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Misanthropos: 2nd Round Auditions – London UK. 13th -15th January 2018 - Pre-production.

Misanthropos: 2nd Round Auditions – London UK. 13th -15th January 2018 - Pre-production.

The best “guide” to playing Shakespeare comes from the master himself who was an actor. It is in Hamlet’s advice to the players and it cannot be said too often:

Hamlet 
Act III. Scene ii.1.

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. (…)

Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; (…)

I believe that this one speech goes to the heart of playing Shakespeare, it is one of those utterances which seems a bit simple and limited at first, but if you live with it, it begins to resonate and open doors. Moreover, it permits both the actors and the audience to follow another essential exhortation of Shakespeare: On your imaginary forces work!

Maximianno Cobra