Sunday, September 7, 2008

When Accents Go Bad

Anyone ever wonder why American productions of Shakespeare's plays are often performed with fake British accents?  I can understand it with the histories, sure, but why would you put on a British accent for Hamlet?  They're in Denmark, for crying out loud.

This thought struck me last night when watching a (largely entertaining) new musical of Zorro.  Anyway, this thing is set in early Los Angeles, and while some of the performers put on Spanish accents, others don't.  So they're speaking in their usual "unaccented" speech.  Which, since I'm in London, is what we Americans would refer to as "British accents."

It's seriously hard to overlook.  I mean, the villain of the piece is called "Ramon," and they put the accent on the first syllable, rather than the second.  Damn near burst out laughing the first time I heard it -- sounded like the guy was named after a cup of noodles. 

Bottom line though (she says, as the internet cafe in which she is typing has decided to close ten minutes early) is that if I have to sit here and accept British "unaccented" language for Spaniards in Los Angeles, the world damn well start accepting American "unaccented" language for Shakespeare.

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