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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: December ::
Re: Age of Awareness
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2133  Friday, 3 December 1999.

From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Thursday, 02 Dec 1999 19:35:49 -0500
Subject: 10.2093 Re: Age of Awareness
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2093 Re: Age of Awareness

Reg Grouse wrote:

>Language, you [Terence Hawkes] claim, is not music. True, but verse
speaking is akin to
>singing without tonal range. It is this musical quality in Shakespeare's
>verse which I believe first attracted me to his works.

This reminds me of a time in the mid-80s when I helped chaperone a
busload of highschoolers including my daughter to a performance by a
traveling French theatre, who performed an abbreviated version of
Moliere's Tartuffe.  While our kids at least were well prepped by their
Friench teacher (and the chaperoning moms too), and had read at least
part of the play in some depth, they/we were far from expert in
listening to the French.

Nevertheless, the play was riveting.  Talk about emotional reactions!
It was the acting, but it was also the verbal delivery, that transcended
the merely cognitive aspect of the language.  This was the most intense
experience I have ever had of hearing the communication of language as
sound the equivalent of music.  No opera-not even Cosi fan tutte- comes
close.

True, we were prepared to listen and enjoy and catch as much of the
French as possible, but we were not prepared to be enthralled by a
superior performance and an extraordinary experience of theatre.  Now, I
couldn't quote you a line from Tartuffe to save my soul, but I will
never lose the feeling that performance evoked.  It came from the
acting, certainly; but the 'music' of that speech was inseparable from
that acting.

Everyone went around speaking in alexandrines for several days
afterwards!

Nancy Charlton
Then of Bellingham WA

PS.  No, I don't know the name of the theatre company.
 

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