Secrets of Acting Shakespeare isn't a book that gently instructs. It's a passionate, yes-you-can designed to prove that anybody can act Shakespeare. By explaining how Elizabethan actors had only their own lines and not entire playscripts, Patrick Tucker shows how much these plays work by ear. Secrets of Acting Shakespeare is a book for actors trained and amateur, as well as for anyone curious about how the Elizabethan theater worked.
". . .an excellent basic guide for anyone who likes to get behind the scenes, be it the actor who performs or the student who studies Shakespeare's script as a literary text." THE SHAKESPEARE NEWSLETTERActing in Shakespeare helps actors at all levels develop the skills they need to perform in Shakespearean plays. Lessons proceed in carefully graduated steps from simple, single lines to short speeches to more difficult, sophisticated scenes. A wealth of historical information and insightful descriptions of Shakespearean times and players bring Shakespeare's work within the actor's reach. Abundant exercises build gradually in difficulty, giving student actors confidence that they can act in Shakespeare. Exercises are appropriate not only for use in the classroom but also for independent study. Actors often find Shakespearean language and customs unusual and intimidating. Acting in Shakespeare relates Shakespearean acting to real-life, contemporary situations and common acting theory, helping actors realize that performing Shakespeare is well within their grasp."Acting in Shakespeare is difficult. . . . His verse is not the language of our everyday American speech; the costumes in which he visualized his characters are not the clothing of everyday American life. Playing Shakespeare may mean living in a very different world from the one we normally inhabit." Robert Cohen, from the Preface"By book's end, students can reasonably be expected to be comfortable and confident with Shakespeare's demands. . . . [His] chapter on physicalizing Shakespeare contains a number of stimulating exercises (Cohen's strength as an acting teacher). . . . Cohen helps students apply his lessons: I can't imagine a group of students not being enthralled by Cohen's ingenious concept. . . . Acting in Shakespeare is so readily accessible and full of such "do-able" exercises that it should be a staple of period style classes for years to come." THEATRE JOURNAL
How did the actors for whom Shakespeare wrote his plays make his characters come to life, how did they convey his words? Can modern directors, actors, and even library readers of Shakespeare learn from them? Creating character and making the Elizabethan playwright’s poetry compelling for the audience is a problem which has seldom been resolved in modern times. This book demonstrates the hard course a modern actor must follow to make real and truthful the words he speaks, and the action and emotion underlying them. With examples and simple exercises, this book helps with the preparation for the great task – providing the actor with a combination that unlocks the Bard's English. Starting with how theatrical speech was understood in Renaissance England, it looks at figures of speech, the powers of persuasion, and the passion and rhythm inherent in the language.
For anyone auditioning and for students working towards any practical examination in drama, speech, communication or performing arts, this book provides practical advice on acting Shakespeare.
The renowned actor draws on his experiences with Shakespeare's plays, as both actor and director, to illuminate the challenges of staging Shakespeare's works.
Acting from Shakespeare's First Folio examines a series of techniques for reading and performing Shakespeare's plays that are based on the texts of the first ‘complete’ volume of Shakespeare's works: the First Folio of 1623. Do extra syllables in a line suggest how it might be played? Can Folio commas reveal character? Don Weingust places this work on Folio performance possibility within current understandings about Shakespearean text, describing ways in which these challenging theories about acting often align quite nicely with the work of the theories' critics. As part of this study, Weingust looks at the work of Patrick Tucker and his London-based Original Shakespeare Company, who have sought to discover the opportunities in using First Folio texts, acting techniques, and what they consider to be original Shakespearean performance methodologies. Weingust argues that their experimental performances at the Globe on Bankside have revealed enhanced possibilities not only for performing Shakespeare, but for theatrical practice in general.
The Routledge Companion to Actors' Shakespeare is a window onto how today's actors contribute to the continuing life and relevance of Shakespeare's plays. The process of acting is notoriously hard to document, but this volume reaches behind famous performances to examine the actors' craft, their development and how they engage with playtexts. Each chapter relies upon privilieged access to its subject to offer an unparalleled insight into contemporary practice. This volume explores the techniques, interpretive approaches and performance styles of the following actors: Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Judi Dench, Kate Duchene, Colm Feore, Mariah Gale, John Harrell, Greg Hicks, Rory Kinnear, Kevin Kline, Adrian Lester, Marcelo Magni, Ian McKellen, Patrice Naiambana, Vanessa Redgrave, Piotr Semak, Anthony Sher, Jonathan Slinger, Kate Valk, Harriet Walter This twin volume to The Routledge Companion to Directors' Shakespeare is an essential work for both actors and students of Shakespeare.
(Applause Books). In this book adapted from a television master class, actress Janet Suzman has crafted a superbly concise and clearly written account of how to develop fully realized characters in Shakespeare. Here she shares her poignant observations. Includes a foreword, and great photos throughout. Also available: DVD, HL00314739
Challenging our understanding of ideas about psychology in Shakespeare's time, Shakespeare's Imagined Persons proposes we should view his characters as imagined persons. A new reading of B.F. Skinner's radical behaviourism brings out how - contrary to the impression he created - Skinner ascribes an important role in human behaviour to cognitive activity. Using this analysis, Peter Murray demonstrates the consistency of radical behaviourism with the psychology of character formation and acting in writers from Plato to Shakespeare - an approach little explored in the current debates about subjectivity in Elizabethan culture. Murray also shows that radical behaviourism can explain the phenomena observed in modern studies of acting and social role-playing. Drawing on these analyses of earlier and modern psychology, Murray goes on to reveal the dynamics of Shakespeare's characterizations of Hamlet, Prince Hal, Rosalind, and Perdita in a fascinating new light.
Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London explores the intimate and dynamic relationship between acting companies and playwrights in this seminal era in English theatre history. Siobhan Keenan's analysis includes chapters on the traditions and workings of contemporary acting companies, playwriting practices, stages and staging, audiences and patrons, each illustrated with detailed case studies of individual acting companies and their plays, including troupes such as Lady Elizabeth's players, 'Beeston's Boys' and the King's Men and works by Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, Brome and Heywood. We are accustomed to focusing on individual playwrights: Acting Companies and their Plays in Shakespeare's London makes the case that we also need to think about the companies for which dramatists wrote and with whose members they collaborated, if we wish to better understand the dramas of the English Renaissance stage.
Focusing on a period (c.1577-1594) that is often neglected in Elizabethan theater histories, this study considers Shakespeare's involvement with the various London acting companies before his membership in the Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594. Locating Shakespeare in the confusing records of the early London theater scene has long been one of the many unresolved problems in Shakespeare studies and is a key issue in theatre history, Shakespeare biography, and historiography. The aim in this book is to explain, analyze, and assess the competing claims about Shakespeare's pre-1594 acting company affiliations. Schoone-Jongen does not demonstrate that one particular claim is correct but provides a possible framework for Shakespeare's activities in the 1570s and 1580s, an overview of both London and provincial playing, and then offers a detailed analysis of the historical plausibility and probability of the warring claims made by biographers, ranging from the earliest sixteenth-century references to contemporary arguments. Full chapters are devoted to four specific acting companies, their activities, and a summary and critique of the arguments for Shakespeare's involvement in them (The Queen's Men, Strange's Men, Pembroke's Men, and Sussex's Men), a further chapter is dedicated to the proposition Shakespeare's first theatrical involvement was in a recusant Lancashire household, and a final chapter focuses on arguments for Shakespeare's membership in a half dozen other companies (most prominently Leicester's Men). Shakespeare's Companies simultaneously opens up twenty years of theatrical activity to inquiry and investigation while providing a critique of Shakespearean biographers and their historical methodologies.
Shakespeare, Theory and Performance is a groundbreaking collection of seminal essays which apply the abstract theory of Shakespearean criticism to the practicalities of performance. Bringing together the key names from both realms, the collection reflects a wide range of sources and influences, from traditional literary, performance and historical criticism to modern cultural theory. Together they raise questions about the place of performance criticism in modern and often competing debates of cultural materialism, new historicism, feminism and deconstruction. An exciting and fascinating volume, it will be important reading for students and scholars of literary and theatre studies alike.
Professor Williams focuses on the classical period of German literature and theatre, when Shakespeare's plays were first staged in Germany in a relatively complete form, and when they had a potent influence on the writings of German drama and dramatic criticism.
"A workhorse of a workbook!"--Library Journal. American actors, fear Shakespeare no more! Through a series of inspiring, easy-to-follow exercises, an acclaimed director and drama coach shows both students and experienced actors how to break down the verse, support the words, understand the images, and use the text to create vibrant, living performances. This popular guide--more than TK,000 copies sold--has been revised and expanded to include the unique challenges facing teachers and their students in performing Shakespeare's works, as well as time-tested tools for overcoming these obstacles. Effective delivery, correct breathing, scansion, phrasing, structure and rhythm, caesura, and more are covered. For text analysis and character interpretation, both classical British training and American methods are explored. In addition to ongoing, long-term practice exercises, Clues to Acting Shakespeare offers a one-day brush-up section to prep actors cast to play Shakespearean roles immediately. * Long term practice exercises and quick one-day brush-ups for auditions Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.
An Actor’s Edition of Shakespeare Revisited is a book for actors, directors, professors of theatre and the general public. Each of the plays has been edited for more understandability and length. The intent of the book was to make the works more accessible without making the language modern. When audiences see a Shakespeare play, they have only one time to grasp the words as they are spoken. Audience members do not have time to look at lengthy explanations or notes about words or expressions. Therefore, this edition of these five plays, presents the plays so that audience members as well as actors can follow the plays with little difficulty. Some words have been changed to accomplish this. In certain speeches, subjects or verbs were supplied for understandability. Because Shakespeare used many pronouns, these plays make use of more nouns so that the meaning of who or what is being spoken about becomes more clear. The book also has some useful tools for the director and actors. A chart has been provided for each play that lists each character by act and scene. This can be very useful when there is a need to double cast actors. In addition, a “combination roles” page has also been added which gives suggestions for doubling parts for a smaller company. To help at rehearsals, page numbers for the beginning of each act and scene is provided on a single page for each play. Finally, each play has been broken into “beats” for the actor and the director. It is the hope of the author of this book that more people will find excitement in reading, performing, staging, or viewing Shakespeare because of the edited versions for understandability. Enjoy the plays---either reading or performing.
For the Renaissance, all the world may have been a stage and all its people players, but Shakespeare was also an actor on the literal stage. Meredith Anne Skura asks what it meant to be an actor in Shakespeare's England and shows why a knowledge of actual theatrical practices is essential for understanding both Shakespeare's plays and the theatricality of everyday life in early modern England. Despite the obvious differences between our theater and Shakespeare's, sixteenth-century testimony suggests that the experience of acting has not changed much over the centuries. Beginning with a psychoanalytically informed account of acting today, Skura shows how this intense and ambivalent experience appears not only in literal references to acting in Shakespearean drama but also in recurring narrative concerns, details of language, and dramatic strategies used to engage the audience. Looking at the plays in the context of both public and private worlds outside the theater, Skura rereads the canon to identify new configurations in the plays and new ways of understanding theatrical self-consciousness in Renaissance England. Rich in theatrical, psychoanalytic, biographical, and historical insight, this book will be invaluable to students of Shakespeare and instructive to all readers interested in the dynamics of performance.
One of a series discussing topics of interest in theatre studies from theoretical, methodological, philosophical and historical perspectives. The books are aimed at drama and theatre teachers, advanced students in schools and colleges, arts authorities, actors, playwrights, critics and directors.
Great Shakespeare Actors offers a series of essays on great Shakespeare actors from his time to ours, starting by asking whether Shakespeare himself was the first--the answer is No--and continuing with essays on the men and women who have given great stage performances in his plays from Elizabethan times to our own. They include both English and American performers such as David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, Charlotte Cushman, Ira Aldridge, Edwin Booth, Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Edith Evans, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft, Janet Suzman, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and Kenneth Branagh. Individual chapters tell the story of their subjects' careers, but together these overlapping tales combine to offer a succinct, actor-centred history of Shakespearian theatrical performance. Stanley Wells examines what it takes to be a great Shakespeare actor and then offers a concise sketch of each actor's career in Shakespeare, an assessment of their specific talents and claims to greatness, and an account, drawing on contemporary reviews, biographies, anecdotes, and, for some of the more recent actors, the author's personal memories of their most notable performances in Shakespeare roles.