Original Practice

A recently (and very sadly) departed Shakespearean colleague of mine was deeply suspicious of “Original Practice,” the movement to stage Shakespeare’s plays as close as possible to how they were staged in Shakespeare’s time, with natural lighting, Elizabethan/Jacobean costumes, an all-male cast on a thrust stage, etc. – his point being that we’re not ourselves Elizabethans, so there’s no point in pretending that we are. Famed linguist David Crystal and his son Ben, however, make a good case that pronouncing English as it was pronounced in Shakespeare’s time reveals meanings that are lost with twenty-first century pronunciation (ten-minute video).