This past week, the students doing The Tempest have been working more on making costumes, sets, and props, and doing lots of rehearsals.
I stopped by earlier in the week, and spent an hour or two with the three playing a combined Ariel part working on the Harpy scene. One of the students just couldn't quite get the relative clause after Destiny and how it works. It's not the easiest clause, and does tend to interrupt the main thrust of the sentence, but I tried to explain. She'd look at me for a moment as if she understood, but then would ask about the same line again a few minutes later.
Ariel's talking to Alonso and the court gang:
You are three men of sin, whom Destiny,
That hath to instrument this lower world
And what is in't, the never-surfeited sea
Hath caused to belch up you, and on this island,
Where man doth not inhabit--you 'mongst men
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad;
And even with such-like valor men hang and drown
Their proper selves. (3.3.53-60, Oxford World Classics edition)
She also had problems understanding the never-surfeited sea and "belch[ing] up you." I love that bit: it's bad enough to think of oneself being belched up by the sea! I'm not sure if the order of "up you" (rather than "you up" that I would use) is a more early modern order or special emphasis.
Another of the students also had real difficulty with "Thee of thy son, Alonso, / They [the powers] have bereft." For some reason, she just couldn't get the lines out.
I've had little experience acting (okay, none!), but have talked to some actors about learning lines and such, and the one thing I really learned is that it helps them learn if they walk around and get a rhythm going. So we tried that, and after about 10 tries, they started getting a rhythm together so that the lines spoken by three actors sounded as if they belonged to one character, very cool.
I went by again yesterday and watched part of a dress rehearsal. It's utterly amazing how far these students have progressed with the play. Partly the costumes and set make it work, but mostly they were really saying their lines with meaning!
So, in the spirit of fun and playing, here's Friday Poetry Blogging, courtesy of Shakespeare's Tempest and the character Stephano:
I shall no more to sea, to sea,
Here shall I die ashore--
The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I,
The gunner, and his mate,
Loved Moll, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, "Go hang!"
She loved not the savor of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her where'er she did itch.
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang! (2.2.41-54)
(Now, for fun, imagine me trying to get the woman playing Stephano to understand and communicate to the audience about that song. I'm getting old!)
I'm going to see the show for real tonight, with a bunch of friends. Gosh, I hope it's good!