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Game of earphones. Sorry, what? (Updated)

So, Games of Thrones, eh? Did you hear the latest? About how the actors won’t be getting scripts any more?

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‘Sorry. What?’

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The production company says because scripts keep being leaked, and the fans are finding out the story before it’s even filmed, the only solution is to not give the actors a script at all. They’re going to feed the actors their lines through an earpiece, line by line, just before they have to say them.

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‘NO!’

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Yes!

‘But that’s …’

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Quite a twenty-first century solution to a problem that’s existed since the 16th century actually.

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‘You mean it’s a good idea?’

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Though the 16th century solution is far more elegant and you don’t need earpieces. Actually.

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‘What are you talking about? Actually.’

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Cue scripts. Good old fashioned… Um… Who are you? By the way.

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‘I’m someone you have to convince. What are cue scripts?’

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Everybody who knows anything about Shakespeare knows what cue scripts are.

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‘Suppose they don’t?’

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They’re how you save giving the actors the whole script. In the 16th century…

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‘Is Games of Thrones that old? I didn’t know.’

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No! I mean the actors in the sixteenth century only saw their own lines and three-word cues. But that’s not the point. The point is that this Game of Thrones thing isn’t… it has a familiar ring to it, does it not? I mean, granted, it’s more a TV thing: last minute script changes, rehearse-recording, live broadcasting, broadcast-ready shoots, filming out of sequence… seat of the pants stuff. Different to modern mainstream theatre. Different world.

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‘Game of Thrones is a different world. It’s about…’

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It’s about saving money. It’s about making money. It’s about getting the job done. It’s about protecting copyright. It’s about man management…

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‘I thought it was about making magic. Telling a story. Sustaining a character.’

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Yes. Yes. But you see the connection don’t you? What’s wrong?

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‘It won’t work. Feeding lines through earpieces? It’s madness.’

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Shakespeare’s theatre had to cope with some of the same things happening in modern TV: limited rehearsal, protecting copyright… there was method in his – what did you call it – madness? Who said that?

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‘Polonius, though you’ve got the words wrong. The line is…’

In what play?

‘Hamlet.’

Right again. You know your Shakespeare. Impressive.

‘Stop buttering me up. Get on with it.’

Look, all I’m saying is…

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‘What you’re saying is this Game of Thrones thing is not new because 16thC cue scripts could both keep a play secret AND let actors learn their lines. ‘

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In a nutshell… yes.

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Hamlet. Again.

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Is it? How mildly irritating of you to say so.

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‘Sorry. But, hey, not having to learn lines? I like the sound of that.’

 

You’ve not heard of a cue script roll, have you?                                                                             

‘Is that a bit like an autocue?’

Ah… yes, I suppose it is.

 

‘Now that reminds me  of a quotation: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

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That’s not Shakespeare.

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‘It’s not Game of Thrones either.’

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Gentle reader, on Players-Shakespeare.com you can read all the plays we’ve published in cue script format. Try it for yourself. And let us know how you get on. And if you want to know more about cue scripts and how to use them look out for Eliza Langland’s new e-book: ‘Shakespeare Thou Art Alive: cue scripts and open secrets.‘ Coming soon.

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Eliza Langland
Editor
Players-Shakespeare.com

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You can see all Eliza’s posts at her Shakespeare Thou Art Alive page

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If you are using, or thinking of using, Players-Shakespeare.com’s edition of Shakespeare’s plays for production rehearsals or play-reading, why don’t you ask to become a member of our Support for Playreading & Productions Closed FB group?

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If you want to know how our Shakespeare edition is developing,  ‘like’ our Facebook page, and you’ll get more detailed updates on Facebook on what’s happening.

 

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