PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Falstaff

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1814

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
The 'klceb-kid' got me thinking.

:?

Who acted Falstaff?

I re-viewed the BBC video and have come to the conclusion it is unlikely Hal was played by Burbage - it is just too [size=75:11g7ikha]small[/size] a part.

There are two [size=150:11g7ikha]Big[/size] roles - Henry IV and Falstaff.

Anthony Quayle in the BBC played Falstaff really finely - he brought out an intelligence and humanity that isn't often seen when the character is played for laughs - and it did make me question the idea it was a role for Kempe - Bardolf, yes, but Falstaff?

The other thing that popped into my head was the idea of Falstaff's domination of the play - often said to be accidental.

The production managed to balance the two 'father figures' and both dominate Hal - it is almost as if Shakespeare deliberately hides the prince behind these.


Just idle ramblings.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1815

akfarrar wrote:
Anthony Quayle in the BBC played Falstaff really finely - he brought out an intelligence and humanity that isn't often seen when the character is played for laughs - and it did make me question the idea it was a role for Kempe - Bardolf, yes, but Falstaff?
How did Orson Welles fare as Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1817

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
Well, there you have my point - a 'King' actor (someday I'll finish my Othello posts and that'll become clearer).
In Welles's own view the best thing he ever did - took Falstaff and made him centre stage: removed the balancing act Shakespeare makes him perform.
As a Falstaff unsurpassed.
He was also fortunate to use superlative actors to equal him in the lesser roles of the film.

(Death scene in Henry V is very revealing there - you need a Dame to play Quickly.)
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1818

According to the RSC Shakespeare, the character who has the most lines in Henry IV Part 1 is Falstaff, followed by Prince Hal, Hotspur and then Henry IV. In Part 2, the order is Falstaff, Hal and Henry IV.

In A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Shaprio believes that Kemp played Falstaff. I seem to recall reading that Burbage played Henry V, so to me, it would make sense for him to play Prince Hal in the Henry IV. The last time I saw these three plays, the same actor played Hal in the productions over a three year period. It added much to the production watching both the character and actor grow from play to play.

Why, oh, why weren't original cast lists included in the First Folio? I guess the plays were the thing.

It's been years since I've seen Crimes at Midnight, but I remember liking it. It is much bleaker than Henry IV Part 1.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1820

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
The size of the part is one thing that makes me wonder – but that worries me less than the ‘acting’.

Falstaff is funny to watch – in a bitter, black, English humour way – but the acting requires those skills you’d associate with the really big characters – it’s a part ‘that’ll take some acting in the performing of it’ (in the almost immortal words of Bottom). It is not a ‘funny’ – there are several of them around Falstaff – and they last into Henry V – shotten herring (or the hangover after the (k)night before).

It is much deeper than the Twelfth Night drunk, Toby – although there are comparisons to be made.

The other niggle is, as I said in the original post, the idea of the function of Falstaff – he’s there for a didactic purpose, not just entertainment. He balances the King – he makes us question the role models the young prince has – and the role play in the tavern adds another dimension to the comparison.

In part 1 there is also the mirror held up to Hotspur – especially in the honour speech – but he too has his advisers – and I tend to link Falstaff more to them than to Hotspur himself.

Would the Elizabethan theatre use a comedian for this (and they very well might – which should make us rush to inspect all the ‘comedian’ roles)?

The doubling/tripling of parts, the linkages this makes in the minds of the audience and the ‘star’ system all add a dimension to the Elizabethan performances which is (as For -Soothsayer mentions) lost on us.

And if Burbage did play Falstaff – and went on to play Henry V – ohhhh what a tangled knot of implication there! (And what layer of joke in ‘the king hath killed him’ – and he lies in Arthur’s bosom).

I’ll repeat – all idle speculation.

:lol:
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1821

It's too bad we won't be seeing Randy Quaid in the role :shock: -- or, it appears, in any role on stage now:

http://www.reuters.com/article/entertai ... inmentNews
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Falstaff 6 years 7 months ago #1823

  • akfarrar
  • akfarrar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Professor
  • Posts: 272
  • Thank you received: 1
Something else I thought about watching the BBC Henry IV (i) was the saying – ‘every fat man has a thin man trying to get out’ – all the talk about size and tons of flesh is less a comment on diet than one on sins.
Quayle was ‘obvious’ in his fatness – made a thing of it in the way fat actors playing the part can’t. It's another, 'All the world's a stage ...' joke.

The BBC’s Merry Wives cast a ‘fat’ Falstaff – and the movement of the body is different. It wasn’t just a matter of the ‘quality’ of the writing (a question of different purposes anyway); it wasn’t quality of performance – it was flesh!

Falstaff’s flesh is metaphorical. You just know when you see the thin actor padded out he will take it off at the end – just as in the Elizabethan religious view, on ‘The Day of Judgement’, the thin good deeds of the man Falstaff will be pulled from the fat sins and weighed against each other in balance.

:(
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: William Shakespeare
 
Banner