Shakespeare

Summer is Over But I Still Can't Stop The Feeling...

The Kid informs me, with an epic eye roll, that I should have tired of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling!’ months ago.  It's true, this ain't usually my kind of music.  But thanks to a funny and insightful podcast called 'Switched on Pop', I now understand why I’m still going electric wavy over this pop tune...text painting!  A synesthete's dream, text painting makes me think of Shakespeare -- how sounds and rhythms often reflect or underscore the literal meaning of characters' words.

Pick it up at the 15 minute mark for the specs on how exactly JT text paints this song, or listen to the full podcast for the broader discussion.  Plus, MC Hammer and Elvis Costello too:

http://www.switchedonpop.com/38-justin-timberlake-goes-medieval/

 

 

Play Dead

 

Waking up this morning, it drifted through my mind how Shakespeare liked to have actors play dead. Of course, the actual death toll in the Complete Works is substantial, and people have compiled lists, created pie charts, and performed new plays to illustrate the many ways characters are sliced, diced, pummeled and poisoned.

But there are also characters who only pretend to die, and that event is usually the turning point in the story. There’s Hero in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’: she ‘dies’ because of being shamed at the altar, and so that Claudio can feel the grief and loss and regret for his mistaken punishment of her. In ‘A Winter’s Tale’, Hermione is another virtuous woman accused of being false. She too must appear to be dead until her husband truly recognizes her innocence and mourns his loss.

This summer at Bard on the Beach, you will see Juliet pretend to die to avoid marrying Paris. In ‘Pericles’, Marina will be thought to be killed by the evil Dionyza’s henchman, and Thaisa, believed to have died in childbirth, is thrown overboard a ship by Pericles.

Sometimes the audience is in on the secret although the characters are not. The deaths, real or pretended, are always important. Men really die and their ghosts often return to haunt the killer (or an indecisive child). When the women die they don’t haunt anyone. And sometimes they have to pretend to die just so the men can grow up.