Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guide

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 10, 2010 - Performing Arts - 288 pages
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Playing Shakespeare is the premier guide to understanding and appreciating the mastery of the world’s greatest playwright.

Together with Royal Shakespeare Company actors–among them Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, and David Suchet–John Barton demonstrates how to adapt Elizabethan theater for the modern stage. The director begins by explicating Shakespeare’s verse and prose, speeches and soliloquies, and naturalistic and heightened language to discover the essence of his characters. In the second section, Barton and the actors explore nuance in Shakespearean theater, from evoking irony and ambiguity and striking the delicate balance of passion and profound intellectual thought, to finding new approaches to playing Shakespeare’s most controversial creation, Shylock, from The Merchant of Venice. A practical and essential guide, Playing Shakespeare will stand for years as the authoritative favorite among actors, scholars, teachers, and students.

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Playing Shakespeare: an actor's guide

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Walking the boards in a play by the Bard can be one of the most rewarding and frightening experiences of an actor's life. Drawing on 35 years' experience as associate director of the Royal Shakespeare ... Read full review

Contents

The Two Traditi0nsEliza12etvan and Modern Acting
3
Using the Verse1I eightened and Naturalistic Verse
17
Language and CharacterMaeing the Words Ones Own
56
Using the ProseWby Does Shakespeare Use Prose?
83
Set Speeches and Soliloquies
106
Using the SonnetsGoing Over Some Old Ground
128
ct Tmt Isnt WJat It Seems
149
Passion and Co0lness1 Question ofBalance
167
Rehearsing the TextOrsin0 and Viola
188
Exploring a CharacterPla_ying Sh_lOk
211
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About the author (2010)

John Barton has been associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for more than thirty-five years and has directed more than fifty productions. He lives in London and conducts Shakespeare workshops throughout the U.K. and the U.S.

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