On NOT reading Doran’s Shakespeare’s Last Play

by Gary Taylor

Okay, okay, I know that if I’m going to write a blog, I need to write faithfully every day, so that my vast virtual readership can get in the habit of sipping me with their morning coffee. This is, I suppose, why I have never been good at writing journals, or a diary. But in this case I do have an excuse: I’ve been working as dramaturg on the Cardenio  production, not co-organizer of the Cardenio colloquium. Which, depending on your point of view, means I’ve put the scholar in my pocket—or not. Anyway, something closer to Doran.

Tonight is the first table reading for the Indianapolis production. This means that the actors all need their own hard-copy final script. But Terri Bourus (who’s directing) also wanted me to provide them each with a synopsis, with a paragraph describing every fact about each character that can be discerned from the script, and with a pronunciation guide for unusual proper names. Also, the university wanted an excerpt from the script to use in invitations to the Gala opening, which needs to be printed this week.

I thought I had finished revising the script a month ago, when we emailed it to all the actors. But they are pretty much all working, and we don’t expect any of them to be off book for the reading. So I’ve been able to make small adjustments. And last Friday I received an email from Gerald Baker, an English scholar-director who is interested in mounting a production in Twickenham (ironic, given its association with Pope).. He has been working on the Cardenio/Double Falsehood problem for some time, and among other things has done a lot of work on Fletcher. After attending the Globe reading of my version last November, he sent me long, detailed, and very useful notes, which helped me in my post-Globe revision. So I sent him that revision last month, and this weekend he sent me some more notes on it—just in time for me to take them into account in the script that the actors will read tonight! Baker is coming to the colloquium, incidentally, so you can ask him which two speeches in Sancho’s part he convinced me to change.

So that is what I’ve been doing, instead of reading and writing about Doran.

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