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.
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.
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):
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?
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.
So when Beatrice requests, then demands, then implores Benedick to “kill Claudio” (IV.i.288) in Act Four, Scene One of Much Ado About Nothing, we see a rhetorical preview to another strong female character, one we’ll see a little later in the project: Lady Macbeth.
This week’s podcast continues our two month-long discussion of Much Ado About Nothing, with reviews of some of the available video productions of the play, plus a live theater review of The Tempest by South Coast Repertory.
As I view some of the videos of Much Ado About Nothing, I’m noticing something interesting. In the text of the play, the Borachio/Margaret assignation occurs off-stage, set up by scenes between Don John and Borachio, as well as John with his brother Pedro and Claudio, then reported by Borachio to Conrade in Act Three, Scene Three.
Last Sunday, my wife Lisa and I had the pleasure of catching the South Coast Repertory production of The Tempest in Costa Mesa, CA. Now The Tempest holds a pretty special spot in my heart, as it was the first major Shakespeare I ever saw, a magical production with Anthony Hopkins as Prospero at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles back in 1978; I’ll talk about that show more when we get to that play at the end of this project, but suffice to say it was a seminal moment in my love of Shakespeare.
The Tempest is a tough play to pull off. It deals with magic, and how to convey that on stage? It’s not easy. It often comes off as overly solemn or worse, cheesy. The earlier production began with a piece of stagecraft that set a magical tone (especially to this fifteen year-old) and then used that initial shock to carry the play. This production takes a different tack, however. Prospero is a magician, so why not show magic? Real magic (if that’s not an oxymoron).