Acting Shakespeare is Outrageous!: Playing the Bard for Beginners, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Acting Shakespeare is Outrageous!

Playing the Bard for Beginners, 1st Edition

By Herb Parker

Routledge

222 pages

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pub: 2017-07-06
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Description

Performing the work of William Shakespeare can be daunting to new actors. Author Herb Parker posits that his work is played easier if actors think of the plays as happening out of outrageous situations, and remember just how non-realistic and presentational Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed. The plays are driven by language and the spoken word, and the themes and plots are absolutely out of the ordinary and fantastic—the very definition of outrageous. With exercises, improvisations, and coaching points, Acting Shakespeare is Outrageous! helps actors use the words Shakespeare wrote as a tool to perform him, and to create exciting and moving performances.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROLOGUE: WHAT YOU MOST AFFECT

Let the Earth O’erflow

So What Do I Mean, Really, by ‘Outrageous’?

And What Do I Mean ‘Caused by Love’?

How ‘Outrageous’ Applies to Playing Shakespeare

Two Suggestions

ACT 1: SHAKSPER YOUR BFF

Who He was, What he Did and What that Means for Us Actors

Shakespeare’s Theatre

The Elizabethan Stage

Shakespeare’s Audience

The Actor’s Task

All Women’s Roles Played by Boys

Scrolls, No Scripts!

Shaksper’s "Outrageous" Plays

Summary: What This Means for Your Acting

ACT 2: HOLDING UP MIRRORS

Shakespeare as a Cold Read

Lessons Introduction

Warmup

Lesson 1: Doing

Exercise 1: Howl

Exercise 2: Sing

Exercise 3: Don’t Think About It

Exercise 4: Hop, Kneel Crawl and Hug!

Exercise 5: Wrestle, Kick, Speak!

Exercise 6: You Are Being Chased

Exercise 7: Every Line is a New Discovery

Exercise 8: Become the Words: The Queen Mab Speech

Variation: Let the Class Choose What You Become

Lesson 2: Verse

Exercise 9: Write it in Prose

Exercise 10: Tear the Words!

Exercise 11: Hang Your Verse

Exercise 12: Verb to Verb

Lesson 3: Sound

Exercise 13: Gobbledygook

Exercise 14: Duh, Hell-o, F—K!

Lesson 4: Emotion

Exercise 15: In-Motion, Not E-Motion

Exercise 16: My Cat is Dead

Exercise 17: The Last Line 6 Times

Exercise 18: Grow From the Ground Up

Exercise 19: Roll on the Floor

Exercise 20: Dueling Shakespeare

Summary

ACT 3: WORDS, WORDS, WORDS!

Thou and You

The Poetry That Doesn’t Rhyme

The Joys of Iambic Pentameter

Shared Lines

A Feminine Ending

More Tools from Shakespeare’s Arsenal

Scansion in Action

Rhymed Verse and Couplets: A Poet and Do Know It

Sonnets

Exercise 21: Write a Sonnet

Prose: How We Talk

Dag-nabbit! Shakespeare’s Made-Up Words

Summary

ACT 4: DIVERS SCHEDULES:

A FEW ITEMS PICKED UP WATCHING ACTORS DO SHAKESPEARE

Item 1: There is No Subtext in Shakespeare

Item 2: There is Never a ‘Fourth Wall’

Item 3: Size is About More than Being Big and Loud

Item 4: Play What the Scene is DOING—Not Just What the Words Mean

Item 5: Antithesis is Fighting for an Answer by Comparing Opposites

Exercise 22: Play the Antithesis

Item 6: Don’t Report, Make a Discovery!

Item 7: Leave Your Hands ALONE

Item 8: Speak a Soliloquy as if Your Life Depended upon it—Because it Does

Item 9: Pretty Speeches are About Blood and Guts

Item 10: Paint the Picture!

Exercise 23: A Pig in Slop—with the Words

Item 11: Shakespeare is Too Big for Film

Item 12: All Shakespearean Characters are Philosophers, and Poets

POSTSCRIPT:

"A very ribbon in the cap of youth."

GLOSSARY—A Listing of Common Shakespeare Terminology

PRACTICE SPEECHES for Men and Women

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RECOMMENDED READING

About the Author

Herb Parker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Performance, Theatre and Dance, with East Tennessee State University. Directing credits at ETSU include Othello, Race, The Trojan Women, Six Characters in Search of an Author (KCACTF "Excellence in Directing" Meritorious Achievement Award), Caesar 2012 (his adaptation of Julius Caesar), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, As You Like It, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (KCACTF "Excellence in Directing" Meritorious Achievement Award) and Little Shop of Horrors (also a KCACTF "Excellence in Directing" Meritorious Achievement Award recipient). Professor Parker is a long-time member of the Actors Equity Association. He is the author of A Monologue is an Outrageous Situation! How to Survive the 60-Second Audition, published by Focal Press in 2016.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PER001000
PERFORMING ARTS / Acting & Auditioning