Monday, May 17, 2010

1st Read Through: Textual Instability

The cast and I had our first reading last night. it's amazing the number of things that you just don't see, no matter how many times you look at them. I'm not talking about complicating cross references between the three quartos I've collated, I'm talking much simpler things like leaving the "Sir" off of "Sir Ralph" in a speech prefix, which is quite problematic when one of the characters in the play is just plain "Ralph." Throw a couple formatting errors that arise out of the miracle of computer word processing, and you get a printed text that doesn't necessarily resemble the one you thought you quite literally knew backwards and forwards.

I've advised the cast to think of this as a new work, which it is in a sense. Collating the first three quartos has not only highlighted areas of textual instability inherent between printings in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, but it has also created new ones. Points of instability that I didn't hear until it came from the mouths of my cast members on their reading. So now I need to go back and revise my collation further; not to try cleaning up the mistakes of a long dead compositor (or scribe), but to clean up the mistakes I've made in the last few weeks.

Textual instability aside, the reading went very well. I have a good group of people bristling with ideas, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing this thing up on its feet.

No comments:

Post a Comment