I intend to make some interesting videos and films next year with my own green screen studio. With filmmaking I can write and perform the music and songs; write the screenplays; perform as an actor; and design the visual art and cinematography. Technology is continuously providing new amazing tools to play with, so the future seems very exciting creatively!
Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame Is lust in action; and till action, lust Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame, Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust, Enjoyed no sooner but despisèd straight, Past reason hunted; and, no sooner had Past reason hated as a swallowed bait On purpose laid to make the taker mad; Mad in pursuit and in possession so, Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme; A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe; Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream. All this the world well knows; yet none knows well To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Watching performers, I appreciate quality but I don’t get particularly excited by even exquisite technical excellence. Looks attract, certainly, but interest is quickly lost if there is nothing real going on beyond the performance. I detach emotionally when there is anything conceited or contrived. What holds me is real lived human experience, with all its perfect imperfections; something genuine that has emerged in the moment and surprised even the performer.
I really don’t like listening to or watching any recent performance of mine, even if I am generally pleased with how it turned out. This is weird because I don’t mind after a while, when there is some distance of time and I have forgotten about the process involved. I suppose the time delay helps me enjoy as an audience member, rather than identifying so firmly as the performer.
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, (Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate; For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
I listened on YouTube to various attempts at turning Shakespeare’s sonnets into songs, but I don’t think these straight translations work very well. However Shakespeare is so clever that if you read the lines of his sonnets out of sequence as rhyming couplets – e.g. line 1 then 3 then 2 then 4 etc. – the sonnets usually still work well, without losing the meaning. So I picked up a guitar, strummed some rhythms and improvised some vocal melodies to the rejigged lines, and it all works great!
A key for translating Shakespeare’s sonnets into a standard song format:
It is so important with the poetic flow of Shakespeare that every word means something real to the actor, otherwise the viewer will get lost in the density of content coming at them. Watching performances of Shakespeare, it is so obvious when an actor is merely ploughing through the rhythms in a conventional Shakespearean style, rather than really living the powerful words given to them. Thankfully there are lots of good actors and performances out there.
It’s been done millions of times, but my instinctive interpretation of Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy is a bit different from the many performances I have seen. In fact it may be unhelpful seeing other people’s performances because the blueprints distract from my own relationship with the words.
Every single person has both uniqueness and a shared oneness with everybody else. What is interesting is finding the individuality and playing with it, rather than blandly mimicking other people or current socialised expectations.
– IAGO IN OTHELLO BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ACT 1, SCENE 3)
Iago is such a terrifying character because he revels in what he is doing. The motivating reasons can be analysed: broken pride, a sense of betrayal, jealousy, ambition, desire for power over others – or even unrequited love turned sour, if you want to read it that way. It’s true that villains often fool themselves into believing their actions are justified, or the fault of fate or caused by others; but the main factor with Iago is that he knows he is the villain and sadistically enjoys the suffering he causes. His motivation is the full embracing of enmity.
I hate the Moor: And it is thought abroad, that ‘twixt my sheets He has done my office: I know not if’t be true; But I, for mere suspicion in that kind, Will do as if for surety. He holds me well; The better shall my purpose work on him. Cassio’s a proper man: let me see now: To get his place and to plume up my will In double knavery—How, how? Let’s see:— After some time, to abuse Othello’s ear That he is too familiar with his wife. He hath a person and a smooth dispose To be suspected, framed to make women false. The Moor is of a free and open nature, That thinks men honest that but seem to be so, And will as tenderly be led by the nose As asses are. I have’t. It is engender’d. Hell and night Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.
– ANTONY IN JULIUS CAESAR BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ACT 3, SCENE 2)
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest– For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men– Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.
I think I will set-up my own green screen film studio and have some fun making videos. I want to shoot dramatic monologues and music performances — and also maybe some presentations if I’m feeling boring.
Wasn’t Shakespeare amazing. It would be so interesting to find out how his genius developed – what he saw and experienced in his life that helped him write such beautiful words and comprehend so deeply the human condition in all its different aspects. I can think of other notable geniuses in history – Mozart in music, Newton in science etc. – but Shakespeare is a sort of mythical other, shrouded in mystery, whose breadth of insight has the greatest impact on me.
I’m interested in performing great monologues from literature – it seems easy to upload audio as a podcast and filmed versions for a YouTube channel.
I’ve been looking for a podcast where I can listen to dramatic performances of literature, but am finding mostly dry monotone readings of poetry. Monologues on YouTube seem to be mostly non-realistic anger and angst.
Acting is an exercise in empathy: the actor tries to understand the thought processes and emotional life of the person being portrayed. I first look into the world from the point of view of a human being, then try on some different clothes.
A: Angry humans of the twentieth century came to the brink of self-destruction, inflicting unbelievable suffering in the process. Hating the hatred helps it grow, even though it may change its face.
B: That’s just an empty platitude. If you don’t fight the malevolent, you are complicit by allowing it to continue.
A: You always become the result of the energy that moves you. Not for no reason has it been so often said that you become the thing you hate.
B: I have every right to hate. There should be justice! People sitting on mountain tops don’t have to deal with the realities of this world. If people didn’t fight for what is right, evil would walk over everything, including you and me.
A: You deserve not to be contaminated by this energy. You have a chance to be better, to make a better world. You can feel what is right and act intensely, but it is your anger that unbalances you.
B: Some people are evil, I have no intention of being kind to them, they deserve everything coming to them.
A: The world will only heal with kindness. If humanity can find its light there can be no darkness. You can help make that possible, right now.
B: Anything I do will not change the world.
A: Give your love and the world will be relieved. Give your anger and the world will be wounded yet again. That’s how important you are. That’s how important every single person is.
A flow state is when your inner voice has got out of the way and you are free to be one with who you are and what you are doing. It’s easier to get there when lost in the energy of music – I admire good acting that is able to reach the moment just by using imagination and presentness with other performers.