[Milton-L] 'Tis Pity

richard strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Wed Jul 20 16:16:40 EDT 2011


Yes, great play!  And "gobsmacked" a great word.

I saw a production in Chicago where the two main characters were naked 
(nude?) most of the time.  Worked just fine.  Seemed perversely Edenic (which I 
think is what Ford wanted).



---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:09:55 -0700
>From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu (on behalf of Nancy Charlton 
<nbcharlton at comcast.net>)
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed!  
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
>   A couple months ago I saw an excellent production of
>   John Ford's "Tis Pity She's a Whore."  In telling
>   someone about it later, I related how I was first
>   and foremost gobsmacked by the poetry, by such
>   gorgeousness given to characters amoral,
>   self-serving, unable to cope -- caught in social
>   conventions mostly arbitrary and at times callous. 
>   People psychologically delusional on several
>   levels.  I spoke of the courage of the producer in
>   mounting a play concerned with incest, that
>   unmentionable sin people are reluctant to discuss. 
>   I spoke of how the director and the actors evoked a
>   dawning realization by the audience of the social
>   breakdowns this brings on, of the personal tragedies
>   of the brother-sister couple, of the indifference of
>   State and Church as long as order was upheld, an
>   order that breeds a mindset that makes the title
>   become the witticism that ends the play as a
>   horrific joke.
>
>   After all this, I remembered as an afterthought what
>   to many would be the only memorable scene: nude
>   intercourse, the full Monty right there on the stage
>   of this little theatre holding about 100 people. 
>   This was inevitable in the play's logic, and served
>   mainly to accentuate the dreadfulness of the
>   situation.  More shocking to me were the arbitrary,
>   brutal stabbings, done without any sign of regret or
>   remorse. 
>
>   This nudity in this play was not the unselfconscious
>   nudity of Adam and Eve.  Indeed, it was more like
>   nakedness, naked bodies corresponding to naked
>   souls.  I agree with Prof. Machacek that the Pl
>   movie is more likely to come closer to this
>   condition, to nakedness (with ensuing prurient
>   tittering) than nudity (all but forgettable in the
>   maze of conflicts and overwhelming poetry. 
>
>   Nancy Charlton
>   (May Oregon send you some rain in exchange for a
>   little summer?)
>
>   On 7/20/2011 12:13 PM, richard strier wrote:
>
> Absolutely right about the necessity for non-self-conscious nakedness.  After
> all, PL is one of the great pornographic works of all time.  The audience might
> begin by leering and tittering, but, as at nude beaches, the lack of pretense
> would affect the experience after a while.  And if we titter, so what?  We're 
fallen,
> they're not (for most of the Eden scenes).  And sometimes, as Milton thought, 
we
> can transcend our fallenness.
>
>
>
> ---- Original message ----
>
> Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:12:22 -0400
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu (on behalf of Gregory Machacek
>
> <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>)
>
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] It's Confirmed! 
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
> The article ends with the following witticism: "Casting for Adam and Eve
> wasn’t immediately announced, but one assumes that costumes won’t be a
> problem."
>
> As I've anticipated this movie, I've thought that it will be precisely Adam
> and Eve's (lack of) costumes that will be the film's biggest problem.  To
> be done properly, the film would need its two leads to be naked, with no
> self-consciousness about the fact, for large stretches of screen time--and
> an audience that can observe such full frontal nudity without leering or
> tittering.  I don't believe it can be pulled off in a Hollywood
> blockbuster.
>
> Austin-Powers-esque hiding of private parts behind items in the foreground
> will quickly become tiresome.
>
> Of course, all previous reports about the movie suggest that it focuses on
> the war in Heaven, so the whole "man's first disobedience" plotline will
> probably be reduced to an insignificant appendage.
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
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