing glances or some other non- verbal business), or a clear designation as the sore loser in the recent war with Don Pedro, a view reinforced by 1.3.30-1? (Recall that he is not identified as a bastard until 4.1, and while his envy and melan- choly would have been legible to a Renaissance audience as signs of his bastardy, they do not function so for a modern audience, even if bastardy itself served for us as a sufficient cause of his discontents.) In the 1999 East Los Angeles Classic Theatre production, directed by Tony Plane, 'a betrothal between the Mexican Hero and Anglo Claudio strikes a chord of racial hatred within the cruel Don John - designating a specific reason for his treachery that one rarely finds in the play' (Provenzano). A 1995 production at the Old Globe in San Diego was directed by Jack O'Brien as a comedy 'through and through. Even the baddest villain, Don John, gets inventive bits of visual gags that pay off at terrific rates . . . tall, scowling, harbors an unnatural fear for a flower pot that no matter what he does he cannot avoid knocking over'. 2 Conversely, Helena Kaut-Howson's Royal Exchange production in Manchester in 1997 had Don John 'addressing the unfortunate Conrade as he shaves . . . holding his minion's head under water for a frighteningly long time and . . . pressing the open blade of a cut-throat razor against Conrade's tongue' (Lindop). In the 1996 Royal Shakespeare Company pro- duction directed by Michael Boyd, an inebriated Borachio actually urinated on the (raked!) stage, a choice that sought to underscore the villainous with the uncouth, and at the risk of total alienation of the 1 Wiles argues that Kemp's public persona was that of a plain common man eschewing pretension, in which case Dogberry would have been in some tension with Kemp's other identity.
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