Saturday, June 28, 2008

* Shakespeare and Shaw are two excellent playwrights who wrote in English.

Something that helped Shakespeare as a playwright is that he worked as an actor. He knew what worked.

Something that didn't help Shaw as a playwright is that he worked writing political pamphlets. Some speeches in Shaw read like political pamphlets. Very well-written political pamphlets, but not something any actual human would say and way too long.

These pamphlety speeches are of course much shorter than a real political pamphlet, but in context, that can seem much longer.

An actor, exposed, body, heart and soul on the stage knows that acting is working with the limited ability of the human body to sit still and to listen to one thing.

Someone reading a political pamphlet might pick it up and put it down and pick it up later. Someone reading a political pamphlet might compare Shaw's pamphlets to other political pamphlets and note that they are much better written than the usual pamphlet, which they are.

But they are longer and more beating on a point than what human attention located in human body can easily absorb.

Shakespeare had been out there, in his own plays and other plays, and felt when the minds of the audience wandered because their bodies were tired. Or their bodies, if not overall tired, were tired of this one thing.

Shakespeare is good at changing the subject being acted about, or the tone of the events, fast, just when you least expect it. His actor's body and smart mind kept their attention before it started to change.

Any human group activity is cooperation between bodies. Wisdom about keeping those bodies content will make many more things possible.