Shakespeare Basics

Presented by: Daniel Pearce –

Held in-person (review in-person requirements): 

In this workshop, we will explore the fundamental tools and concepts necessary for rehearsing and performing a Shakespeare play. We will begin with two assumptions. First, even if you don’t realize it, you already have everything you need to perform Shakespeare. And second, the best way to understand Shakespeare’s work is to engage with the text actively. His work is meant to be spoken out loud, shared, and performed. His language cries out to exist in the here and now, and an actor’s job is to bring these words out into this moment and time.

We will explore a series of speeches and scenes as a group, utilizing the tools that allow an actor to unlock the text and take ownership over the language. Each actor will also be invited to bring in a speech of their own to work on individually in front of the group. Finally, we will spend some time exploring how these tools can be applied to any text, classical or contemporary. By the end of this workshop you will have gained practical experience working on heightened language, a basic understanding of an actor’s main tools for rehearsing Shakespeare’s plays, including use of iambic pentameter, scansion, melody, rhythm, antithesis, pitch, and operative words, and begun the foundational work on a new classical monologue to add to your repertoire. An exciting speech coming from a place of personal truth.

For the First Day of Class: Bring a speech that you want to work on from any Shakespeare play. Please be sure to read the full play.

Prerequisite: Open to all levels, but prior acting training and experience is required.