Cordner, M. (2003) 'To show our simple skill': scripts and performances in Shakespearian comedy. Shakespeare Survey, 56, '. pp. 167-183. ISSN 0080-9152
In 1982 the actor Derek Jacobi was in Stratford-upon-Avon to play three roles – Prospero, Benedick and Peer Gynt – for the Royal Shakespeare Company. During that summer he had several abrasive encounters with academics, who criticized some of the line-readings he used as Benedick. One disliked his almost trademark habit of elongating selected vowel sounds and told him that this trait was more appropriate to a stand-up comic than a leading Shakespearian actor. Another regretted a moment in Benedick’s Act 2 soliloquy, as he absorbs the news that a love-lorn Beatrice is allegedly pining away for him. In modernized texts the words in question (Much Ado About Nothing 2.3, 212–13) characteristically read as follows: ‘Love me? Why, it must be requited’. Which Jacobi had the temerity to convert into: ‘Love me! Why? It must be requited’. So the disagreement hinged on whether a single three-letter word, ‘why’, should here be regarded as an interjection-cum-exclamation or an interrogative – an issue less trivial than might at first appear, since contrary judgements about it can generate radically different performances of the soliloquy.
|Institution:||The University of York|
|Academic Units:||The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)|
|Depositing User:||York RAE Import|
|Date Deposited:||12 Feb 2009 14:34|
|Last Modified:||12 Feb 2009 14:34|
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|