Monday, November 05, 2007

Can't Hear You 

There is one communications failure that is indeed frustrating for an audience. It is an inability to hear what a presenter is saying. Yesterday, we sat through a three-hour production of Cymbeline and heard about one in 3o words. Part of the problem was a theater that is too large for the music of Shakespeare's language. The other part was the actors themselves, most of whom were not trained to deliver iambic pentameter clearly. It was interesting that a few of the actors and actresses could be heard even when they turned away, but most could not. I suppose one could say that the production is an example of a lack of classic voice training in America.

The play itself is not often produced and one could understand why. It takes about 25 minutes of exposition at the end for the characters to unwind the convoluted plot by which time there are furtive glances at watches throughout the audience. But then, we may have seen a bad production.

I suppose someday I will have to see another production of Cymbeline to say that I have seen it.


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