Synopses & Reviews
John Barton has been with the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1960 directing 26 of Shakespeare's plays for them. In the first half of the book, Barton attempts an objective analysis of how Shakespeare's text actually works, examining the use of verse and prose, set speeches and soliloquies, language and character. In the second half he concentrates on the more subjective areas such as irony and ambiguity, passion and coolness. The book springs from a nine-part London Weekend Television series, in which these various topics were investigated in front of the cameras by Barton and a group of well-known Shakespearean actors including Peggy Ashcroft, Tony Church, Sinead Cusack, Judi Dench, Susan Fleetwood, Mike Gwilym, Sheila Hancock, Lisa Harrow, Alan Howard, Ben Kingsley, Jane Lapotaire, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Ian McKellen, Richard Pasco, Michael Pennington, Roger Rees, Norman Rodway, Donald Sinden, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet and Michael Williams.
Useful for actors and scholars, this book will also aid teachers and students working on Shakespeare's plays in the classroom.
"What the programs and published text reveal, is the method and principle approach of acting Shakespeare which has been fundamental to the Royal Shakespeare Company since it was formed.Generations of actors joining the RSC have benefited from John Barton's teaching."—Trevor Nunn
"One of the sanest, wisest and most practical volumes I have ever read about Shakespeare."—Michael Billington
Discusses Elizabethan and modern acting traditions, looks at Shakespeare's use of verse, prose, character, and irony, and looks at the way modern actors and actresses perform Shakespeare.
John Barton's manual about how to act Shakespeare and work with his words has become a modern classic.
John Barton is Advisory Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and has directed some of the greatest Shakespeare productions of our time. His book, Playing Shakespeare, is a transcript of his televised workshops with some of our finest Shakespearean actors: Peggy Ashcroft, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart and David Suchet.
This new edition contains a DVD with 80 minutes of video featuring John Barton in conversation with Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Jane Lapotaire discussing changes in approaches to Shakespeare's text since the book first published. This edition also features a foreword by Michael Boyd.
This is a highly readable approach to understanding Shakespeare's text and unlocking the hidden stage directions and actors clues that reside in his verse. As Barton explains, "when an actor becomes aware of them they will find Shakespeare himself starts to direct them."
About the Author
John Barton is Advisory Director to the Royal Shakespeare Company.