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Shakespearean Acting: Tools and Techniques for Young Performers

Paul H. The Shakespearean Student
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(51)
Learn techniques employed by real Shakespearean actors and hone your acting skills with this 9-week course.

Class experience

This class is taught in English.
Students will learn practical methods for learning and delivering Shakespearean monologues and scenes. We will cover articulation, projection, and resonance to make the students' voices heard clearly. We will then cover the techniques of close reading- delving into the text and uncovering the details of character motivation through the study of verse and rhetoric. Further topics will include persuasive speech, poetic imagery, and using Shakespeare's verse to understand his characters. 
I have a master's degree in acting from Mary Baldwin College and another in Shakespearean dramaturgy. I have worked professionally with such Shakespearean companies as the American Shakespeare Center, The Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Tailgate Shakespeare, and Open Air Shakespeare NRV. Some of my favorite roles include Macbeth in "Macbeth", Feste in "Twelfth Night," Moth/Lysander/Snout   in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and Prince Escalus in "Romeo and Juliet."
Homework Offered
Students will be asked to study a monologue from a Shakespeare play as much as possible. Ideally, they would read the whole play, watch as many performances of the monologue as possible, and memorize it before the final class. However, as long as the students pay attention in class, take good notes, and work hard, this level of commitment is not essential. The annotations are designed to help the students in future auditions.
Assessments Offered
Students will be assessed by how well they apply the techniques discussed in each class- articulation, close reading, characterization, and use of verse and rhetoric. My assessment will consist of a frank, constructive critique of what is working with their monologue, and how they can improve upon it in the future.
Grades Offered
 1 file available upon enrollment
A handout of Shakespeare resources will be provided, as will an annotation-ready version of a Shakespeare monologue for each class member.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
The students will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform whichever Shakespearean monologue they wish. If they have no preference, I will present them with a possible suggestion from the list below, I have carefully selected monologues and scenes that do not portray violence or abuse, yet in the interest of transparency, I have included the list below to allow parents to decide whether or not they want their children to select them, with a link that allows you to read them yourself. Since performing is a personal and sometimes emotional activity, students will be given clear information about the content of each scene, and ample time afterward to discuss any issues or concerns they might have.

The list of monologues and scenes is as follows:

1. Henry VI, Part III, Act II, Scene v, King Henry: “This battle fares like to the morning's war” 


2. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, Scene I, Snout the Tinker:  “In this fair interlude...” https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=midsummer&Act=5&Scene=1&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=1998#1998

3. Hamlet, Act III, Scene I, Hamlet: "To be or not to be..."  https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=hamlet&Act=3&Scene=1&Scope=scene

4.  Macbeth, Act V, Scene v, Macbeth: "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow..." https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=macbeth&Act=5&Scene=5&Scope=scene

5. Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, Scene iii, Juliet: “My dismal scene, I needs must act alone.” https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=romeojuliet&Act=4&Scene=3&Scope=scene 

6. Helena (MND) “Through Athens I am thought…”  https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=midsummer&Act=1&Scene=1&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=237#237 


A. Henry IV Part ii, Act IV, Scene v: Henry IV and Hal: https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry4p2&Act=4&Scene=5&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=2988#2988

B. As You Like It, Act III, Scene v: Silvius and Phoebe: https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=asyoulikeit&Act=3&Scene=5&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=1659#1659 

C. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, Scene ii: Helena and Hermia-  https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=midsummer&Act=3&Scene=2&Scope=scene&LineHighlight=1260#1260

D. Henry V, Act V, Scene ii- King Henry  and Princess Katherine: https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry5&Act=5&Scene=2&Scope=scene
All sources are useful, but not required. I'll give you a complete PDF of my favorite Shakespearean acting resources on the final day of class.

1. The Shakespearean Student: http://shakespeareanstudent.wordpress.com/ This is my Shakespeare blog, which should provide you with an overview of my approach to Shakespearean text and acting.

2. The Royal Shakespeare Company: Education: https://www.rsc.org.uk/education A great resource for the plays and most famous productions of Shakespeare, from the top English Shakespearean acting company.

3. Internet Shakespeare Editions: https://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/ This is an online encyclopedia of Shakespeare, and extremely useful 

The Essential Shakespeare Handbook. by Leslie Dunton-Downer and Alan Riding. The name pretty much sums it up. This is my Shakespeare bible. It has plot summaries of all the plays, descriptions of the plot, hundreds of production photos, It’s basically a Shakespeare museum in a book. I cannot recommend it enough! Amazon review page: https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Shakespeare-Handbook-Leslie-Dunton-Downer/dp/B00DT64BB6 

Speak the Speech! By Rhona Silverbush and Sami Plotkin. The perfect resource for an auditioning actor- it has a detailed analysis of some of Shakespeare’s greatest and most famous monologues. It also provides clues to unlocking Shakespeare’s elaborate iambic pentameter.

Speaking Shakespeare by Patsy Rodenburg
This book has an air of authority; it was written by the Director of Voice at the Royal National Theatre in London. In addition to giving an excellent analysis of some of Shakespeare’s speeches, the book gives both vocal and physical exercises to improve your ability to deliver Shakespeare’s lines with body and voice. 

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(51)
I specialize in Shakespeare and Astronomy, having worked in theater for over 10 years, and for two years as a professional astronomy assistant. I teach courses in Shakespeare Appreciation and Shakespearean acting, as well as basic astronomy for... 
Group Class


for 9 classes
1x per week, 9 weeks
55 min

Completed by 3 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 13-18
4-6 learners per class

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