Another great tip on speaking Shakespeare

I came across John Clancy‘s blog yesterday via a recommendation from an actor acquaintance. Scrappy Jack’s World-Wide Theatricals and Dime Museum – how could I resist – is a treasure trove of stuff, witty, well-written and full of wise saws and observations. John’s post Making Shakespeare Dull is a beauty. Here’s an extract, but please read the rest of the post.

Shakespeare used poetry to write drama, not the other way around. Since the formal, rhythmic constraints of blank verse shape the thoughts and expressions of his characters, the actor must understand and respect the rules of the verse. But neither the actor nor the director should ever be concerned primarily with the beauty of the language. Shakespeare has already created the language; your job is to make sure it is heard clearly. The creative team must be concerned with action, character, and drama. The reason Shakespeare’s plays are still performed is not because of their gorgeous language, but because of their theatrical economy, wit and intelligence. You are never reciting. You are always playing. The character is never engaged in wordplay for it’s own sake, but only to complete or initiate an action. One must accept that the characters speak in this fashion, understand the rules and governing principles of the style and then banish the idea of “poetry” and all of the word’s passive associations in order to chase and follow the actions and thoughts of the character and the play.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted

in

,

by

Comments

One response to “Another great tip on speaking Shakespeare”

  1. Pam Avatar

    Must be why I seem to ‘understand’ shakespeare instantly, it is obviously because I am following the character and their actions, not necessarily the language

    Pam’s last blog post..Anatomy picture

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *