You’ve picked your first Shakespeare monologue, and you’re ready to rehearse, but where do you start? Here is step by step Shakespeare acting tips to help you break down your Shakespeare monologues to shine at your next classical acting audition.
1) Understand your Monologue
The first thing you need to do with a new Shakespeare monologue is sure you know every word in it. As much as you can, try to read a lot of Shakespeare plays. Some of the language in Shakespeare is outdated and therefore hard to understand, but the more you read Shakespeare, the more you’ll understand it, as a lot of the same words come back over and over in his plays.
2) Do your Acting Work
The next step involves doing the same work you would do if you were working on any part, be it a monologue or a scene, Shakespeare or Mamet. Read the play your Shakespeare monologue is from a few times and study the given circumstances. Explore relationships, characterization, and objectives by asking yourself a lot of questions. Here are a few examples to get started:
-Who am I? What is my character’s background, characteristics, emotional makeup?
-What is going on in the monologue? What are the given circumstances of the play?
-What do I want? How am I going to get it? What stands in my way?
-What time of day is it? What just happened before the monologue started?
3) Find a reason for speaking
If your Shakespeare monologue is part of the scene, all you need to do is think of your objective to find a reason to start speaking.
But what of all these monologues where the character is just speaking aloud to himself? These can fee unnatural to actors. After all, we don’t go around talking to ourselves.
4) Respect the Verse
Auditioning with a Shakespearean monologue means you will not only have to prove that you are a great actor, but you will also need to display the technical proficiency required to perform a play in verse or heightened prose.
Why You Should Read Shakespeare to Improve Your Life
Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers of all time. Many people shy away from reading him because they think he is too difficult to read or understand. I believe that that this is a mistake, and everyone can benefit from reading more Shakespeare.
Is Shakespeare difficult to read?
Yes, and that is exactly one reason that we should know him. By reading things that are out of our comfort zone, we become better readers and become better at understanding the complexities of the English language.
People say that Shakespeare makes up words, and this is partially right. He uses words that are frequently used as nouns as verbs or words that are usually verbs as adjectives. But he does it in a way that still adheres to the regular patterns of the English language.
Learn about the human condition:
Shakespeare’s brilliance isn’t solely due to his mastery of language. It is also in large part because he understood so intimately what it means to be a human being.
For those that have not discovered the joy of Shakespeare, you are missing out. If you don’t want to read him, at least make a point of catching a couple of his plays
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