Saturday, September 23, 2017

Romeo and Juliet: the Memorizing Begins...

Milo O'Shea as Friar Laurence
To prepare to play Friar Laurence in the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet at Leonia High School, I first laid the groundwork with some passive learning. I wrote out all of my lines by hand (since I memorize best from my own handwriting). I recited them, recording it with Audacity and burned it to a CD to listen on my commute. All told, my lines come to a total of about 11 minutes. There are several very lengthy speeches in there, as well as shorter patches in dialogue with others.

For the last week and a half I have been listening to this non-stop whenever I am in the car. My commute each direction is 50 minutes (depending on traffic), so I have listened to my lines something like eight times a day. I have also read my lines out loud from my handwritten script once or twice daily.

I have committed to memory substantial amounts of the Bible in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek. And so I know what I have to do to actually memorize for recitation. I recite again and again the first few words or sentence. I look away from the script and confirm whether I have them now from memory. After I feel I have this selection now comfortably ready for recitation, I add another bit of words--ideally an entire extra line. And I then recite from the beginning, adding the new bit in. Rinse. Repeat. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseum.

I spent today about four hours on this project. I have eleven pages of handwritten script for my lines. While they are by no means solid, at one time or another I successfully recited six of these eleven pages from memory today.

As the only adult actor in the production, I certainly feel an enormous burden to be a leader and have my lines fully memorized before the students. Tomorrow morning, of course, is Church. Then, tomorrow afternoon, I will work over and confirm what I accomplished today. And then my goal is to memorize at least one more page.

As Friar Laurence would say in Latin, "Orate pro me!"


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

William Shakespeare's Involvement in the King James Version of Psalm 46: New Evidence?

As I continue to prepare for the role of Friar Laurence in our school's production of Romeo and Juliet, I recalled that there was a theory that maybe the Bard was involved in the shaping of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. If you know me, you know that I feel the need to explore and then present a potential solution on virtually any ancient puzzle I find. So, I clearly now want to weigh in on this one!


Just the Facts, Ma'am!

Here's what it boils down to. William Shakespeare was a writer of note when King James commissioned an English translation of the Bible for the Church of England. He could plausibly have been involved in its production.

It all swirls around the following facts, which, while possibly coincidental, are certainly intriguing.

William Shakespeare was 46 years old when the KJV was completed in 1611.

In the KJV of Psalm 46, the 46th word from the start is "shake." The 46th word from the end (omitting the Hebrew liturgical word "selah") is "spear."

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains SHAKE (46) with the swelling thereof.
...
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the SPEAR (46) in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Selah]

Let's be honest, that's awfully intriguing! Some have suggested that maybe it's not really that big a coincidence, since in the even earlier Geneva Bible (1560) those same words appear in similar positions.

In the Geneva Bible, "shake" is at position 47. "Speare" is at position 44.

Fine, similar, but not at position 46, twice as it is in the King James Version!

Scholars are left to merely ponder the curiosity of the coincidence and decide whether it is so unlikely as to provide proof the playwright somehow crafted that text to leave a clue of his involvement, or whether it is just a quirk meaning nothing at all.


What About "William"?

I suggest that if he really did encode his last name in this psalm as a way to show his involvement, why not also encode his first name? The pieces of his first name are certainly in the translation. The word "will" occurs three times (verses 2 and 10 [bis]). And the words "I am" appear in verse 10. 

I will demonstrate that the position of these words could provide yet further evidence that William Shakespeare left evidence in this text about his participation in the project of the KJV.


Option One: Counting Once Again from the Front and Back

If you count from the beginning of Psalm 46, the word "WILL" is first encountered at position 14.

If you count from the end, and this time include the liturgical word "selah," the "I" of "I AM" occurs at position 32.

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore WILL (14) not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
...
10 Be still, and know that I AM (31, 32) God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

14+32=46!
WILL+I AM=WILLIAM!

Now, keep in mind, the whole "shake" and "spear" thing described above relied on not counting the word "selah."  

So, would the Bard have really encoded his last name with one set of rules and then additionally encoded his first name with another?

The answer could bewhy not? 

He may have produced the final wording of this psalm and knew that it still had to go past a committee of scholars who would object to anything indelicate and unclear in the wording. In other words, he had to be careful and perhaps settled on one fairly clear clue and managed to slip in another that was only suggestive.


Option Two: Count from the Words "Shake" and "Spear"

If you start from the word "shake" in verse 3 and count toward the beginning, you arrive at "WILL" in verse 2 as the 32nd word.

If you start at the word "spear" in verse 9 and count toward the end, you arrive at the "AM" of "I AM" in verse 10 as the 16th word.

32/2=16

Interesting, but I personally find Option One more intriguing.


Conclusions

I find the positioning of WILL and I AM in this psalm to be yet another intriguing proof that the Bard did indeed take part in crafting the text of Psalm 46 and left evidence of that fact. Having spent now just a few days trying to memorize my lines for the upcoming play, I am continually amazed by the genius of William Shakespeare. And if he really did take part in that translation project and really did want to leave clues as to his involvement in the text, there may be much more out there yet waiting to be discovered.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Returning to the Stage—After 34 Years—Pray for me...

One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I did not get into the high school theater group until I was a junior. My twin brother and I were recruited that year by the director to fill out the quartet of the Music Man because she learned we were church choir trained but previously untapped for the shows.

And it was grand fun! We loved the Music Man experience. Then I was the lead the following fall for a performance of The Night of January the 16th, and our group put on Grease that next Spring, in which I was Teen Angel, singing "Beauty School Drop-out" as a solo.

Most people that do theater in high school hold fond memories of it but never again stand upon a stage. Me included. College, grad school, in my case, a few years as a spy (check out my bio), then I assumed the quiet life of a high school Latin teacher. 

I have supported my school's superlative theater group over the years by never missing a show they have put on. And Leonia High School has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of the quality of high school shows they have presented in my time there.

Over the summer I learned that the directors are putting on Romeo and Juliet this November. And they invited faculty members to consider auditioning for a few roles that they thought might be best served by actual adults—some bit parts, some significant...

I'm not going to to lie. From the second I learned this, I knew I would audition. And I also immediately felt that, if I were to agree to stay after school for six weeks of practice, I would just as soon do something on the larger side.

I am humbled to announce that the directors have cast me in the role of Friar Lawrence. 

In the coming weeks I will be posting regular reflections on this experience. The first thing I did this weekend to start getting ready with my lines was to write them all out by hand (I memorize best that way). To the left is an example of such a page from my script. 

As a teacher in the school, I feel a responsibility to be an example to the students, and so I must present myself to the directors "out of book" much sooner rather than later.

I'll close on this thought. I vaguely remember a bit of Shakespeare in high school. And I have even wondered from time to time at why Leonia High School has such a significant amount of it in the curriculum.

Having written out just the lines of Friar Lawrence in preparation for my role, I was blown away by the artistry.

I will go on record as saying that I now understand that William Shakespeare is indeed the greatest author to have ever written in the English language.

Updates to follow...

 






Monday, September 4, 2017

Archive of the Pope's Latin Tweets

This post is an archive of Pope's Latin tweets I have grammatically studied.





September 4, 2017

June 18, 2017

June 17, 2017

June 16, 2017

June 15, 2017

June 14, 2017

June 13, 2017

June 8, 2017

May 13, 2017 #2

May 13, 2017 #1

May 8, 2017

March 4, 2017

February 21, 2017

February 20, 2017

February 19, 2017

February 18, 2017

February 15, 2017

February 14, 2017

February 12, 2017

February 11, 2017

February 10, 2017

February 9, 2017

February 4, 2017

February 3, 2017

February 2, 2017

January 29, 2017

January 28, 2017

January 27, 2017

January 26, 2017

December 31, 2016

December 30, 2016

December 29, 2016

December 28, 2016

December 26, 2016

December 25, 2016

December 23, 2016

December 19, 2016

December 17, 2016

December 11, 2016

December 8, 2016

December 4, 2016

December 3, 2016

November 30, 2016

November 27, 2016

November 25, 2016

November 20, 2016 #2

November 20, 2016 #1

November 19, 2016

November 18, 2016

November 13, 2016

November 12, 2016

November 11, 2016

November 10, 2016

November 9, 2016

November 7, 2016

November 6, 2016

November 5, 2016

October 30, 2016

October 29, 2016

October 28, 2016

October 27, 2016

October 26, 2016

October 25, 2016

October 23, 2016

October 22, 2016

October 21, 2016

October 20, 2016

October 19, 2016

October 18, 2016

October 17, 2016

October 16, 2016

October 15, 2016

October 14, 2016

October 13, 2016

October 11, 2016

October 10, 2016

October 9, 2016

October 8, 2016

October 6, 2016 #2

October 6, 2016 #1

October 1, 2016

September 30, 2016

September 29, 2016

September 22, 2016

September 21, 2016

September 19, 2016

September 18, 2016

September 17, 2016

September 16, 2016

September 13, 2016

September 11, 2016

September 10, 2016

September 9, 2016

September 8, 2016

September 7, 2016

September 6, 2016

September 5, 2016

September 4, 2016

September 3, 2016

September 2, 2016

September, 1, 2016

August 31, 2016

August 29, 2016 #2

August 29, 2016 #1

August 27, 2016

August 26, 2016

August 23, 2016

August 21, 2016

August 19, 2016

August 18, 2016

August 17, 2016

August 15, 2016

August 14, 2016

August 13, 2016

August 12, 2016

August 10, 2016

August 9, 2016

August 8, 2016

July 17, 2016

June 19, 2016

May 19, 2017

May 15, 2017

May 14, 2016

May 12, 2016

May 10, 2016

May 9, 2016

April 16, 2016

April 7, 2016

April 6, 2016

March 26, 2016

March 14, 2016 #3

March 14, 2016 #2

March 14, 2016 #1

February 17, 2016 #3

February 17, 2016 #2

February 17, 2016 #1

February 12, 2016

February 8, 2016

February 4, 2016

February 3, 2015

January 29, 2015

December 11, 2014

December 8, 2014

November 27, 2014

September 9, 2014

September 6, 2014

September 5, 2014

September 4, 2014

September 2, 2014

August 30, 2014

August 28, 2014

August 26, 2014

August 14, 2014 #2

August 14, 2014 #1

August 13, 2014 #2

August 13, 2014 #1

August 10, 2014 #3

August 10, 2014 #2

August 10, 2014 #1

August 9, 2014 #3

August 9, 2014 #2

August 9, 2014 #1

August 8, 2014 #3

August 8, 2014 #2

August 8, 2014 #1

August 7, 2014

August 5, 2014

August 2, 2014

July 29, 2014

July 24, 2014

July 22, 2014

July 19, 2014

July 17, 2014

July 15, 2014

July 12, 2014

July 10, 2014

July 8, 2014

July 3, 2014

July 1, 2014

June 30, 2014

June 29, 2014

June 28, 2014

June 27, 2014

June 26, 2014

June 24, 2014

June 23, 2014

June 20, 2014

June 19, 2014

June 17, 2014

June 16, 2014

June 14, 2014

June 13, 2014

June 12, 2014

June 9, 2014

June 8, 2014

June 7, 2014

June 6, 2014

June 5, 2014

June 3, 2014

June 2, 2014

May 31, 2014

May 30, 2014

May 29, 2014

May 24, 2014

May 23, 2014

May 22, 2014

May 20, 2014

May 19, 2014

May 17, 2014

May 16, 2014

May 15, 2014

March 24, 2013

The Pope's first tweet: March 17, 2013

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