No, faith, not a jot.

I was working on my play that is a prequel to Comedy of Errors the other night. I was trying to find a balance between contemporary language and Elizabethan infused heightened language. As the first draft was written impossibly quickly, there were a lot of phrases and words that were, I knew, even as I wrote them, place-holders for better, richer words.
I found myself searching for the better ones in the numerous Shakespeare resources I have before consulted for acting, director or teaching purposes. And I also found myself searching for a sort of contemporary English to Shakespearean translator. I finally found one which was mostly a joke but I used it seriously. See, I knew there were a vast number of denigrating words for woman. I remember flinching through many of them while I sat onstage in Henry IV, waiting for my scenes. But when I typed “Woman” in translator, it gave me “Mistress” so I typed “lady” and it gave me “mistress” and then I tried “shrew” and it gave me “shrew” and then I tried “harridan” and it gave me “harridan.” And I realized that I had found the word I wanted from my own inner Shakespeare Thesaurus.

I searched for so many things I already knew and I discovered again how words like “jot” and “faith” even though they are still in use, can sound heightened just by how they’re used.


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