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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: February ::
Shaw on Actors' Accents
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0368  Tuesday, 25 February 2003

From:           Charles Weinstein <
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Date:           Monday, 24 Feb 2003 19:20:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Shaw on Actors' Accents

[Today's actors] do not even seem to know...that Oberon must have no
Piccadilly taint in his dialect to betray him into such utterances as

Be it ahnce, aw cat, aw be-ah/ Pahd. aw boa-ah, with b'istled hai-ah/In
thy eye that shall  appea-ah/When thou wak'st, it is thy dea-ah.

By this time I should be converted to the device of joining consecutive
vowels with r's, if conversion were possible.  I know that it is easy to
say Mariar Ann, and cruelly hard to say Maria Ann.  But the thing is
possible with courage and devotion.  When Mr Benson schools himself to
say

Not Hermia but Helena I love

instead of

Not Hermia but Helenar I love

I shall be spared a pang when next thereafter I hear him play Lysander.
Helenar sounds too like cockney for Eleanor.

(1890)

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