Sunday, March 04, 2007

Clues to Acting Shakespeare

From the author's introduction:

The intention of this book is to help the working actor discover and use specific skills for acting Shakespeare.There about acting Shakespeare, but most deal with historical, philosophical, or personal approaches to the characters.They offer interpretations of these characters that are often drawn from actual performances (e.g., Antony Sher's Year of the King But for the working actor struggling with blank verse, only a few of these books are of "immediate" or practical value. Several voice studies that illustrate theunion of Shakespearean text and developed vocal skills are the most useful. When preparing to act a role, the actor must learn to handle the language of the specific play so that the character will be truthful in both intention and presentation. Heightened language, as in Shakespeare’s plays, can be difficult, and failure to handle it effectively will quickly destroy an otherwise well-intended characterization. Therefore the actor must train the voice and then learn specific skills to handle this language. Once these skills have become practice, books that talk about acting Shakespeare are very helpful for character research and analysis. That few books are available to help the working actor gain the skills necessary to handle verse is not surprising. A coach or director cannot write about this process until he or she has worked with hundreds of actors and discovered successful techniques.

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