The following YouTube clip (part of the OpenEdu initiative) is making the rounds lately, where both David and Ben Crystal give a lesson (and demonstration!) of Shakespeare’s original pronunciation while standing inside the Globe:
Love. Man crush. Both of them. Holy cow. The way they both switch fluently between modern and original pronunciation? *swoon*
Observations about the actual clip:
* While they are demonstrating original pronunciation, the camera keeps cutting to a shot of the text that they are reading from — a highly edited and modernized text! What’s up with that? They’re making such a big deal out of every sound, and yet they are clearly (in the Henry V prologue example) reading an edited version. Here’s a screenshot of the text that they’re demonstrating from, followed by a shot of the actual Folio text:
I suppose when you get right down to it there aren’t that many spelling differences (short of a few trailing e’s and some capitalizations), but still, that leapt right out at me. Given the big speech with which they start the video about how the Globe’s purpose is to do everything original, it seems fairly glaring.
* Speaking of “do everything original”, they keep showing clips of the play featuring a black woman. I’m pretty sure there’s at least two words in that sentence that wouldn’t be historically accurate. Again, not that it’s a problem, just jumps out at you after the “everything original” speech.
* Ben Crystal trying to explain a dirty joke is adorable. He looks around like he’s looking for his dad or something, like he’s going to get in trouble if he says what the “ripe and ripe and rot and rot” line really means.
In all, I’m not sure how I feel after clips like this. The entire point is to say, “If you haven’t heard original pronunciation, you’re missing much of the point.” So, is that supposed to take away from my enjoyment of the majority of Shakespeare productions I’ll ever see? That stinks.