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Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guideby John Barton
Synopses & Reviews
Now in its first American edition, 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.
The renowned British director teams up with such acclaimed actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company as Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, and Ben Kingsley to demonstrate how best to adapt Elizabethan theater for the modern stage, analyzing the language of Shakespeare's poetry and prose, the nuances of Shakespearean drama, his characters, and more. Original. 15,000 first printing.
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.
Table of Contents
The two traditions: Elizabethan and modern acting — Using the verse: heightened and naturalistic verse — Language and character: making the words one's own — Using the prose: why does Shakespeare use prose? — Set speeches and soliloquies: taking the audience with you — Using the sonnets: going over some old ground — Irony and ambiguity: text that isn't what it seems — Passion and coolness: a question of balance — Rehearsing the text: Orsino and Viola — Exploring a character: playing Shylock — Contemporary Shakespeare: a discussion — Poetry and hidden poetry: three kinds of failure.
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