Reading Assignment Notes
Reading Assignment Notes
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Date Created: 04/04/14
quotPlaying Shakespeare byJohn Barton Chapter 2 Using The Verse Heightened and Naturalistic Verse Overall Summary Throughout this reading it introduces Shakespeare39s literary proses he uses in his work This reading gives ways on how actorsreaders can act out and understand his work Note The examples I list are from the reading Terms 0 Iambic pentameter The alteration of light and strong stresses 0 Antithesis Term that means the setting of one word against another 0 Caesura A grammatical pause haf way through the verse ine Main Problem in playing Shakespeare how to marry the Elizabethan text and acting tradition with our modern acting tradition Important PointsReasons Why This Is A Struggle 1 The heightened language in a text has to be found by the actor and notjust taken for granted 2 A right balance has to be found between the naturalistic and heightened elements in that text Most of Shakespeare39s plays are also in verse or else very often in blank verse quotPlaying Shakespeare byJohn Barton Bank Verse is probably the very centre of the Elizabethan tradition and perhaps the most important thing in Shakespeare that an actor has to come to terms with Example The basic rhythm of blank verse goes like this De dum de dum de dum de dum de dum ten syllables with light and strong stresses alternating five light ones and five strong ones The basic norm is set up de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum and added stress is provided when that norm is broken However this rhythm approximates more closely to our everyday normal speech In short we need to understand that BLANK VERSE IS NEUTRAL Shakespeare gets his dramatic effects by the way he rings the changes on it Shakespeare39s verse ine is sometimes called an iambic pentameter What it means and what blank verse consists of is basically the alteration of light and strong stresses The iambic pentameter is the norm which Shakespeare keeps more or less going back to But extra stresses are continually provided by putting an important word in the off beat rather than the normal position Another common literary pose Shakespeare uses is an antithesis when a word is against another word Example quotTo be or not to be quotDisguise fair nature with hard favoured rage Explanation These are called antithesis The word fair is set up against hard and the word nature is set up against rage quotPlaying Shakespeare byJohn Barton Another literary prose Shakespeare uses is a caesura a grammatical pause haf way through the verse ine When that happens the verse is described as end stopped Sometimes in Shakespeare39s work there are sentences which take up fourteen or fifteen lines of verse They would be impossible to say if the verse didn39t phrase it all for us Question To Ask When readingacting out Shakespeare should you run on the line or should you not Answer Ask yourself that question and simply decide which feels better Shakespeare gives you that choice t s probably good for an actor to be aware when there are elisions because it means heshe is awake to how the verse works Of course it is argued that the old stresses are hard for the audience to follow But are they I personally believe we should use the old pronunciation partly because the rhythm of the line sounds better but partly too because in context the old pronunciation is often actually easier to say Question To Ask Back then do you think the Elizabethans didn39t pronounce their names constantly but had different pronunciations The author of this reading said no it39s really to do with the laws of metre Most poets take this license and sometimes scan a word one way and sometimes another quotPlaying Shakespeare byJohn Barton I think we should be very conscious of the verse in the rehearsal but we shouldn39t think about it in performance If you39ve got it into your system it should then work on your subconscious Two Things An Actor Should Use For Shakespeare39s Work 1 Common Sense 2 A feeling for what sounds right
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