Sunday, March 26, 2017

To Bay or To Be

Maybe 10 months ago, I first saw a video of this guy, Ben Crystal, and his dad, a linguist, pronouncing Shakespeare's English as they believe it would have been pronounced back then.  What Ben pointed out, I have found to be true, just as a listener--it's more fluid, moving quicker, than the theatrical Shakespeare we're maybe more used to hearing in staged and filmed versions of the plays.

It raises the question whether the staged Shakespeare dialect, like Dothraki and Tolkien's Elvish, is a kind of language existing in the cultural artifact, in the show, and not spoken in daily life by anyone.

Either way, his recitation of Hamlet's, well, "to bay or not to bay" soliloquy, looks especially striking contrasted with Laurence Olivier's.  No idea whether whoever directed Ben picked a water's-edge location to echo Laurence's performance, but it adds something, doesn't it?


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