“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate,” Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 18. Though not quite as lovely as Shakespeare himself (or the Fair Youth he was addressing in the sonnet), Paul’s first In a Manner of Speaking podcast episode of the summer is nevertheless quite inspiring, as it’s all about the Bard!
Whether you’re an expert or just beginning your Shakespeare journey, you should get some enjoyment and inspiration from the July podcast, which you can listen to here, or on your favorite podcast channel of index.
The July 2023 episode of In a Manner of Speaking is all about William Shakespeare. Paul dives deep into the Bard, from iambic pentameter, to scansion, to scoring, to metre, to Original Pronunciation. It’s a fun exercise for scholars and professionals but also actors just starting out on their Shakespeare journey.
Paul references his Voicing Shakespeare ebook, which is a great accompaniment to this month’s podcast. For details on how to purchase and download it, go here. (It’s available both in Windows and iTunes/Mac/iPhone formats.)
Below is Edmund’s speech from King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2. To hear Paul deliver the speech in Original Pronunciation (OP), click or tap the triangle-shaped play button. (To hear Paul’s reading of the speech in a modern dialect, go here. ) And for a more complete scansion and scoring of the speech, click here.
Thou, na│ture, art│ my god│dess; ││ to │thy law ENJ
My ser│vices│ are bound. │││Wherefore│ should I ENJ Stand in│ the plague│ of cus│tom, ││ and│ permit ENJ
The cu│rios│ity│ of na│tions││ to│ deprive│ me, HEX
For that│ I am│││ some twelve│ or four│teen moon-│shines ENJ Lag of│ a broth│er? │││Why bas│tard? where│fore base? HEX
When my│ dimen│sions ││ are│ as well │compact,
My mind │as gen│’rous, ││and │my shape │as trueENJ
As hon│est ma│dam’s iss│ue? │││Why brand│ they us ENJHEX
With base? │ with base│ness? ││ bas│tardy? │ base, base?
Who, [in │the lust│y stealth│ of nat│ure, ││] take ENJ
More com│posi│tion ││and│ fierce qua│lity ENJ
Than doth, [│within│ a dull, │││stale, tir│ed bed,] Go t’ the │crea│ting a│ whole tribe│ of fops,
Got ‘tween │asleep │and wake? │││Well, then, TETR
Legit│’mate Ed│gar, ││ I│ must have│ your land:
Our fa│ther’s love│││ is to│ the bas│tard Ed│mund ENJ
As to│ the le│git’mate: │││fine word, — │legit│imate! HEX Well, my │legit│’mate, ││if │this let│ter speed,
And my │inven│tion thrive, │││ Edmund │the base ENJ
Shall top │the leg│it’mate. │││ I grow; │ I pros│per:
Now, gods, │││ stand up│ for bas│tards!
 This line scans as a broken-backed hexameter with a silent extra beat, taking up metrical space, following brother. This is a very rare type of line.  And again, another broken-backed hexameter.
The topic for the January 2021 podcast is what Paul’s guest, Jan Gist, calls “Shakespeare’s Shapely Language.” Shapes is her term for literary or rhetorical tropes; she and Paul broaden the discussion to reflect on how such ancient devices figure in advertising, political oratory, and other forms of the spoken word today.
Jan Gist has been the voice, speech, and dialect coach for Old Globe productions on 89 shows and for 50 USD/Shiley MFA productions. She has coached at theatres around the country including Ahmanson Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., The American Shakespeare Center, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Arena Stage, San Diego Repertory, North Coast Repertory, Milwaukee Repertory, PlayMakers’ Repertory, Indiana Repertory, American Players Theatre, and Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company. She coached dialects for the film The Rosa ParksStory and recorded dozens of Books To Listen To.
She is an original member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and has presented at its conferences, as well as to Voice Foundation’s conferences. Gist has taught workshops at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and the International Voice Teachers Exchange at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. She has been published in numerous VASTA journals. Chapters in books include an interview in Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers, exercises in The Complete Voice And Speech Workout, and Yiddish, in Jerry Blunt’s More Stage Dialects. Most recently, her article “Voicing Poems”, including some of her own poems, was published in Voice and Speech Review. She is a professor in The Old Globe/USD Shiley Graduate Theatre Program.
This first podcast focuses on Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation (the dialect of English spoken in the late 16th and early 17th century). It also serves as an introduction to the entire In a Manner of Speaking series, as Paul briefly touches on several topics of upcoming podcasts. For more information about the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s upcoming production of Twelfth Night, visit the site. And here is the Original Pronunciation text that Paul references:
If music be the food of love, play on ɪf mju̹ːzɪk beː ðə fu̹ːd ə lɤv ple ɑːn
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, gɪ mɪ ɪksɛs əv ɪt ðət sɐ˞fətɪn
The appetite may sicken and so die. ðɪ apətəit mɛ sɪkn̩ n̩ so dəi
That strain again! It had a dying fall. ðat stɹɛːn əgɛn ɪt ad ə dəiɪn fɑːɫ
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound o ɪt kɛː oə˞ mɪ i˞ ləik ðə sweːt səʊnd
That breathes upon a bank of violets. ðət bɹeːðz əpɑn ə baŋk ə vəiəlɪts
[Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare, Act I, Scene 1]
(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)