Sunday, June 28, 2009

Language Under the Influence of Shakespeare

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The annual June trip too Spring Green for American Players Theatre has been lengthened a bit by their current budget. Having canceled their June matinees, out-of-towners looking to take in all three of the early season shows end up staying for three consecutive evenings. On touring the APT’s new indoor theatre space which opens up in only a few days, my theory that the lack of matinees had something to do with building an entirely new indoor theatre proved to be valid. The new space, which seats substantially fewer people, has a clean simplicity to it that I’ll get into later when I have more time. With more shows split up between APT theatres this summer, the June matinees were the first to get cut. Aside from being reasonably more comfortable, only seeing shows in the evening while we’re out here has a slightly different effect on me from the usual APT schedule . . .

One those occasions when I see two Shakespeare shows in a single day, the iambic pentameter and Shakespearean language ends up entering the speech centers of my brain . . .too much Shakespeare in too short a frame of time ends up effecting my word choice and sentence structure even in casual conversation . . . it’s weird. This being said, four Shakespeare plays in a dozen days is probably a personal record for me. Having not had the benefit of seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Carte Blanche or Hamlet with Loose Canon, it took a bit longer for my wife to settle-in to the language of last night’s Winter’s Tale than it did for me. She says it’s like a different language and she’s got a point . . . even the Shakespearian style of storytelling . . . the Shakespearian rhythm of plot development has it’s own dialect that settles-in about three shows-into four in twelve days . . . it’s been an interesting lead-in to seeing my first ever time seeing The Comedy of Errors this evening. This is the one I’ve been looking forward to for a while . . .

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