Tuesday, April 07, 2009

In Love with Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments, love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
- William Shakespeare - Sonnet #116.

I've always loved that sonnet. It has been with me since I first read Shakespeare in high school. And how much richer the words seem now!

After college, I was hired for the Shakespearean acting troupe for the PA Renaissance Faire. We were taught the Bard's language, Elizabethan history, and improv coupled with the Bard's words. Hence: Shakespearean improvisation. Very cool.

Iambic pentameter was taught to me by Vivian Hasbrouk, a great teacher and actress who ended up getting into casting. Hearing the rhythm of how Shakespeare's verse was to be metered out was such an insight! Especially since my training originated in musical theatre, I could easily feel the rhythm.

Tonight the learning continues! :) I have class with Deloss Brown, former Juilliard professor and current teacher at NYU. I began my studies with him last week, and I am enjoying every minute of it!

We're working on King Lear, and I am surprised at how insatiable I am with the material. I've always loved Shakespeare, but have tended to go more for the comedies like Midsummer Night's Dream or Much Ado About Nothing. But Lear... wow! "Lear" literally means "learning," and was olde English of "lere a lesson," meaning to teach (learn) a lesson.

Shakespeare's King Lear is filled with lessons and the tragedy of learning too late.

You'd think this would be heavy fare, but it's fascinating, and Deloss teaches with such insight and good humor. We met the royal family last week in Act 1 scene 1. Tonight we meet the villain, Edmund.

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