In a recent panel discussion about the transformative power of Shakespeare, Louis Colaianni, author of How to Speak Shakespeare addressed the difficulty of accessing Shakespeare’s language in contemporary settings. Colaianni said,
“When someone is really speaking from the heart, and is really speaking to who is in front of them, then the language doesn’t sound archaic. Shakespeare’s language is written not just in a certain syntax, but the sounds of the words contribute to the expression and meaning and the atmosphere of what’s happening; so its an event. If someone can really hook in on a deep level, and relate that event with all their senses, and really want you to receive it, often people say, ‘that was Shakespeare? I thought it couldn’t be; it sounded like our language.’ “
If I do not myself own the message which the Form contains how can I speak it, write it, paint it, sing it to another human heart? The doors to and from our hearts swing both ways; their locks and safeties often requiring the true believer’s secret password before admitting access.
(Sponsored by Elements Theatre Company, How Shakespeare Humanizes Our Culture: The Transforming Power of His Work took place February 7th at The Players, New York, NY. It can be viewed in its entirety at http://elementstheatre.org)