The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1025  Friday, 12 April 2002

From:           William Sutton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 11 Apr 2002 07:17:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.0989 Re: Love and Grammar
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0989 Re: Love and Grammar

Thanks to all who answered my question. Keep the responses coming to
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in the guestbook.

I have the when love speaks album and its luvvie dogmas were perfectly
matched by the evening that launched the CD at the Old Vic in january
2002. Dickie Attenborough admitting he's never called anyone a luvvie,
Alan Rickman oozing his brand of Shakespearean sexuality and villainy,
Richard Briers and Tom Courtenay picking up the torch for the old alma
mater and RADA doing a bardolatrous funding campaign.

The musical director, composer and producer Michael Kamen flew in from
the Winter Olympics with his soprano. Everyone contributed their skills
for free, I understand. Time Out magazine in London did a beautiful
scathing review of the whole, which unfortunately I don't have.

I believe the theatrical cultural hegemony of the RADA voice, tones and
modulations are dying out in favour of arresting, vigourous and athletic
Shakespearean speech patterns. Received Pronunciation is so far from the
original language it makes me shudder to have to hear it espoused as THE
standard of Shakespeare.  Because for every Gielgud there are a thousand
more callow actors who follow the form and empty it of meaning: leaving
sound and snoring in their wake.

Of course I deplore the Keanu 'Dude thou art well met' school of
recitation. There is a mean to be found and I believe it lies in
articulative energy and focus as the key. Shakespeare left the cues in
the text and form follows function, which the actor crowns with their
own style. Simple rhetorical delivery as taught in the time of the
writer. And as always some are better at it than others.

A Century long idealised theatrical world is crumbling and the hungry
ocean of English voices of all accents is gaining advantage on the
kingdom of that shore.  This CD was an attempt to have their firm soil
win of the watery main. I'll be surprised if Brian Ferry's version
sonnet 18: Shall I... will ever make number one on TOTP. I quite like
Rufus Wainwright's sung version of 29: When in disgrace...

I agree that sometimes the sonnets seem longer than they have to be and
the focus does seem to be the beautiful voice. I've been speed training
the sonnets in preparation for the birthday celebrations at the
Birthplace trust in Stratford on Avon 21st april 2002 and I surprised
myself recently by doing sonnet 33 in 26.4 secs.

The average fastest pace prior to that had been 34.4, and if complicated
as much as 40 seconds and more.  Obviously this exercise is not to be
desired for comprehension purpose though i keep myself to a strict
enunciation of every phonetic sound.

I'm looking forward to performing them and especially for the judicious
minds this forum presents.

See you all soon,
William Sutton

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