What Did Shakespeare Sound Like?

When most people imagine how Shakespeare sounded, they probably think of Laurence Olivier's British-accented performance in Hamlet or Marlon Brando's crisp, trilling delivery of Mark Antony's funeral speech in Julius Caesar. But University of Kansas professor Paul Meier—who's staging a version of Midsummer Night's Dream in the original Shakespearean pronunciation—says English in the Bard's day was much more informal and much closer to American English than these performances suggest:

Meier is staging Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in November, and it will be the first time in North America that a Shakespeare production is being performed entirely in the original pronunciation.

...

"American audiences will hear an accent and style surprisingly like their own in its informality and strong r-colored vowels," Meier said. "The original pronunciation performance strongly contrasts with the notions of precise and polished delivery created by John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and their colleagues from the 20th century British theater."

Here's a trailer for the show, which offers a taste of how the production will sound:



Read the full story at PhysOrg. [via Kottke]

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Entertainment

Just In