Today’s Date: Thursday, June 20.
Show Title: Measure for Measure
Director: Emily MacLeod
Assistant Directors: Taylor Lamb, Molly Harper
Production Interns: Maddie Miller, Grace Wallis
Rehearsal Room: Deming
What we did:
Textual analysis! We read through Act 2.2 of the play together, putting into practice the tools we learned from our verse and rhetoric classes on Tuesday to scan each line for rhythmic-emotional cues from the characters. After scanning, we paraphrase-read through the scenes to give us a deeper, more personal understanding of our texts – an activity that resulted in MANY a chuckle. We ended the day by sharing individual work we’d done for some of our songs. Ben (Claudio/Servant) and Dagny (Mariana/Froth) surprised us all with a BEAUTIFUL self-arranged acoustic version of Mariana’s main song. No spoilers but the song is undoubtedly going to be a showSTOPPER two weeks from now!
Quick and Quotable
From the play:
“Hence we shall see, If power change purpose, what our seemers be.”
– The Duke (Act 1, Scene 4)
From the director:
We’re wading through the text like this because it’s all about exploring different possibilities before we settle on any one. So when we finally bring this work to life on our feet and discover even more onstage, we’ll have so many options with which to navigate our story.
From the cast:
– Olivia Gorra (Isabella) paraphrasing her line “Too late? Why no!” (line 342, Act 2, Sc. 2).
When I do verse analysis of Shakespeare, I am surprised again and again by the pure, pulsing efficiency of the text. This is largely because Shakespeare’s plays were recorded from aural memorization. His fellow actors and good friends John Heminges and Henry Condell created the First Folio seven years after Shakespeare’s death largely from memory, because (1) there was no dictionary for the English language in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and (2) mass printing was still too expensive for playwrights to preserve their work on a large scale. As a result, the text is literally written for the ear. Listening to the cast read through and scan the text today was another one of those surprises. Having grown up in a jazz-obsessed family, I loved hearing the cadences in the text where the characters break form and rhythm. It was a brilliant reminder of the irony with which we (myself included!) hype up ~iambic pentameter~ and Shakespeare with so much mystery. Because it really isn’t the “clean” verse itself that holds the power and magic of the Bard. Yes, it can be pretty when it’s regular, but it can also be hideously annoying (I guess this is me outing myself as a strong disliker of Midsummer. Sue me.). Rather, the story is told in the cracks where the verse is broken, murky, and mangled… A larger metaphor for life? Our current political disfunction?? Today’s climate crisis??? I guess you’ll just have to see our production of Measure for Measure to find out.