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Jeff Bernstein

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  1. As a youngling Scroob read everything under the sun (so to speak), because all streams pour into Art. Nowadays Scroob is pouring out, and needs no topping up except by Art.
  2. Miraris si nondum sapientia omne opus suum implevit? Nondum tota se nequitia protulit: adhuc nascitur, et huic omnes operam damus, huic oculi nostri, huic manus serviunt. Ad sapientiam quis accedit? Quis dignam iudicat nisi quam in transitu noverit? Quis philosophum aut ullum liberale respicit studium, nisi cum ludi intercalantur, cum aliquis pluvius intervenit dies quem perdere libet? Seneca, Naturales quaestiones, 7.32 Do you think our wisdom has reached its completion? But the wickedness of everything has not yet fully come forth; it is still being born, and though we see it and consider it, to this we close our hands. Who is wise? Who respects philosophy or any study except when the games are postponed? When is art pleasing except when rain interrupts the day? Who knows anything worthwhile unless they have heard it in passing? * καὶ γὰρ αὖ κἀκεῖνο οὐ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον, οἶμαι, τῷ τε ῥήτορι καὶ φιλοσόφῳ καὶ πᾶσι δὴ τοῖς ἐπὶ τῆς ἐλευθερίου παιδείας προσήκει τέρπειν τοὺς ὄχλους, καὶ τοῖς ἀνδραποδώδεσι τούτοις ὀρχησταῖς, μίμοις, θαυματοποιοῖς. Aelius Aristides, Orations, 34 It’s not right, I think, for orators and philosophers and educators to go out of their way to please the masses as those sycophants do, the dancers and mimes and jugglers.
  3. Terence, Hecyra, or, The Mother-in-Law PROLOGUE Hecyra is the name of this fable. Its first performance was a disaster, for it was interrupted by lunacy so that no one could watch it, or understand. What happened was, the audience turned their attention, in stupid fascination, to a tightrope-walker. This is offered now as a new play; the author is not offering it again to sell it again. You have come to know my previous works; I ask you that you come to know this one. [ Act I. Enter Philotus, a young whore; and Syra, an old woman ] Philotus. Gosh, Syra, you can find few lovers faithful to their women! Like this Pamphilius [ his house ] , who swore to Bacchus (how many times?), and oh so solemnly so no one could misunderstand him, he would never bring a wife as long as she was alive into his house. Oh yeah? He’s done it. Syra. And that’s why I’ve told you over and over never to pity any of ’em, but plunder ’em for everything you can get. Philotus. Ha! Is no man special? Syra. None. (1–8; 52–67)
  4. charms of marriage In this digital age of reproduction Scrooby has just put to one side the first edition of De Profundis by Oscar Wilde. London : Methuen and Co., 1905. Scrooby entertains no fetish for first editions, though Scroob has fond memories of handling first editions of The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, and Newton’s Principia Mathematica. Why does Scrooby say this, so uncharacteristic of the usual discourse in this thread? * Good Reader, think of crunch-time when the right wire must be cut or the bomb detonates. Just as delicate a Situation is the handling of the first edition of De Profundis. The book was printed in an edition of 200. The handmade paper, watermarked “Arnold’s Unbleached”, is a pleasure to handle : heavy, deckle-edged. Fine paper never stops feeling awesome under the fingertips. (This paper has, strange as it may sound, a powdery feel.) The text is tactile, the raised print of letterpress. And the crisp ripple of the deckle edges (like the curled edges of lasagna) on the hands and fingers as the pages are turned keeps the attention awake. Holding the book is similar in spirit to, say, a perpetually-operating William Castle’s Percepto! Though remarkably well-made and sturdy (with medieval-looking inboard binding; and the book, even now, sometimes creaks as the joints flex in the spine), still and all, the book is as delicate as a Chinese vase. The text-block on each page occupies only about fifty percent of the available space—very much like, surprise, the first edition of The Faerie Queene. The lack of typographic clutter and all the white space encourage concentration. The book was printed when English publishing had standards. btw, The Faerie Queene’s first edition is shambolic (though dedicated to Queen Eizabeth), with the text floating all over the place from page to page—tending to the upper left-hand on one page, tending to the lower-right on the next, without rhyme or reason. The typography of De Profundis, however, is as pristine and lovely and centred as the sophisticated first edition of Paradise Lost. * The physicality of the book contributes to the experience of it—the physical sensation of handling the beautiful. * The craftsmanship of the book recalls, say, the real-world practical effects of Oppenheimer; and, more generally, the mystic mood of celluloid itself. * OK, what is Scrooby saying? Handling art is a Ceremonial Situation. Why? In the process we’re Towards Humanness. * Anything that helps to prompt a person to approach Art in a reverential manner reserved for that which Saves, is good. The delicate craftsmanship of the first edition of De Profundis, for example, forces Scroob to treat the Situation reverentially. * Opening the first edition of De Profundis evokes the feeling of entering a holy place. * BEST CASE SCENARIO : This sacred feeling of devoted concentration is activated by all first-rate art. * Devotion blazes an artful path towards the sacred at the centre. * * * Prison life makes one see people and things as they really are. That is why it turns one to stone. It is the people outside who are deceived by the illusions of life and contribute to its unreality. We who are immobile both see and know. td;lr : People stay alive because Love is worth the pain. * Art lasts longer than love, to remind us to love.
  5. postscript on Antonio’s Revenge 2.2. Antonio, onstage with book in hand, begins reading Seneca . . . The physical appearance in Antonio’s Revenge of the play’s primary inspiration is a humorous Situation, sure—more burlesque self-referential Marston wackiness. It also antedates an extremely common film technique.
  6. Antonio’s Revenge sustains a highest-octane narrative lunacy your friendly Scrooby has yet encountered in the Shakespearean-era plays. The high pitch of the Situation holds at deafening levels, with few respites, for the duration of the play (recalling the vigorous brio of The Revenger’s Tragedy). Ghost. Fly, dear Antonio. Once more assume disguise, and dog the court In feignéd habit till Piero’s blood May even overflow the brim of full revenge. (3.5.24–7) Storyteller Marston’s Kubrick-like level of scrupulosity in the stacking-up of cliché and convention is so relentless—well-nigh line by line (he doesn’t leave out extreme tone shifts)—that the entirety of the Shakespearean-era theatre, both tragedy and comedy, might well be recreated from scratch if only this one single play survived—the heartwarming Antonio’s Revenge. Antonio. Fall to, good Duke. O these are worthless cates [ treats ] , You have no stomach to them. Look, look here: Here lies a dish to feast thy father’s gorge. Here’s flesh and blood which I am sure thou lov’st. [ uncovers the dish containing Lucio’s limbs ] (5.5.46–9) John Marston’s Antonio’s Revenge is a founding member of Scrooby’s TRIUMVIRATE OF THEATRICAL INSANITY, positioned alongside Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy and Webster’s The White Devil. * [ The conspirators unmask, and bind Piero ] Antonio. Murder and torture; no prayers, no entreats! Pandulpho. We’ll spoil your oratory. Out with his tongue. [ They pluck out his tongue and triumph over him ] (5.5.32–3) * THEORY : the Abel Ferrara of Ms .45 & Body Snatchers & Addiction would have realized this project well. Pandulpho. Let him die, and die, and still be dying! And yet not die, till he hath died and died Ten thousand deaths in agony of heart. Antonio. Now, pell-mell! Thus the hand of Heaven chokes The throat of murder! This for my father’s blood! [ stabs him ] Pandulpho. This for my son! [ stabs him ] Alberto. This for them all! [ stabs him ] And this, and this! Sink to the heart of hell! [ They run at Piero with their rapiers ] Pandulpho. Murder for murder, blood for blood, doth yell! Finally calm. Ghost of Andrugio. ’Tis done, and now my soul shall sleep in rest. Sons that revenge their father’s blood are blest. [ Curtains are drawn ] (5.5.73–82) * Body Parts Hieronimo. Indeed, Thou may’st torment me, as his wretched son Hath done in murdering my Horatio, But never shalt thou force me to reveal The thing which I have vowed inviolate; And therefore, in despite of all thy threats, Pleased with their deaths, and eased with their revenge, First take my tongue, and afterwards my heart! [ He bites out his tongue ] The Spanish Tragedy (4.4.184–91) * [ Holds up Piero’s tongue ] Antonio. Behold, black dog! Pandulpho. Grin’st thou, thou snurling cur? (5.5.39–40) Mr. Blonde. [ into ear ] Ηey! What’s going on? You hear that? * OED’s earliest example for “snurling” is 1719. * “cliché”, “convention”—but Antonio’s Revenge shows innovation as well, first and foremost in the language of the play. Marston apparently coins a bunch of words (recalling Aeschylus and Shakespeare and James Joyce); or, in however many cases, is the first recorded user of them. * Consider the unconventional scheme of a MOTHER-SON REVENGE PLOT : Ghost of Andrugio. [ to Maria ] I was empoisoned by Piero’s hand. Join with my son to bend up strained Revenge. * Of course—a Henry James Positive-Negative Statement Pandulpho. Lost a true friend? O happy soul that lost him whilst he were true. (4.5.37–8) * Death—by affluenza?! Piero. Dead! Alas, how dead? Strotzo. The vast delights of his large sudden joys Opened his powers so wide, that’s native heat So prodigally flowed t’exterior parts That th’inner citadel was left unmanned, And so surprised on sudden by cold death. (1.4.8–13)
  7. eww, gross! Act 3 opens inside Saint Mark’s Church : Antonio. Graves, vaults, and tombs, groan not to bear my weight; Cold flesh, bleak trunks, wrapt in your half-rot shrouds, I press you softly with a tender foot. (3.1.9–11) Tactile Night of the Living Dead / Evil Dead decomposition. And 3.1 doesn’t get any less loony from here. * Inside the church, where the dead cry out from their tombs (“Murder!” “Revenge!”)— Julio. [ Friend ] Antonio, are you here, i’faith? . . . Truth, since my mother died, I love you best. Aww, tenderness from a youngling; cue Terms of Endearment? Antonio. Come, pretty tender child, It is not thee I hate, not thee I kill. Thy father’s blood that flows within thy veins, Is it I loathe; is that revenge must suck. I love thy soul . . . [ Antonio stabs Julio ] (3.1.142–91) * 3.1 doesn’t get any less loony from here, either. Antonio speaks out over the corpse : Antonio. Ghost of my poison’d sire, suck this fume: To sweet revenge perfume thy circling air With smoke of blood. I sprinkle round his gore, And dew thy tomb with these fresh-reeking drops. Recall Roy Batty tainting his lips with Pris’ blood. Lo! Thus I heave my blood-dyed hands to heaven, Even like insatiate Hell still crying, More! Antonio is seriously out of control—high on war.
  8. The Hateful Eight (2015) Genius Move—The incorporation of both Revenge and Justice in the one act of the hanging of Daisy. Revenge—no explanation required. Justice— Mannix. As my first and final act as the Sheriff of Red Rock . . . The hanging of Daisy fuses together The Oresteia (institutionalized justice) and Revenge Tragedies (it’s personal). Daisy’s hanging may prompt an audience to recall the Hangman’s speech on Justice, perhaps to reevaluate it. btw, The Hangman’s speech on Justice ends with : John Ruth. Amen. * Heavy Engineered-in Symbolic Situation The use of Amen resonates. I am the door; whoever enters through me shall be saved. (John 10:9) A door is a portal to the fresh air of infinite freedom. Daisy. You need to nail it in! Obie. Jesus Christ! Joe Gage. Goddamn it! (52:56; 53:08; 53:27) cf. Hartman. Who’s the slimy little communist-****, twinkle-toed ********** down here who just signed his own death warrant? * * * Meta-theatre Mannix. Now we’ve come to the part of the story . . . (2:37:00) * Some other Shakespearean-era resonances in Hateful Eight— Trap door in the floor. Hanging Daisy onstage—Horatio in Spanish Tragedy. The (Lincoln) letter onstage. Musical interlude—Daisy sings the ballad. The masquerade— John Ruth. One of them fellows is not what he says he is. (51:02; 1:08:46; 2:27:00) Joe Gage. You know, looks can be deceiving. Warren. That’s “Marco the Mexican”? The Hangman. Precisely, yeah. (btw, “Precisely, yeah”—comedy of degree : precision + slangy.)
  9. Retro concept : National Pride Clement. But more; the king by letters hath foretold That Frederick, the Almain emperor, Hath brought with him a German of esteem, Whose surname is Don Jacques Vandermast, Skilful in magic and those secret arts. Mason. Then must we all make suit unto the friar, To Friar Bacon, that he vouch this task, And undertake to countervail in skill The German; else there’s none in Oxford can Match and dispute with learned Vandermast. Burden. Bacon, if he will hold the German play, Will teach him what an English friar can do— The devil, I think, dare not dispute with him. Robert Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, vii.13–25. * Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay is one of the earliest comedies existing in English Literature. The play is as wondrous as it is charming, as accomplished in its poetry as inventive in its structure. In reading the play one crosses a literary bridge from the medieval era of Nice Wanton to the era of Shakespeare. * The supernational wormhole of The White Devil has a predecessor in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay—a “glass prospective” (vi.5; viii.76), or “crystal” (vi.15), equivalent to a live CCTV feed. 2nd scholar. Hearing your worship kept within your cell A glass prospective wherein men might see Whatso their thoughts or hearts’ desire could wish, We come to know how that our fathers fare. (xiii.26–29) What eventuates from two visiting scholars looking into the crystal?—A double double-murder! First fathers, then sons. Such a surprise teaches the good Friar Bacon not to dabble with the supernatural any longer. During the double wedding at play’s end, the Friar remarks that he’s Repentant for the follies of my youth, That magic’s secret mysteries misled. The ending of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay is Europe’s Faust myth turned on its head. Friar Bacon, initiate in the secret sciences, receives, unlike Faust, a reprieve. * Treasure hunt for lexiphiles Serlsby. Let it be me; and trust me, Margaret, The meads environ’d with the silver streams, Whose battling pastures fatteneth all my flocks, Yielding forth fleeces stapled with such wool As Lemnster cannot yield more finer stuff, And forty kine with fair and burnish’d heads, With strouting dugs that paggle to the ground, Shall serve thy dairy, if thou wed with me. (x.57–64) / [ Lemnster : Leominster, in Herefordshire ] OED—Paggle : “To bulge, swell out like a bag; to hang loosely.” Obsolete. rare. (1592) Has anyone yet found a second usage of this word in the English language of yesteryear? * A thought for Reynolds Woodcock to keep in mind? Miles. ’Tis no matter, I am against you with the old proverb, “The more the fox is cursed, the better he fares”. (xi.123–4)
  10. Fun with Scrooby Balurdo. I have the gift to speak that which neither any man nor myself understands. (1.2.35–6) * Earlier in this thread, your tireless Scrooby explored, in a cursory fashion, the interpretation of dreams in Shakespearean-era drama. Three plays were noted—Arden of Faversham, The White Devil, and The Duchess of Malfi. These plays each feature a recollection of one dream. Ordell. This is gettin silly now. In 1.2 of Antonio’s Revenge three different characters recall their dreams. Three dreams in an entire play would be overkill, and here are three dreams in one scene?! It’s a silly situation, a parody of convention; and brings to mind the scars scene in Jaws. It’s comedy of aggregation, of “piling it up”, of structural exaggeration. Antonio. Last sleep, my sense was steep’d in horrid dreams . . . and he recounts visions of “bleeding wounds” and “bubbling gore” and ghosts, and terror— then, comically, Balurdo the fool attempts to one-up Antonio : Balurdo. Verily, Sir Jeffrey had a monstrous strange dream the last night. . . . and in his dream, a heap of nonsense, he describes an “abominable ghost” rising out of the earth, but then describes his dream-self getting dressed and eating a “mess of broth”. (1.2.105–37) In 1.2, storyteller Marston transforms the theatrically-atmospheric reporting of a dream into a joke. Crocodile Dundee. That’s not a knife; that’s a knife. * Scholars took Antonio’s Revenge seriously for years and years?—We’ve heard that story before. Antonio and Mellida and Antonio’s Revenge. . . . Our first impression is likely to be one of bewilderment, that anyone could write plays so bad and that plays so bad could be preserved and reprinted. T. S. Eliot, “John Marston” Among all John Marston’s plays, Antonio’s Revenge seems to be the hardest to pin down. Critics have long disagreed about whether the play is moral, immoral, or amoral; whether it accepts or rejects the idea of revenge; and even whether it is meant to be a serious play, a comic parody, or an early version of the theater of the absurd. Phoebe S. Spinrad, “The Sacralization of Revenge in Antonio’s Revenge”, Comparative Drama 39 (Summer 2005), 169–85. At the conclusion of her paper, Phoebe has no idea of her own to offer. * The implacable meta-theatrical in Antonio’s Revenge : five examples (1.) The following apparently recalls the character of Hieronimo in the monumental Spanish Tragedy; and isn’t the only time Marston cites Kyd. Storyteller Marston is also poking fun at performance technique (cf. examples 4 & 5) : Pandulpho. Would’st have me cry, run raving up and down, For my son’s loss? Would’st have me turn rank mad, Or wring my face with mimic action; Stamp, curse, weep, rage, and then my bosom strike? Away, ’tis apish action, player-like. (1.2.314–8) (2.) End of Act 1 : Pandulpho. Sound louder, music! Let my breath exact You strike sad tones until this dismal act. (1.2.341–2) (3.) Piero is triumphing at the sight of his enemy weeping in sorrow. What does he do? Piero. Strotzo, cause [ make ] me straight Some plaining [ sad ] ditty to augment despair. (2.2.133-4) Storyteller Marston is mocking the use of manipulative music in the theatre. Marston himself uses mournful music twice in 1.2! (4.) Storyteller Marston, poking fun at performance technique : Antonio. Madam, I will not swell, like a tragedian, In forcéd passion of affected strains. (2.2.109–10) (5.) Storyteller Marston, poking fun at performance technique : Maria. Dost nought but weep, weep? Antonio. Yes, mother, I do sigh, and wring my hands, Beat my poor breast, and wreathe my tender arms. (2.2.143-5) * * * Antonio. Let none out-woe me: mine’s Herculean woe. Antonio, onstage with book in hand, begins reading Seneca, and responds angrily (and, btw, in stream-of-consciousness—addressing himself from line 5) : Antonio. Pish, thy mother was not lately widowèd, Thy dear a(ff)ièd love lately de(f)am’d With blemish of (f)oul lust, when thou wrotest thus. Thou wrapt in (f)urs, beaking thy limbs ’(f)ore (f)ires, (F)orbid’st the (f)rozen zone to shudder. Ha, ha! ’tis nought But (f)oamy bubbling of a (f)leamy brain, Nought else but smoke. (2.2.138) / (2.2.49–55) ἔχει δὲ τοὐμὸ(ν) οὐκ ἀ(ν)αίδεια(ν), γέρο(ν), ἀλλ᾽ εὐλάβεια(ν): οἶδα γὰρ κατακτα(ν)ὼ(ν) Κρέο(ν)τα πατέρα τῆσδε καὶ θρό(ν)ους ἔχω(ν). οὔκου(ν) τραφέ(ν)τω(ν) τῶ(ν)δε τιμωροὺς ἐμοὺς χρῄζω λιπέσθαι τῶ(ν) δεδραμένω(ν) δίκη(ν). The tyrant Lycius completes a speech of twenty-nine lines with a very resolute ending—the hard drumbeat of the “n” sound. Euripides, Heracles, 165–9 * NSFW Valentinian. A common whore serves you and far about ye; The pleasures of a body lamed with lewdness, A mere perpetual motion makes ye happy. (The Tragedy of Valentinian, 4.1.34–6) recalls Vindice. Are lordships sold to maintain ladyships For the poor benefit of a bewitching minute? (Revenger’s Tragedy, 3.5.74–5) recalls Ziegler. Maybe five minutes, six minutes, something like that. Dr Bill. I don't know, maybe an hour or more. But maybe only ten minutes. recalls Silvia. [ on love ] A fine volley of words, gentlemen, and quickly shot off. (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2.4.32–3) * wtf Ghost of Andrugio. Thou vigour of my youth, juice of my love, Seize on revenge! The bloody and horrible Antonio’s Revenge, which features, for example, a corpse decomposing onstage— Piero. Rot there, thou cerecloth that enfolds the flesh of my loath’d foe; moulder to crumbling dust; Oblivion choke the passage of thy fame! . . . Pandulfo. Why taint’st thou then the air with stench of flesh, And human putrefaction’s noisome scent? (3.1.44–5) / (2.1.1–3, 71–2) —is a sequel to a romantic comedy! Antonio. Here ends the comic crosses of true love: Oh may the passage most successful prove! [ end of Antonio and Mellida ]
  11. John Marston, Antonio’s Revenge [ Act 1. Scene 1 ] Enter Piero, unbraced, his arms bare, smeared in blood, a poniard in one hand bloody, and a torch in the other; Strotzo following him with a cord. Piero. Ho, Gasper Strotzo, bind Feliche’s trunk Unto the panting side of Mellida! [ Exit Strotzo ] ’Tis yet dead night, and all the earth is clutch’d In the dull leaden hand of snoring sleep. No breath disturbs the quiet of the air; No spirit moves upon the breast of earth, Save howling dogs, night-crows, and screeching owls, Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts. [ Clock strikes ] One, two! Lord! In two hours what a topless mount Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up! [ Re-enter Strotzo ] I can scarce coop triumphing vengeance up From bursting forth in braggart passion! Strotzo. My lord, ’tis firmly said that. * Yet again, a masterpiece of a narrative—“An astonishingly adroit amalgamation of the dead-serious and the comic interfused one with another.” This is comedy horror recalling, say, The Evil Dead (1981); and begins with the abrupt lunacy of Goodfellas. * [ Act 1. Scene 1 ] Enter Piero [ Duke of Venice ], unbraced, his arms bare, smeared in blood, a poniard [ dagger ] in one hand bloody, and a torch in the other; Strotzo [ his servant ] following him with a cord. The most striking opening in Shakespearean-era stagecraft? Piero, Duke of Venice, is a wild sight, a terror stepped out of a nightmare. His finery is unfastened and hanging loose (“unbraced”)—evidence of energetic exertion. That blood stains his body augurs nothing good, nor does the dagger in his hand. The play opens as dark as a nightmare : Piero requires a torch to see his way. Piero. Ho, Gasper Strotzo, bind Feliche’s trunk Unto the panting side of Mellida! [ Exit Strotzo ] In the play’s first line Piero orders his servant to tie the dead body (“trunk”) of a gentleman to a distressed young woman, Mellida. A serious request? A grave request? A Gothic horror Situation, surely. But what follows is comic dialogue that sounds like elevated Shakespearean-speak—but it isn’t; or rather, it’s more than that. What is said is burlesque parody of such convention : ’Tis yet dead night, and all the earth is clutch’d In the dull leaden hand of snoring sleep. No breath disturbs the quiet of the air; The piling up of Elizabethan-theatre clichés transmits clearly to us the humour engineered into the Situation. Questionable is the tautology of “dull leaden”; it is silly repetition from a speaker improvising an attempt at something poetic. Worse is the comic “snoring sleep”—silly-solemn humour engineered by storyteller Marston, and no mistake (if you hear it). “snoring sleep” might be a mock-poetic phrase lifted from, say, The Brand New Monty Python Bok (1973). (Scrooby factoid : The word “snore”, for whatever reason, call it a not-very-poetic word, occurs rarely in Shakespearean-era theatre, though the word has been around since ca. 1330.) Note the powerful contradiction in Piero hitting a noble note rhetorically while drenched in blood (cf. Macbeth, 2.2.48–52). Also note the contradiction “No breath disturbs the quiet of the air”—Oh no, Piero? You’re generating heavy disturbance. “No breath disturbs the quiet of the air.” The play is attuning the audience to the Situation of breathless horror. The line is a behavioural cue for the audience; it seeks (along with the whole stage experience) to rivet the audience to a proverbial “pin-drop” fascination. It is also a comic hope encoded into the script : hopefully, says storyteller Marston with a smile, the audience will be riveted to this! No spirit moves upon the breast of earth, Save howling dogs, night-crows, and screeching owls, Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts. The parody of the elevated note continues, and intensifies. Oh how Piero lays it on thick! Not only dogs are sounding out, but also night-crows [ night-jars? ] and owls. One sound would have been enough for any playwright (cf. Macbeth, 2.2.5). Moreover, “spirits moving” and “meagre [ pale ] ghosts” are theatre clichés. Piero’s piling-up of elements is a parody montage of creepy components. COLOSSAL POINT : As you and I note the humour of all this, please keep in mind that the physical atmosphere generated by the play may be received by the audience as totally serious—after all, a sensible person’s first reaction to a bloody situation is “fear and loathing”. Dr. Branom. When we’re healthy, we respond to the hateful with fear and nausea. The general vibe of upfront seriousness predominates, and (potentially) blots out all reception of any humour by an audience. (At least at first viewing.) Now Piero the excited character modulates his mood down to zero : Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts. Piero addressing himself by name moves him deeper into himself—“black thoughts” might be his proper name (so to speak) as “black thoughts” are his motivating force, the essence of his being. He is suddenly maximum-solemn, for he has just killed a man he has long planned to kill; and has more vengeance in mind; and in his head feels all this. Already the silly-comic and the heavy-serious are in consummate mix; and we’re at line 8. Save meagre ghosts, Piero, and black thoughts. (Note the transition from “ghosts” to “thoughts”—consider the two words synonymous here in an Ibsen-Bergman way.) Scary, comic, ridiculous, serious, solemn—everything intermixing thick and fast as in the twentieth-century music of, say, Shostakovich or Schnittke. [ Clock strikes ] One, two! Lord! In two hours what a topless mount Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up! The solemnity of the sounding clock maintains the hushed, momentarily-contracted mood of his “black thoughts”. “two hours”—as in (for one thing) the running time to come. The meta-theatre Situation is already at full-blast in the play (e.g., Elizabethan clichés, audience cues). The line (“In two hours . . .”) might be taken out of context and inserted into a diary of storyteller Marston’s. “topless” evokes open-air Heaven. Soon, in this first flush of his bloody success, Piero favourably compares himself to gods. The word “topless” is a sly set-up of a fundamental character trait to come; or, the use of “topless” already reveals the arrogance of the character. Lord! In two hours what a topless mount Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up! As with the word “rise” in Marlowe’s Doctor Fasutus (3.1–15), the use here of the word “up” is a cue to the actor that his emotions grow in intensity during the delivery of the line. Lord! In two hours what a topless mount Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up! A bipolar (so to speak) Piero is once again high on his own supply of triumph, celebrating the success of his terrible duplicity. Like The White Devil and Richard III, Antonio’s Revenge opens with a psychopath. A murderer riding high on the success of his violence brings to mind— “I had not felt so nice since I was twelve”—An American Dream. Piero’s bloody success infuses him with supreme confidence; and the complexity of his language is evolving. Lord! In two hours what a topless mount Of unpeer’d mischief have these hands cast up! “unpeer’d”—i.e., unrivalled. Piero is celebrating himself as the most brazen operator of all. “unpeer’d” in a second sense—his fellow noblemen lack the courage to pull off his bloody deeds, and he mocks them for it; and on the thought his wild emotions rise. “unpeer’d” in a third sense : no one saw him do the deed of horror; and the rush of getting away with it is transcendent : I can scarce coop triumphing vengeance up From bursting forth in braggart passion! [ O how Senecan this hysteria is! 1.1 opens as purely English-Senecan as, say, The Spanish Tragedy or Fulke Greville’s Alaham. ] Strotzo. My lord, ’tis firmly said that. i.e., “Well said”; “You said it”. —or, “You flow well, brother” (Revenger’s Tragedy, 2.3.146). Please recall the not uncommon Shakespearean-era technique of a character meta-praising the play’s poetry. Strotzo. My lord, ’tis firmly said that. —is also Strotzo applauding the acting skills of Piero. This signification, too, is a not uncommon meta-theatrical technique. For example : Iniquity. O my heart! This wench can sing, And play her part. (A Pretty Interlude called Nice Wanton, 146) De Niro. You’re a good actress, you know that? Casino * The play has only just begun, but Strotzo is already praising its poetry and acting; and Piero is about to appeal for applause—twice! (The credits haven’t even ended yet, so to speak; which recalls the credit-sequence shenanigans opening Fox and His Friends (1975).) The appealing for applause is yet more Elizabethan stage convention. But its use here is maximum absurdity. Appealing for applause—at line 20?! Piero. You horrid scouts That sentinel swart night, give loud applause From your large palms! Then again at 31–2 : Hell, night, Give loud applause to my hypocrisy [ successful falsity ] ! Asking for applause twice in one scene would be questionable at best; but asking for applause twice in almost the same breath is intentionally engineered-in meta-theatre overkill. So are the cliché appeals to “Hell” and “night”. Most absurd is the bumping up of an appeal for applause from the end of a play to its beginning. It’s loony, as if the projectionist got the reels out of order. * The character Piero is on full tilt. I can scarce coop triumphing vengeance up From bursting forth in braggart passion! cf. Max Cherry. Now you want me to speculate on what you do.
  12. Jean-Jacques Meusy and Alan Williams, “Henri Chrétien, Bernard Natan, and the Hypergonar”, Widescreen 15 (2003), 11– 31. https://jumpshare.com/s/x73Ze30QVt3Dwg0wO9MB (file expires in 24 hours from now) * From La Cinémathèque Française : Marque : "Hypergonar H. Chrétien n° 12 534 HI-FI - 2 Société Technique Optique de Précision Lens Made in France". 1er brevet de l'Hypergonar : 9 décembre 1926. Mis au point en 1927. Décembre 1927 à été 1928 : prises de vues de Construire un feu de Claude Autant-Lara. Fin 1929 : accords avec Pathé Natan. 1930 : La femme et le rossignol de André Hugon. 1931 : projections d'un film sur l'Exposition Coloniale aux Journées nationales du cinéma à l'Ermitage Pathé. 1936 : Panorama au fil de l'eau de Jean Tedesco. Projection en plein air sur grand écran (10 m. de haut sur 60 m. de largeur) à l'Exposition de 1937. 1949 : Lancement du Saint-Clair aux chantiers de la Ciotat. 1952 : H. Chrétien rachète les contrats Pathé et signe en décembre avec la 20th Century Fox, naissance du CinemaScope. Février 1953 : La Tunique (The Robe) de Henry Koster. "Dans le monde, plus de 40 000 salles ont adopté l'Hypergonar CinemaScope Chrétien, l'appareil toujours supérieur, le seul garanti 5 ans. S.T.O.P., 6 bd Bineau, Levallois-Perret" (La Cinématographie française, n° 1690, automne 1956). https://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/catalogues/appareils/collection/objectif-anamorphoseur-de-projectionap-14-2919.html
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