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Re: Le Theatre de Neptune BOURASSA ANDRE G



Bonjour!
Je me permets de faire parvenir a nos 420 membres la reponse que l;'un de
nous, Patrick O'Neill, a fait parvenir a David Blostein sur la question du
_Theatre de Neptune_ presente par l'avocat poete francais Marc Lescarbot a
Port-Royal en 1606. Cette reponse renoue avec un debat anterieur comme
quoi le pageant de Lescarbot ne serait pas la premiere oeuvre presentee en
Amerique, et rappelle par ailleurs les liens de cette production
francaise avec certains rituels de passage des eaux. Elle mentionne aussi
une trouvaille de la these de  David Gardner sur une piece qui aurait ete
jouee en territoire canadien en 1583 et sur laquelle j'aimerais bien en
savoir davantage. L'intervention est en anglais, mais David et patrick,
membres de Queatre, peuvent tres bien lire vos repliques en francais.

A la suite de la reponse de Patrick O'Neill, j'ai ajoute une precision
de Michael Kidd, en septembre dernier, sur la piece espagnole presentee au
Nouveau-Mexique en 1598.

Amities, Andre G. Bourassa.

> From: Patrick O'Neill <Patrick.ONeill@MSVU.Ca>
> [...]
> To Andre's response, I would add a few additional comments:
> 
> First, although it is often labelled the first play in North America, 
> this is simply not so.  As early as 1538, we have records of plays
> being produced in Mexico on Corpus Christi Day.  And in the United
> States, we have a production in New Mexico in 1598 of an original
> play connected with the conquest of New Mexico. Professional Spanish
> actors were visiting the new world by the beginning of the 
> seventeenth century.  David Gardner also makes a case for the
> earliest play in Canada being in 1583.  I suggest that you read his 
> thesis done in Toronto for a more complete discussion of the 
> beginnings of theatre in North America.
> 
> Second, you ask if there has been a reconstruction of the play.  The 
> answer to that is yes.  In the 1920s (that actual date is in my 
> office), there was a restaging at Port Royal.  Photographs of this 
> production exist -- Public Archives of Nova Scotia? -- and may be 
> included in Hicks Queen's Quarterly article in vol. 34, October 1926 
> or in the reprint of that article in Ananaki Press, 1947 (?), or in 
> Harriet Taber Richardson's translation, Houghton-Mifflin Press, 
> Boston, 1927.  There may also be a newsreel clip, and you should 
> check the Sound and Film collection at the National Library.
> 
> It is interesting that you and Andre are focusing on the connections 
> to Jacobean masques.  I stress its connections to the Neptune 
> tradition.  Theatrical activity on water is tied to a custom so old 
> that its origins cannot accurately be traced.  Ancient Phoenicians 
> followed a similar practice when passing throught the Pillars of 
> Hercules at Gibraltar, on their way to Cornwall to trade with the 
> ancient Britons.  The Vikings carried out theatrical ceremonies on 
> crossing certain parallels.  From early accounts this activity had a 
> religious basis; it is sometimes referred to as "the sailor's 
> baptism," sometimes as "crossing the line" and sometimes as the play 
> of Neptune.  Quasi-theatrical ceremonies mushc like amummer's play 
> exist for crossing the Equator, the Arctic Circle, the Antarctic 
> Circle and the International Date Line.  Onterh ceremonies were 
> conducted on sighting the Grand Banks (earliest confirmed reference 
> 1701), after negotiating the rapids of the St. Lawrence (1760) and 
> upon crossing Lake Superior (1785).  The title gives us an important 
> clue -- "en la Nouvelle-France".  Lescarbot was recreating something 
> that already existed in Old France.  Hence, the play should also be 
> viewed as part of the Neptune tradition as well as the masque tradition.
> 
> One of the best descriptions of the Grand Banks ceremony comes from 
> Ensigne-de-Vaisseau Louis-Guildaume de Parscau's Journal in which he 
> describes the ceremony as celebrated on board the French warship La 
> Sauvage in April 1756.
> 
-------
Reponse de Michael Kidd sur la piece cree par Marcos Farfan de Los Godos
a l'arrivee de Juan de Onate sur les rives du Rio Grande, Nouveau-Mexique,
en 1598:

Date: Thu, 4 Sep 1997 10:03:17 -0600 (MT)
From: Michael Kidd <kidd@unm.edu>

Dear Profesor Bourassa,

Don Juan de Onate was a Spanish "adelantado" (provincial governor)
responsible for settling much of present-day New Mexico.  Don Marcos
Farfan de los Godos ws a Sevillian soldier and colonist who had joined
Onate's expedition into the unexplored territory.  The play to which you
are referring has no known title and has not survived.  The subject--the
religious conversion of the Indians--can be reconstructed through an
account offered in Gaspar Perez de Villagra's _Historia de la Nua
Mexico_ (1610), in whih the author mentions the site and content of the
representation.  An excellent Enlish translation of Villagra is now
available through the University of New Mexico Press.  See also the
introducion to _New Mexico Plays_, edited by David Richard Jones
(Albuquerque, 1989).