Teach

 

Below is an alphabetical (last name) list of the interviews, with the lessons covered.  Read the topics for your curricular needs and listen to the interviews.  **We recommend the starred interviews as most valuable for actors just starting out.  For a list of topics and the interviews that cover them click here.

In addition to the interview, every interview has a link to a scansion page with footnotes and rhetorical analysis.  You can listen to the monologue and follow along on the page.  Or just click on the Speeches and Scansion under the learn & teach section at the top of any page.  Most interviews refer to line numbers for your benefit.

Jolly Abraham The Winters Tale Act 3, Scene 2  Tackling the courtroom scene Jolly discusses the ins and outs of Hermione’s plight.  In the beginning stages of rehearsals, Jolly talks about line endings and how they have changed her view of speaking Shakespeare.  She is frank in her discussion of monosyllables and talks Hermione’s stakes and pursuit of honor.
Ellen Adair  All’s Well that Ends Well  Act 2, Scene 2  Our first interview and perhaps our most analytically oriented.  We talk about Short Lines, Shared Lines, Speaking the thought, extra feet, alliteration, metaphor, repetition and end stops.  We also spend some time talking about Linklater and using the voice.  Finally we talk about end lines and whether she is a versist or a punctuationalist.
Marion Adler  Much Ado About Nothing  Act 1, Scene 1  A delightful Marion Adler describes, in detail, her process in attacking the convoluted prose spoken by Beatrice.  Equating her process to dancing, math and singing, Marion displays her abilities in a few sections from the text.  Asked about whether Shakespeare prizes Love or Honor more highly, Ms. Adler comes squarely down on the side of Love.  She also equates acting Shakespeare with musical theater and dance.
Celeste Ciulla  Julius Caesar Act 1, Scene 2  Celeste tackles such subjects as finding the  humor in Shakespeare, the power of community in theatrical productions, how to tackle difficult passages of text, whether they be grammatical construction or classical allusions.  What to do with those persnickety small words ay and oh and be.
We cover the idea of slowing down, allowing audience to follow, she talks about preparing by yourself without director.  We talk how she uses scansion and takes clues from the meter.  Finally we talk about how to make the language clear and you why you don’t have to do much more.
Ray Chambers Pericles  Ray talks about what makes a good student of acting, what challenges they have to overcome in making ideas clear.  Ray is/was also dyslexic and he spends time talking about overcoming his dylselxia.  We also spend some time talking Pericles and it’s particular brand of magic.
Celeste Ciulla: The Power of Theater  For those interested in what makes theater so magical and enduring.  A touching anecdote.
Chris Clavelli The Winter’s Tale Act 1, Scene 2 Chris dives into how his life experiences inform his choices and understanding of the roles he plays.  He also talks about dealing with long lines, the sounds of the words and not letting his emotions override the words.  He also spends time on how he learned by watching other actors.
**Louis Colaianni Romeo and Juliet Prologue Louis gives us nothing short of a master class in speaking Shakespeare.  He walks us through the images, language and meter of the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet while teaching us a simple method with which to attack Shakespeare’s text.  A must listen for any student.
Comedy v. Tragedy  Here is a semi-serious discussion of what the difference is between the two genres.  Do we get to the heart of it?  Maybe.  But we do offer up some food for thought!
Drew Cortese  Richard III Act 4, Scene 4  Diving into Richard III, Drew discusses his process in approaching a role, monosyllables, keywording and phrasing, building the language of the speech, where Richard’s rhetoric breaks down.  We also touch on how the language of the character and the other characters informs the role, embracing the absurdity of Richard’s gambits, understanding the images, inflection, rhythm and using the meter.  An all around great teaching interview.
Kelley Curran Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2; Act 2, Scene 3  Kelley explores the relationship between Hotspur and Lady Percy.  She talks the start of the rehearsal process, including table work.  Text wise, we explore what to do with questions, the long “e” sound, the open vowels of the “h” sound and alliteration as well as using specific words to highlight meaning.  Finally, Kelley talks pursuing an objective and changing the pitch of her voice for greatest effect.
Dan Daily  Henry IV, Part I  Act 5, Scene 1  Falstaff uncovered.  A fascinating exploration about how an actor keeps from judging his character negatively.  A lot of conversation about being in a company, researching a role and rhetorical questions.   Worth a listen if you are covering this play.
Jim Devita  Henry VI, Part 3;  Act 3, Scene 2:  Lots of good information from a relentless performer.  Jim spends time talking about the longest speech in Shakespeare’s canon.  We cover the idea of playing metaphors, being authentic, not generalizing when acting.  We spend time talking about training and how acting relates to sports.  With the speech, we talk about staying improvisational, playing the villain, playing emotions and how knowing the history is important.  Jim is a big advocate of how you cannot get specific enough with the thoughts behind the language.
Facing Page & Luke Forbes  Richard 3, Act 1, Scene 2  For your students who are familiar with Spark Notes No Fear Shakespeare series – here is a unique way of using it.   We discuss the differences in the language.  We discuss speaking the verse and how to handle the challenge of acting Shakespeare.  Finally, there is discussion on the Wooing Scene (Act 1, Scene 2) and how it presents a challenge both for Richard III and Lady Anne.
Grant Goodman  Twelfth Night Act 1, Scene 1  A rousing interview about Orsno’s famous speech from Twelfth Night.  Grant discusses the trickiness of the metaphors, the misunderstanding about the opening line, how to get clarity in speaking Shakespeare and what to do with an Alexandrine.  In addition, students get a window into the life of a working Actor.
Blake Hackler & Ken Schatz  The Merchant of Venice Act 2, Scene 2.  King Lear Act 3, Scene 2  Students interested in comic types must listen to this.  Both talk about the challenges involved in playing the comic roles and how they came to accept that these were the roles they were going to make a career out of.
Katie Hartke  Cymbeline Act 3, Scene 2  Katie explores how to stay in the moment while dealing with complicated repetition and interruption.  She also describes what to do with high emotions.  Finally, she gives a cogent breakd0wn of Cymbeline’s plot.
***Jeffrey C. Hawkins  The Two Gentlemen of Verona Act 2, Scene 4  Proteus monologue.  Some topics covered are: learning from watching older actors, we get really specific with scansion and it’s usefulness and using continuants vocally.  We deconstruct a two line piece of the monologue and discuss three different interpretations.  We also talk antithesis, monosyllables, punctuation and the dreaded O!  This is one of our best interviews and a keeper for a student of Acting Shakespeare.
Ty Jones  Macbeth Act 1, Scene 7  Mr. Jones discusses the future of American Theater, what makes a classic, and how Macbeth is a cautionary tale.  His performance of the speech takes on new meaning as he breaks some tricky metaphors down and tackles the big picture by focusing on the small details.
Scott Kaiser  Love’s Labor’s Won  Prologue  Scott talks in depth about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, his three books on Shakespeare – one dealing entirely in rhetoric – and his play Love’s Labor’s Won and the trickiness of creating a completely new play in rhymed, rhetoric laden verse.
**David McCann  Richard 2 Act 4 Scene 1  A must listen for students.  David is very clear in discussing working with the verse, breath, scansion and meter.  We also cover alliteration, short lines, extra feet, making choices and rhetoric.  A good primer for the beginning student from a master of Shakespeare performance.
Tyler Moss  Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2  Including a discussion of the Bad Quarto and a general history of the various publications, Tyler does a great job at fusing the various versions into one script.  We also cover the idea of paraphrasing as a tool for an actor and the differences in approach when it comes to acting Shakespearean prose versus his verse.

Nick Newlin As You Like It Act 2, Scene 1  Nick is a teaching artist who has created a thirty minute Shakespeare series – he talks about creating it, using it in the DC school system.  He also spends time talking very eloquently about how he goes about making personal choices with the speech in As You Like It.  Talks about using the dictionary in approaching the speech.  Great fun, following his thought process.

Jason O’Connell All’s Well That Ends Well Act 4, Scene 3  Jason shares his experience playing Shakespeare in Bejing.  He discusses his initial disdain for Shakespeare’s plays, and his hilarious mistreatment of a library book.  He reads Parolles speech, and explains how he builds a connection with the audience.  He also talks about how as a young actor, he found a way to connect to Shakespeare’s language.

Xavier Pacheco Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 Xavier holds forth about approaching Shakespeare’s text.  Great insight from a high school student who won the English Speaking Union Competition.  He talks transposing text, scansion, understanding the world of the play, short lines and much more.  A great listen from a current student of Shakespeare.

Erin Partin The Tempest, Act 3, Scene 3 & Various Speeches.  Erin reveals her process of working on otherworldly or inhuman characters.  We discuss shared lines and Alexandrines.  Erin displays and talks about how she uses her voice to help get meaning and character across.  We also discuss the relationship between Ariel and Prospero.

Markus Potter  Hamlet Act 2,  Scene 2  A rousing discussion of how to use your breath when acting.   We also cover paraphrasing and scanning the verse, with particular attention to Short Lines.
Valerie Clayman Pye  Learn a little about her approach to acting Shakespeare as detailed in her book: Unearthing Shakespeare.
Colin David Reese Hamlet Act 2,  Scene 2;  Very in depth discussion about using Cue Scripts in production.  Historical precedent, Patrick Tucker and Stephen Flatter are all talked about.  Other topics covered are:  Scansion, Meter, Breathing and how Shakespeare manipulates the actors using the text.  Good information on the Bodleian Library, Dulwich College archives and the historical context of Shakespeare the Playwright.
Margaret Loesser Robinson  Henry 8 Act 2, Scene 3  A rebel when it comes to traditional approaches, Margaret discusses:  Alexandrines, alliteration, freedom in the text, making choices, playable moments, Punctuation, scansion,  speaking the thought, textual clues and vocal technique.
Tom Rooney Measure for Measure Act 2, Scene 2; Great discussion of the psychology of Angelo -what causes his actions?  Talks how he gets to work on Shakespeare so much as a company member of the Stratford Festival.  Topics we cover include: speaking the verse, long lines and extra beats, Original Practice, Short Lines, Mid-line stops, Tom’s fascinating process in approaching text – including vowels and consonants and their meaning, and the repetition of one word in a line.
Ron Russell and James Wallert  Richard III Act 1, Scene 1 (Interview Part 2)  Featuring the opening speech of Richard III.  We delve into the rhetorical devices in the speech, including the use of the “ow” sound.  We discuss how Shakespeare devised the idea of tragedy.  We look at why Richard switches from the third person to the first in the middle of the speech and what happens.  Other topics discussed:  the use of humor, short lines, mid stops and the nature of Richard’s ambition.
Gareth Saxe  Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1  One of the more interesting subjects we cover is that Gareth performed Hamlet and never used a hard copy of a script.  He created his performance with a shared version of the script on line.  We talk a lot about overcoming your fears through your preparation – trying different things, scanning the verse, resourcing on line and looking at metrical variation.
Gareth Saxe: Lion King and Hamlet, Oh My!  Not only do we talk about the connection between the two plays, Gareth talks about how his experience with The Lion King informed him about acting in less commercial theater.  He talks about the how theater has primal roots and speaks a language all humans can understand.
Sonnet 128 Breakdown    A must listen for those interested in how to dissect the imagery in Shakespeare.  Charles masterfully takes you through the images and language and what they might connote in this short bit from the State of Shakespeare.
**Ben Steinfeld  Cymbeline Act 2, Scene 2  A must for any serious student from an educator, actor and producer.  Ben talks about using the verse, examining the text, choosing to speak in iambic, line endings and following the thought of the verse.  Oh, and he also talks about how to warm up!  If you have to choose one podcast to listen to, this one is it.
John Douglas Thompson  Much Ado About Nothing  Act 3, Scene 2   Hamlet Act 2, Scene 3 John makes it clear that his process includes following the thought of the verse and getting the text into his physicality in performance.  In addition we talk about, memorizing, mid stops, antithesis and metric variation.
JDT: Origin Story  If your student is wondering about a career and how to start, here is a great example.  It’s never too late when it comes to following your passion.
Curt L. Tofteland.  Richard II  Act 5, Scene 5  The founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars talks about his experiences with teaching inmates Shakespeare and compares it to teaching middle schoolers the Bard.  Full of insights into how he approaches the text and why it matters.
Eric Tucker Hamlet Act 4, Scene 4 For those looking to forge a new theater company, Eric talks about his early ventures, his aesthetic and what he aims for with his theater company, Bedlam.  Moving on to the speech, Eric talks about what is important for young actors, knowing lines, end stopping, making sense of the words and when to pause.  He also has a nice little piece of advice on dogmatic ways of approaching the text.

**Charles Tuthill  Sonnet 128  Charles is both insightful and crystal clear when it comes to working with Shakespeare.  He specifically chooses Sonnet 128 to open a discussion on acting Shakespeare in general.  Here are some of the topics covered in this wide ranging interview:

Alexandrine, alliteration, antithesis, Breath, breathing, extra feet, First Folio, iambic pentameter, making choices, Playing the thought, poetry, prose, Punctuation, pyrrhic, repetition, rhetoric, scansion, short line, speaking verse, subtext, textual clues, verse vs punctuation, vocal technique.

Lisa Wolpe   Hamlet Act 1,  Scene 2;  Wide ranging discussion from the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company.  Topics include gender bending and the historical precedent of women performing Shakespeare. Discoveries made while doing an all-female Shakespeare production.  Acting topics are thick:  staying in the moment vs. playing the emotion, Line Endings, Breath, Rhythm, Using Vowels and Consonants, Scansion and Iambic Pentameter, Working thoughts and Being Specific.  A great interview from a very learned guest.
Gabra Zackman The Taming of the Shrew Act 5, Scene 2  Start with performing outdoors.  We talk about the idea of physicalizing, nuance and metaphor, subtext and how Kate’s language changes.  Gabra spends time talking about her beginnings, good Petruchios and how we are all storytellers.

  4 Responses to “Teach”

  1. Greetings I just published two books on Shakespeare that may be helpful to those who have an intellectual approach and appreciate original ideas and rigorous argument. They are HAMLET MADE SIMPLE and UNREADING SHAKESPEARE (New English Review Press, 2013, 2015). So far as I can tell, these texts represent the finest Shakespearean criticism available. 4.7 Gold Stars on Amazon.

  2. Sounds great. Send us a link and we will post on our resources page.

  3. Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays, New English Review Press, 2013, ISBN 9780985439491

    Unreading Shakespeare, New English Review Press, 2015, ISBN 9781943003006

    by David P. Gontar, Ph.D., J.D.

    Thanks!

  4. Unreading Shakespeare is rated 5.0 gold stars on Amazon Books. The claim that it and Hamlet Made Simple are the most original and important contemporary works on Shakespeare stands uncontested. These texts should be added to all university reading lists in the field. They represent a fresh approach to Shakespeare in which his characters are revealed as models, archetypes and representatives not of doctrines and ideologies but of ourselves. They reach out to us in their language and help to equip us in the challenges of life and love.

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