for Lent, I’m giving up
for Lent, I’m giving up
“When we took Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” into a maximum security woman’s prison on the West Side…there’s a scene there where a young woman is told by a very powerful official that “If you sleep with me, I will pardon your brother. And if you don’t sleep with me, I’ll execute him.” And he leaves the stage. And this character, Isabel, turned out to the audience and said: “To whom should I complain?” And a woman in the audience shouted: “The Police!” And then she looked right at that woman and said: “If I did relate this, who would believe me?” And the woman answered back, “No one, girl.” And it was astonishing because not only was it an amazing sense of connection between the audience and the actress, but you also realized that this was a kind of an historical lesson in theater reception. That’s what must have happened at The Globe. These soliloquies were not simply monologues that people spoke, they were call and response to the audience. And you realized that vibrancy, that that sense of connectedness is not only what makes theater great in prisons, it’s what makes theater great, period.”
Him: I don’t date black women. It’s just a preference.
Me: Based on what?
Him: Nothing, it’s just how I feel.
Me: Impossible, deliberate aversions come from somewhere.
Him: Its just a preference, that’s all.
Me: No, a preference is preferring broccoli to asparagus. You can say that because asparagus will always taste the same, even when prepared differently.
Me: And we’re not always the same at all. There are hundreds of millions of us and we’re each completely different from the next. If an employer said not hiring Black people was a preference would you agree?
Him: No, but that’s based on stereotypes.
Me: … And what is yours based on, facts?”
"you make my heart beat in iambic pentameter."
no you don’t understand shakespeare literally writes to the beat of your heart
- that’s why shakespearean actors will sometimes pound their chests in time to the words during readings
- that’s why you use fluctuations in the rhythm to track your character’s emotional state - any irregularities in the scansion are like the character’s heart stuttering or jumping or skipping a beat
- that’s why when characters share the rhythm - switching off in the middle of a foot - those characters inevitably have an extraordinarily intimate connection
shakespeare fucking writes viscerally, he is literally in your body, and that, my friend, that is why the best shakespearean actors don’t posture and emote
you have to be fucking alive and passionate and electric - it can’t be intellectual, in the end, it has to be about connection and the sweating, cheering, jeering, bleeding masses you’re performing to, because make no mistake, shakespeare may go to lofty heights, but he only works if you’re just as grounded in the earth. he has to be in your body. he has to be in your body.
holy motherfucking shit i love shakespeare so much, get him in your bones, breathe him in, stomp and rage and pine, dadum dadum dadum dadum dadum, it is literally to the beat of your heart
Whenever I teach verse or direct a Shakespeare play, this is the FIRST thing I say. People need to be reminded that Shakespeare is human. It’s maybe the most human text you’ll ever encounter. It’s easy to forget that, especially because so many of his words are so iconic. But those words are as alive as you. Hell, they even breathe the same way.