Shakespeare Pro App

Shakespeare Pro App

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our faults whipt them not, and our crimes would despair, if they were not cherish’d by our virtues.

All’s Well That Ends Well 4.3.7

Revisiting the Shakespeare Pro App, and integrating my workflow?

Currently, the three most useful resources in my self–directed, mostly amusing, wandering miscellany, and serendipitous ways? How I continue to study Shakespeare’s canon, rich, ripe, and rife with its plethora of astrological allusions?

There are three main resources, over the course of the last couple of years, that I’ve employed way more than anything else. Recently, I pulled my old Complete Works of Shakespeare off the shelf to access some arcane bit of trivia, and found the book, other than its inscription, that hefty tome is more a keepsake than a valid reference. My copy is, I can’t make this up, held together with duck tape. I flipped through a few pages, scanned the material, and I couldn’t find the information I sought. So, for me, currently, and that’s what this is about, my current academic sources, while I sport a shelf full of Shakespeare references, and that heavily annoted Complete Works, these are no longer my go–to resources.

Shakespeare Pro App

The first of three? The web itself. Web browser. Internet connection. Phone, tablet, laptop, desktop. That is my first “go–to” for Shakespeare studies. Quick, easy, and there will be a metric something–ton of material, usually just reading the search–engine summaries gives me what I need, in order to find what I’m looking for.

My first pointer? Basic web search. From undergraduate, content–farm papers — Cliff Notes crud — to in–depth graduate studies, plus everything in between? All on a quick search. Academic, sort of academic, Wikipedia, and Wikipedia–like, all there. Fast, quick pointers. Consider, though, all of it is drawn from the web so accuracy is not guaranteed.

See fineprint for details.

That’s how I get here, as an example.

Rather than read all the data, though, I can usually get what I’m looking for, just from a quick glance at the search results. First place a phrase was used? Or, what act is that quote in?

Fastest way to source a quote.

Pink Cake: The Quote Collection – Kramer Wetzel

Shakespeare Pro App

Faced with an hour — or three — commute to Austin on occasion, especially with a Tuesday residency at the rock shop, I dug around until I happened across LibriVox.org.

A quick search on the site — it has a public domain mp3 version of each of Shakespeare’s plays read dramatically. The quality is universally uneven, at best. Some strong voices, some professional voices, some tracks where the sound levels drop precipitously. Some foley effects are excellent, others? Not so much.

I’m not complaining!

Listening to Shakespeare, while not quite as good as experiencing it performed on stage, those volunteer recordings are such a brillaint source.

On a good morning, I stop for coffee, and then the Austin City Limits sign is merely 45 minutes north-east in a hybrid. This one is a high–mileage model, and the same could be said about me, especially these days. That times out at two 20–minute acts or one 40 minute act from any of the plays. From the city limits sign, though, Austin’s legendary traffic, I’m at least another 45 minutes to downtown, family, or the rock shop.

Traffic was miserable one day, and I listend to the whole of the Scottish Play — on the way in. Somehow, that’s poetically fitting.

Blow wind, come wrack,
At least we’ll die with harness on our back.

MacBeth 5.5.50–1

One time, I was delivering a box of my books — on sale at Nature’s Treasures — and some image from the play I was listening to caught my fancy. I hastily scribbled note on the top of the box of books. Made no sense when I arrived and examined my notations.

Still, I’m on my second or third pass through the entire canon, and parts come alive, even more so when I listen, or listen again.

That’s how I get here, as an example.

Shakespeare Pro App

Now, after figuring there’s no easy way to take notes while piloting a hybrid on the freeway to Austin, or while walking, how I’ve started to work with the material? I’ll remember a catch phrase or single word, and the approximate location, like the act, and maybe a scene number.

This is where Shakespeare Pro App starts to figure into my workflow. There are times when I have that loaded up on an iPad, sitting on the desk, next to the keyboard, and I’ll go straight to the app to get a quote, location, and scene, plus, there will be an adequate amount of data to understand the context. I can scroll forward and backward through the text, giving me a vernal idea of how the passage works in that play. Increasingly, context is important.

No, not like surplus material, but an act and a scene, that gives me content with which to work.

My workflow, then? Get an idea, hit either a web search or, catch an idea while listening to one of the plays? Jump to either text for that play within the app, or hit up its global search function. Swipe, copy, paste.

Rough sketches, locations, that starts with a basic web search, filtered through my own ambivalent insouciance but highly jaundiced eye towards “facts,” as they might appear on web pages.

The Shakespeare Pro App breaks the plays down by scene, offers trivial pursuits as the app’s front matter, includes a handy collection of quotes — frequently out of context — and each scene is a separate stand–alone set of texts. Line numbers. I keep line numbers turned on, as that’s an option, but I like that.

    There’s a new — to me — theory about line numbers, wherein each play is line numbered from the beginning of the play — so — like, the Scottish Play, one of the shortest, runs out at 2700 lines, rather act, scene, then line count from the beginning of this century. The app has options.

    There’s some adjunct material about the various purported portraits that are circulating. I tend to favor the Droeshout, but the Chandos was the first one wherein I first felt kinship. Thoughtful, insightful trivia. Fact is? No one knows.

Between the audio files and the app, it’s a perfect work flow for me. All that academic material reduced to just a few steps. Easiest way to experience the majesty and timeless beauty of Shakespeare’s body of work.

Shakespeare Pro App

Shakespeare Pro – PlayShakespeare.com

Shakespeare – PlayShakespeare.com

Shakespeare Pro – PlayShakespeare.com

Shakespeare – PlayShakespeare.com

Previously mentioned.

As an added bonus, to me, the app now includes some of the apocrypha, as well, the disputed plays, and plays with dubious authorial claim. As noted.

Kramer Wetzel

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