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Theatre for Ritual 1, Question 6

Explain how you would prepare and deliver three of the following pieces for public performance, and include an audio or video clip of your performance of each. (50 words min. each explanation)

  1. Strong meter and strong rhythm: see appendix, selection 1
  2. Uncertain meter: see appendix, selection 2
  3. Complex thought with complex meter: see appendix, selection 3
  4. Prose: see appendix, selection 4
  5. Strong meter and strong rhyme: see appendix, selection 5

Uncertain Meter (due to translation)

Perform smoothly, with understanding, showing clear breaks in thought.

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(From the Lebor Gabala Erenn, the Verse Texts, section LXII)


Four gifts with them from yonder
had the nobles of the Tuatha De Danann :
a sword, a stone, a cauldron of bondmaids,
a spear for the fate of lofty champions.
Lia Fail from Failias yonder,
which used to cry under the kings of Ireland;
the sword of Lug's hand which came
from Goirias, choice, very hard.

From Findias far over sea
was brought the spear of Lug who was not
     insignificant :
from Murias, a huge great treasure,
the cauldron of The Dagda of lofty deeds.


To prepare this piece, I had to break out the lines so that they were more prose-like: because I have a difficult time reading short, massed lines in general (and lines without meter in particular), it was easier for me to turn these into paragraphs. I then broke the paragraphs into manageable chunks and worked from them as three separate paragraphs (one per sentence), which helped me keep my eyes from getting lost. I read it aloud a few times and then recorded it. While I am not positive on the pronunciation, I have learned that with Gaelic in America, it's about sounding confident instead of being right in most cases.

Complex thought with complex meter

Convey the complexity of thought and emotion, showing the changes in both.

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(From Hamlet by William Shakespeare)


O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!
For Hecuba!
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do,
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing;


This was an easier piece because the meter is fairly strong and regular, which meant that the breaking and re-phrasing was not as necessary. I had to practice a few words, like "wann'd" and "in's" several times, and I joined lines that did not end when the line did. I also broke out the monologue into three pieces, inserting a blank line above and below "For Hecuba" to keep my eyes from getting lost when I read. Then I read it through twice and recorded it.


Perform with animation and understanding, and clearly show where the character speaks.

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(From "Skaldskaparmal" in the Prose Edda)


     But Skadi, daughter of giant Thiassi, took helmet and 
mail-coat and all weapons of war and went to Asgard to 
avenge her father. But the Aesir offered her atonement and 
compensation, the first item of which was that she was to 
choose herself a husband out of the Aesir and choose by the 
feet and see nothing else of them. Then she saw one person's 
feet that were exceptionally beautiful and said:
     "I choose that one; there can be little that is ugly 
about Baldr."
     But it was Niord of Noatun.
     It was also in her terms of settlement that the Aesir 
were to do something that she thought they would not be able 
to do, that was to make her laugh. Then Loki did as follows: 
he tied a cord round the beard of a certain nanny-goat and 
the other end round his testicles, and they drew each other 
back and forth and both squealed loudly. Then Loki let himself 
drop into Skadi's lap, and she laughed. Then the atonement 
with her on the part of the Aesir was complete.
     It is said that Odin, as compensation for her, did this: 
he took Thiassi's eyes and threw them up into the sky and out 
of them made two stars.


I know this story well, so it was not complicated to tell. I read through the prose without issue very quickly, and recorded it without much issue. I inserted a line in each paragraph to ensure that my eyes would not get lost during the reading, and I also practiced points where I would smile (since facial expression can be heard on audio recordings).


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