Day 2 – Talkin’ Shakespeare

So today’s class covered:

  • Session II New information and experiential work connecting the technical trainings of actors, singers and dancers
Specifically, we began the day with Ashtanga-based yoga with sound. 

THAT WAS SO COOL. 

I have done yoga before, including a particularly annoying experience with Bikram yoga (there was a Groupon, and I don’t mind heat) where the teacher made me feel totally uncomfortable because certain physical limitations (knees) kept me from being able to reach back and touch my heels while leaning backwards. I had pretty much decided that I simply couldn’t do and didn’t enjoy yoga.

Till today. As I mentioned yesterday, the experience of moving while making random sounds was incredibly liberating vocally. Sopranos who have never been comfortable in their lower registers suddenly found Mother Earth. Mezzos who have had issues getting through the upper passaggio (that would include me) were able to access whistle register pitches with no limitation. 

Today I experienced ease getting into poses that have been impossible for me before (although I still cannot reach my heels, but it didn’t matter). Doing specific yoga poses while yelping and whooping and whimpering like a puppy felt organic in all aspects.

After our morning break, we watched a DVD of scientific research done by Dr. Melton showing the activation of the abdominal muscles in a variety of classical and non-classical styles. Again, IT WAS SO COOL. 

And in the afternoon, Dr. Melton passed out three Shakespearean sonnets and we discussed iambic pentameter, standard American practice for performing Shakespeare, and phrasing. Like yesterday, we stood in a circle and read the sonnets, although this time not playing and deconstructing the text, but rather going for the appropriate diction, shaping of the phrases, and using the language to convey the humanity of the characters.
When my love swears she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not t’have years told;
    Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
    And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

— Sonnet #138, William Shakespeare

(Did I mention that it was SO COOL?)

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