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Mary K Tennis

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of testy

Flannagan? Education Mentors Family Life Thoughts on Editing Hobbies Who Is Roy C.
"Yes, Hollywood made a hash out of my father's serious books, about a woman who was publically shamed by the Klu Klux Klan, by turning into a love story starring Ida Lupino ["Ready For Love," 1934}. Sad to say, I've never seen 'Ready For Love." "My father was an editorial writer for the Richmond news Leader, a novelist, a colonel in WWII, a gardener, and a naturalist." "one sister, who was a brilliant young woman -- debutante who came to a party as Scarlet O'Hara, pre-med at Wellesley, but her early promise was cut short by polio and pneumonia, and in later life she became an alcoholic, very sadly." "Richmond, Virginia, in the lap of luxury" "My education was classical and preppy. I graduated first in my class from Christchurch School (episcopal) in Tidewater Virginia, then I spent three years at Washington and Lee (graduated early), which is a great liberal arts college." " I had some interesting competition from '17th-century News' when I started what was the first 'Milton newsletter', then the 'Milton Quarterly." "I first read milton seriously in graduate school, where I was so intimidated by his intellegence and the beauty of his poetry that I recorded, as I remember, all of 'Paradise Lost,' when I was living in a slave cabin on a plantation a few miles outside of Charlottesville." "Reading the poem out loud with a graduate class ... taught us how to sound the words and taught us a great deal about the drama (reading voices for eve, satan, Gabriel, etc.). I learned to annotate pronunciation, and the classes learned a great deal about how great poetry is constructed. I think it is useful to have a leader of the reading who can answer or pose questions about meaning or sound." "The classical curriculum is making something of a comeback. I was just at wake Forest, for instance, and they have no trouble filling Milton classes." "The anti-intellectualism of the Sixties may be replaced by some hard work on greek and Latin and the other languages of the bible." Hinman Collator "Bowers was supposed to come to faculty meetings occasionally in full fox-hunting regalia and throw his cape on the table." "He was a dog show judge, a landscape gardener, a jaguar driver, and he rode to hounds." "I studied Milton, Shakespeare, and descriptive bibliography under Bowers, and, if he had not died, we would have edited Milton together." "He had a flair for the Dramatic." "I tried to test student need for notes by giving various classes, undergraduate and graduate, the chance to ask for notes from an unmarked text." "Then, when I was editing 'Paradise Lost,' an honors College student was entering text and notes to that point, and I asked him to request a note on any unannotated text that he could not fully understand without a note." "My models were Fredson Bowers, in his edition of the playwright Thomas Dekker, and William Riley Parker, biographer of Milton and author of the first MLA style sheet." "Simplicity, Lack of condescension, good humor." "I have raised five children, and my oldest son sends me drafts of his movie reviews every week, so we still mentor each other." "Two of my children have PhDs, one is in journalism and counseling working on an advanced degree, one step-child is a very big-deal lawyer at sullivan and cromwell in NY." "My other step-child is an engineer from Carnegie-Mellon who has an MBA and has managed steel companies here and abroad." "They are an interesting Bunch ..." "photography, Journalism, and history." "I am working seriously on a history of the parish church of St. Helena, episcopal, my next-door neighbor here in Beaufort, Then I plan to do a coffee-table book about the church based on the 200+ photographs I have taken of local places and people." "I have two plots in the city garden allotments, and I have an active flower and shrub garden around my house, with gardenias, magnolias, azaleas, wisteria, camellias, and perennials." producer "I have one grandson who is in honors college at U South Carolina in Columbia and makes films. I hope to have him down to help me edit film clips I am taking now at St. Helena's." "I have been writing to various producers and directors for at least 20 years trying to help with dramatic staging or a movie of 'Paradise Lost." How the Masque was Produced in Beaufort

I was crazy enough to take on a completely original, British-actor-based production of the masque, for an opening-night audience of about 150 experts (Milton scholars who came to the International Milton Symposium held in Beaufort in early June, 2002). At the instigation of a friend who had produced Samson Agonistes using New York actors, I hired a British troupe, Tour de Force, to bring their director and three of their best actors to perform the roles of Comus, Attendant Sprit, and Sabrina. The director commissioned an original score from an English composer and an original set to be built on location. The theme was a variation on country innocence (something like Beaufort pastoral) vs. city wickedness (London club scene of degenerate SM, drugs, and punky costuming). The Lady was as innocent-looking as she could be under the circumstances, and she kept her South Carolina drawl; her brothers were local Beaufort actors who performed as bouncy adolescents. The Attendant Spirit was a sophisticated English actor of dubious masculinity but with a sort of aerial quality, like a slightly mischievous, fast-talking angel. The actor who played Comus was tall and commanding (he has played in movies opposite Helena Bonham-Carter and Gwynneth Paltrowas a rejected upper-class twitand he has played a sophisticated and somewhat likeable Nazi villain in a BBC production set on one of the Channel islands during WWII). He could look mean and menacing. The actor who played Sabrina was in her thirties, rather regal and athletic, used to playing aristocrat and powerful women.

Managing the egos of the Oxford man who tried to re-write the masque with the stage direction “Comus WINS” towards the end and of the various Beaufortians who thought they could direct the dramaturgy better than the Britsthat was very difficult. But the three nights of performance went fairly well, considering that this was a 17th-century British masque with Shakespearean language written to be performed for a lesser-known nobleman on the border between England and Wales. The Attendant Spirit had just landed on earth by parachute as the masque opensafter the overture in complete darknessand Comus led a troupe of lewd and degenerate dancers including Sheila Tombe, a beautiful boy-actor dressed in a dog-collar, and my daughter Elisabeth. The set was simple but very difficult to construct: three, three-sided periaktoi, each designed to display the setting for one scene, black, blue, and yellow. The music was catchy, night-clubby, synthetic at times. The songs were easy to sing and not badly written musically.

Even the specialists enjoyed the performance, even though they might not agree with some of its interpretations. Comus can’t really be allowed to win, and the Lady spent the last second in the spotlight. THE masque "I produced the masque at the 2002 International Milton Symposium." "Shakespeare is more accessible than Milton in that his plays are still performed, but Milton may make something of a comeback as students realize that his youthful poetry and his Masque are just as deep and appealing as are Shakespeare's early plays, and that 'Paradise Lost' has greater scope than anything Shakespeare could do in one sweep." "I have as much love for Shakespeare and Donne and Chaucer as I do for Milton."
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