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Acting Shakespeare

Trippingly on the tongue...

Fourth Quarter 2020

Week ONE:  Mon-Fri March 18-20     

Week ONE:  Due by March 20 by 11:59 pm
To begin Lesson 1, please watch the Ian McKellen video below as he discusses clarity in the verse.  Then answer the questions below.  Then watch the next video, which compares 6 or 7 Macbeths against each other. When you are finished watching take the quiz.
LESSON #1:  Due Friday, March 20


When approaching Shakespeare, work for clarity, not emotion; sense, not emotion.   "If you look after the sense, the sounds will take care of themselves."  Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen speaking

of Tomorrow and Tomorrow

and Tomorrow

Comparison of Different Macbeth's 

March March 18-20
LESSON #2:  Due Friday, March 20  no later than 11:59 pm

       ,              2             ,             ,
      She should have | died here|after;   (tri with prev)
                   ,                  ,           ,              ,            ,
      There would | have been | a time | for such | a word:
         ,                ,           ,           ,            ,       ->
      Tomor|row, and | tomor|row, and | tomor||row,
         ,             2      ,         ,                ,             ,
      Creeps | in this pet|ty pace | from day | to day,
        2       ,        ,        ,             ,            ,
      To the last | sylla|ble of | recor|ded time:
               ,            ,          ,               ,            ,
      And all | our yest|erdays,| have light|ed fools
               ,         ,          ,       ,       ,     ,        ,
      The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle,  ????
        ,       2          ,             ,           ,              ,
      Life's but a | walking | shadow,| a poor | player,
                 ,               ,              ,           ,              ,
      That struts | and frets | his hour | upon | the stage,
                ,            ,              ,        ,           ,
      And then | is heard | no more.| It is | a tale
        ,        2      ,   2     ,              ,              ,
      Told by an | idiot,| full of | sound and | fury
       ,          ,       ,
      Signi|fying | nothing. \\

Click on the above button.  It will take you to a google Drive.  You will see your name there in an individual file.  Simply drag your word doc into your file folder.  Folders are arranged alphabetically by first name.  Date and time will be stamped automatically.


The speech t the left has been scanned for sense stress.  Copy it into Word or Docs .

Read the soliloquy to yourself many times just to get familiar

Scan the soliloquy and mark it up to be attached to your report.

  1. Underline the words or phrases that divert from the Iambic.

  2. Mark all Capitalizations for words of emphasis

  3. Mark all Punctuation

  4. Mark all Caesuras

  5. Note any Feminine Endings

Put it all together and turn it in with your report - Due Date March 20 by 11:59 pm



Your report must be between 2 and 3 pages.  It will include your marked up speech and will answer the following questions:

  • What is your character's overall objective?

  • What can you do to personalize the speech?

  • What did you learn about the character in scanning the lines?

  • How did scanning the lines help you develop the build of the speech?

  • How did breaking the speech into beats help you act the speech?

  • Explain how the caesura helped you manage each line.

  • Knowing what you now now, would you like to play this character?  Why? or Why Not?


Week TWO:  Mon-Fri March 30-April 3      

​Due Date for all assignments below:  April 3 no later than 11:59 p.m.

Lesson 1:  Grace in Movement and Voice

For the past two years, we have been working together to begin developing your instrument:  Much of our work on the body and voice is based on The Alexander Technique; relaxing your body, your voice.  


  • Watch the video above.  

  • Then read this list of five foundational concepts.  

  • To the right is a questionnaire.  

  • Please discuss your own sense of strength and weaknesses as they pertain to your work.


1. Vocal Clarity & Power – Think of your voice as a hood that rises over your head from the nape of your neck, or as rising up from the top of your head. Just this simple shift in thought will open your voice up and give you vocal clarity and power! Keep this in mind and you’ll find it easier to project to the back of the conference room during your next presentation.


2. Breathing – This one is a big one, though it’s not something we usually have to actively think about. Try focusing in on your exhale, letting it extend longer than your inhale. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and then take 8 seconds to exhale. This simple exercise will lengthen and increase the efficiency of your breaths! Having more control over your breath will help you stay calm when stressed, and will make speaking for long periods of time a little easier on your body.


3. Posture – The way you carry yourself can affect the way that others perceive and react to you. If you’re constantly hunching your shoulders you physically appear smaller, and may send the message “I don’t deserve to take up as much space as my colleagues.” Try broadening your shoulders and chest, or elongating your neck and spine—you’ll project more confidence, and others will pick up on it.


4. Ease of Movement – Actors are rarely standing still, so being able to move freely is important, especially during a performance, but you can take this mentality with you to the office too. Take 5-10 minutes out of your workday to stretch and move your body! Roll your neck and shoulders, bend forward and try to touch your nose to your knees, or stretch out those wrists and forearms! These exercises are easy to do at your desk and will help loosen up any stiff muscles.


5. Feeling Grounded – This means putting both feet on the ground, trying feel each toe connecting with the floor, and bending your knees slightly. You’ll find your balance, posture, and breathing will improve with this power-stance, and your coworkers will perceive you as more confident.

Lesson 2:  Shakespeare's Theatre - Due April 3 by 12:59pm

Please watch the video below and answer the questions in the feedback form to the right:  You must watch the video below to answer the questions in the quiz...

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Quiz - AHathaway.jpg
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Lesson Three 
Making Shakespeare Entertaining

In 1978, I was artistic director of Center Repertory Theatre, located at Playhouse Square at 17th and Euclid. Just around the corner was The Hanna Theatre, where smaller national tours show were produced.  Invariably, knowing that they had nothing to do after the show and were often restless not knowing the city, we would invite the actors out for a drink afterward with our actors.   One of those invitees was Ian McKellen, who was in town performing his brilliant "ACTING SHAKESPEARE" 

I saw him perform this remarkable work and was hypnotized. Here was one of the greatest actors of the past 50 years doing things with Shakespeare that I envied. It had the effect of making me wish I hadn't wasted so much of my time NOT studying Shakespeare.  

This performance had a huge impact on me as a director and actor.


YOUR ASSIGNMENT:  Watch the play to the right.  You won't be sorry.  Afterward, write a review following the outline and questions to the right.  When done, hit SUBMIT.

Due no later than Friday, April 3 at 11:59 p.m.



Basically a review is a subjective discourse hinting on the cultural and artistic significance of the production.




To evaluate drama and theatre you must be able to recognize what was and wasn't successful on stage and recognize all the elements that contribute to the impact of a production.

Example: Papp’s production of Lear captured all the horror of a world where love can’t be counted on and where life is nasty, brutish, and appallingly short.




Even if the production does not exactly coincide with your own conception of the play, you should not feel obliged to condemn the performance outright. Be open-minded and willing to weigh pros and cons.)




Your conclusion should not merely recapitulate your thesis in a mechanical way. Rather, you should try to show why your response to the play is valid and significant, based on what you have described in the body of the paper.   Do not add any significant new material, but don’t be afraid to leave your reader with something to think about.


Advice from "The Writing Center" - University of Wisconsin