Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Need Notes!

I like the director I'll be working with for this production, but she's not always on top of answering email. I'd emailed last week about the time I would be working with the students this coming week and about what edition she'd be using, and cuts and such.

If the two of us are in any way exemplary, we lit people think very differently from theater people. I've read plays without the benefit of notes, but I depend on notes. When I don't have them, I spend a lot of time looking up words and phrases, trying to figure out how metaphors work, what's happening that I'm not picking up in the language. And I read early modern English fairly fluently.

When I order books for my classes, whenever possible, I order editions with good notes. There's a balance, of course; you don't want notes that feel overwhelming for whatever level of reader you're working with. So basic glossing is most helpful for less experienced readers, while more experienced readers might find collations, and discussions of rhetorical or specialized language helpful.

Since I hadn't heard from the director, I dropped by the community theater company office today to find out about the time and text (I feel like a poser saying "script," but that's what it is).

The time was easy.

But the script, not quite as easy. The office director person made me a xerox of the cuts, but there's no indication on the xerox what edition it's from from, and no notes. There are, thanks be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Act, scene, and line numbers! But that's it.

I can't imagine giving people a Shakespeare script without basic glossing. It just doesn't make sense to my inner English professor. And I want to know who edited it and such.

So basic glossing, vocabulary stuff, is where I start. Of course, even with glossing, that's where I'd start. And it's a good place to start, since the language is such a glorious romp in this play.

I'm getting all excited!

I'm also going to have to go through and check line numbering between my Oxford (which is what I've used with AYLI and have my notes in) and the script. I hope they're close, but there's a fair bit of prose, and that always makes for variations.

/Bardiac happy dance

Shakespeare time, baby!


  1. Ah, further proof that I am a Bad Lit Person -- I don't really like notes, and I'm just as happy without them. I have a Deep Sentimental Attachment to my 1961 Hardin Craig edition of Shakespeare, mostly because it was my mother's when she was in grad school and has been mine since freshman year of college ... but partly because the notes are nice and minimal, and they aren't flagged in the text (the way other editions have numbers in superscript or little circles). I don't know why, but I find that sort of apparatus visually distracting.

  2. I may just be warped in fetishizing notes...