“Gallathea” (Patrick O’Connor)

It’s already a bit of a blur in my aged brain, but the meeting of PaperStage reading Gallathea – the second I’ve attended – demonstrated some of the virtues of communal over personal, silent reading. There are four that struck me.

Gallathea photo 2The individual characters were clearly made more vivid by having a voice. And, through this, I found I could better experience and understand some of the cut and thrust of the drama and, more particularly, the contrasting moods from scene to scene.

The comic elements – often dead and buried in a complex text – were also brought to life.

Perhaps most of all, because the whole of the Gallathea photo 1play is taken at a single sitting and because the character arcs are more obvious, its shape and intentions, style and manner are easier to appreciate.

Finally – though not invariably the case – I thought it’s possible that a difficult text is plainer when spoken aloud. I certainly found this to be true of our reading of Gallathea. I’d read the text before the gathering and had to concentrate very hard to divine its meaning. In the voice of a reader who understands the text – who knows what is meant to be dramatic, or funny, or pathetic – the meaning suddenly shines through. That happened frequently during the reading. I’m looking forward to more.

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