Today I was only called for a short sweet 3-hour afternoon sesh, but plenty revelations were packed in.
When Alsemero starts to suspect Beatrice might be unfaithful, before he tests her chastity there’s a moment where he clocks her in a couple of asides with the audience. My translation of these asides into modern English were wrong! I thought he was convinced of her guilt, and needed proof to confirm it. But instead I discovered that in his mind she’s innocent until proven guilty. “The dove’s not meeker. She’s abused, questionless” - I.e. “Someone’s been screwing with her brain, poor blameless little dove.” Oh, the irony. This is way more tasty to play than what I was doing with my previous read. God, he just can’t shake that initial meeting in the temple with her. He’s so married to his idealism, to the “perfection” he seeks with this marriage. It’s really starting to feel like he’s the guy who puts everything on black and instead of cutting his losses when it lands on red, goes double or nothing.
Also, when sneaky B protests she’s afraid Alsemero’s devious drink of doom will make her ill, he goes “Heaven forbid that.” I hadn’t appreciated the implication but heaven forbid indeed! If it makes her sick instead of giving her a bunch of wild symptoms - then that means… dun dun dun…. She’s been fucking Deflores. It’s week three, I’ve read the play God knows how many times and I’m still uncovering subtext each day. Gotta love the process - and banging writing!