Shakespeare Solved® versions of these plays solve the mysteries surrounding them by taking us back in time to see the plays as they were performed for the first time in history.


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Monday, June 25, 2012

Seeing The World Differently -- Ben and David Crystal

We live in a world with so many people who see the world so differently.

I see Shakespeare differently, and Ben and David Crystal hear Shakespeare differently!




Ben and his father David are the authors of Shakespeare’s Words, and The Shakespeare Miscellany. Ben wrote the books Shakespeare on Toast, and Sorry, I’m British!
They are determined to change the way we understand Shakespeare.
And here, I want to share with a recording and a video of Shakespeare’s words as they would have sounded 400 years ago!
The video explores the significance of what is called OP, the Original Pronunciation of Shakespeare's plays and poetry. The sound is very different than what our modern ears expect. Ben calls this the "received pronunciation" of Shakespeare, which we find in Branagh, Olivier, etc. 
I love how Ben describes this received pronunciation as "reverential"and "highfalutin!" He recites an excerpt from As You Like It in both OP and RP, and the true (and bawdy) meaning of the lines comes out only in OP.
I couldn't agree more with him. I adapted my versions of the plays was to get away from the "received," "reverential" and "highfalutin" methods of presenting the plays. My versions are as "lowfalutin" as you can get!

Ben makes another excellent point about the fact that in Shakespeare's day, the plays began at 2pm, so there was a lot of light in the theatre. He mentions how the actor would have direct eye contact with the crowd, which creates a "two-way dynamic" and a "complicity." Ben describes how the actor as Hamlet, in a monologue, can ask the audience if he should kill Claudius or not.

Music to my ears! 

But as you will see when you read my adaptations, I think the monologues and soliloquies were actually dialogues and colloquies. I am convinced that the audience talked back, and Shakespeare encouraged this "complicity."

This is really fun, so please do yourself a favor and watch the video and listen to this excerpt. If you open your ears for a moment, it will definitely open your eyes!





Cheers,