Saturday, April 21, 2007

Textual Clues

From Annie O.: The folio is put together and punctuated by actors versus scholars and, as such, a key to acting the play.

Periods – The place where you check in with your scene partner to see if you got through.

Commas – Words after commas are afterthoughts. Why Claudius is so brilliant – he can think on his feet.

Colon – What follows tops the last thing said and is meant to stop someone from interrupting. According to some, a colon is a cue to physically move.

Semi-colon – What follows is the thought that makes you downshift for the next thing you say; the moment of reflection – reluctance, shame, humility, trepidation, etc.; when something is important.

Capitals in mid-sentence: extra emphasis where energy will land. Ex: “too too solid Flesh would melt”

E’s at end of words are for emphasis: “we doe my lord”; “my Lord from head to Foote”

This is fascinating stuff and why modern versions have limitations. And this is a great website:


Thomas said...

I marveled at this info when Annie first revealed it to me.

gaby said...

It really does kind of unlock some other doors, doesn't it? Or at least gives you another tool for analysis. There are a few other ones, like "O" is stronger than "Oh" and nothing is just a turn of phrase, so that when someone addresses a character as "noble" so and so, it's important. And "Marry, ..." is an oath to the Virgin Mary and so means 'I swear.' And some stuff AO didn't go into like scansion which is SO helpful in unlocking meaning and scene rhythm. Here is a version that I plan to look at for clues like that: