Much Ado About… Gulling, Goading, Girl-Talk (and then Claudio sucks the fun out of sex-talk)

I can usually do the bawdy thing in one or two segments, but methinks Eric Partridge was right when he said that Much Ado About Nothing is the “sexual-worst” of the comedies… so here’s another bawdy entry, and the same caveats apply: dirty thoughts, nasty language, adolescent humor ahead… skip to a clean entry if you’re quickly offended or blush a tad too easily…

Whereas the first nudge-nudge-wink-wink-inducing pieces of dialogue in the first two acts of Much Ado were spoken by Beatrice, the third act’s first (and albeit relatively clean) bit o’ bawdy are spoken for her benefit. As part of her gulling scene, Ursula asks why Hero has told Claudio and Pedro to counsel Benedick not to tell Beatrice of his love for her since doesn’t “the gentleman // Deserve as full a fortunate a bed // As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?” (III.i.44-6). Here, a “fortunate bed” is one that is “the scene of happy lovemaking” (“fortunate bed”, Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2008; pages 140).

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The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare, for the week ending Monday, October 6th, 2014

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth, “Shakespeare didn’t say that”, Marin Shakespeare’s prison theater training workshops, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets”, and Othello: The Remix. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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Much Ado About… a second dirty act

NOTE: as this concerns the further bawdiness of Much Ado About Nothing, you are forewarned that this blog entry will contain some nudge-nudge wink-wink, adult language, and sophomoric sensibilities… skip to a later and cleaner entry, if you’re quickly offended or blush too easily…

Yesterday, we discussed Act One of Much Ado About Nothing, and how it contributes to the perception of Eric Partridge (in his Shakespeare’s Bawdy) that Much Ado is the “sexual-worst” of the comedies. Between horns and whores, the bawdy tone is set in the first scene. Let’s take a look at how the second act builds on that start.

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Much Ado About… the “sexual-worst” (at least at first)

NOTE: as it concerns the bawdiness of Much Ado About Nothing, you are forewarned that this blog entry will contain mature subject matter, adult language, and adolescent humor… skip to a later and cleaner entry, if you’re quickly offended or blush too easily…

In Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Eric Partridge calls Much Ado About Nothing “the sexual-worst of the Comedies” (Shakespeare’s Bawdy, Partridge, Eric. New York: Routledge, 2008; pages 57). There’s certainly no scene like Love’s Labor’s Lost’s archery debauche-fest. So what exactly makes it so “worst” in Partridge’s view?

Well, let’s take a look…

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Three Final Verse Directions

Yesterday, we took a look at the many performance clues for actors and directors to be found in the verse of Much Ado About Nothing’s Act Four, Scene One wedding/fallout sequence.

And it was a long discussion, and normally, I might just end it there. However, there are three verse directions in Act Five that should not go un-noted.

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Much Ado About … Stage Direction Hidden in the Verse

A couple of days back, we discussed the use of hidden stage directions in the dialogue of Much Ado About Nothing. But there are more clues for actors and directors to be found in the subtle variances in the rhythm and meter in the verse itself as well.

Interestingly enough, just as the majority of the found dialogue-based stage directions are found in or before the aborted wedding, the major verse-direction occurs in that scene.

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A little Friday pronunciation for you…

Here’s a little break from Much Ado… a short break, as the new post will be up in less than an hour, but still…

A friend of mine sent me a link to a great little video on “original pronunciation” by Shakespeare’s Globe:

and it brought to mind another video from at least 30 years ago that discussed the same concept (with John Barton of the RSC):

Thanks, Samantha!

Enjoy…

Much Ado About … Stage Direction Hidden in the Dialogue

As we’ve mentioned throughout the Project, there’s not a whole lot of stage direction in Shakespeare. A great deal is carried in the dialogue, and Much Ado About Nothing is no different. So, that being said, what clues do we have for the budding actor or director within the text?

Well, let’s take a dive, shall we?

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The Bill / Shakespeare Project presents: This Week in Shakespeare, for the week ending Monday, September 29th, 2014

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This week’s Shakespeare news review includes Taming Shakespeare, Bard Fiction, Three Day Hangover, and a pocketful of reviews. PLUS our usual recap of this week’s daily highlights in Shakespearean history.

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