I’m not the best with keeping to a schedule when it comes to writing but, I really wanted to write something, anything. I think that’s what I struggle with most: every time I think of something I want to write about, I always feel like it’s come out of absolutely no where and it always appears to be incredibly random! So, in an attempt to resolve this I have decided to try to and I do mean try (this is by no means a promise! ) To share something at the end of the week about anything that has happened or something I’ve learnt, anything that doesn’t actually have a category but that I would still like to write about anyway. It may not be very consistent but it’s better than not writing at all!
So, for this week I want to share something I learnt at college which I thought was fascinating. Now you may laugh at my application of the word fascinating when you see what I’m applying it to but, you have to bear in mind that my course is acting and as such this overlaps with my love of writing and Shakespeare and drama in general… and also I totally didn’t believe it at first. We all thought for a split second that our teacher was joking just to see if he could get us to write a sonnet. It turns out that he was in fact doing just this but it took us a few weeks to realise! Which is actually great. Now the thing I’m talking about is a ‘nub’ which you may or not have heard of. Just in case you haven’t, I was told in audition repertoire this week that Shakespearean actors used to create a sonnet of their own, a specific one called a nub which would be passed down through the family (as acting used to be a very family focused profession) and so each actor would have a different sonnet – which they would recite if they ever forgot their lines. ( I have now since learnt that my suspicions were correct in the sense that unfortunately Shakespearian actors did not do this, but Nubs are still a thing that exist today – especially at the school of night!) What can I say? Im guiable sometimes… and also a part of me kind of wanted it to be true!
Now, you may ask what’s so special about a nub? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s a sonnet where you have to have ‘Nub’ in the first line so that the other actors will realise you have dried, giving them time to work out where in the scene to continue from – it can be about absolutely anything but, in the second to last line it must also have the word nub, so, the other actors know that they have to jump in and save you soon. Finally, it must, must end with the words ‘Milford Haven’ so they know you have finished your brief interlude from the script, as it were.
At first we didn’t know if he was kidding initially because the story was so detailed and we questioned that surely the audience would notice if you suddley broke from the plot and delivered a sonnet with potentially no relevance to the play at all. This doubt was still not enough to clue us in and for some reason I just really love the thought and concept of it. A company who are crazy talented (who can improvise Shakespeare among other things – which is no easy feat!) called ‘The School of night’ can write a nub in 1 minute while counting aloud and backwards from 100! I mean, come on that’s just, WOW!
We were all set the task of writing our own nubs which we could use for the rest of our careers. (Aha yep, for real.) I’m going to share mine with you as, I wont need to actually use it; it was my first attempt and i’m not entirely certain that it makes sense as a story within itself, it does to me, as I wrote it but i’m not 100% that it does to anyone else annnndd here’s where I’ll probably realise that I’ve now done it wrong in some way…
Nevertheless, here goes nothing…
‘Tis but a nub which causes briefest pause.
A tale of joy and woe not yet known:
Where secrets roam the night like untold laws,
Of sincerity for all to be shown.
Wherefore a timely ending is not seen
Venture not thee purest and light of heart;
In a place where no mere mortal has been.
For ’tis a moment where the two must part
An inevitable debt which decays –
Until this subtle riddle can be solved.
The fragility of love trail blazed
Listen! a siren’s quarrel, not dissolved
Until, upon a sharply nubbed graven,
Ultimately one at Milford Haven!
If your inner love for writing compels you to give it a go, let me know in the comments below – I’d love to here them! ( In case you do and have never written a sonnet before the rhyme scheme is ABABCDCDEFEFGG & each line must be 10 syllables.)