Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reading a Play

While finishing off Hamlet, and preparing to read Faust, I've come to realize that I've never really been taught how to read a play. Shakespeare is enjoyable regardless how you read it because so much of the phrasing and characters are familiar and his play with the English language is a treat for the eye and ear. But now I'm looking at Goethe and I'm a little tentative. How should I tackle this work?

The only tactic I know to employ is to imagine the play taking place before me. Sometimes I even read aloud so I can hear lines I'd otherwise struggle to follow. This works well with most plays that I have seen before, or whose story lines with which I'm at least somewhat familiar. I am only slightly familiar with Faust, and the fact that it's been translated into English makes me think it's possible some things might be lost in translation. In German Faust is probably an incredible treat, but Clifton Fadimore (Lifetime Reading Plan) assures me that it is worth the effort in English as well.

Surely there are those of you who have loads of experience reading plays, and you might have some helpful tips. Please, anything!

In other news, I'm putting together 2 reading roundabouts for some friends at church. One is for the junior high girls in the youth group and the other is for some girlfriends at my church who are not in school. I'll say more later, but let me encourage you to consider doing a roundabout this fall. Why not start now, during this time that everything is transitioning?


homebutnotalone said...

I'm not a play reader Gretchen but I'm so delighted you're getting some reading roundabouts sorted!

I'm hoping to post our list of books very soon!!

Blessings from a wet Northern Ireland

....t said...

Gret, While i was a student at TN Temple i was a drama and theater major. i was in 2 Shakespeare plays. 1) Macbeth--2) King Lear. When i took a Shakespeare class i found that getting an audio version of the play helped me get the flow and gave the characters a voice. Do not listen to the entire play, rather only an act or even a few pages. You will be able to read the the words with a better understanding of the plot and individual characters. Hope that this will help. (reading aloud is a very helpful practice also)....t