Old Fart Goes Back to Doing Live Theatre!
When doing Shakespeare, we forget that people back in the Elizabethan era had a total different thought and thinking process then we do today. Back in the mid-seventeenth century, dualism came about… our modern thought of separation of the mind from the body, even our souls from our bodies. We now tend to think of those as separate entities. Spock, from Star Trek, is an example of our modern thought patterns, the cold logical minded entity. We have developed our minds to think logically and factually.
In Shakespeare’s time, the Elizabethans, didn’t see a disjunction between the mind and matter. They saw and believed that each part of the body had a function… and that each part served the whole person, body and soul.
Further more… they believed in a hierarchy into which all things fitted in. That order went something like this… God, Angels, Man, Woman, children, animals, vegetation and working its way down to stones and stuff like that.
So, a line like…
Get you gone, you dwarf,
You minimus of hindering knotgrass made,
You bead, you acorn!
You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!
They truly were awful insults with their thinking and understanding.
When doing Shakespeare we have to turn back time on our thinking to truly see the real meaning of the text and the actions.
Shakespeare is said to be timeless… but his writing speaks of a time 400+ year in the past.