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TOPIC: Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance

Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance 10 years 2 months ago #160

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Introduction & Preface


Preface: "The 1995-96 NEH/Folger Institute on Teaching Shakespeare Through
Performance"

During the 1995-96 academic year a group of sixteen college teachers
participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute at the
Folger Library on "Shakespeare Examined Through Performance." Directors of the
institute were Alan Dessen (University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill) and
Audrey Stanley (University of California, Santa Cruz). It was organized by
Lena Orlin (Executive Director of the Folger Institute at the Folger
Shakespeare Library and now Executive Director of the Shakespeare Association
of America). The institute met at the Folger Library one weekend each month
for nine months. The program was funded by the National Endowment for the
Humanities and by the Folger Institute.

These rigorously scheduled weekends gave participants the opportunity to meet
and work with a variety of distinguished visitors--teachers, scholars, actors,
directors, and dramaturgs. The group also worked on individual and group
projects and attended at least one performance each session.

Records of this institute are now available from SHAKSPER. (Hardy Cook will
issue instructions for retrieving them.)

A public version of the records is available at the following website:

http://www.tamut.edu/english/folgerhp/folgerhp.htm

The website offers direct access all the information posted on SHAKSPER, and a
few added extras.

On behalf of the institute participants and leaders, I am pleased to invite
you to visit the website or download our files from SHAKESPER. I am
maintaining the website, so please address any comments or suggestions you have
to me.

Tom Gandy
tom.gandy@tamut.edu.

MEMBERS OF THE 1995-96 NEH/FOLGER INSTITUTE:
"SHAKESPEARE EXAMINED THROUGH PERFORMANCE"

Cezarija Abartis, Professor of English at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota
Eric Alexander G. Binnie, Associate Professor of Drama at Hendrix College,
Arkansas
Sheila T. Cavanagh, Associate Professor of English at Emory University, Georgia
Daniel L. Colvin, Professor of English at Western Illinois University
Kurt Daw, Associate Professor of Theater and Assistant to the President at
Kennesaw State University, Georgia
Thomas J. Gandy, Professor of English at East Texas State
University--Texarkana. (This institution became Texas A&M
University--Texarkana in September, 1996)
Miranda Johnson-Haddad, Assistant Professor of English at Howard
University, Washington, D.C.
Edward Isser, Assistant Professor of Theatre at College of the Holy Cross,
Massachusetts
Robert Lane, Assistant Professor of English at North Carolina State University
Julia Matthews, Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan College,
Macon, Georgia. (Julia Matthews is now at Kennesaw State University,
Georgia)
Caroline McManus, Assistant Professor of English at California State
University, Los Angeles
Paul Nelsen, Professor of Theatre and Drama at Marlboro College, Vermont
Edward L. Rocklin, Professor of English at California State Polytechnic
University, Pomona
Ellen Summers, Associate Professor of English at Hiram College, Ohio
William Taylor, Associate Professor of English at Seattle University, Washington
Clare-Marie Wall, Associate Professor of English at California State
University, Fresno

Introduction: "The 1995-96 NEH/Folger Institute on Teaching Shakespeare
Through Performance"

Shakespeare Examined Through Performance

Preface

"Shakespeare Examined Through Performance," a pedagogical institute directed by
Professors Alan C. Dessen and Audrey Stanley and held at the Folger Shakespeare
Library in 1995-96, was funded by the Education Division of the National
Endowment for the Humanities. At this moment, it seems particularly important
to acknowledge the support without which this remarkable program would not have
been possible.

The Folger Institute, the division of the Folger Library which sponsors
advanced programs in the humanities, is in fact a collaborative venture between
the Library and thirty-three colleges and universities. Each member
institution provides financial support, in the form of an annual fee, and
intellectual guidance, through its faculty representative to the Institute's
governing board. These universities are largely located on the eastern
seaboard (with a concentration in the mid-Atlantic area), giving the Folger
Institute a strong regional base. Funding from the National Endowment for the
Humanities makes programs developed by the Folger Institute available to a
larger, national audience of college and university professors.

The Folger Institute has a strong history of sponsoring the Endowment's
traditional six- and seven-week summer humanities institutes. When in 1991 the
Folger approached the Endowment about organizing a program of comparable
intensity but with a radically different, academic-year, schedule, it was
N.E.H. officer Barbara Ashbrook who was sufficiently visionary to encourage us
to break out of the box of the usual format. As always, she read the grant
proposal carefully in draft, offered advice that immeasurably improved it,
shepherded the completed proposal through the application process at the
Endowment, and then monitored the unfolding project. But even these
contributions to the program, vital as they are, must not overshadow the
importance of that largeness of spirit with which--from the very first--she
approached a program that didn't fit the usual mold.

The result of the 1991 proposal was a 1992-93 institute on "Shakespeare and the
Languages of Performance," directed by Professor Lois Potter. A group of
seventeen college teachers of Shakespeare travelled to Washington for one
intensive weekend each month during the nine-month academic year. The format
was sufficiently successful and the outcome for pedagogical enterprise so
distinguished that the innovative schedule was adopted again in 1995-96, with
"Shakespeare Examined Through Performance."

So many ingredients are necessary for a program like this to flourish.
Directors Alan Dessen and Audrey Stanley were able to focus their vast learning
and experience on the particular issues and challenges of this project, and to
do so with an infectious zest, with conviction, and with a nurturing respect
for each participant-teacher. The collective knowledge, commitment,
resourcefulness, and generosity of the members made for a groupdynamic of
unusual energy and accomplishment. The administration and staff of the Folger
Library--especially the Reading Room staff, the Office of Special Events, the
guard staff, and the housekeeping and custodial staffs--provided support of
such skill and grace that it seemed invisible.

But without funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities none of
these talented individuals would have shared this occasion for advancing the
state of teaching at the college and university level. The reach of these
N.E.H. funds is incalculable. As was the case with "Shakespeare and the
Languages of Performance," each teacher who took part in the institute on
"Shakespeare Examined Through Performance" will practice new methods and share
new understandings with a full complement of American undergraduates. Each will
also spread the word with colleagues not only on the home campus but also at
professional conventions. And, to further widen the circle, each has
contributed to the manual which follows. The investment of the National
Endowment for the Humanities is small for such a return, but it is an
investment without which this form of national dialogue about college teaching
cannot go forward.

Lena Cowen Orlin
The Folger Institute

Shakespeare Examined Through Performance

Introduction

If a good wine needs no bush and a good play needs no epilogue, then a good
Seminar or Institute needs no introduction. However, some sense of how the
pedagogical materials that follow were generated may add to their usefulness
for a reader.

Those familiar with National Endowment for the Humanities seminars as a genre
usually think in terms of an intensive six-week session during the summer, but
this particular Institute, co-directed by Audrey Stanley and myself, has met
one weekend a month between September 1995 and May 1996 under the auspices of
the Folger Institute's Center for Shakespeare Studies at the Folger Shakespeare
Library. The sixteen participants (seven women, nine men) represent widely
varied backgrounds and interests. Five are from Theatre Departments and eleven
from English Departments (though several of the latter group have considerable
experience with performance); three are from schools in California and three
from schools in Georgia, with the rest from Arkansas, the District of Columbia,
Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and
Washington.

The wide geographical spread suggests one potential liability of the
once-a-month scheduling, for our Friday-Saturday sessions were vulnerable to
weather delays for travelers, jet lag, and academic compression (wherein one's
teaching and other duties had somehow to be completed in a three-day week).
Nonetheless, distinct advantages emerged from such scheduling. This group was
not isolated long enough together to develop "cabin fever" or the normal
internal frictions associated with extended contact; each weekend, moreover,
was a special, distinct event--to be anticipated and then relished. Most
important in pedagogical terms, teachers who encountered a new exercise or a
fresh way of approaching a scene or problem could try out their discovery
immediately (and could report back to the group at the next session).

The focus of the weekends varied considerably. One through-line was a Friday
evening Shakespeare production seen by the entire group with each participant
then writing a brief response. Those responses were duplicated Saturday
morning and were the basis for a discussion of the issues raised by that
production (and these discussions could be the liveliest moments of the month).
Also recurring were various forms of on-your-feet scene work, for under Audrey
Stanley's direction individuals worked up soliloquies, paired off in scenes,
and worked through various exercises and staging problems so as to experience
directly the kinds of assignments that could be given to their students. Other
sessions were devoted to the performance or pedagogical implications in various
historical and textual matters and to the ways scenes from productions
available on video-cassette could be used in the classroom.

A major role was also played by visitors. During October and November
personnel from Washington's The Shakespeare Theatre talked to the group:
artistic director Michael Kahn; costume designer Marina Draghici; and actresses
Helen Carey and Caitlin O'Connell. Lois Potter (U. of Delaware), who had
directed a previous NEH Institute at the Folger with a similar focus, brought
many rich materials, particularly her emphasis on writing about performance, to
the December meeting (and also arranged a very successful play reading of
Middleton's The Witch). In January Cary Mazer (U. of Pennsylvania) led several
sessions on theatre history, with a special emphasis on notions of "character,"
and Michael Friedman (U. of Scranton) did some intensive work with scenes from
All's Well (a play we were to see the next month), ending with some
observations about how such performance-oriented teaching can be linked to
scholarly research and publication. Members of the group themselves led the
various sessions in February, with those presentations the basis of the
material in this volume. March was the province of the five ACTER actors
(Gareth Armstrong, Sarah Berger, Sam Dale, Joanna Foster, and Phillip Joseph)
who shared their techniques for getting students on their feet and doing
speeches, directed participants in their prepared scenes, and presented a
five-actor Macbeth. The final visitor in April was Michael Warren (U. of
California, Santa Cruz) who concentrated primarily upon the pedagogical value
of working with plays with multiple texts but also dealt with the links between
the academic and theatrical communities.

Such a summary does not do justice to the varied events and interactions in
which participants consistently found themselves teaching each other how to be
better teachers (indeed, by the end of the academic year this "director" was
learning more than he was imparting). A great deal of discussion was then
devoted to what kind of legacy the group should leave. Various long term
notions seemed attractive (in particular a web site so that the dialogue could
continue), but two ideas emerged for the present: 1) a pedagogical
"recipe-book" in which performance-linked exercises or assignments could be
collected and classified; and 2) a collection of projects that could represent
the many interests and skills of the group. The latter items vary widely, but
our hope is that teachers looking for ways to tackle Measure for Measure or
metre or Shakespeare's language (to cite only three of the topics) will find
here both stimulation and practical tips.

The true test of any pedagogical project is not the spirit of the group itself
(which has been and remains very high) but the pay-off for students,
colleagues, and others who will benefit from what we have learned and from the
items in this collection. All of us have grown as teachers during these nine
months. We hope that that gestation period will also produce something of
value for a wider community.

Alan Dessen
May 17, 1996

On the Performance Syndrome

How can the work of the theater professional and the Shakespeare scholar
interact meaningfully in the classroom for both literature and theater students
and faculty? In co-teaching the NEH year-long Institute on "Shakespeare
Examined Through Performance" with Shakespearean scholar Alan Dessen I set
myself, as a theater professional, the task of putting 16 literature and
theater colleagues through the essence of physical voice and movement
work--basic for acting training but honed specifically to explore Shakespeare's
language and theater.

Using folio and quarto texts we closely examined the meaning, rhythm, and
imagery of the language. The basic structure of this work formed a large part
of the Summer preparation prior to the first gathering in September (see a copy
on the pages following this statement). We took Macbeth as our text since we
would be seeing this play twice during the year, and since it is a play often
taught in universities and high schools. Not only was this prior work geared
for us to hit the ground running, but to assimilate personal investigation of
the text outside the harassment of the school year. A second
acting/performance project for the second half of the year involved a scene for
two participants and was freely chosen from the Shakespeare canon. These scenes
were then available for the five British actors performing in ACTER's Macbeth
to look at and comment on.

Obviously a two to three year actor's training could not be given in what
amounted to a few days of work, but sufficient material could be presented to
give participants the means to explore the text as actors. Certain revelations
of character and meaning and relationships emerge in rehearsal that are not
always apparent in reading the page. For students this direct physical
confrontation of the scene is often more meaningful than reading but has to be
well prepared for. Literature students should not be involved in a false
acting training, but the work studied at the Institute was to encourage
faculty to set students well chosen scenes to act that reveal the essence or
the controversies of the play under study, or to show video extracts of the
plays with a performance sensibility .

Other areas that we explored included the following: framing questions prior to
the visit of theater professionals--directors, designers, actors; attending
performances and going backstage: using the other arts--collages, music, etc.
to explore the world of the plays: analyzing structure through charts:
recreating offstage scenes that are described - such as the murder of Duncan:
presenting alternative interpretations; using a summary of the spectrum of
comedy (see following pages); and looking at ways Shakespeare scholars might
contribute to a local Shakespeare production (see following pages).

The amount of work was crammed but assimilable simply because it was spread
out over nine months and work could continue between the weekend sessions. A
wonderfully rich if nerve-wracking experience for me personally! Only time
will reveal how profitable it will have been for others. A right conclusion
would be to assess this Institute after a further year of teaching.



Audrey Stanley
17 May 1996

Some Compiled Notes on Comedy

Audrey Stanley

Basis - incongruities of ordinary life ( seen with/without kindliness)

Purpose - to arouse laughter/to correct

Method and Style -

1. WIT
(smile) verbal, critical, intellectual
very rapid perception of relationships between unlike things
aware of the follies of people
separates self and sits in judgement on the rest
uses words and ideas
method = surprise
a consciously entertaining person of ready speech
& lively' intelligence - solemn at heart
wit seeks to correct in satire, sarcasm irony

Shaw: "Mankind is on the stage - the wit in front of the curtain"

2. HUMOR
(chuckle) where sympathy is mixed with comedy
(laugh) arises from unusual temperament
abnormal (in humor not deformity)
odd, bizarre (clown + reason)
in sympathy with object of laughter (Shakespeare)
includes all things -
seeing life itself as a pageant of the incongruous
we may condemn a character morally, intellectually
and yet rejoice in him or her
bound up with good nature and kindliness
laughing at our own minor misfortunes to merriment
chuckle at defects and shortcomings in all, including laughter
bond of fellowship

Meredith (1877): "On the idea of Comedy and uses of the comic spirit"
whenever people "wax out of proportion, overblown, affected, pretentious,
bombastical. hypocritical, pedantic, fantastically delicate" or are
"self-deceived or hoodwinked, given to run riot in idolatries, planning
short-sightedly, plotting dementedly; whenever they are at variance with
their professions, and violate the unwritten but perceptible laws binding
them in consideration one to another; whenever they offend sound reason,
fair justice; are false in humility or mined with conceit individually or
in the bulk; the Spirit overhead will look humanely malign and cast an
oblique light on them, followed by volleys of silvery laughter. That is the
Comic Spirit."

John Gassner,Masters of the Drama : "Moliere never roared like Jonson
/Johnson?; he simply laughed."

3. SATIRE
seeks to amend with a sense of superiority and criticism
by means of exaggeration (manners and morals)
Ludovici - "Laughter is a barring of the teeth"

4. SARCASM
(grimace) amend by inflicting pain (faults and foibles)
by means of inversion
Lampoon-bitter public attack

5. IRONY
where audience knows facts but characters don't
when more is meant than the surface meaning - but not
everyone present will understand

6. FARCE
(laugh) outrageous absurdity of situation or character
ludicrous and absurd unreal

7. BURLESQUE
caricaturing plays, books, statesmen, actors,
and people whose style is familiar
imitate or mimic the above in such a way as to make them
laughable, ridiculous, grotesque, and generally absurd
by exaggerating peculiarities
by giving a ludicrous turn to what was meant seriously

c.f. Parody, Travesty, Skit, Take-off

8. SLAPSTICK
(Belly rough, knockabout farce
laugh)

c.f. Henri Bergson, Laughter, for discussion of comedy to be found in
1. situations, 2. words, 3. character
p.s. Also add 4. visual

Walpole: "Life is a comedy to the man who thinks and a tragedy to the man
who feels."

Ionesco: "There are no alternatives; if man is not tragic, he is
ridiculous and painful, "comic" in fact, and by revealing his absurdity one
can achieve a sort of tragedy. In fact I think that man must either be
unhappy (metaphysically unhappy) or stupid." (= absurdist theatre)

SAA 1995 Annual Conference Seminar - Living in the Gap

Audrey Stanley - Notes from the Front

Background

One of the primary reasons for setting up the Shakespeare Santa Cruz Festival
was to link imaginative (cutting-edge) Shakespeare scholarship with the putting
on of his plays. C. L. "Joe" Barber, a former President of the SAA and Dean of
Humanities and Arts at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and
author (amongst other books) of Shakespeare's Festive Comedies, died in 1980
and the organization by town and gown to produce the Shakespeare festival was
in his honor. Our first home brewed season in 1952 took advantage of the
presence of Michael Warren at USC who was working with Gary Taylor on The
Division of the Kingdoms: Shakespeare's Two Versions of King Lear in which, as
you know, the thesis was argued that the Quarto and Folio represented two
separate versions of King Lear and that most edited texts conflated the two
separate versions. As the director of King Lear and on the advice of Michael
Warren I chose to direct the shorter Folio version, complete, and including all
the stage directions. Michael evolved the role of Textual Consultant for the
Festival, a scholarly task which is constant and ongoing, while I organized a
scholarly conference involving the leading actors - Tony Church and Julian
Curry of the Royal Shakespeare Company and various scholars, including Homer
"Murph" Swander.

As part of the scholarly interaction I had four scholarly "assistants" to the
production. One was Beth Goldring, who was also contributing a chapter to The
Division of the Kingdoms: and whose Ph.D. thesis was on King Lear (she knew
both Q and F versions by heart). Officially she was the dramaturg and I took
the necessary precaution of discussing the play with her before hand to
discover that she and I had much the same vision of the play' - so she took on
some of the functions of an assistant director since we only had three weeks of
intermittent rehearsals (two weeks with Tony Church). Lilian Wilds, a most
generous-hearted scholar, wanted to write an article on Tony Church's
interpretation of Lear, and assisted in any way she could - partly serving as a
sounding board for Church, who had acted Lear before but never using just the
Folio text. Annette Drew-Bear came as a recent Ph.D. graduate in Literature
who was going to her first appointment and had been told she would have to
direct a Shakespeare play and sought to learn more about Shakespeare in
performance. Both Wilds and Drew-Bear made a much needed contribution by
checking the actors' accuracy in speaking the text. Lastly, a Ph.D. student in
Literature, Briana Newton, who wanted to learn more about putting on a play,
served as an assistant to the stage manager. The following year I persuaded
Harry Berger (who argued against performance) to be the dramaturg for Macbeth.
He provided the unraveling of all the possible connotations of meaning and
direction of thought in Macbeth's soliloquies for Julian Curry, who returned to
the festival to play that role in 1983.

I will summarize the major interactions of scholarship and productions which we
have tried at Shakespeare Santa Cruz, with their spheres of influence and
inherent problems.

1. Textual Consultant - Michael Warren since 1982.

Year round to the company. This stipulation is important as it enables
scholarship to link with directors before casting and designing of the
production - in the formative time of a director's creative ideas.

Possible areas of influence:

a) Text/script.
Advising on which edition for the director and/or the company to use. Theatre
companies generally use the cheapest or most easily available. The director,
however, is likely to consult several editions, such as the Arden for the
notes. Copies of Quarto and/or Folio text(s) made available to director. To
actors? to dramaturgs? to voice coaches?

b) Sending extracts from recent scholarly articles about the play to the
incoming directors.

c) Having a discussion with the director, if possible before casting and
before designing. This can fruitfully be a one-on-one situation. At UCSC this
has also taken place through the auspices of the faculty, staff and students
Focused Research Activity (FRA) in Shakespeare and Early Drama by means of a
reading of the F or Q text and a following larger discussion with director and
the readers.

d) Sitting in at the very first meetings of a production in which the meaning
of the play is worked through by director, actors, and dramaturg, with reading
and discussion and/or modern paraphrasing, and clarifying meanings and
directions as appropriate.

e) Initially all textual cuts were submitted by directors to the textual
consultant with the major premise that the text should be performed as complete
as possible. This activity has been dropped and its function taken up by some
of the scholarly dramaturgs or consultants working with the individual play.

f) Attending rehearsals and speaking to the director or better still sending
her/him notes. Being available for actors to elucidate textual matters only if
this is in complete agreement with the director.

g) Supplying program notes on the Shakespeare plays for the season to
elucidate the background, controversies, modern connections of the plays, and
interactions of performing those particular plays together.

h) Speaker about the plays to various organizations, including the venerable
Friday Shakespeare Club, and to local teachers.

2. Dramaturg and Text Coach
c.f. Ellen O'Brien for Hamlet, Henry V, Richard III ; Mary Kay Gamel for the
Roman Season and Titus Andronicus, and also for Othello, Measure for Measure;
George Amis for Much Ado About Nothing; Judy Dunbar for The Winter's Tale
(she was also production assistant for Richard II); Margo Hendriks and Bruce
Avery for A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew; and Bruce Avery
with Sharon Bundy for All's Well That Ends Well. Since 1991 the Festival has a
professionally trained dramaturg, Catherine Sheehy, who teaches dramaturgy at
Yale and covers all three or four plays of the season. Published work has
resulted from many of these associations - and perhaps more than I have
researched.

The title dramaturg needs clarification as to function. Some large professional
theatre companies employ (in Europe) up to four serving the functions of
literary editor, educational outreach, word meaning, clarifier of the script,
assistant to the director and, by delegation, to the actors in helping to
unravel difficulties of interpretation in rehearsals. This was where the
festival (probably Ellen O'Brien) evolved the term Text Coach. This latter is
the most delicate area of cooperation - and where purely Shakespeare scholarly
dramaturgs can most easily step on the creative prerogative of the individual
director, actors and even assistant directors. However, since professionally
trained dramaturgs may lack the depth of research knowledge of the Shakespeare
scholar for a particular play, there should be room for a scholar. Often the
work of the Festival dramaturg starts with the arrival of the company but it
should, if possible, begin prior to this.

The work of the dramaturg or text coach covers similar areas (b - g) to that of
the textual consultant except the responsibility is to the one play and not to
all the plays in the festival. One additional area is a very sensitive issue -
that of changing (modernizing) words (such as "shive" to "slice" in Titus
Andronicus) and also that of cutting the text.

3. Scholarly Resource, Scholarly Guide, or Scholarly Advisor.
This title enables scholars to be part of the input into the interpretation of
a play without as much time obligation in the rehearsal period. (Literary
Editor should be avoided since it immediately suggests cutting, rewriting and
transposing of scenes or restructuring of the play). Norman 0. Brown was the
scholarly guide for Waiting for Godot in 1990. He attended many of the
discussions but none of the rehearsals.

The titles above may help bring the presence of the scholar into the discussion
and rehearsal space and allow for variance of interpretation to be discussed.
But the shortness of rehearsal time and the possible interruption of the
rehearsal flow often makes the written form of comment by advisor to the
director advisable in the form of notes and questions, with brief extracts from
pertinent articles and comments.

4. Voice Coaches/Consultants/Directors
Professional voice training and experience with actors is a prerequisite. Here
is an area where working closely with actors on the speaking of the verse form
or the prose text can reveal new interpretative approaches to the acting of the
role and ultimately to the meaning of the production. The danger lies in the
perception by the director and/or actors that they are being given
line-readings - particularly in relation to scansion of the lines. Here
Touchstone's great phrase "what if..." comes in very usefully, or "how about
trying out an emphasis on..." rather than the dramaturg/scholarly
advisor/voice director speaking her or his perceived scansion of the line.
Again the close liaison with the director is very important. But I defer to
Ellen O'Brien's expertise in this area.

Where does this leave the scholar with a distinctive interpretative
approach? Marxist, feminist, political, psychological, anthropological,
historical, etc.'
Nowhere?
Suggestion:
If you are interested to see a production follow certain interpretative lines
(and many directors will feel such an approach is too restrictive, but others
might welcome a strong through-line approach) write to the prospective director
of the play and offer your services freely with this approach enclosing a brief
look at parts of the particular Shakespeare play in the light of this
interpretation and a statement (which should be true) that you are writing
further on this topic and should like to write up a production exploring such
an interpretation.

Other areas of influence:

1. Conferences to discuss the plays in performance.
At UCSC we have found it useful to bring in outside scholars (specializing in
that particular play) to give a perspective paper (if possible after seeing the
production), and afterwards combine with the director and some actors to
discuss aspects of the production. Timing is very important as ideas presented
can influence the actors, and revivify a long-running production or deepen the
interpretation before it has become too set.

2. Institutes or Research Groups.
Perhaps one of the most long lasting in this country has been the Shakespeare
Institute at Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Founded by the
notable Stanford scholar Margery Bailey it has flourished under the direction
of Homer Swander and others. In the past it has operated mainly as a host for
serious Shakespearean study groups to visit the festival and listen to the
directors and/or actors talk about the productions while interaction with the
festival during planning and rehearsal has been minimal. But with the change
to a year round season and the appointment of actor Barry Kraft as the
dramaturg and with the institute a much more permanent structure with the
College in Ashland this may have changed.

Here at UCSC we have created the Focused Research Activity Group on Shakespeare
and Early Drama which acts as a liaison between the festival and UCSC
Shakespeare scholars. It can function as a scholarly lab for the festival
directors - and has done so with readings, discussions, invited speakers,
research topics by faculty, staff and graduate students under Michael Warren as
its initial director 1986-93, Audrey Stanley 1993-94, and Mary Kay Gamel
1994-95. Shakespeare scholars who are interested to have some connection with
their area professional theatre or Shakespeare festival might consider setting
up a similar organization.

3. Teachers Groups.
Many theatres or festivals have educational outreach programs which focus on
college or high school students and teachers - again as a Shakespeare scholar
you might be able to make contact with the theatre company via this association
- and I am thinking of the very lively organization that has existed with the
Mark Tapor Forum theatre in Los Angeles. Many such groups have school visits
by actors from the company, or using younger actors or like Shakespeare Santa
Cruz using the University theatre students create a traveling (shortened)
version of one of the Shakespeare plays that will be performed later by the
Festival.

A. Shakespearean Lectures.
Bringing in an expert on the play to speak to your college/university and
invite the director to attend/participate.

What could the SAA organization do?'

1. Make greater connections with theatre directors, designers, and actors
particularly when they are about to produce a play. Their expenses would have
to be paid. This has been done but has been dropped. The links could be both
in a major conference session as well as in a relevant seminar which should
precede the major session. There should be a careful liaison with the scholar
leading the seminar who is working on the play and who could then have prior
access (influence) to the director's ideas.

2. SAA Conference should attend a Shakespeare production and go into voluntary
small group discussion sessions afterwards, putting the comments made into a
computer. After omitting duplicate points, this compilation to be given to the
director who should later have an answering session. There should be a prior
meeting to discuss the list by the director and a scholar who will chair the
session.

3. What other suggestions do the Seminar members have? Could the SAA set up
an endowment fund to encourage greater interactions at the annual conference?
What form might these take?

A Partial Bibliography of Aspects of Theatre

Audrey Stanley

Some books on the craft of DIRECTING:

Dean/Carra, The Fundamentals of Play Directing, Holt, Rinehard, and
Winston, 1980.
Francis Hodge, Play Directing - Analysis, Communication, and Style,
Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1982.
Robert L. Benedetti, The Director At Work, Prentice Hall Inc., 1985.
David Grote, Script Analysis - Reading and Understanding the Playscript for
Production, Wadsworth Inc., 1985.
Amy S. Green, The Revisionist Stage - American Directors Reinvent the
Classics, Cambridge University Press, 1994.


Books I have found useful in looking at the HISTORY, THEORY, and ART of theatre:

The "Revels" History of Drama in English, Vol. III 1576-1613, Barroll,
Legatt, Hosley, Kernan, Methuen & Co., 1975.
Aristotle On Poetry and Style, trans G.M.A. Grube, Bobbs-Merrill, 1978.
F.M. Cornford, The Origin of Attic Comedy, ed. and intro T.H. Gaster,
Anchor, 1961.
T.H. Gaster, Thespis, Anchor, 1961.
Michel Saint-Denis, Theatre, the rediscovery of style, NY, Theatre Arts
Books, 1963.
Michel Saint-Denis, Training for the Theatre: premises and promises, NY,
Theatre Arts Books, 1982.
Peter Brook, The Empty Space, Penquin, 1968.
The Shifting Point, Methuen, 1988.
The Open Door: thoughts on acting, 1993, NY, Pantheon Bks, 1993.
Konstantin Stanislavski, An Actor Prepares, trans Hapgood, NY, T.A.B. 1963.
Building a Character, tr. Hapgood, NY, T.A.B. 1949.
Creating a Role, tr. Hapgood, NY, T.A.B. 1961.
Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre, 1968.
Zen and the Art of Archery.
H.D.F. Kitto, Form and Meaning in Drama, UP, 1960.
Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double, tr. Richards, NY, Grove Press, 1958.
Susanne Langer, Feeling and Form: A Theory of art., NY, Scribner, 1953.

Participants

Cezarija Abartis, Professor of English at St.Cloud State University, Minnesota

Eric Alexander G. Binnie, Associate Professor of Drama at Hendrix College,
Arkansas

Sheila T. Cavanagh, Associate Professor of English at Emory University, Georgia

Daniel L. Colvin, Professor of English at Western Illinois University

Kurt Daw, Associate Professor of Theater and Assistant to the President at
Kennesaw State College, Georgia

Thomas J. Gandy, Professor of English at East Texas State University,
Texarkana (This institution will be Texas A&M University-Texarkana
beginning in September, 1996.)

Miranda Johnson-Haddad, Assistant Professor of English at Howard
University, Washington, D.C.

Edward Isser, Assistant Professor of Theatre at College of the Holy Cross,
Massachusetts

Robert Lane, Assistant Professor of English at North Carolina State University

Julia Matthews, Assistant Professor of English at Wesleyan College, Macon,
Georgia

Caroline McManus, Assistant Professor of English at California State
University, Los Angeles

Paul Nelsen, Professor of Theatre and Drama at Marlboro College, Vermont

Edward L. Rocklin, Professor Of English at California State Polytechnic
University, Pomona

Ellen Summers, Professor of Theatre and Drama at Hiram College, Ohio

William Taylor, Associate Professor of English at Seattle University, Washington

Clare-Marie Wall, Associate Professor of English at California State
University, Fresno
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Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance 10 years 2 months ago #161

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Minutes

(NOTE: Audrey Stanley mailed the following assignment to institute members
during the summer. The September minutes follow the assignment.)

NEH 1995-96 INSTITUTE SHAKESPEARE EXAMINED THROUGH PERFORMANCE

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR INTERNET E-MAIL, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE, AND FAX NUMBER ON YOUR
SUBMISSIONS.

Greetings to all from Audrey Stanley.
ADD: Cowell College, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.
TEL: (408) 458-3622. FAX: (408) 459-4880.

Here is the preparation work for our first session in September. You will come
to Washington having learned several passages from Macbeth, a play we will be
working on for more than one session. The line numbers in the assignments that
follow are from the New Folger paperback editions.

Use the following exercises to:

Prepare and learn both roles in Macbeth II.ii.
Prepare and learn either Macbeth's soliloquy II.i.44-end or Lady Macbeth's
two soliloquies I.v.15-33, 45-66.

N.B. I am not proposing to load you up with this amount of preparation again. I
just wanted us to get a head-start for our first session, particularly as we
shall be seeing a production. However simplistic some of the work may feel to
you, it can lead to some interesting discoveries about the scenes and the
characters, and it begins to open out the actor's physicalization of the
language.

PART I

1. After consulting the enclosed Folio script for spelling and punctuation,
make a simple scansion of the lines, discussing in note form any problematic
lines.

2. Make brief notes on the primary l6th/17th century meanings of the words,
consulting the OED, etc., checking even those words that do not seem to have
changed their meaning.

3. Paraphrase the speeches into modern English, to cover the lull meaning.

Make a brief summary of your discoveries and questions. CIRCULATE the summary
to ALL of us in the group by AUGUST 15. Send a copy of Part 1, 1-3 to me by
AUGUST 15.

PART II

1. Keep a brief journal of the following work and your discoveries in note
form, and bring this to Washington.

2. Begin the physicalization of the words in this way:

a) Lie down on your back and relax, and check on the rhythm of your breathing.

b) Sing out a breath on a low-pitched note as AHHHHHHH, then breathe normally.
Now alternate these two about 6 times.

c) Take each word in your first speech separately and explore the separate
sounds in the word as if tasting or relishing them. Then put the sounds
together to form the complete word. Then move on to the second word, taking a
moment to relax and breathe between the words. Then the third word, etc. (This
is slow work, but persevere. You might limit yourself to 6-10 lines at a
session--or whatever feels comfortable.)

d) Immediately write down in note form in your journal any discoveries you
make about the thought, the character, his/her motives/feelings, the language,
etc.

3. Speak the 6-10 lines out loud, concentrating on the meaning.

4. Xerox a copy of the whole scene, and mark those words you wish to
stress in each line. (Keep stresses to as few words as possible--say one or two
to a line, and beware of too many personal pronouns.)

5. Mark the assonances and alliterations with different colors. Any
onomatopoeia? Write down any discoveries.

6. Circle the antitheses.

7. Differentiate or mark in some way figures of speech and imagery, and
add your own comments on these.

CIRCULATE to all of us a summary of your more interesting discoveries by AUGUST
30 or earlier, and bring your annotated Xerox copy to Washington. Send a copy
of Part II, 4-7 to me by AUGUST 30.

PART III

Learn your roles (soliloquy and dialogue) for our first session at the Folger.
Try learning the lines in this way:

1. Walk with the first thought, turn and walk in a new direction with the
change from the first thought, making variously shaped triangles or squares
with your walking. Very often the caesura will show where the thought changes,
and you can use this exercise to discover the caesuras or lack of them within
the line. Immediately note down any discoveries this brings to the
understanding of the scene or the characters.

2. In a larger space, take each speech and walk out the major thought
structures in bolder fashion, using different geometric shapes. Find out
particularly where there is a complete change of thought, and check this with
the Folio punctuation. Note down any discoveries.

3. Mark a Xerox copy with the Folio punctuation in red. Speak the speech
lying on your back, breathing on the Folio punctuation as follows:
a) take a short breath on a comma,
b) take a longer breath on the colon or semi-colon,
c) and finally a large breath on a period.
Walk about the room speaking the speeches with this breathing.

Note down any discoveries or changes in your journals, and bring them to
our first session on SEPTEMBER 29.

PART IV

FINALLY--find paintings or illustrations or reproductions or just faces (from a
painting/newspaper/magazine/ etc.) OR MAKE A COLLAGE that represents the visual
appearances of your characters, bath external and internal. BRING THESE TO
WASHINGTON together with a favorite OBJECT each of them might have. If anyone
is feeling really creative, find a modern outfit or outfits that one of your
characters might wear and bring it to our first session.

PART V

I. Look at 1 Henry IV II.iv.338-524 and III.ii.126-166.

2. Bring portable texts of Macbeth and 1 Henry IV with you to the
session on SEPTEMBER 29.

SURVIVE!

Minutes and Reflections

29-30 September 1995

by Kurt Daw

Friday, September 29

The already opened doors and beautifully prepared light breakfast were visible
symbols of the welcoming nature of the Folger when I arrived my typically
overly-anxious-few-minutes-early for the 8:45 gathering in the theater lobby
for our first session. I had an opportunity to say "hello" to a few old
friends and previous acquaintances, but concentrated on trying to put new faces
with biographies which had been so thoughtfully previously supplied. That
Audrey's advanced work had obviously already influenced us was brought home to
me when one of the group members said to me, "You're the easy one to remember
with all that rhyme and alliteration, you know, Kurt Daw from Kennesaw..." I
laughed, and for me, the ice was broken.

The process continued in a much more formal way when we gathered in the circle
of chairs on the stage of the beloved Fortune replica. After a brief
discussion about the speaking order Lena Cowen Orlin took the floor to
introduce the Folger staff and remind us of the somewhat idiosyncratic rules of
the Library. We were all duly instilled with a fear of ink-pens, open windows,
and coke machines.

Audrey Stanley and Alan Dessen then took turns introducing themselves and the
program for the year. Alan, who claims that he only has two pedagogical
stories, amused us with both of them and thereby quietly reminded us that this
is a pedagogically-based institute. Audrey hinted of things to come by
casually invoking phrases like "boot camp" and "rolling about of the floor."

Soon we got the opportunity to introduce ourselves, along with a discovery from
our previous work. I found myself sitting next to Sheila Cavanagh, who lives
and works less than a half-an-hour away from me, but whom I'd never met. This
set me to musing about why I am so grateful to be in the group. On a
day-to-day basis I find little time to do all those things that I once thought
would be my academic life. Casual conversations in graceful faculty clubs
don't exist on my campus anymore, or much of anywhere from what I gather. This
seminar, however, already allowed me to meet other scholars (like Paul, whose
articles I have faithfully read without thinking that I would sometime discuss
them with him in person) and to interact with them about substance instead of
academic policy. How nice to be in a room with fifteen teachers for something
other than a committee meeting.

My recollection is that most of us were fairly general about our "discoveries,"
playing it safe in the first round, except for Eric who I recall as committing
himself to the Folio capitalization. Nonetheless we were a talkative group,
and the dynamics began to take shape.

Having shot my mouth off and volunteered to do minutes, I find my memory
breaking down at this point, so I am taking the printed schedule as gospel and
assuming we did take our first break at this point. (We probably ought to go
ahead and set the schedule for reporters for the year, by the way, as this is
easier to do when you know in advance that you will be reporting. You can plan
ahead for note-taking, recording, etc.)

On return from break the chairs were being cleared away from the stage and it
was time to begin the real stuff. Luckily that began with something I could
handle--pulling on my toes and massaging my feet. We worked our way up the
body kneading (with an audible "k") our tight muscles. Audrey referenced this
as Litz Pisk work. I recall the discussion that the book (The Actor and His
Body) is out of print, so I was happy to see it is listed in the latest
Routledge catalogue in a Theatre Arts Books reprint.

Soon we were lying on our backs on the floor, and then curling up our spines on
counts of twenty. Shortly thereafter we were practicing stage falls from
sitting, kneeling, and finally standing positions.

At the end we were stage falling from our full height to the floor where we
were rolling around and kicking our legs in the air. I doubt that the childish
release was the point, but I liked it anyway.

The next step, as far as my hazy memory can recover, was descending down into
the dressing rooms which according to Lena we are to forget even exist to sit
in front of the mirrors with bone props (well, really cut down coffee stirrers)
holding our mouths open while we attempted to articulate a couple of pages of
sound groups. Audrey reminded us that our students often fear and dislike
Shakespeare because they are unaware of the tongue and lip energy needed to
create that gorgeous language aloud. These simple exercises got us moving our
articulators. (Julia Matthews has amusing anecdotes to tell of being a first
year conservatory student carrying a cork around on a string to accomplish this
same task.) This work is described in greater detail in Voice and the Actor by
the great RSC voice coach Cecily Berry, which Audrey referred us to for further
information.

Upon ascending back to areas which we are allowed to know about, we completed
the work with a further set of exercises designed to help us energize the
words. Swinging our arms from positions over our heads until our knuckles
nearly (or occasionally really) hit the floor, we would "whoosh" out a line or
a few words. Full, powerful voices were beginning to be heard. My mild
mannered partner, Cezarija, was suddenly transformed into a vocal superwoman.
The volume and clarity of her new voice was surprising and beautiful.

Soon after (Oh, why is this all so hazy?) we dismissed for lunch. One group
went out into the Shakespeare herb garden, but I stayed with the group in the
exhibition hall. Our lunch conversation ran the gamut, but did cover at least
a bit of substantive territory when we discussed some of the previously
submitted writings we had sent to one another. It was my own observation that
I think we came to vastly different scansion decisions, in part because I think
we have various formalized and improvised systems for scanning lines and
different understandings of the purpose of doing scansion at all. (My own
reference for this is a lovely little book called Shakespeare Aloud, which is
small and cheap enough for me to require for my students as a supplement to
their Riverside. My voice teacher friends, however, tend to favor Shakespeare
Sounded Soundly.) Ellen emerged in this conversation as having metrical
expertise, which I look forward to discussing further with her. Our discussion
was involved enough that we realized we had engrossed Alan for fifteen extra
minutes, so we hurriedly cleaned up and regathered.

This session was led by Alan, and was the most cogent and insightful discussion
of primary texts I have heard. Alan carefully traced the situation of not
having any manuscripts in Shakespeare's hand, the no longer "bad" but just
"short" quartos, the longer quartos which as best as I can tell are still
"good," and the folio. I found particularly provocative Alan's rhetorical
question, "Which would you rather have--a manuscript in Shakespeare's hand or
an official promptbook from the first performance?" Both his teaching style
and his sly sense of humor were revealed in his stated preference for a video
tape of the third performance.

Alan's handout had numerous examples of editorial challenges ranging from
puzzling misprints to edition-specific stage directions. Somehow our
discussion of Folio purism got us incongruously to "pood pastures" where we all
sensed we had better stop. The very civilized custom of afternoon tea followed,
and then we wandered off with Lena for reader registration and for a tour of
the library. Along with learning the ins-and-outs of the system for getting in
and out, we got to see almost the complete facility itself. Readers who want
to tour the vaults (which are too small for the whole group) are encouraged to
identify themselves to Lena, who will arrange for us (notice how I got my claim
in immediately) to go in smaller units. Many folks also lingered over the
pieces in the art collection. Perhaps we can talk the Institute staff into
having a curator take us on an art tour at some point.

When we arrived back at the Elizabethan Theater Audrey was on stage with a
wicked grin on her face. She had new exercises in mind. In these, we paired
off with a partner to run lines for the scene. Pressure was kept low, which I
appreciated, by being told initially that this was just someone to work lines
with, not necessarily our final partner. We ran through the speeches, and then
got to our feet. We all turned out to be capable of walking and talking
simultaneously, including Tom who was quite good at it despite having earlier
denied the possibility.

We did some very interesting work where the speaker advanced on a retreating
partner, which made the idea of actively pursuing contact with a partner
clearer to me.

The most interesting, if exhausting, work of the afternoon was a very powerful
exercise where one pair of actors restrained another speaking (shouting?) pair
who were attempting to get past them. Ed proved to be even stronger than he
looks, as I tried unsuccessfully to run over him. When we reversed our
situation, I could barely control him, a hint of the enthralling physicality
that he would bring to the performance the next day.

At the time what seemed obvious to me was the benefit of such energetic
commitment to the text. Julia commented to me that she very much appreciates
the way Audrey keeps the intellectual, physical and emotional strands all
running at once. This is where I really got that clearest.

Later I also realized that this is the point at which textual meaning really
began to be worked out collaboratively. The search for textual meaning in a
pair was fascinating, but so was the contribution of a second pair, whose
physical interactions and reactions began to shape what we were becoming.

The end point was a brief bit of rehearsal wherever we could grab space about
the room. My partner and I started improvising some "stuff" in a corner, where
Audrey insisted some interesting things were happening and urged us to keep to
the space. I liked it that Audrey was clear we were not "staging" our scenes,
but exploring them. I felt freed from a directorial perspective and really
enjoyed the time. My partner, Clare, was a courageous rehearser, and a
generous collaborator. I took it as a sign of the Folger's excellent selection
process, and Audrey's superb guidance, that we could all begin working so well
and quickly with virtual strangers. Exciting ideas were clearly being tested
all over the room. I loved the rehearsal process, but badly in need of a
shower, I was grateful for dinner break and time to slip away and think about
it all. I missed the dinner conversation, which later report has it, was
lively.

When we regathered after dinner we were in the Board Room. Rebecca had
thoughtfully brought goodies and several pitchers of ice water appeared. Alan
had a great pre-prepared tape of six Macbeth banquet scenes in a row. These ran
from the sublime to the ridiculous in my opinion, but all were valuable for
thinking about the scene. We discussed the pedagogical implications of showing
so many scenes in a later session, but at the time I thought the focus was on
our own experience in viewing, not necessarily modeling a classroom exercise.
From this perspective it was an interesting and valuable evening with the
individual expertise of our membership beginning to shine. Bill, who seems to
have a videographic equivalent of a photographic memory for Shakespeare scenes
on celluloid, particularly stood out. Audrey "pinched" my candy corn, a few
kernels of popcorn were flying in the corner, but basically we were well
behaved.

We broke up early by Folger seminar standards, with a couple of questions in
hand. We were to write no more than a page on one of the questions. (A couple
of us later found a way to write a page covering both of the questions, but
such transgressions are to be expected from a group of bright academic
overachievers...) A few folks threatened to get in some evening rehearsal, but
I think everyone eventually just got some rest and wrote.


Saturday, September 30

Our second day dawned with another coffee/tea/breakfast. I hesitate to guess
how early the staff has to arrive to get brewed coffee ready for us, but their
graciousness is much appreciated regardless of how it was accomplished. I
recognized that papers were being quietly collected all around me, and only
wished it was so easy in my own classroom. There were a few interesting
exchanges going on in my area where people were showing photographs that they
had collected for their collage. Some of these were quite stunning.

When we moved to the theater we repeated a bit of Litz Pisking, and then
started into Linklater work. We massaged each other's spines and rolled our
way up and down them.

Lying on the floor with our eyes closed we began to explore the skeleton, and
our breath. We dropped in breath, made tiny "Fs, huhs, huh-humms," and finally
words. (This work is from Freeing the Natural Voice.)

Half an hour later or so, we were on our feet and speaking to fill the space.
Many nice resonant voices were emerging from well relaxed bodies. It is hard to
image that keeping a pace like that of this weekend could be relaxing, but I
certainly found that all my stored muscle tension was melting away. I don't
think I have actually thought about being nice to my body since I began school
this year, so this was most welcome work for me.

Speaking the monologue across the expanse of the room in a whispered voice
reinforced the deep desire to communicate. Pairing off we then dragged a
partner who was restraining us toward a wall. I worked with Bob, who managed
to challenge a whole different set of muscles in me than Ed had the day before.
Now I hurt all over, including a few places (like mysterious Folger spaces)
that I didn't remember I had.

Getting ourselves to a wall we leaned at an incline, supported only by the back
of our heads. We again spoke our monologues to the general space. I had a
good deal of trouble holding on to my concentration in all that hub-bub, which
I gather is part of the idea. I found myself chanting my Macbeth lines in
unison with people across the theater from me, and doing my best to block out
Lady Macbeths nearby.

In what I thought was the best pedagogical technique of the weekend we started
walking about the room simultaneously reciting our soliloquies. On Audrey's
signal all would freeze except one individual who had been tapped. That person
would move about the space, phrase-by-phrase, making direct eye contact with
specific individuals. It was a fascinating way to sneak toward performance
without making a big deal out of it. I was grateful. So many things were
accomplished in the exercise, from getting used to eye contact to speaking
forcefully in public. One possible answer to our coverage quandary is to look
for exercises like this one where numerous objectives are accomplished all at
once.

This session was followed with the requisite gracious break, but I sensed a
difference in our conversations now. We had become much better acquainted and
discussions were less careful, and more fun.

The stacks of photocopies were beginning to appear and most folks, I noticed,
were grabbing a moment or two to read through them quickly to get their gist.

When we regathered in the theater it was for a session led by Alan. We took up
the issue of the previous night's videos and the questions we had been
addressing. I felt at a bit of a disadvantage because I had just skimmed the
surface of the essays and didn't yet know enough to see the full range of
opinions that emerged when I read them carefully later. The discussion,
however, was interesting. Many excellent suggestions came forth about the use
of video in the classroom. I was particularly pleased with the pedagogical
parts of this discussion. The time spent on visible vs. invisible ghosts and
stage preferences was fun, but ultimately I thought it was more about taste
(including my own vocally expressed preferences) than some of the other issues
taken up in this session.

I sensed the potential for a good deal of future discussion on the pedagogy of
video in the classroom. Many members of the group seemed to have a great deal
of experience using it, and in a wide variety of classroom situations. We know
enough to know something about the good and the bad sides of it. We also
seemed to have favorite video selections and techniques. I look forward to
getting into this further.

In retrospect I wish that we had found a way to spend more time on sharing our
writings from the night before, and from our preparatory assignments. Perhaps
we can find a way in a future session to set aside some time to exchange a bit
on these things. I am intrigued by many of the threads in these exchanges and
essays. I also observe than we often express ourselves in very different ways
in performance and in writing. I find this dichotomy interesting and worthy of
some attention later.

We split up for lunch, my group landing at Le Bon Caf=E9. There were severa= l
readers and staff members from the library there, as well. Wasn't it Cardinal
Newman that observed real education takes place in the dining hall? I had a
feeling I knew what he meant. Unfortunately, I had to cut short my own
participation to get back for a spot of rehearsal before we reconvened.

We were downstairs in the Board Room again for the afternoon session. Alan
spoke to us about the legalities of video usage, and addressed a few ideas
about pedagogy that we had not had time for in the morning. I found his
discussion of using both good and bad examples helpful. I also liked the
simplicity of the pause button technique, which was used to good effect.

The great afternoon discovery for me was the "Nicholas Nickleby" excerpts.
Finding a way to discuss the differences in comedy and tragedy in a way that
is not excruciatingly boring has always troubled me. This seemed a very
tangible demonstration of theory. I loved the piece. I was even intrigued by
the segmentation of the viewing into two parts--the early section which uses
technique to twist the lines, and the latter section where the play is
rewritten wholesale.

We took another break, and then gathered up in the theater. As an acting
teacher I know the tension of a class that senses an impending performance
requirement. It was wonderful, then, when Audrey gave us a preliminary
exercise of running lines with our partners (very reassuring just before we go
on) while sitting back-to-back. It was, as billed, a sensual pleasure, a kind
of back rub through vibration.

Time finally came and Audrey started our work with the disclaimer that these
were scenes in process and by giving us a viewing assignment. I don't doubt
the usefulness of the literal assignment, but I know that it helped me to focus
on something outside my own nervousness as well.

The performance order was established in a way that seemed to be based on where
we had been rehearsing. I remember much less than I wish I did about the
performances but I have a few fleeting impressions. I remember thinking about
the cleverness of Bob's dagger solution. (And his good sense at thinking ahead
to bring a dagger.) I remember the fascinating contrast of Ellen's sickly
sardonic Lady Macbeth with Julia's drunker, more frightened one immediately
after. I liked that two takes on the role could have so much in common while
still being very individual. I remember how well I thought Paul used the
space. I remember thinking that Bill-Eric had us adjusted to the conventions
of the all-male rendition very quickly, and wondering if this is how it worked
in Renaissance times. (i.e. Less of a Kabuki-like emulation of the "perfect"
woman, and more simply a matter of getting used to the convention.) I remember
the strength of Ed's performance and the great clarity of Caroline's. I recall
being struck dumb (very unusual for me) by Tom and Cezarija's revelation that
they had never before performed before an audience. Their grace under pressure
was remarkable.

I remember almost nothing of my own performance, but a great many details about
my partner's. I especially recall that looming hand hanging over my shoulder
where it had never been in any of our rehearsals. How well she knew that would
have an effect on me, and to save it for performance as a little surprise. I
learned a great deal about this scene just from trying to work it out, and more
from Clare's very intelligent exploration of it. In a brief session afterward
we all commented on how many viable options came forward in these scenes. I
don't think that I can really attempt to summarize all the things that we saw,
and all the fascinating avenues that were explored. I was reminded again,
however, of the power of performance explorations from doing this work.
Knowing the scene first-hand created in me a sense of ownership. I look
forward to next month, when I hope to try the scene using some of Shakespeare's
words.

After our debriefing we adjourned to a nice wine and cheese reception, where we
congratulated each other on our performances. I think that we came together
remarkably fast as a group, and certainly showed that we have a lot to learn
from each other.

Later that final evening the theater-going group was heading off to the Arena,
just as another small bunch of us wandered off to get a nice quiet dinner. I
felt exhausted from the intensity of the work, and exhilarated with the
accomplishment of it. I look forward to more!

In keeping with my previous experience I have compiled two short additional
pieces with these minutes. I want to again say that we may come to very
different solutions as a group than the "Potterites" did, and these pieces may
prove perfectly useless. They are included here as a way for us to think a bit
about previous solutions to record-keeping, which we may keep or reject as we
choose.

The first of these is a very short bibliography of books and articles that were
referenced in the course of our work, including some comments I made earlier in
these minutes. A great deal of our work this weekend had to do with video, and
I would like to reference those materials, but I didn't have the resources to
hunt down all the information on those. The second is a listing of materials
that might make up the "archive." For information sake, the "Potterites"
archivist, Stephen Buhler did compile a complete set of documents, but his main
activity was to create an outline that listed the documents we had gathered.
From this we were all able to compile a "personal" copy of the archive. I have
tried to create such a document for us, just so we can have a starting place
should we choose to continue.

Works Cited
(September)

Berry, Cicely. The Actor and the Text. Revised Edition. New York:
Applause Books, 1992.

Berry, Cecily. Voice and the Actor. Ist American Edition. New York:
Macmillan, 1974.

Brubaker, E.S. Shakespeare Aloud: A Guide to his Verse on Stage.
Lancaster, PA.: Brubaker, 1976.

Dessen, Alan C. Elizabethan Stage Conventions and Modern Interpreters.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Linklater, Kristin. Freeing Shakespeare's Voice. New York, New York:
Theater Communications Group, 1992.

Linklater, Kristin. Freeing the Natural Voice. New York: Drama Book
Specialists, 1975.

Pisk, Litz. The Actor and His Body. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1987.

Spain, Delbert. Shakespeare Sounded Soundly: The Verse Structure & the
Language. Santa Barbara: Garland-Clarke Editions/Capra Press, 1988.

Wills, Garry. Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare's Macbeth. New York: New
York PublicLibrary/Oxford University Press, 1995.


Archive's List
(September)

Preliminary Materials:

Participants list with brief biographies
Participants list with addresses
Audrey's five part assignment
Alan's brief assignment
Copy of assigned scenes in Folio facsimile

Assignment:

Scene and soliloquy paraphrase
Scene and soliloquy scansion
Journals
Notes on stresses, alliteration, assonance, and antitheses
Nearly 100 pages of notes from each other

Weekend materials:

September Schedule
Updated Course Program
Friday Night Video list and assignment, titled "Staging Macbeth 3.4"
Friday night assignments (16 pages)
Excerpts from "Voice and the Actor"
"Who Would Have Thought It"
"Short Assignment on Hamlet"
Excerpt from Henry IV, Part I Folio facsimile


Thoughts and Issues:

Do we want to create a syllabus exchange? Is it useful for us to bring syllabi
from classes we currently teach that touch on this subject matter?

How do we deal with coverage in our classes. How much is enough?

Is there a mechanism whereby we can spend some time discussing the essays and
assignments of the group?

Tours of the vaults and art collection?

Comments on the September Minutes

29-30 September 1995

by Clare-Marie Wall

Dear Folger Institute Companions,

After our September weekend together, it is the memories and the anticipations
of conversations with all of you, separately and in groups, that I am
treasuring. My bruises from our "easy falls" onto the Folger Theater stage
Friday morning are nearly indistinguishable now, but the sense of common
purpose and delight in the work stays strong.

These notes are short addenda to Kurt's superb narrative of the first weekend.
I too confess to having hazy impressions of the first Friday circle, since I
was trying to put names to faces, and, I again confess, adding labels of
"theater person" or "scholar" to try to make sense of the group. Before long,
as expected, those labels were subsumed into all of your individuality, and the
idea of "camps," all too familiar on the level of university governance,
disappeared. We were reminded that one can seduce a class, perhaps as a
reminder that we are ALL actors when we stand or sit in a position of authority
before students, and that we should always ask the innocent question. And the
warm-ups reminded me that whether on-stage or in class, we should be fit,
focused and open to everything.

After the lunch break (during which the picnicking group were beset by bees),
Alan the Textual Archeologist reminded us that to textual editors, "authority"
is taken to mean "authoricity," that "The norm is silence" when it comes to
stage directions, and that the drive to disambiguate can block valid theatrical
options. But then I'm sure you all have your own extensive notes on these and
other text-sessions. Let me just memorialize several phrases. To Paul, the
issue is "to ambiguate or disambiguate." Alan's pedagogical goal is "to
inoculate students with my own confusion, so I won't be alone." And so the
conversation quickly turned to pedagogy.

The suggestion was made to use the Leonato/Benedick confusion on "I will stop
your mouth" as a workshop exercise for undergraduates. Similar enactments of
different editorial cruxes would also work well. I have tended to ask students
to write about such issues; how much better for them to perform the choices,
and then discuss together what the various effects are. Other suggestions
followed. Edward suggested that asking when Gertrude dies provokes interesting
discussion. Several suggested doing student performances first, then
discussions, then video versions. Three or four should be the limit on
versions, Kurt felt.

When we turned again to acting work, I found useful the embodiment of the
scene's dynamics, when I and my partner walked toward the other on our lines,
but retreated when the other was speaking. Feeling attacked by the other's
words clarified the interplay of the whole scene, and additionally made me
listen to both my own objectives, and his. Later, working in our corner in the
Folger audience space, Kurt and I benefited from our real period doorways, the
ramp, and, for me, the semi-darkness. In fact, I would recommend to anyone
that rehearsing in the dark is a great way to take away some of the stage
fright! Also, using an unconventional space rather than a stage is freeing.
Instead of worrying about what the audience will "get," one can find out what
the characters want. I also was reminded of an old friend moved from acting
into directing when he realized that it was rehearsals he loved: he found
performances boring. The chance to keep trying things, to not worry when a
choice flops or gets stale, to keep fresh by surprising one's partner (tee
hee), is a privilege. In fact, I'd have to say that compared to the
difficulties and tensions of professional work, the joy of doing that Macbeth
scene was intense.

A very few additions about the Saturday session with Alan, all having to do the
pedagogy. (Please add to these, anyone who remembers more.) We all loved
Julia's suggestion to show scenes with the sound off, especially with our
visually expert students. Also, when watching videos in class, Caroline
suggested having different students watch different characters (singly, or in
groups), or various aspects, such as lighting, costumes, movement. They could
write quickly on what they see, or share in groups, before coming back together
as a class. We were reminded of Patrick Spottiswode's Globe workshop on the
finding of Desdemona's handkerchief (perhaps Paul and Alan could explain
further). And the dreaded coverage question reasserted itself: 4-6 plays, or
12? Do we need to do each exercise four times, or is once enough? Are we
teaching information or method? What happens to the GRE-takers in the house?

Questions for the group. What is the NCTE "Rehearsing the Audience"? Cowen's
study guide? And what do people think/feel about REALISM, in acting
training/performance, in on-stage performance, in audience expectations? Why
did Audrey want the audience to experience being voyeurs (of our scene)?

Lastly, I agree with Kurt that the FREEING of body and spirit and mind that the
weekend provided was wonderful. Sunday morning I went to the special service
at the Washington National Cathedral (an old haunt of mine, since I'm a D.C.
native), and miraculously was reaching a high E when I am usually a tenor, at
best.

And let us not forget our assignment for October. We are to bring five
important questions each for Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff, and for the costume
designer of Macbeth. Further, bring our collages, and an object for each
character. Both Macbeth and Hamlet will be our scripts, and more soliloquy
work will ensue with Audrey.

Au revoir,
Clare-Marie

Minutes and Reflections

20-21 October 1995

by Caroline McManus

Friday, October 20

Not having volunteered to serve as scribe until our opening "business" session
was underway, I can't vouch for the completeness of my recollections. I think
that Bill and Julia volunteered to serve as note-taker and commentator for the
November session. Lena usefully demystified the DC taxi system (think Zone 1)
and provided us with a somber update on the fate of the NEH. We discussed the
advisability of including visitors in our sessions and concluded as a group
that our performances should be kept for the group alone and that multiple
auditors would radically affect the intimate dynamic that has been established,
but that exceptions would be made for certain sessions and visitors. One such
visitor was Barbara Ashbrook, an NEH program officer who joined us for the
afternoon session and Friday evening performance.

Audrey's exercises followed: we lengthened our spines, spread our backs,
practiced breathing, sang lines, and (what I thought was the hit--literally--of
the morning) kicked, threw, and jabbed as we spoke the final word of each line
from our Macbeth soliloquies. We continued to work with the soliloquies,
pairing up to locate the caesuras in the lines and then forming two circles,
one for the Macbeths and one for the Lady Macbeths, in which we worked on
passing the speech's energy from one to another, passing lines and then single
words around the circle. In preparation for our afternoon session with "Lady
Macduff," we read through Macbeth 4.2.

After the usual sumptuous coffee break, Kathleen herded us back in for our text
session with Alan. I, for one, was delighted that he broke his ABH policy
(anything but Hamlet), because I teach Hamlet regularly and gleaned some
helpful ideas for assignments based on the multiple texts available. Handouts
juxtaposing three versions of the "To be or not to be" soliloquy and three
versions of the end of Act II sparked wide-ranging discussion.

Our discussion of the quarto texts generated several ideas for assignments:
Should Hamlet be given his final soliloquy? Who does have the last speech in
King Lear, Edgar or Albany, and what difference does it make? Discuss the
benefits/challenges of performing the different playtexts of Hamlet. Make a
case for the performance of the Gertrude/Horatio scene in Act 4; the inclusion
of Ophelia's lute; the Ghost's nightgown in the closet scene; both Laertes and
Hamlet leaping into the grave. Should Gertrude or Horatio be given the line
"Let her come in"? Ed Rocklin shared his "What if the Ghost came back?"
assignment: Imagine that the Ghost of Hamlet's father reappears as the body of
Hamlet is carried off. He enters, stands downstage center facing upstage and
looks at the scene. What would such a figure invite us to see by placing us in
a sense behind the eyes of the Ghost? What would his presence compel us to
remember, impel us to imagine, propel us to discover? (One could also adapt
this, asking students when and why they might bring Macbeth's witches back on
stage.)

Having partaken of box lunches in the garden (the wasps were a little slower
this time), we reconvened on stage for a session with Helen Carey ("Lady
Macbeth") and Caitlin O'Connell ("Lady Macduff"). I tried to transcribe the
subject of the questions and the main points they elicited as closely as
possible.

1) How do you prepare the audience for Lady Macbeth's madness? Helen Carey:
She'd crack, not bend. Has tried to locate stress points (seeing effect of
murder, distancing of Macbeth); uses sense of smell as spiral into breakdown;
banquet scene reveals her incipient madness as well as Macbeth's.

2) What is Lady Macduff's relationship with Ross? with Macduff?
Caitlin O'Connell: Receives news that Macduff is gone immediately
before scene begins; working through rage, hurt, sense of being betrayed.
Relationship to son shifts, as he is now man of house.

3) Do you rely on an impressionistic or text-based justification for your
interpretation?
HC: Actor strives to share overall understanding; ex. of St.
Crispian's Day speech being comprehended by marines on eve of march into
Kuwait during Gulf War.

4) What was the effect of adding the costume late in developing the role?
How did this help or hinder?
CO'C: Ease of movement necessary for Lady Macduff's fighting;
raked stage. Shorten hem and sleeves.
HC: Heels needed to be lowered to accommodate longer stride;
lacing instead of stitching sleeves enabled movement and fortuitously
echoed men's costumes; coronation scene costume altered from white
top/black skirt to all black (white background).

5) How does the Lansburgh space help or hinder performance of Macbeth, a
comparatively intimate play? How do you adjust to other theatre spaces?
HC: Folger stage accommodates small movements; Lansburgh's excellent
acoustics, space to allow greater movement.
CO'C: Tricky contrast between huge set and intimacy of mother-son dialogue
in 4.2. Importance of lighting in creating separate spaces on stage.

6) Were any lines cut in this production?
HC: A switched scene; LM's "This is the very painting of your fear" speech
in 3.4 a rhythmic cut.

7) How did you prepare the role? How did you balance psychological
realism and rhetorical, declamatory style?
HC: Prepared by reading extensively, watching films for juxtaposition of
scenic energies. Stage chemistry changes in each performance. LM does not
plan to be fiendlike. Believes she and Macbeth will bring better world;
events then trip them up, don't unfold as expected. Intimate marriage:
Macbeth turns to sources he knows will support his plan, particularly his
lady.
CO'C: Prefers not to watch other performances. Relies on chemistry with
director and co-actors. Draws on personal resources: feelings of betrayal,
urge to protect child. If an actor doesn't feel the emotion, the audience
won't.

8) Please comment on the physicalization of the interpretation.
CO'C: Extensive rehearsal with fight choreographer. Goal to tell story
through action rather than supply gratuitous violence. Lady Macduff
directs her energy toward saving remaining child. Actor must be aware of
all movements, because the audience will attach significance to anything
done on stage.
HC: Explored full possession in rehearsal; physicalized with fire, with
earth. Physicality especially important in Shakespeare in order to
communicate meaning to modern audiences.

9) How close has Lady Macbeth come to killing Duncan?
HC: Tough to stage "what-ifs." Tries to register change in LM after she
faces dead Duncan. What is not staged can be more horrific than what is.

10) How do you retain a sense of the blank verse, or do you employ more
naturalized speech rhythms?
HC: String a clothesline of the simple declarative sentence, then hang the
verbiage on it. Communicate the energy of the speech rather than specific
words.

11) Please describe the nature of Lady Macbeth's madness in the
sleepwalking scene.
HC: Utterly disjointed. Trying to get rid of smell of blood; pieces of
her former marriage, her friendship with Lady Macduff, secrecy, power. As
if her life were painted on a mirror and then shattered, and she's picking
up shards, one by one. She can't function without his support of/need for
her.

12) What do the Macbeths see in each other? What does the audience admire
about each?
HC: M a warrior, ambitious, sexually appealing in his power. It's a
dangerous relationship, each goading on the other.

13) Where are the difficulties or traps within the roles?
CO'C: Coming on for only one scene. Difficult to create a sense of
genuine relationship without ever having been seen with Macduff on stage.
Must pay attention to previous scene's energy.
HC: Making character real is a challenge. Link the Macbeths' project to
the Susan Smith tragedy--initial reaction might be of horror, incredulity,
distance, but once chain of events is traced outcome becomes more
plausible. Human tragedy result of series of small choices.

14) How does dynamic with actors and directors work?
HC: Joe Dowling encourages actors to experiment. Leaves blocking
open--movement will follow intention. Focus on what one character is
trying to get from another. Poses possibility, such as "What would happen
if you were really possessed?" Then he edits, deciding what to keep, or
clarify, or eliminate.
CO'C: Actors working collaboratively, teaching one another. Healthy
friction--trying out one another's suggestions, but challenging any
direction that doesn't work.

15) Who does Macbeth/Lady Macbeth trust?
HC: LM only trusts Macbeth. Link with Lady Macduff [?]
CO'C: Parallel between LM and Lady Macduff. Both coming to grips with
loss of husbands, but LM snaps, whereas Lady Macduff is more of a survivor.
Tries to discover how she'll get by in her scene.

16) Is this production an actors' exercise or director's concept? What
contribution does the production make to the stage history of the play?
CO'C: Director's role is like that of newspaper editor overseeing work of
reporters, urging a particular angle on a story.
HC: Best performances are seamless; if concept too obvious, play becomes
performance art rather than theatre.

17) How does the production engage the idea of Scotland?
HC: An intimate community; bloody history of succession. Link to Rob Roy,
Brave Heart.

18) What was your experience of Shakespeare when in school?
CO'C: Saw performance and was hooked. Students must see as well as read.
HC: Memorable teacher of Julius Caesar; required performance work.
Contagious enthusiasm.

Our discussion of the Shakespeare Theatre's production of Macbeth continued at
3:30, when we met with Stephen Welch (Director, Education Programs) and Mary
Ann Powell (Costume Shop Manager). I was struck anew by the degree to which
not only Shakespeare's scripts but also each production involves rehearsal,
negotiation of power politics (certainly nothing new to the directors in our
group), and the exploration of various design concepts (set, costume) within
practical constraints. Hearing about the metamorphoses of the original
concepts made the production even more intriguing. The discussion reaffirmed
the value of such assignments as having students compare and contrast two
productions, the first highly stylized, "designed" (for ex., the Shakespeare
Theatre's Macbeth) and the second bare stage (for ex., ACTER's Macbeth).

Display and discussion of collages followed. The exercise revealed the
creativity of the group (as our students sometimes say, "We didn't know we had
it in us") and prompted some self-revelation. Paul cogently observed that this
three-dimensional exploration involved internalizing the character rather than
remaining objective and distanced. This obviously will be a useful assignment
for our students, especially those who excel in visual learning rather than in
more traditional verbal skills.

Friday evening saw us at the Lansburgh, many of us doing a credible imitation
of drowned rats. The Folger staff (ever efficient) had thoughtfully arranged
for a thunderstorm to achieve the proper ambience ("It was a rough night").
Our Friday evening assignment: "Choose what you find to be a distinctive choice
by actor, director, or designers, and discuss."


Saturday, October 21

Saturday morning brought crisper weather and renewed rounds of body work
(spine-curling and uncurling and flesh melting off our bones) and sound work
(proclaiming Heh! with emphasis, envisioning our bodies as three-story
structures complete with elevators, becoming train tracks, all creative means
of exploring our range of sound). We walked around, proclaiming our
soliloquies to anyone we could get to listen to us.

We then discussed the Shakespeare Theatre's Macbeth, including such topics as
the effect of interpolated scenes on the rhythm of the play and the alteration
or deletion of lines. A useful performance-related assignment generated by the
discussion would be to have students identify the scene they feel would be the
most difficult to stage and explain why, and then brainstorm about possible
solutions (the Malcolm/Macduff scene, for example).

On Saturday afternoon, Alan showed the prayer scene from four different video
versions of Hamlet (played by Olivier, Gibson, Kline, Jacobi). He asked us to
consider the following questions: what structural analogues or echoes does the
scene suggest (ex. Pyrrhus killing Priam, Hamlet not killing Claudius)? is the
prayer scene the audience's first exposure to Claudius' conscience? is the
casting of Claudius effective? what cuts would we make in 3.3? how close does
Hamlet get to Claudius? what time period is indicated by the setting? what
music is evident?

Before our afternoon scene work, we shared the objects associated with Macbeth
and Lady Macbeth that we had brought with us. (Recent tightening of security
at US airports is perhaps less a consequence of terrorist activity than an
unprecedented increase in the number of English professors toting daggers in
their baggage and wearing small red buttons announcing "I have done the deed.")

Audrey gave us (intentionally maddening?) instructions to play against our
earlier interpretations of the Macbeth dialogue by first performing the
opposite interpretation, then switching roles, and finally returning to our
original interpretation. Our discoveries: enhanced understanding of partner's
issues, the number of transitions within a particular speech, the sheer joy of
"playing." Audrey then gave us our next assignment (developing a one-page
diagram of Henry V, marking the entrances and exits of various characters,
setting, lighting, song, dance, etc.) and encouraged us to begin thinking about
the next scene we'd like to work on.

Our final session focused on the pedagogical projects. Given time limitations,
we agreed to follow the Potterite model of having 2 or 3 people working on
issues of mutual interest. Some of the topics that were mentioned were language
exercises, the dynamics of interpretation, teaching in diverse classrooms,
gender roles and role reversal, performance issues as related to Measure, the
intersection of theatre with other arts, methodologies that ameliorate the
"coverage" problem, and the difference between film and stage productions. We
agreed to put together a calendar so that the group will know when each
participant will be using his or her week in residence. We also agreed that it
would be useful to pool our resources re. syllabi, assignments, performance
exercises, and lists of videotapes.

Works Cited (October 1995)

Bertram, Paul, and Bernice W. Kliman. The Three-Text Hamlet: Parallel
Texts of the First and Second Quartos and First Folio. NY: AMS
Press, 1991.

Dawson, Anthony. Hamlet. Shakespeare in Performance Series. Manchester
Univ. Press.

McLeod, Randal, ed. Crisis in Editing: Texts of the English Renaissance.
Papers given at the 24th Annual Conference on
Editorial Problems. University of Toronto, 4-5
November, 1988. New York: AMS Press, 1994.

Roach, Joseph R. The Player's Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting.
1985; rpt. Univ. of Michigan Press, 1993.

Robinson, Randal. Unlocking Shakespeare's Language: Help for the Teacher
and Student. NCTE, 1989.


Archives List (October 1995)

Assignments:
Collages
Objects
Questions re. "Lady Macbeth," "Lady Macduff," and design

Weekend Materials:
October schedule
Handouts juxtaposing three versions of the "To be or not to be"
soliloquy and three versions of the end of Act II
Friday night assignment (distinctive choice made by actor,
director, or designer)
Description of the group project
Excerpts from Hamlet (Q1, Q2, folio) (Alan Dessen)
Short assignment on Hamlet (Alan Dessen)
Questions for actors/designers
Shakespeare: monologue preparation (Audrey Stanley)
Participant responses to Shakespeare Theatre's Macbeth


October Session Visitors:

Barbara Ashbrook, Education Division, NEH
Helen Carey, "Lady Macbeth" in the Shakespeare Theatre's Macbeth
Caitlin O'Connell, "Lady Macduff" in the Shakespeare Theatre's Macbeth
Mary Ann Powell, Costume Shop Manager, the Shakespeare Theatre
Stephen Welch, Director, Education Programs, the Shakespeare Theatre (as of
this writing Peter Avery is serving as the Acting
Director of Education Programs)

Minutes and Reflections

17-18 November 1995

by Julia Matthews

Friday, November 17

Guests: Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre at the
Lansburgh
Lois Potter, Professor of English, University of Delaware

Productions: Twelfth Night, performed by the Shenandoah Shakespeare
Express, at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Macbeth, performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Trevor Nunn, starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. How nice to walk into the Folger lobby to the smell of fresh coffee and the greetings of friends. In preparation for Thanksgiving I felt thankful for you all (and thankful for the coffee and those nice pastries, courtesy of the gracious Institute staff). At 9:00 we gathered on-stage for a short discussion of logistical issues. We were glad to meet Lois Potter, who joined us for the weekend in preparation for her December sessions. Audrey urged us on to a discussion of our Henry V graphs and charts. We had been assigned to graph Henry or another play in such a way that each character's entrances, exits, and stage time were clearly delineated. She graciously allowed our complaints ("too many characters!") and encouraged our thoughts. We noted that the chart helped us understand the characters' stage time and their presence in the stage space. Shakespeare's juxtaposition of groups of characters and the resulting irony became clear. This made some eager to begin doubling and tripling the roles (especially after Audrey told us of a production with 11 actors; Paul noted that scholars have made/found charts of Elizabethan doubling practices). Edward suggested making a prose chart of the French scenes (not the scenes with French characters, but the action divided into scenes in the French manner, at the entrance of each new character) before making a graphic representation; both charts help to clarify the rhythm of the play and the sporadic appearances of certain characters (the Weird Sisters, the Prince in R&J). We discussed the importance of exits and entrances for practical directorial concerns. The "through-lines" of individual characters also became clear. Audrey suggested that students might be asked to follow up their charts by writing about their discoveries; the exercise is useful in helping both theatre and literature students perceive structure, and she has found it very helpful in teaching the Greek plays also. We then moved on to a discussion of our cast lists, beginning with a sampling of everyone's Henrys and Pistols. (This made us so eager to hear the rest of the casts that Rebecca kindly went off and made copies of all the lists for our subsequent delight.) The act of casting is one that students can do quickly, and invites them to invest in the play and to recognize their own interpretations. They may be asked to name the qualities that attracted them to their actors (helpful if the doddering professor doesn't know the current teen idols). The question of characters' ages can also start conversations about interpretation. A survey of some of the other plays represented in people's exercises revealed an Othello, a Twelfth Night, a Shrew, a Dream, and a couple of Macbeths. Comments about charting these other plays included a reflection on disparate scene lengths, the clarity of the various plot lines, the absence or presence of dominant characters, and the rapidity and rhythm of the action. This started an interesting conversation about the scene as a unit. Kurt commented that he had been obliged to use French scenes rather than the numbered scenes in order to make his chart. Edward noted that Jonson uses French scenes also, and Alan reminded us that no act or scene divisions appear in Shakespeare before 1610-11. However, as Bob pointed out, some scene changes are more locative than others, and the Chorus provides clear indications of the act divisions of H5. Alan noted that the stage direction "clear" appears in only three plays of Shakespeare's period. Michael Kahn arrived ready to address our questions about Henry V; his graciousness became even more notable when he admitted that it was "hell week" in rehearsal. Audrey invited him to begin by telling us his approach to directing. (I hope that the following shorthand will still be intelligible to you.) MK: might be ready for a change in approach. At start of career interested in expressing self; interesting to return now to two plays staged at beginning of career (H5, M for M). Began then with "concept." Now more inclined to start with play, read many times, let ideas stay in back of head. Close textual examination of script. (Question of editing: usually some, for reasons of personnel, economy, or sometimes dramaturgy.) Close readings lead to an understanding of Shakespeare's intentions, which then leads to the question, "how can I best present that?" While acknowledging the resources available, ask "How can I tell that story?" The choice of set is a big commitment, a "hard moment," difficult to decide on because it limits the play. MK attracted to Shakespeare's ambiguity and flexibility; set "over-defines." Less interested in implications of historical periods. Interested in characters line by line in a scene. Priority: to get actors to the point where they have to say that word. MK attributes the "clarity" of his productions to this emphasis on the specific words and sentences. Not so interested in concept. MK had a "slightly scandalous success in '68" with H5. [C.f. reviews thoughtfully provided by Paul.] That production began with a strong anti-war concept, and a cynical interpretation based on the Bishops' machinations. The production was Brechtian in some aspects, such as the use of titles. Returning to H5 now MK admitted he "can't give up some of the old production," such as the French scenes performed in French (though abbreviated, with translators alongside) in order to create the sense of the Enemy, the Other (established by use of cathurni also). Having just done H4, MK says he understands the Eastcheap characters much better now, that they are the anti-war voices of the play. For the Chorus the production uses a group of people and emphasizes the self-consciousness of acting, the awareness of pageantry within the epic scope of the play. H5 is "not as good as H4, Hamlet, Lear" -- "it's a little harder," not least because of the "damn films looming over you." His impulse to direct H5 came from the Shakespeare Theatre's cycle of history plays, and his interest in exploring H5 with the same actor who played H4. However, the first actor took a job in NYC so MK is now doing H5 with a new actor (Harry Hamlin). On this uneasy note we began to ask our questions: 1) Interest in the lesser characters? MK: very interested in them, having just done H4, especially Bardolph. Has added Falstaff's rejection scene to H5 , so it prefaces Bardolph and the Boy. Thinks originally the same actor would have doubled as Falstaff and Gower; this would justify Fluellen's mention of Falstaff later in the play. 2) Is God on the side of Henry and the English in your production? MK: God doesn't take sides; production juxtaposes the characters' beliefs with scenes of the reality of war. 3) Ideal cast size for H5? MK: 40, but doing it with 29. Doubling includes: Bishop--K of France, Fluellen--Bishop, Alice--Quickly, Nym--Le Fer, Bardolph--Bates. 4) Is Queen Isabel dispensable? MK: leaves her in; a slight but feminine presence amidst all the men of Act V. 5) What about Henry's two orders to kill the prisoners? MK: first order cut in this production, though he wouldn't have minded Henry's appearing less sympathetic because of it. 6) What cuts did you make? Is Shakespeare still Shakespeare? MK: "Sure." H5 problematic dramaturgically; this production cuts Jamy, Macmorris, among others; maybe more cuts in this production than usual, though for different reasons. Might reorder events if helpful. 7) How should audience understand discrepancies between Chorus's version of events and the events as they are enacted? MK: doesn't incline to this interpretation; doesn't see Chorus as "official version" of history. 8) How does production change with the change in leading actor? MK: actor is not transformed by director, therefore director must try to utilize whatever the actor brings to the role. In this case, Hamlin is more heroic than MK had envisioned. 9) What are your persistent questions about H5? MK: questions in resolving production with a new Henry and new conception of the part. Question of how the army lives on the stage. Henry as a strange character who makes speeches but has no conversations; question of a character devoid of personal relationships. 10) How to arrive at ground plan? MK: in this case working with regular designers, so this design is based on many conversations, and the ground plan grew out of the previous productions of R2 and H4; the plan is "fairly Elizabethan." 11) Collaboration with designers? MK: Collaboration is a major part of process. Design not hard in this case, since many elements of costume and set pulled from previous production. Directors and designers must ask "what does the play mean" and "what is the best visual means to express it?" Sometimes this is nearly impossible (Lear). Doesn't believe in "localized" space anymore; feels actors' access to the space, to entrances, exits and to the rhythm of the play are more important. 12) How to achieve the actors talking to each other in rehearsal? MK: spend a lot of time at the table, talk to each other a lot, then try to stay there. "There is no subtext in Shakespeare." Actors' paraphrases gradually reveal the need to speak Shakespeare's words rather than their inadequate glosses. Lots of time spent on versification. If actor means what she says, emphasis is usually right. Then ask listener, "What did she say to you?"; often listener has heard something else, so work on hearing meaning as well as speaking it. People don't listen carefully. Try to find meaning, not a generalized su[Video] Macbeth, performed by the Royal Shakespeare
Company, directed by Trevor Nunn, starring Ian McKellen and
Judi Dench.

How nice to walk into the Folger lobby to the smell of fresh coffee and the
greetings of friends. In preparation for Thanksgiving I felt thankful for you
all (and thankful for the coffee and those nice pastries, courtesy of the
gracious Institute staff).

At 9:00 we gathered on-stage for a short discussion of logistical issues. We
were glad to meet Lois Potter, who joined us for the weekend in preparation for
her December sessions.

Audrey urged us on to a discussion of our Henry V graphs and charts. We had
been assigned to graph Henry or another play in such a way that each
character's entrances, exits, and stage time were clearly delineated. She
graciously allowed our complaints ("too many characters!") and encouraged our
thoughts. We noted that the chart helped us understand the characters' stage
time and their presence in the stage space. Shakespeare's juxtaposition of
groups of characters and the resulting irony became clear. This made some eager
to begin doubling and tripling the roles (especially after Audrey told us of a
production with 11 actors; Paul noted that scholars have made/found charts of
Elizabethan doubling practices). Edward suggested making a prose chart of the
French scenes (not the scenes with French characters, but the action divided
into scenes in the French manner, at the entrance of each new character) before
making a graphic representation; both charts help to clarify the rhythm of the
play and the sporadic appearances of certain characters (the Weird Sisters, the
Prince in R&J). We discussed the importance of exits and entrances for
practical directorial concerns. The "through-lines" of individual characters
also became clear. Audrey suggested that students might be asked to follow up
their charts by writing about their discoveries; the exercise is useful in
helping both theatre and literature students perceive structure, and she has
found it very helpful in teaching the Greek plays also.

We then moved on to a discussion of our cast lists, beginning with a sampling
of everyone's Henrys and Pistols. (This made us so eager to hear the rest of
the casts that Rebecca kindly went off and made copies of all the lists for our
subsequent delight.) The act of casting is one that students can do quickly,
and invites them to invest in the play and to recognize their own
interpretations. They may be asked to name the qualities that attracted them
to their actors (helpful if the doddering professor doesn't know the current
teen idols). The question of characters' ages can also start conversations
about interpretation.

A survey of some of the other plays represented in people's exercises revealed
an Othello, a Twelfth Night, a Shrew, a Dream, and a couple of Macbeths.
Comments about charting these other plays included a reflection on disparate
scene lengths, the clarity of the various plot lines, the absence or presence
of dominant characters, and the rapidity and rhythm of the action. This
started an interesting conversation about the scene as a unit. Kurt commented
that he had been obliged to use French scenes rather than the numbered scenes
in order to make his chart. Edward noted that Jonson uses French scenes also,
and Alan reminded us that no act or scene divisions appear in Shakespeare
before 1610-11. However, as Bob pointed out, some scene changes are more
locative than others, and the Chorus provides clear indications of the act
divisions of H5. Alan noted that the stage direction "clear" appears in only
three plays of Shakespeare's period.

Michael Kahn arrived ready to address our questions about Henry V; his
graciousness became even more notable when he admitted that it was "hell week"
in rehearsal. Audrey invited him to begin by telling us his approach to
directing. (I hope that the following shorthand will still be intelligible to
you.)

MK: might be ready for a change in approach. At start of career interested in
expressing self; interesting to return now to two plays staged at beginning of
career (H5, M for M). Began then with "concept." Now more inclined to start
with play, read many times, let ideas stay in back of head. Close textual
examination of script. (Question of editing: usually some, for reasons of
personnel, economy, or sometimes dramaturgy.) Close readings lead to an
understanding of Shakespeare's intentions, which then leads to the question,
"how can I best present that?" While acknowledging the resources available,
ask "How can I tell that story?" The choice of set is a big commitment, a "hard
moment," difficult to decide on because it limits the play. MK attracted to
Shakespeare's ambiguity and flexibility; set "over-defines." Less interested
in implications of historical periods. Interested in characters line by line
in a scene. Priority: to get actors to the point where they have to say that
word. MK attributes the "clarity" of his productions to this emphasis on the
specific words and sentences. Not so interested in concept.

MK had a "slightly scandalous success in '68" with H5. [C.f. reviews
thoughtfully provided by Paul.] That production began with a strong anti-war
concept, and a cynical interpretation based on the Bishops' machinations. The
production was Brechtian in some aspects, such as the use of titles. Returning
to H5 now MK admitted he "can't give up some of the old production," such as
the French scenes performed in French (though abbreviated, with translators
alongside) in order to create the sense of the Enemy, the Other (established by
use of cathurni also).

Having just done H4, MK says he understands the Eastcheap characters much
better now, that they are the anti-war voices of the play. For the Chorus the
production uses a group of people and emphasizes the self-consciousness of
acting, the awareness of pageantry within the epic scope of the play. H5 is
"not as good as H4, Hamlet, Lear" -- "it's a little harder," not least because
of the "damn films looming over you." His impulse to direct H5 came from the
Shakespeare Theatre's cycle of history plays, and his interest in exploring H5
with the same actor who played H4. However, the first actor took a job in NYC
so MK is now doing H5 with a new actor (Harry Hamlin).

On this uneasy note we began to ask our questions:

1) Interest in the lesser characters?
MK: very interested in them, having just done H4, especially
Bardolph. Has added Falstaff's rejection scene to H5 , so it prefaces
Bardolph and the Boy. Thinks originally the same actor would have doubled
as Falstaff and Gower; this would justify Fluellen's mention of Falstaff
later in the play.

2) Is God on the side of Henry and the English in your production?
MK: God doesn't take sides; production juxtaposes the characters'
beliefs with scenes of the reality of war.
3) Ideal cast size for H5?
MK: 40, but doing it with 29. Doubling includes: Bishop--K of
France, Fluellen--Bishop, Alice--Quickly, Nym--Le Fer, Bardolph--Bates.
4) Is Queen Isabel dispensable?
MK: leaves her in; a slight but feminine presence amidst all the
men of Act V.
5) What about Henry's two orders to kill the prisoners?
MK: first order cut in this production, though he wouldn't have
minded Henry's appearing less sympathetic because of it.
6) What cuts did you make? Is Shakespeare still Shakespeare?
MK: "Sure." H5 problematic dramaturgically; this production cuts
Jamy, Macmorris, among others; maybe more cuts in this production than
usual, though for different reasons. Might reorder events if helpful.
7) How should audience understand discrepancies between Chorus's version
of events and the events as they are enacted?
MK: doesn't incline to this interpretation; doesn't see Chorus as
"official version" of history.
8) How does production change with the change in leading actor?
MK: actor is not transformed by director, therefore director must
try to utilize whatever the actor brings to the role. In this case, Hamlin
is more heroic than MK had envisioned.
9) What are your persistent questions about H5?
MK: questions in resolving production with a new Henry and new
conception of the part. Question of how the army lives on the stage.
Henry as a strange character who makes speeches but has no conversations;
question of a character devoid of personal relationships.
10) How to arrive at ground plan?
MK: in this case working with regular designers, so this design is
based on many conversations, and the ground plan grew out of the previous
productions of R2 and H4; the plan is "fairly Elizabethan."
11) Collaboration with designers?
MK: Collaboration is a major part of process. Design not hard in
this case, since many elements of costume and set pulled from previous
production. Directors and designers must ask "what does the play mean" and
"what is the best visual means to express it?" Sometimes this is nearly
impossible (Lear). Doesn't believe in "localized" space anymore; feels
actors' access to the space, to entrances, exits and to the rhythm of the
play are more important.
12) How to achieve the actors talking to each other in rehearsal?
MK: spend a lot of time at the table, talk to each other a lot,
then try to stay there. "There is no subtext in Shakespeare." Actors'
paraphrases gradually reveal the need to speak Shakespeare's words rather
than their inadequate glosses. Lots of time spent on versification. If
actor means what she says, emphasis is usually right. Then ask listener,
"What did she say to you?"; often listener has heard something else, so
work on hearing meaning as well as speaking it. People don't listen
carefully. Try to find meaning, not a generalized su
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Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance 10 years 2 months ago #162

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Teaching Exercises

RECIPES:

(NOTE: Following is a series of activities that were used during the institute,
along with some others that members have used with their classes. Where
possible, the source of each activity is listed, but some have been circulating
among drama teachers, actors, and directors for some time.)

IMPORTANT: These files will probably appear awkwardly formatted on your
screen. To view the recipe files in a better format and with an index, please
use your web browser to contact the Performance Institute site at:

http://www.tamut.edu/english/folgerhp/folgerhp.htm

1. GENERAL HEADING: Writing Prompts

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Graffiti Exercise"

3. GOALS: To provide a safe space in which students can debate the opinions
of a play.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Groups of 10 or larger.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Prepare sheets of paper, each with a different
quotation from the play which clearly articulates a provocative opinion or
position of a character. There should be enough for two-thirds of the class.
Students need pens, pencils, and should sit in a circle.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 10 minutes writing; 20-30 minutes discussion.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Each piece of paper represents a bathroom door,
and students are invited to respond anonymously in the form of graffiti to the
words that they see already on the door. Students must be instructed to write
quickly, spontaneously, and anonymously, and then to pass the sheet of paper to
the next student available. Graffiti- style jokes and flippancy are to be
encouraged! Continue passing sheets until each student has had the chance to
contribute to several, and each quotation has been followed by 8-12 responses.
Then read the sequences aloud, and discuss the difference of opinions
represented.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
* Dialectic of the play: extreme positions, and more
moderate ones;
* Judging the characters and thoughts by contemporary values;
* Rhetorical shape of the play and its characters.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Julia Matthews, Wesleyan College.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Invite students to outline or write essays based on the flow
of opinions.

1. GENERAL HEADING: Writing Prompts

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Understanding the Effect of Musical Choices"

3. GOALS: To raise students' awareness of the possible effects of musical
choices made by production teams.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Class

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: A cassette player and prepared audio tape of
renaissance music. I recommend using contrasting dance forms, such as a pavane
and a galliard, and contrasting instrumentation, such as a viol consort, solo
lute, and tabor and pipe. Keep the selections fairly short, say 3-5 minutes.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 30-40 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: First prepare a cassette tape of at least three
selections from recordings of renaissance music which demonstrate a variety of
moods through rhythm, dynamics, key, instrumentation, etc. You can use either
instrumental or vocal music or both.. As you begin the exercise, ask the
students to think about the play which they are currently discussing. They are
to imagine that they are selecting background music to use in a stage or film
production. For each musical selection which they will hear, they should
imagine a particular scene from the play, a scene which they think would fit
the music. Then for each musical selection, they will write a brief response,
describing the scene they have imagined, and explaining why they think the
musical selection would add to the effectiveness of the scene in performance.
After a brief moment of silence to let them think about the play in question,
play each of the three selections, pausing for at least five minutes to allow
for their quick speculative writing in response. After they are finished
writing, replay the selections in order, so that they can add anything, or
simply enjoy the music. After collecting their writing, ask them to share some
of their responses with the class.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Encourage students to respond quickly,
choosing whatever scene pops into their head, and then try to figure out why
the music seemed to connect to it . What qualities in the music connect to the
dramatic scene? They might also consider how changing the music could change
the dramatic effect of a scene. How far should there be a match? What happens
if the music seems to contradict the mood?

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: C-M Wall

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: You can use several different versions of a Shakespearean
song, and ask students to describe the different effects which a production
could achieve, depending on the choice of musical style and particular singer.
I have used the old New York Pro Musica recording of "It was a lover and his
lass," sung as a dialogue between soprano and baritone; a version with
countertenor Alfred Deller, accompanied by a lute; and the 1969 National
Theatre pop music version with man, boy and strumming guitar. One can note
the different effects of having a woman and man sing the song (antitextual), or
a solo singer, more slowly, or the two men, with the late-sixties context of
the production all too evident in the music. One could also use various video
versions of Twelfth Night, such as the BBC, Branagh and Rehearsing the Text
segment of Barton's Playing Shakespeare to explore the various dramatic
possibilities of "Come Away, Death.," for example. Another variation would be
to ask students to enact part of whatever scene they think would be appropriate
to the musical selection, and ask the others to write a critique of the music's
effect on their responses.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "A Good Defense"

3. GOALS: Increased physicality and commitment to text.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Performed in groups of fours, made up of two pairs each
of which has a pre-memorized scene prepared. Several groups can work
simultaneously.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Ten to fifteen minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Actors find a large open space in which to work.
One pair (Pair A) will be working actively on their scene, the other
facilitating the exercise. The two actors of Pair A spread themselves apart
the width of the performing space, ideally about 20 to 30 feet. They face each
other across the expanse. They will be speaking their lines to each other and
advancing toward their partner. While they are doing so, the actors from Pair
B will be facing the actors from Pair A, and palms-to-shoulders will physically
resist the advance of the Pair A actors. Pair A will try to reach their
partners while speaking, Pair B tries to keep them apart. One the lines from
the scene have been run once, Pair A and B switch.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: This is an extremely physical
exercise. Actors will tire quickly, so only one repetition of each scene can be
run. Experience suggests that this exercise can contribute to the way that the
emotional, physical, and intellectual work can all take place at once.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Exploring the Text

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The 'Drop In' Text Exploration Exercise"

3. GOALS: To investigate the emotional, physical, and aural sensations
created by speaking individual words of a text.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Pairs (should have a certain trust or rapport before
beginning exercise).

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Each partner needs a copy of the speech or script.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 30-90 minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Partners will take turns examining sections of
their speeches one word at a time. One partner serves as a listener and
catalyst for the speaking partner, encouraging and prompting further
exploration and association.

The speaking partner looks at one word. Notice whether the word is "charged"
or "neutral." (Neutral words are often prepositions, conjunctions, or
auxilliary verbs that have little emotional content.) The speaking partner now
takes a breath, speaks the word, and releases the breath.

If the speaker has voiced a neutral word neutrally, go on to the next word. If
the listener feels it was not neutral, s/he may ask the speaker to repeat it on
a new breath. If the speaker has voiced a charged word, the listener should
reply with a brief question that prompts new associations. The speaker now
takes another breath, speaks the word again, and releases the breath. The
speaker does NOT answer the question, rather allows it to inform the way s/he
releases the word. The listener should ask several questions about each word,
so the speaker can explore it fully. The questions might prompt responses in
the senses, the emotions, memory, personal associations, imagination, or
vowel-consonant dynamics; they should not be psychoanalytical. This work is
very slow and takes a good deal of concentration. After a section, partners
switch so the listener becomes the speaker and vice versa.

At the end of a session, students should make notes about their discoveries.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
* Emotional qualities of vowels, consonants.
* Suspense leading up to each word.
* Complex network of emotional resonances of words.
* Significance of previously ignored words.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Adapted from Linklater (see #10) by Prof. Audrey
Stanley, University of California at Santa Cruz, 1995-96 NEH Institute
"Shakespeare Examined through Performance."

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Kristin Linklater, Freeing the Natural Voice, pp.
36-43. Linklater comments, "Go through the process quickly so that you are not
stopping to "think" or "be sure" about your response. Bypass the head and let
the question or instruction act directly on your solar plexus center with an
instantaneous reaction out through any or all channels of your voice/body."
(p.36)

11. VARIATIONS: In her book, Linklater provides a version of this exercise
that can be done by an individual alone.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Advances and Retreats"

3. GOALS: Strengthening contact and communication.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: In pairs.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None, but requires a pre-memorized scene.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Ten to fifteen minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Scene partners find a large open space in which
they can work. Partners stand facing each other about an arm's length apart.
The actors advance toward their partners while speaking their lines. The
receiving partner retreats while listening, staying just out of reach. When
the speakers change so does the direction of advance and retreat, with the new
speaker now advancing and the former speaker (now the receiver) retreating.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: The vocal energy of the actor should
drive this exercise, not the physical presence.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Can be followed-up in a later session with actors actually
placing their palms on each other's shoulders and physically advancing and
resisting.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE: "As You Like It 1.2.231-260.: Playing the Possibilities"

3. GOALS: To help students explore various possibilities of action, character
motivation and dramatic effect.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: At least 10.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Copy of scene section, or paperback editions, for
actors to use.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: One hour.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Ask for two volunteers from the class who would
like to experiment with directing a short scene. Then let the directors cast
students as Orlando, Celia and Rosalind. Give them 15 minutes in private to
read through the scene, discuss characters' actions and motivations, and try
out some blocking, led by the director. Then have each group perform for the
rest of the class, with the remainder of the students jotting down any
particularly notable moments, or questions that the performances raise. Allow
some time for the "audience's" responses to the scene, and then ask for the
directors', and actors', comments.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION AND DISCUSSION: Ask actors and directors to think
about the following questions (or others): How can an audience "tell" that
Rosalind and Orlando fall in love? What is Celia's response, and how does she
complicate the scene? Why does Rosalind say, "He calls us back?" How do you
want the audience to respond to this moment? How can you achieve that
response?

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: N.A.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Select sections from Penny Gay's Shakespeare's Unruly
Women or Carol Rutter's Clamorous Voices, for example, and ask students to try
performing the scene in a way which would lead logically to the actions and
characterizations of certain historical productions.

11. VARIATIONS: Reverse the order of the initial process, by asking for
volunteers from the class to play the characters; then ask them to select a
director to work with. Or you can ask the actors to direct themselves. Or
you can select directors and actors, based on your own knowledge of your
students, and what they might need. Or ask the class as a whole to direct
initially, OR to re-direct the scene after the actors have performed their own
version.

1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Their Exits and Their Entrances"

3. GOALS: To engage the students actively in directional problem solving; to
enhance their awareness of the complexity of so simple a thing as the exits and
entrances in a particular scene, and the implications of the decisions made for
the meaning of the scene.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: At least as many as the number of characters in the
chosen scene, and preferably twice that many.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: A space suitable for a minimal staging of the
chosen scene.

6 CLASS TIME NEEDED: At least half an hour; preferably an entire class period
of an hour.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

Roles are assigned for the chosen scene, preferably two casts. (Macbeth, 2.2 is
recommended.)

Each team decides where the entrances are going to be for the scene and where
each entrance comes from or leads to.

Directing themselves, each group blocks the scene, with primary emphasis upon
where each character enters or exits.

The two groups perform their blocking for each other.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: The difficulties identified by each
group and a comparison of how they solved the problems will enhance their
comprehension of the importance of the physical configuration of the set and
its relationship to the other elements of the play.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley, Co-Director of the Institute, UC-Santa
Cruz

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Eyes Have It"

3. GOALS: To help students acquire a variety of visual foci from which to
choose when speaking.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Pairs (variation for individuals)

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 10-15 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

Prior to doing the exercise, teach the students the following focusing
techniques:

The Moving Focus: The eyes move from point to point, stopping briefly at each
point then moving on as though trying to find the thought. The shifts can be
either casual or rapid and intense.

The Fixed Focus: The eyes fix on a point but in such a way that it is evident
that one is not looking at an actual object but simply thinking about something
with great concentration. A thought focus can be maintained for as long as
desirable.

The Eye Shutter: When one closes one's eyes, one is pulling inside the self
either to concentrate or to deal with something strongly emotional. Whether a
happy or sad emotional experience, the emotional communication is intensified.
Be careful! Used too often this becomes an affectation. The eye shutter must
be earned! Play with the timing . . . if your eyes pop open suddenly you might
accidently create a comic effect.

The Light Bulb: An "aha"! This sudden change of thought process is created by
a sudden shift of focus by the eyes, or occasionally, by the head as well. It
is like seeing a new piece of information or hearing a sudden sound. The eyes
(and sometimes the whole head) shift suddenly to another point of focus.
Beware of unnecessary tension in this technique. Again, use this technique
sparingly.

Environmental Focus: The actor can focus on actual elements of the imaginary
environment (e.g., trees, mountains, moon, clouds, etc.). Environmental focus
intends to create the sense of seeing actual objects and landscapes.

The Vision: The heightened fantasy focus uses the power of the imagination to
create visions of an imaginary nature (e.g., to see the face of your lover, a
field of skulls, one's deadliest enemy triumphantly astride the world, or any
powerful fantasy). Such visions can become panoramic, filling the entire stage
space.

As Student A recites her soliloquy (or other long speech), partner calls out
focus (chosen in random order); actor uses focus regardless of whether it
seems appropriate or not . Student A tries to make the focus "make sense" for
that portion of the speech.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Developing variety of focus
techniques; discovering new meanings for speech depending on focus chosen.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Paul Dennhardt, Western Illinois University

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Students work alone. Each student determines a sequence of
focuses. Recite soliloquy, first by line, then by phrase, and then by sentence,
using the sequence, regardless of appropriateness.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Language: Sounds, Structure, Meter

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Ghost Story"

3. GOALS: To approach the speech of the ghost in Hamlet 1.2.64-84, in a
variety of ways, to open out the complexity of the verse and the psychology of
the character.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: At least five, and preferably more.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 15-20 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

Sitting or standing in a circle, the group reads through the speech, each
person speaking one word. This assures that due attention is given to the final
word in each line.

Read the speech again, each person reading to a comma or period. Certain
phrases begin to stand out, like the clause including "quicksilver," which
imitates the poison coursing through the body.

Read the speech once again, each person reading to a comma, with the first
person whispering, the next a little louder, till the last is shouting.

Cast one person as Hamlet, and one as the "Main Ghost," who will speak key
lines, all the rest serving as "Choral Ghosts," who will speak the rest of the
ghost's lines. Hamlet kneels on the floor, and all the ghosts stand in a circle
around him. The ghosts then speak the lines with growing intensity, attempting
to terrify Hamlet. To add to the drama of the scene, three or four people can
add the sound effect of a heart beat, a few others, the wind.

Peripheral activity: Have three people say, in turn, "orange," "apple,"
"banana," in such a way that it was clear that apple was better than orange,
and banana was best of all. Then transfer that reading to "Unhouseled,
disappointed, unanel'd"; then to "Of life, of crown, of queen"; "0 horrible! 0
horrible! Most horrible!"

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: This exercise focuses attention on the
speech in a number of ways, drawing out the complexity of its verse,
especially. The Choral ghost device is particularly effective.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Sarah Berger, from ACTER (A Center for Theatre,
Education and Research at UNC-Chapel Hill)

10. ADDITIONAL READlNG: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Joanna Foster, of ACTER, used a very similar approach with
Lady Macbeth's "Come, you spirits," with other people hissing like spirits.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Live Performance Analysis

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Interrogating the Director"

3. GOALS: To articulate issues in the play that require directorial
decisions; to learn about a director's ideas and experiences in production.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: A visiting director.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 15 minutes - 2 hours, depending on number of students.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Each student writes 10 questions for the
visiting director: 5 about the play in question, and 5 about practical
directing choices. Depending on time and goodwill, each student may ask a
question in turn, or the visiting director may select from questions provided
in advance.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: * Director's vision of
the play; * Relevance to contemporary audience; *
Director-designer relationship, creative process; *
Director-actor relationships, rehearsal process; * Textual
choices and cuts.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Prof. Audrey Stanley, University of California at Santa
Cruz, 1995-96 NEH Institute "Shakespeare Examined through Performance."

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Reviews, interviews, biographical studies of
director; accounts of other directors' productions of the play.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Kneelings, Pardons, and Other Actions:
Charting Options in Act 5 of Measure for Measure."

3. GOALS: (1) To explore how a playtext--this playtext--uses repeated key
actions, such as kneelings and pardons to shape and project a design. (Another
way to say this, which Audrey Stanley offered us, is to note that this activity
looks at the structure of the scene, the bones, if you will, of what is, when
fully fleshed out, an enormously complex act, which can take 45 minutes or more
in performance.) (2) To have students engage in actor-like exploration of the
wide range options offered by such a design and learn to debate which actions
are mandated, which actions delimited, and which actions are open to the
actors' invention. (3) Conversely, to explore the pressure for having the
suite of options selected form some larger pattern. (4) To explore how actors
and director might select among these options to create a specific closure in
production. (5) And to learn about the ways in which the design of this play
permits, indeed invites, contrasting or even contradictory closures. (6) To
reflect on the question "What does the ending of a play do?"

Note: I have used this activity for a decade and it has two main virtues:
first, it makes us attend to a crucial pattern of action that is inherent in
the design of Act 5; but second, as we explore what may initially seem the
constraining nature of the pattern, we discover how much it opens up the scene:
attending to the specific choices proves to be a generative act, stimulating
many further inventions by the students, and thus revealing the amazing
richness of possibility in this scene.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: This is a whole-class activity, which also means you
can do it with very few students. If you use this as a prelude to performance,
then you need eleven people to perform the scene undoubled: Duke, Isabella,
Escalus, Angelo, Mariana, Claudio, Juliet, Lucio, Provost, Friar Thomas, and
Barnadine; but the opening SD calls for Varrius, Lords, Officers, and Citizens,
so you can get a quite large class into the act. Rather than performing the
whole act, however, you are probably better off performing several segments
with smaller clusters of actors.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Copies of the text--and, if you like, the Folio
text also. And either a board or a flip chart where you can diagram at least
some of the basic pattern students discern. Flip charts have the advantage of
giving you a permanent record you can use later on-but if you use the board you
can also ask one or two students to be recorders.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: This takes at least 30 minutes just to move through the
scene with a quick charting, because once the participants really engage in the
task they come to perceive many cues and options besides the (relatively) few
obvious ones they will have noted in their individual reading of the scene.
And of course this can be used as the concluding activity for study of the play
as a whole. You certainly can spend an hour not only doing the activity but
having students formulate what they learned from their own exploration.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

(1) The first step should be a homework assignment, namely that the students
re-read the scene and mark all the places where they believe one or more of the
characters kneel, and the moments when the Duke pardons one or more of the
characters. This can be done in class, but then allow sufficient time.

(2) On the board or flip chart, you should have already constructed a chart
that will record their suggestions. A simple chart will look like this (for
purposes of this presentation I have marked the scene in 20-line segments; with
more space, you can mark it in 10-line segments; and you may want to shift from
20- to 10-line segments after the moment when the Friar is revealed as the
Duke; if you use the Folio, then you can use the TLNs):

CHART of MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Act 5
______________________________________________________________________
KNEELINGS PARDONS OTHER ACTIONS
______________________________________________________________________
Line #s
1-20
21-40
41-60
61-80
81-100
101-120
121-140
141-160
161-180
181-2000
201-220
221-240
241-250
261-280
281-300
301-320
321-340
341-360
361-380
381-400
401-420
421-440
441-460
461-480
481-500
501-520
521-539

(3) I begin by asking for the first kneeling that anyone has noted; and each
time someone offers the first kneeling I ask "Has anyone marked an earlier
kneeling?" I do this whether or not I think the class has "missed" an implicit
stage direction, so that the question is genuinely open, serving to invite
contrasting perceptions of the implicit SD and the design.

(4) You can keep the chart simple with just these three categories; but if the
discussion warrants it or if students prompt it, you can add other repeated
actions, such as the unveilings and proposals of or orders for marriage. But
even with just the three categories the chart is likely to become surprisingly
dense, especially in the second half of the scene.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: There is no way to enumerate all the
points that emerge from this activity: as students note the kneelings and then
the causes for the kneelings, but a few crucial ones are clear: First,
students discover how pervasive the cues for kneeling and the pardons are in
this scene--and they will eventually wonder what is the relation between the
Duke's design and the playwright's design. Eventually, they should recognize
almost everyone in the scene either kneels or must resist a cue to kneel, and,
even more striking, that by the time the scene ends the Duke has in effect
pardoned almost the entire cast of characters-in a sense pardoned all of Vienna
which has come to celebrate his return. If they have not wondered about this
before, perception of this pattern will impel someone to wonder if the Duke
himself is in need of, or can be imagined seeking a pardon, or kneeling, and if
so from whom, to whom? This activity usually also raises issues about the
nature of the comedy (if any) in this scene: for one thing, once they start
seeing how many optional cues that could provoke kneelings there are, students
recognize a potential for an almost farcical quality to the scene, with people
kneeling and rising in a laughter-inducing rhythm. Most of all, starting with
this relatively external focus on activity nonetheless leads directly to the
exploration of more complex questions of motive and character, and of making
choices. And the question of timing also emerges, particularly in relation to
Isabella's decision to join Mariana in asking the Duke to pardon Angelo. At
this point, you can note that in the famous Peter Brook production of 1950,
Isabella took 35 seconds before she decided to join Mariana in kneeling for
Angelo's pardon--and a quick performance of this segment will let everyone
experience what an extraordinarily long time that must have seemed in
performance.

As a way of initiating the next phase of discussion, I use a prompt that I use
in many situations when I want to shift from exploration to reflection, "One
thing that is becoming clear to me about the design of this scene is-". You
can make this prompt even more specific, of course, depending both on how the
discussion has played out and your own purposes.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: The sources here are, first of all, the design of scene
itself, with its intriguing explicit and implicit stage directions; second,
seeing productions of the scene and reading reviews of productions; third,
Philip McGuire's exploration of the ending in Chapter 4 of Speechless Dialect:
Shakespeare's Open Silences (University of California, 1985).

10. ADDITIONAL READING:

Penny Gay, As She Likes It: Shakespeare's Unruly Women (Routledge, 1994)
Chapter 4
"Measure for Measure: Sex and Power in a Patriarchal society."
Robert Hapgood, Shakespeare, the Theatre-Poet (Oxford, 1998), Chapter 7
models the
practice of conducting "imaginary rehearsals."
Russell Jackson and Robert Smallwood, editors. Players of Shakespeare 2
(Cambridge
University Press, 1988) and Players of Shakespeare 3 (CUP, 1993) each have
an essay
by an actor who has played the Duke.
Graham Nichols, Measure for Measure: Text and Performance (Macmillan, 1986).
Carol Rutter, et. al., Clamorous Voices: Shakespeare's Women Today
(Routledge/Theatre
Arts Books, 1989) Chapter 2 "Isabella: Virtue Betrayed?"

11. VARIATIONS: As noted, you can create more complex variations simply by
putting more of the key mandated actions in the chart to begin with. You can
also, of course, develop a number of writing prompts and assignments based on
this charting.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Parallel Scenarios"

3. GOALS: To explore a short scene through different readings on stage; to
learn to extrapolate from the interpretation of a key scene consequences for
the understanding of the whole play.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 10 to 25

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: scripts

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 35 to 60 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

A. Leader prepares four different readings, summarized in writing, of one
short scene or section of scene. Each reading is an interpretation of how the
scene should be played; these may be called "scenarios."

B. Students divide into four groups.

C. Each group receives copies of one scenario and scripts for the scene.

D. Each group casts itself, discusses the scenario and rehearses the scene
according to that scenario for 20 minutes.

E. Each group performs the scene for the other participants.

F. After each group's performance, the other participants note down
impressions for two minutes.

G. Everyone joins into a discussion afterwards.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:

A. Which scenarios set up choices that must result in consequences later on in
a full-length production of the play?

B. Which scenarios solve problems posed by the playtext?

C. Do any of them pose new problems for interpreters? If so, what are they?

D. What new thing did anyone notice about the scene in one of its versions?

E. Did the audience "pick up" the intended interpretation? Could the
onlookers reconstruct what each scenario must have been?

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Lois Potter

10. ADDITIONAL READING: For sample scenarios, see Robert Hapgood,
Shakespeare, the Theatre-Poet.

11. VARIATIONS: Have students devise their own scenarios in advance.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Paraphrase Pull-Push"

3. GOALS: To discover the feeling behind the dialogue and the tension between
characters.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: An even number, with pairs familiar with the same
scene.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 20 minutes or more

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Partners first sit, reading their previously
prepared paraphrases of the dialogue to one another. Then they get on their
feet and run through the scene, using their own words to tap into the
characters' emotions. Then, taking one another's arms, they do the scene in
their own words, pushing and pulling one another according to the feelings
their words spark.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: The difference between using
Shakespeare's words and our own. The effect of close, active physical contact
with partner.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCES: Audrey Stanley, University of California, Santa Cruz.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Contextualizing Racist Language" (Othello 1.1)

3. GOALS: To encourage close textual analysis, awareness of
shifts/similarities in racist language, and understanding of casting
implications.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: 3 or more (roles: Roderigo, Iago, Brabantio)

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: copies of Othello 1.1

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 45 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Working either in pairs or alone, students mark
the racist slurs and images in Othello 1.1. Cast the three roles and ask the
student actors to perform the scene in a variety of ways: a) as deeply racist
and offensive b) lightly or comically c) ironically d) other options
(generated by student actors or audience/directors).

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: How do Brabantio and Roderigo react to
Iago's speeches? Are they shocked? Amused? Disgusted? To what extent
does Roderigo's reaction differ from Brabantio's? Is Roderigo enthusiastic?
Is it possible to perform this scene comically? Why or why not? What are the
implications for speaking these lines if the actor playing Iago is black?

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Miranda Johnson-Haddad

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Miranda Johnson-Haddad, review of Shakespeare Theatre
production of Othello in Shakespeare Quarterly 42.4 (1991): 476-80.

11. VARIATIONS: See list in "Moors, Jews, and the Performance of Cultural
Identity in Othello and The Merchant of Venice" in the Projects section.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Reverse Interpretations of a Scene"

3. GOALS: To clarify performance choices.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Open

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: N.A.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 40 minutes (30 for scene work and 10 for discussion)

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Ask pairs of students, who have already worked
together on a dialogue, to perform what they feel to be the opposite
interpretation of the scene. Next, ask the students to switch roles. Finally,
return to the original interpretation.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Insights gained from playing partner's
role in dialogue.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "So Inclined"

3. GOALS: To discover the physical energy needed to sustain vocal
performance. To increase concentration.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Full class.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: About five minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: All class members find a small space along a
wall. Facing the center of the room, the actors step away from the wall about a
foot. Keeping the body straight and rigid, they lean back until their weight
is supported by one point on the back of their head in contact with the wall.
Thus supporting themselves, they simultaneously speak their monologues.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: This takes surprising physical energy
and commitment to accomplish. It forces correct vocal support. Because of the
considerable distraction of others doing the exercise, it also builds
concentration.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Staging the Murder of Banquo" (Macbeth 3.3)

3. GOALS: To encounter the practical questions and generate solutions to the
staging problems of the First Folio scene; to realize a textual interpretation
theatrically.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Groups of 5 students.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Open space for rehearsal and performance; copies
of 3.3 as printed in the First Folio.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 45 - 90 minutes, depending on number of groups.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Group members confer, do their own casting, and
stage the scene so as to confront the various problems (and fill in the many
silences). Students should be encouraged to slow the violent action down below
full speed, in order to clarify their decisions and to avoid injury. Groups
perform for each other, then discuss the textual and theatrical cruxes.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: * How or why does Fleance escape? * If
the stage illumination did not vary at the Globe, what is the function of the
torch? * Who carries the torch in and where is it at the end of the scene? *
How old is Fleance? * What kind of "images" do you wish to present to your
audience (e.g. in terms of the light-darkness imagery running
throughout the play)?

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Prof. Alan Dessen, University of North Carolina

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Follow up group work with an individual essay assignment, in
which the student describes how s/he would stage the scene, what this staging
is intended to communicate to the spectators, and how this scene would
contribute to the specific pattern of the rest of the play. From Prof. Edward
Rocklin, California State Polytechnic University.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Performance Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "What Does a Stage Property Do? The Interplay of
Text and Prop in 1.1 of A Midsummer Night's Dream."

3. GOALS: There are a number of interlocking objectives in this activity.
(1) To offer a vivid demonstration of the fact that while the medium of
literature is on the page, the medium of drama is the actor's body and the
physical deployed on stage--that when a play is performed the actors do things
which often use physical objects to realize the potentials of the words on the
page. (2) To demonstrate how the playtext may suggest props. (3) To
demonstrate employing a suggested prop may not only stimulate actors to invent
new performance but also how those invented actions, in turn, may transform the
words of the text. (4) To initiate rich and diverse performances of the
opening of A Midsummer Night's Dream--which is to say to help students
experience the delight that can come from playing with the play. (5) To
examine how those performances illuminate contrasting ways the play can frame
what follows. (6) To stimulate reflection on another element of reading play
texts.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: MND 1.1, including Helena, has eight roles: you can
divide the class into three groups of eight but it is easy to double
Philostrate and Helena, or, if you need to have several doublings or a
tripling. I divide the class into the three groups of eight students.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: I usually buy a rose the day of this activity--it
intrigues the class when I walk in with it--and the advantage is that this rose
can be shredded, as several Hippolytas have discovered, to good effect. I also
have used the computer to generate a sheet of paper which says THE LAWS OF
ATHENS, and which becomes the cover of an appropriately large book from my
office.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: This is a time intensive activity: the students need
15 to 30 minutes to rehearse, the performances take about 10 minutes each, the
discussion should not be less than 15 minutes and can run longer. In short, it
can take a full class period-- but it not only opens the play effectively but
also introduces the basic physicality of acting in a vivid way and spotlights
the complex recursive cycles of reading, invention, re- reading, and
re-invention that is at the core of performance models of reading.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: There is a tactical decision you must make
before starting this activity: do you want to precede this work with props by
having students focus on the relation of Theseus and Hippolyta? and in
particular to explore how Hippolyta's unspoken responses may cue Theseus's
"what cheer, my love?" The advantage of starting with this activity first is
that if students are aware of the key choice here--are Theseus and Hippolyta in
harmony or disharmony when the play opens? and does the treatment of Hermia
alienate Hippolyta to some degree?--this will inform their exploration of the
scene. Conversely, however, you may want to let them discover this issue
through their own explorations, and then use that discovery to cue introduction
of McGuire's concept of open silences.

(1) Explain briefly that you want the class to explore the diverse ways the
opening of A Midsummer Night's Dream can be performed while at the same time
adding another key element, stage properties, to their conceptual and practical
vocabulary for reading playtexts.

(2) Divide the class into three groups of eight students. Each group will
read, cast, rehearse, and perform the opening scene of the play. Give the
first group the rose, the second group the book with the cover reading THE LAWS
OF ATHENS, and inform the third group that they get to produce the scene
without a prop.

(3) As the students read and rehearse, I circulate from group to group.
Mostly, I just listen. When it seems appropriate, I may ask an open question
or a question that refocuses discussion and action if the group seems stalled.
Otherwise, I simply let them get on with it--and store away bits of the process
that may be useful to bring up in discussion later.

(4) Each group performs the scene. After the applause dies down for each
performance, we write notes on what struck us about that performance. Those
who have just performed write about what they discovered only in the act of
performance.

(5) We move into the discussion, starting with observations of what struck
them about each scene.

(6) I ask students to write in response to three further questions: (1) What
did you discover by going through this process? (2) What was most striking
about each group's performance and use of its prop--or the most striking
feature of the performance without a prop? (3) What does a prop do?

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: A number of points emerge in the
discussion. Students are, first of all, surprised and intrigued by the prop,
and by the variety of things they can do with the prop. They note how
differently the props function and also begin to invent further alternate
performances. In some cases, they discuss the variety of ways they
experimented with the prop before making their performance choices. They note
the to-them-surprising ways in which a prop can not only shape a scene but even
change the meaning of the words of the text, or else highlight meanings or
patterns they had ignored. The rose, for example, drew attention to or
underlined (or as Alan Dessen would say, italicize) other moments when flowers
were mentioned. They are struck by the potential for non-verbal action to
pervade and shape a scene or to transform character relations. They discover
how the prop makes interesting forms of non-verbal communication possible, so
that, for example, the rose can function to connect Hippolyta and Helena even
though they are not onstage together. And the scenes will have highlighted the
variety of ways that Hippolyta and Theseus can maintain their relation or have
it altered as the scene unfolds. The rose, for example, can be used by
Hippolyta to express or communicate a wide variety of responses: as he turns
to exit, for example, Theseus sometimes finds a pile of rose petals at his
feet, and must respond as best he can to this public statement. Or using the
book, it can seem as if Theseus either finds or invents the third alternative
he offers Hermia--and thus raises other questions about his motivation, and, in
some performances, whom he is addressing: when he says "by no means
extenuate," he may be appealing to Hippolyta, aware of her rising anger and
trying to explain to her that he has no choice in the matter. Finally, we
return to the question "What does a prop do?" Here, students discuss the way in
which the two props, which at first seem merely to literalize a cue in the
text, nonetheless begin to transform the actors' relation to the text and
transform the meaning created through the text. Props, that is, can stimulate
invention, which in turn can open the text to new readings, which can in turn
stimulate further invention. I also point out that a prop may serve as a
catalyst and then be discarded in the actual performance, so that spectators
never see the prop--and yet the prop will have nonetheless helped the actors
compose or invent the performance.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Edward Rocklin .This activity is described in greater
detail in my essay "'An Incarnational Art': Teaching Shakespeare," from
Shakespeare Quarterly, 41:2 (Summer 1990): 147-159. As I note in the article,
the two props were suggested by performances described by Philip McGuire in
Speechless Dialect.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Philip McGuire, Speechless Dialect: Shakespeare's
Open Silences (University of California Press, 1985).

11. VARIATIONS: As noted above, this activity can be paired with an activi=
ty introducing Philip McGuire's concept of "open silences" in connection with
Hippolyta's silence in this scene.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Whispered Monologues"

3. GOALS: To strengthen communication and concentration.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Full class.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: About five minutes.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Class spreads out around the room.
Simultaneously each actor whispers a pre-memorized monologue to the person
across the room from them. (It does not matter if the person across does or
doesn't pick them as their "target" in return.)

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Each actor is instructed to make th=
eir communication specific and clear. Holding onto individual concentration is
difficult, which is part of the point.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.



1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Throwing Your Line"

3. GOALS: To develop students' awareness of the importance of the last word
of each line and to "physicalize" the language.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Five minutes or more, depending upon students'
endurance.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION:

Using any sonnet, or any verse passage from the plays, the group, speaking in
unison, reads the passage one line at a time, physically throwing the final
word with their arms.

The exercise is continued, with variations: the final word is kicked into the
center of the circle, then punched, then shouted as the speakers jump on the
final word.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Importance of the final word in a l=
ine of verse; the value of feeling the language physically; associating it with
one's musculature.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Audrey Stanley, Co-Director of the Institute, UC-Santa
Cruz

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Any verse passage from Shakespeare may be used.



1. GENERAL HEADING: Exploring the Text

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Picturing the Words"

3. GOALS: To foster awareness of how learning dramatic text can be achieved
by means other than imprinting words onto memory.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Small groups -- e.g., 8-12

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: A selected speech, preferably one in blank verse
that can be broken down into coherent phrases. A Shakespeare lexicon might
come in handy.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Approximately 45 minutes for a speech broken down into
8- 12 phrases.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: In selecting a speech, try to pick one that is
rich in imagery and one that no participant has previously memorized. Arrange
participants in a circle. Break the speech down into coherent capsule phrases
and assign participants a discrete phrase, no longer than a pentameter line
(can be shorter if punctuation summons), with the order of phrases following
how people are seated in the circle. Each participant is then asked to convert
the phrase into pictorial images or signals and to draw them on a sheet of
paper large enough for everyone in the group to be able to see clearly. Words
and letters cannot be used. Assure them that drawing skills are not important
-- represent the icons as best they can; they will have the opportunity to
explain what has been drawn. Think in phrases rather than word-by- word. Use
images of association when words are abstract or hard to represent in
straight-forward objective terms. Allow time. Provide help by asking
questions about what the meaning of the word might look like, or what
association the participant might have with the word, and so on. Avoid telling
participant what to draw. Unfamiliar words should be looked up. Arcane
metaphors can be paraphrased first.

Once everyone has drawn their pictorial codes, let each participant explain
what she/he has envisioned and how it relates to the textual phrase. Others
can ask questions to clarify -- minor adjustments to the drawing can be added
on the spot. After each phrase/drawing is explained, everyone speaks the
phrase while looking at the drawing. Work one phrase at a time, in order,
around the circle. When all phrases have been presented, have group jointly
speak the speech, phrase by phrase, as each participant holds up the analog
drawing. Pause and re-explain where necessary. Repeat the sequence two or
three more times until everyone seems somewhat confident. Then ask that they
jointly speak the speech without the pictures being held up, trying only to
remember the pictorial cue. The final stage can involve selecting individuals
to recite or play the speech, again following the sequence of images remembered
from the circle of drawings.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: This exercise works very well for
those who create strong connections to pictorial references but it may not work
equally well for all. Emphasize that our mnemonic processes may work in
different ways. Some of m= y students who have had particular difficulty
learning lines by rote, have found this method to be very helpful. The
sequence aspect is very important. Discussion of how the logic of a speech or
scene is sequenced can enhance understanding.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Paul Nelsen, Marlboro College.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.



1. GENERAL HEADING: Language: Sounds, Structure, Meter

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Isolating Word Types"

3. GOALS: Understanding the words and rhetorical slant of a speech or scen=
e.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: All or any

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Script or photocopy handouts of speech/scene.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Will vary depending on number of participants and
length of speech or scene.

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: We will be parsing the language and collecting
word types into categories: e.g., identifying all the nouns or verbs or
modifiers and listing them. Each participant can either list the words on
separate paper or use some other code for identifying types on the script
page(s) -- such as color coding with highlighters or circling all the nouns,
underlining verbs, and bracketing modifiers. When participants read lists
aloud, ask how these collected word groups contribute to understanding of
meaning, character, situation, or style of rhetoric for the speech/scene as a
whole. Is the language dominated by object references, names of people,
pronouns, actions verbs, verbs of being, or are there long strings of
adjectives/adverbs? Once the groups of words have been identified, try reading
the whole speech giving special emphasis to one type of word at a time: e.g.,
hit all the verbs with more expressive energy than all the other words.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Why do we use different types of words
in different situations? Is the scene or speech a composed description of
things? An eruption of spontaneous feeling? How frequently and where does "I"
-- first person singular -- appear? Do object references fall into a pattern of
imagery? How many words are subject to modification? Are there patterns of
antitheses?

As will be the case with many exercises, there may be more revealing questions
raised than easy answers provided. Experience with this kind of word work
indicates that it encourages participants to think about how the words function
in shaping the tenor of communication. In many instances, participants discover
how dynamic the expression of words can be.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE : Paul Nelson's class and rehearsal experiments.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Chapter 4 in Cicely Berry's The Actor and the Text.

11. VARIATIONS: With some speeches, isolating the pronouns and names of
people can be revealing.



1. GENERAL HEADING: Language: Sounds, Structure, Meter

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Finding the Breaks"

3. GOALS: To encourage understanding of use of line length (breath length),
punctuation and holding vocal energy up to end of line/ sentences/ speech.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Whole class in groups of 4 or 5, sitting one behind
the other, or in a circle.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: Index cards

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 20 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Locate verse passages from less well-known
Shakespearean plays. Rewrite clearly, removing all indication of length of
line, punctuation marks, editorial additions. On the index cards this will look
like prose. Retain capital letters for proper names and apostrophes for
possessives or shortened words. The first player in the first group takes a
card and reads it aloud, sight unseen, then passes it to the next person. Each
person reads with only the previous reading to help her/him to make sense of
the passage. By the time it reaches the last member of the group it usually
makes reasonable sense. Then the first group sits aside and watches the next
group struggle to make sense of their card.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Follow up with discussion of how
Shakespeare helps the reader/ actor by the way he shapes his verse line, by
breath control and punctuation.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: I believe this game is used in the summer training
course at the Royal National Theatre, but its actual source is unknown to me.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: Try the same game with passages from Moliere (Wil=
bur trans.), with other verse playwrights, and even with contemporary U.S.
prose playwrights such as Mamet. Discuss how natural Shakespeare's verse line
is to English speakers.

11. VARIATIONS: John Barton. Using the Verse videotape (Films for the
Humanities, 1990).



1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Painting with the Breath"

3. GOALS: To connect deep breathing with imagery, language, and expression;
to incorporate the text.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number of students, working individually.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 15 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: (Students should be well warmed up before
beginning this exercise.)

Take a deep breath and direct it out between teeth and lips on a "FFFF" sound.
When you run out of air take another breath and continue the "FFFF" sound.

Imagine that the jet of air is a stream of color that you can paint or draw
with. Move your head and your entire body to direct the airstream of "FFFF."
The whole body should be connected to these deep breaths.

a) "Paint" a picture: a ship sailing on ocean waves, with clouds
and sun in the sky. b) Make a moving picture, so
that the images change and transform: with your breath,
"paint" the movie of Jack and Jill. c) With your breath, paint the
movie of your Shakespeare speech; describe each action and
image with the shape of your breath. d) Speak the Shakespeare
speech, bringing the same kind of deep breathing to power your
voice.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION:
* The relationship between breath, action, and image.
* The involvement of breath and ribs with the emotions.
* Bringing the entire body into expressing the imagery.
* New physical insights into the imagery.
* Finding the need to speak with the whole body.
(Note: this exercise requires some stamina, and some young students may not be
ready for the deep emotional connections that the breath work may uncover.)

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Prof. Audrey Stanley, University of California at San=
ta Cruz, 1995-96 NEH Institute "Shakespeare Examined through Performance."

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.



1. GENERAL HEADING: Exploring the Text

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Word Work"

3. GOALS: To make words penetrate the unconscious to spark the imagination;
to plumb the depth of meaning in speaking lines.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Individual coaching

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 20 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP-DESCRIPTION: =85 Have a student look at words one at a time
=85 Have student close his or her eyes and have them speak words with intens= e
side- coaching. After every question, have the student repeat the word
Example:
Student: "BRASS"
Coach: What color is it? What does it feel like to touch? Feel
the vowels and
consonants.
Student: "STONE"
Coach: What does it look like? What does it feel like to touch?
Have you ever
thrown this at anyone? What's it like to be hit by one? Feel the
vowels and
consonants
Student: "EARTH"
Coach: What does it smell like? What's it like to put your hands
in? What does it
look like from a spaceship? Feel the vowels and consonants.
Student: "SEA"
Coach: What color is it? How does it feel on a hot day? Is it
calm or stormy?
When were you last by the sea?
Student: "MORTALITY"
Coach: "What do you see? Do you think about your own mortality? Would
you like to live forever? Feel the consonants.
Student: "POWER"
Coach: Where do you feel it in your body? What makes you feel
powerful? Are
other people more powerful than you? What could you achieve with power?

Then have the student rest, relax, stretch, and shake it out and then recite:

Since brass nor stone nor earth nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o'ersways their power.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: N.A.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Adapted loosely from Kristin Linklater's Freeing
Shakespeare's
Voice, NYC: Theatre Communications Group, 1992.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: Endless!!!!



1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Prayer Stretch"

3 GOALS: To place the breath and allow it to find its natural position; to
open the entire ribcage around the center of the body; to allow the diaphragm
to freely move in and out; to activate all muscles that support the outward
breath; to build breath capaci= ty.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 5 - 10 Minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP-DESCRIPTION: =85 Start in the prayer position. That is, get
down on your hands and knees= , then allow your bottom to collapse onto your
feet with your arms relaxed along the sides of your body. =85 Let your forehead
or a side of your face lean all the way forwards, resting on the floor in front
of you. Feel comfortable without any strain, breathing in and out. You should
feel the intake of breath reaching and stimulating the muscles in your back,
sides, diaphragm and abdomen. =85 Next roll onto one side and curl into a fetal
position and breathe. Straighten up to kneeling and roll onto the other side.
Breathe again. =85 Now lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest and
breathe. Release your legs and return them to the floor and rest. When ready
and rested return to your feet and back to center.

8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: N.A.

9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Patsy Rodenburg's The Right to Speak, NYC: Routledge,
1992.

10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.

11. VARIATIONS: N.A.


1. GENERAL HEADING: Voice and Body Exercises

2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "The Hum"

3. GOALS: To adjust to a larger performance space and to increase volume,
projection, and comprehension.

4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any.

5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None.

6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: 20 - 30 minutes

7. STEP-BY-STEP-DESCRIPTION: =85 Begin with a physical and vocal warm-up so
all are "tuned-up." =85 Then place students in a circle and set up a hum, each
person feeling th= e vibrations in the chest, back, head, and face. =85 When
the hum is satisfactory, have the students spread themselves around the space
as much as possible, and set up the hum again. Continue the hum until you feel
it is just as strong and vibrant as when the students were close together. =85
When the group is in tune with each other and confident, move the hum up a
pitch. =85 Come back into your circle, let each person in turn sing a word from
the play on any note they like. The group must listen and then sing it back
accurately. =85 Do this a second time round the circle, and this time the group
can slig= htly exaggerate what they hear-even make some kind of gesture as they
sing. =85 Next use take a piece of text, not from a play you are working on,
but a similar style and work it through together in the circle for breathing,
verbal energy, and relaxation =85 Then take a line or a line-and-a-half round
in order, giving a moment fo= r each person. Then have the students spread out
throughout the space-as far from each other as possible-and speak it through.
=85 Experimen
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Projects

Twelfth Night: Two Writing Assignments

Cezarija Abartis


The following is a pair of writing assignments. The second is an
assignment inviting students to analyze one scene in a play. I use the
assignment most frequently with Shakespeare, but I have adapted it for
writing assignments on Homer's Odyssey, Voltaire's Candide, Austen's Pride
and Prejudice, Dickens' Hard Times, as well as contemporary novels.

The first is a writing assignment for an analysis of a performed scene. The
scene I showed to my colleagues in the Folger Humanities Institute,
"Shakespeare Examined Through Performance," was IV.ii of Twelfth Night. I
chose this scene because it's short, because it's susceptible to various
performance interpretations, and because it's an especially difficult one
for students to visualize. Comedy always is difficult for inexperienced
viewers to imagine, and painful comedy may be even more difficult.

I showed three videotaped versions of this scene, all aired first in Great
Britain.

1) Year of first showing: 1970; Publisher: John Dexter Productions /
Precision Video; Producers: John Dexter and Cecil Clarke; Director: John,
Sichel; Cast: Alec Guinness (Malvolio), Tommy Steele (Feste), Ralph
Richardson (Sir Toby Belch), Sheila Reid (Maria). Time for this scene:
about 4 minutes, 10 seconds.

2) Year of first showing: 1980; Publisher: BBC/Time-Life TV; Producer:
Cedric Messina; Director: John Gorrie; Cast: Alec McCowen (Malvolio),
Trevor Peacock (Feste), Robert Hardy (Sir Toby Belch), Annette Crosbie
(Maria). Time for this scene: about 5 minutes, 5 seconds.

3) Year of first showing: 1988; Publisher: Renaissance Theatre Company;
Director: Kenneth Branagh; Cast: Richard Briers (Malvolio), Anton Lesser
(Feste), James Saxon (Sir Toby Belch), Abigail McKern (Maria). Time for
this scene: about 7 minutes, 45 seconds.

Each succeeding version grows in length and in melancholy, so that the last
one becomes something like "The Tragedy of Malvolio." In the first,
Malvolio is irritated and indignant; in the second, he is distressed; in
the third, he has been so abused he is crushed and hopeless. Feste moves
from being clownish, to being contemplative, to being reluctantly brutal.
The prison sets become progressively darker and more confining. The first
is rollicking; the last is despairing. It is interesting to students to
see how the same words--more or less--can be interpreted in such different
ways.

A writer is a person who enters into sustained relations with the language
for experiment and experience not available in any other way. . . . A
reader is a person who picks up signals and enters a world in language
under the guidance of an earlier entry made by a writer . . . . Anyone
enters that world of writing or literature by writing or reading, venturing
forward part by part, unpredictable part by unpredictable part.
(Stafford 12)


Questions for Responding to a Performance of Twelfth Night


Specific questions that might be appropriate to a discussion of IV. ii of
Twelfth Night:

-What is the effect of the music, the songs?

-How are sound effects used?

-What is the "dark room" like? Consider the light, the bars, the space of
the enclosure, the levels of the stage.

-How is the viewer's sympathy engaged, managed, alienated? With which
character at what point? Does this shift throughout the
presentation? What acting strategies (gestures, posture, tone of
voice, rate of speaking, makeup, costumes) does the actor employ?

-What lines are omitted? To what effect?



Paper due: Length:

"I've always disliked words like inspiration. Writing is probably like a
scientist thinking about some scientific problem, or an engineer about an
engineering problem" (Doris Lessing qtd. in Winokur 70).

"Or, seen from another angle, form is the creation of an appetite in the
mind of the auditor, and the adequate satisfying of that appetite. This
satisfaction--so complicated is the human mechanism--at times involves a
temporary set of frustrations, but in the end these frustrations prove to
be simply a more involved kind of satisfaction, and furthermore serve to
make the satisfaction of fulfillment more intense" (Burke 31).


Works Cited

Burke, Kenneth. Counter-Statement. Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1968.

Stafford, William. "Writing and Literature: Some Opinions." Writing the
Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer's Vocation. Ann Arbor, MI: U of
Michigan P, 1978.12-13.

Winokur, Jon, comp. Writers on Writing. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1986.


A composition is a bundle of parts. When you compose, you "get it
together," but the "it" is not a matter of things or "words"; what you get
together in composing is relationships, meanings. In composing, you make
parts into wholes; you compose the way you think--by seeing relationships,
by naming, defining, and articulating relationships. What makes it hard is
that you have to do two things at once: you have to bundle the parts as if
you knew what the whole was going to be and you have to figure out the
whole in order to decide which parts are going to fit and which are not.
The only way to do that is to keep everything tentative, recognizing that
getting the parts together, figuring out the whole, is a dialectical
process. (Berthoff 47)

DEVELOPMENT BY EXAMPLE / ILLUSTRATION / DETAIL

TOPIC: Choose one scene from ___________________________ and analyze it.
Answer the most interesting, most relevant questions.

In this paper you are asked to examine the function of a portion of the
play--one scene. What is the function of this scene? Does it advance the
action? Does it develop the characters? Does it illustrate the theme or
themes? What would be lost if this part were omitted from the play? What
does this scene do? How is it like other episodes? How is it unlike them?
What comes immediately before it? What comes after it? Why is it in this
play? What is the difference between how the scene begins and how the
scene ends? What is the character(s) like at the beginning of the scene?
at the end? The last time this character(s) appeared, what was he or she
like (topics of conversation, actions, gestures, mood)? And the time after
the scene you are discussing? Discuss the different emotions in this scene
(if they are interesting) and the psychology of the characters. How has
Shakespeare prepared us for this scene? What are the surprises in this
scene? How does this scene sum up past events and/or foreshadow future
events?

LENGTH: 700-1200 words (typed, manuscript format)

Please underline the topic sentence of each paragraph. Please include your
rough drafts and notes.

Rough draft due: Revised draft due:

"Only that which does not teach, which does not cry out, which does not
condescend, which does not explain, is irresistible" (W.B. Yeats qtd. in
Solodow 236).

"The theme . . . of any work of art is: 'Life is like this.' But to expand
the meaning of 'this' requires the whole story . . . . A story is not a
kiddy-car containing a message. A story is a formal structure which the
author builds around you; in the process you learn to see some portion of
the world in a new way and you experience certain esthetic responses and
certain emotions" (Knight 230).

Works Cited

Berthoff, Ann E. Forming~Thinking~Writing: The Composing Imagination.
Rochelle Park, NJ: Hayden Book Co., 1978.

Knight, Damon. "An Annotated 'Masks."' Those Who Can: A Science Fiction
Reader. Ed. Robin Scott Wilson. New York: New American Library, 1973.
209-31.

Solodow, Joseph B. The World of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Chapel Hill: U of
North Carolina Press, 1988.
Abartis Page 3




Emory British Studies Program

Sheila Cavanagh


English 312
Summer 1996
Class: MW 11-1
Office Hours: TBA

Welcome to Oxford and to Studies in Shakespeare! We will be looking at
Shakespeare and performance this summer. In addition to the regular class
sessions, we will be attending several Royal Shakespeare Company
performances in Stratford, visiting the newly reconstructed Globe Theatre
and taking a Shakespearean tour through the Ashmolean Museum. We will also
have video sessions scheduled for each of the plays we study.


Class requirements:

Attendance and class participation are required. Since this course
contains fewer class sessions than a semester-long course, it is
particularly important that you arrive to class on time and ready to
participate. Assignments will be expected at the beginning of class. If
you miss class, arrive late, or come unprepared, your grade will reflect
these lapses. Please come prepared to take full advantage of the
Shakespearean opportunities available to us in Oxford.


As You Like It Assignments

Class One:

Each of you will be assigned a character to "follow" as you re-read and
view the play. As you read, mark the lines that this character delivers as
well as other lines in the text that refer to her/him. Make notes in the
margins when you come to speeches, lines, words, gestures, etc. which seem
particularly significant or perplexing. If you find words that you don't
know (or don't know in this context), please look them up in the OED and
make a note of which meanings which might work in these instances. If
there are places where you're not sure what this character is doing (for
example, a character who remains silent throughout much/all of a scene),
please make a particular note of those moments.

Bring your annotated text to class along with a short paper discussing your
discoveries about this character. Among the issues you might consider are:
what are the central questions or problems this character presents to an
actor? Which scenes/situations are most interesting or confusing to you?
Why? Where is the character speaking in poetry and where in prose? What
might this information tell you either about the character or about what is
going on in the play? Is there any kind of historical information which
would be useful as you grapple with this character and this play? Can you
tell how old this character is? What are his/her physical characteristics?
What kind of information along these lines does the play give you? Where
does the play leave you guessing?

We will be viewing at least one of the film versions of this play before
our second class. While you're watching the play, make mental notes of the
ways that the actors and director respond to the questions you've raised.


Class Two:

In preparation for this class, please read 91-145 in Valerie Traub's Desire
and Anxiety and write a short paper in response to the issues she raises.
Using evidence from the text, discuss some of your points of agreement
and/or disagreement with her arguments. If she talks about the character
you were assigned for our last class, please come prepared to discuss
whether her perspective adds to, contradicts, or alters any of your
preliminary conclusions about that character. If she does not talk about
your character, choose one she does discuss and arrive ready to consider
how the view in this article might affect our understanding of that
character. In class, we will be talking about your papers and the issues
they raise.

Class Three:

In preparation for this class, we will be attending the RSC production of
As You Like It. While you are watching the play, pay particular attention
to the RCS's choices about "your" character. What does s/he look like
physically? How is s/he dressed? Where does her/his presentation of
particular lines correlate with your reading? Where does it differ? Does
the production include all of your character's entrances and speeches or
are there cuts? Are any of your character's lines given to other
characters? How do the cuts or changes affect your reading of the text or
viewing of the production? Are there any choices in the production
--either dealing with your character or not--which surprise you, annoy you,
charm you or provoke any other particular response?

Please write a two page response to the production, talking about the
choices made concerning your character, but also including other noteworthy
elements of the performance.

We will be discussing the production choices and your responses in class.
We will also be going back to the text to probe further into the
implications of these choices.



Macbeth Assignments

Class One:

In preparation for this class, please read the play carefully. Pay
particular attention to the characterization of the central figures. Make
note of the comments they make about themselves and that others make about
them. If you find contradictions or unclear passages, make sure you write
those down for class discussion. Watch for the various ways the play makes
suggestions about the characters' possible motivations for their actions
and for the interplay between the "natural" and "supernatural." For
example, where are concerns about power prominent? What kinds of power seem
to be at stake? What other motivational forces are discussed or alluded
to? How do you interpret the "supernatural" elements of the text? Does the
text suggest that they are "real" or imagined (n.b., this may not be
consistent)? As you work on this assignment, keep in mind that these
characters are not real people. Draw your evidence from the text, not from
psychological or social factors which you imagine would be relevant in
real life. Bring your notes to class and be prepared to discuss them
and/or write about them.




Class Two:

Before class two, we will be viewing at least one film version of Macbeth.
While you are watching the film(s), make note of the ways that the
actors/director/production suggest answers to the questions discussed in
class. Please bring to class a short paper responding to one (or both) of
the film(s). Choose a character, scene, or production issue (costume, set,
etc.) and discuss how the film(s) captured or contradicted your reading.
Be sure to go back to the text and use specific lines, etc., to support
your points. Feel free to discuss elements that are present or absent from
the film(s), i.e., places in the text which got cut from the film version.
We will be discussing these points in class.

Class Three:

Before class three, please read the Macbeth essays in Shakespeare's Late
Tragedies and make note of points you agree with, dispute, or don't
understand. Please also bring to class your notes which compare one
element of the play in the versions we have seen (or read about in the
essays). You might look at a character, line(s) performed or omitted,
costuming, a feature of the set, or some other aspect which interests you.
Please go back to the text of the play and remind yourself of what the text
indicates about this character/scene, etc. Be prepared to refer to the
text of the play as well as to the things you noted in the productions and
the essays. If there is one version which "gets it right" or misses the
mark completely in your opinion, please discuss this in your paper. We will
be discussing these choices in class.


Troilus and Cressida Assignments

Class One:

In preparation for class, please read the play carefully. If there are
passages, lines, or actions which you do not understand, please mark them
and bring them to class for discussion. We will be focusing on the
characterization of Cressida today, so please be thinking about any
challenges you see associated with her character.

In preparation for class two, please read Valerie Traub's essay "Invading
Bodies/Bawdy Exchanges" (pages 71-90) and write a short paper responding to
the issues she raises there. Remember to go back to the text to find
support for your arguments.


Class Two:

In this class, we will be discussing the issues raised by the essay. We
will also be dividing the class up into groups in preparation for our
viewing of the RSC production of Troilus and Cressida. Each group will be
assigned a particular element to watch for in this production and will be
reporting back to the class about their findings. During class today, you
should subdivide responsibilities among the members of your group and
arrange a short meeting (either on the bus back to Oxford or at another
time). Each of you will be speaking briefly to the class as a whole.

The four groups will be focusing on:

1. Programs:

Questions to ask might include: what information is included,
what is omitted? Does the program privilege a particular
interpretation of the play or does it map out various possibilities?
How much of this program appears to be a "generic"
(or Shakespeare) program and what elements
seem to be specific to this production?

In your group, you might assign some students primary responsibility
for analyzing the program before the production and others for
a post-production review. Members of this group should
also review as many editions of the play as they can locate
in order to assess the range of information which a program
might include. Please come prepared to talk both about
the program and about these editions.


2. Costumes and Props:

This group might divide themselves up into "costume"
and "prop" subdivisions. If you are working in this
group, remember that the text will only give occasional
hints about these elements. Before making your class
presentation, please "research" some of the choices
which interest you by going back to the text and looking
for lines, comments, etc., which either support, contradict,
or remain silent on the range of choices possible.


3. Sets and Lighting:

This group will probably work best if divided in two. Here
also, the text will give very limited information to determine
set design (and stage lighting as we know it clearly wasn't
an issue). It might work best if you decide in advance
who is going to pay particular attention during Act I, II,
III, etc., so that you can be better prepared to remember
moments to "research" in the text after you see the production.

4. Casting/Characterization:

This group might divide up the characters in the text
to focus on. Please pay attention to both casting and
characterization. Think, for example, whether the physical
appearance of any of the actors helps shape the
audience's response to his/her characterization.
Be prepared to talk about any choices regarding
characterization which seem distinctive. Also, go back
to the text to remind yourself about textual elements
which seem to support or contradict the production
choices you focus on.

Class Three: Group Presentations

Final Class:
Final papers and notebooks due in class

We will be discussing the productions and videotapes you have viewed
outside of class. Each of you is required to view at least one production
as the basis for your final five page paper critiquing either a local
Shakespeare production or a film version of a Shakespeare play. You might
focus on some of the elements we have discussed concerning the other plays
on the syllabus or devise a new approach. Please use textual evidence from
the play as well as references to the film/production. Feel free to use
one or more versions of the same play.

Please also turn in your class notebook, which will include all written
assignments (whether formal papers or notes) for the summer. Please mark
each item clearly with a description of the assignment it responds to.


Interpreting Shakespeare as Performance:
Using a Dramaturg's Program Book as the Core Project
in an Undergraduate Shakespeare Course

Clare-Marie Wall


After several months of participating in the NEH Institute "Shakespeare
Examined Through Performance," I became convinced that I needed to throw
out my usual syllabus for English 189: Shakespeare, and begin again. At
Cal State Fresno, the English 189 course is a one-semester introduction to
Shakespeare's major works, required of all students who are seeking a
teaching credential in English. It is not the only Shakespeare course we
offer: we have one-semester upper division seminars titled Tudor or Stuart
Shakespeare, Women in Shakespeare, Shakespeare's Tragedies, etc., taught as
we wish by the seven department members who teach Shakespeare. But 189 is
the most common course, and we usually offer three sections (25 students
each) every semester. Our Shakespeareans vary in background and approach:
we have several New Historicists, other traditional Close Readers and Old
Historicists, and several who blend feminist and performance approaches, as
I do. Of us all, I have had the most theatrical experience, as actor,
dramaturg and assistant director for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and
other theatres. Yet I have limited my use of performance pedagogy to the
comparative showing of videos, to talking about performance issues, and to
requiring production reviews. While those methods are certainly valuable,
I was conspicuously avoiding having my students do more practical theatre
work, by acting, directing or designing. Instead, I encouraged us only to
talk and write about performance. Spring 1996 seemed the right time to
stop talking and start doing.

Unfortunately, I could not quite jettison my desire for substantial
"coverage," that specter familiar to most teachers of undergraduate
courses. In English 189, I usually cover at least twelve of Shakespeare's
plays in the course of a fifteen-week semester, and I simply couldn't
imagine doing fewer than seven plays. I also remained wedded to a
substantial writing requirement, and to the need to get students into the
library for research. I figured I could give up midterms and final exams,
and instead use weekly quizzes to test students' close reading of the
scripts. In my revised course, I would spend much more time getting
students to open their mouths and get on their feet to work on speeches and
scenes together.

But I had an additional wish for the new course. To me, one of the joys
of theatrical experiences, whether onstage or in the audience, is the
creation of community. For the production team, collaborative artistry is
the goal (even when a director guides or dictates the members of that
team.) For the audience members, the play happens when they share a time
and space with actors and with each other, and help the event occur. How
was I to help students get some experience in the theatrical collaboration
which is required to put a Shakespeare script on stage, and at the same
time stretch their analytical and research skills? How could I help them
learn what production teams do, and train them to be better audience
members (and readers) at the same time?

My solution was to use my own experience as dramaturg and devise a way for
English literature students to combine their experienced research and
writing skills with their inexperienced theatrical imaginative powers, and
to hone both. A dramaturg, generally speaking, is responsible for knowing
the literary and historical backgrounds of a particular script and its
writer. She or he also usually has some practical theatrical experience,
and is aware of past and present stage theory and practice. Depending on
the director or theatre she or he is working for, a dramaturg is part of
the collaborative team which decides on an approach to the script, works
through design and casting decisions, participates in the rehearsal process
in various ways, and prepares the audience members to enjoy the production
by such means as public lectures and a dramaturg's program book of
informative articles, illustrations and relevant quotations.

For the 1982 Colorado Shakespeare Festival As You Like It, I and Roelof
Veltkamp worked as dramaturgs, and published an elaborate program book to
support director Lee Potts' vision of the play as an Enlightenment
pastoral, demonstrating the value of generous love. We wrote articles on
the play (synopsis, analysis, criticism), its stage history, and our
production concept (courtly world, pastoral world, rustic world, scenery,
music, costumes, lighting), and illustrated the book extensively. The
15-page program book provided me with an opportunity to bring together my
background in art, history, literature, theatre and journalism, and to
become a teacher of the audience as well, informing them about the long and
complicated collaboration between director, designers, actors, musicians
and assistants, and demonstrating some of the results.

Research, collaboration, production. For me, those are the elements of any
Shakespearean play which I wanted introductory literature students to
experience. I decided to create an artificial process which would allow
students to perform one of five "roles"--director, literary historian,
theatre historian, designer, pedagogue--and then to collaborate with the
rest of a group to reach a final interpretation of a script. If they only
had actors, technicians, money, audience and time, this group-created final
interpretation could ideally be performed. For class purposes, however,
they would complete a written record of their work, and present their group
interpretation to the rest of the students near the end of the semester.

Their preparation of this interpretation would go on throughout the term,
using some class time and much out-of-class time. In order to develop
sufficient background, each student would need to read and re-read the
script of their chosen play. They would need to spend library time to
explore the traditions of literary criticism and stage productions, and
then to find out more about design possibilities that would support their
interpretations. After some weeks of individual research, they would meet
together and begin to talk through their differing points of view. Their
goal would be to gain some consensus, and decide how they could best
present their interpretation, with what designs, what emphasis on scenes,
what character interpretations, etc. Unlike current theatrical practice,
the director would not have veto power, but would be an equal participant,
and primary facilitator of the group's discussions.

After some weeks of discussion, each of the individual group members would
write a five- to ten-page paper summarizing their findings. The director
would be responsible for writing an overview of the group's final
interpretive approach, including thematic and character concerns. The
designer would explain the rationale behind the costume, set, lighting, and
music designs, and illustrate them in some way. The literary historian
would present the relevant high points of past and recent criticism,
especially that criticism which would support or contradict the group's
interpretation in interesting ways. The theatre historian would set the
current group's "production" in a historical continuum of performances on
stage (and perhaps on film and video.) And the pedagogue would demonstrate
a way to present the group's interpretation to an audience, either through
the production of a program book, or a series of lectures and workshops, or
a series of class preparations for a particular grade level.

After the written assignments were completed, the group would have a
two-hour slot to present their interpretation to the rest of the
Shakespeare class. They might use lecture, film, workshop exercises, or
extended performance of a scene or scenes from their "production."
Ideally, two different "productions" of a single script would occupy each
class period, so that everyone could see how different collaborations can
result in different interpretations.

Such were my best-laid plans. The syllabus which I gave to my 27 students
on 31 January 1996 follows. After voting on the seven plays we would cover
in the 15-week semester, I asked them to think about what "role" they would
prefer to play, and whether they would rather work on A Midsummer Night's
Dream or Hamlet. (Macbeth was added later, at one group's request.) In
the following two weeks, we "covered" both Dream and Hamlet, discussing
the scripts in enough detail that they could make an educated decision
about which one they wanted to work on all semester. They then listed
their preferred "roles" and plays (first, second and third choices). I was
able to "cast" them and group them into five groups, two on Dream, two on
Hamlet and one on Macbeth. Not everyone got their first choice. By that
point in the semester, I had a good idea of who was reliable, who was
thoughtful, and who might need more guidance; so I tried to tailor roles
to what I perceived as their strengths. As with most casting, I had
successes and failures in this process. I'm afraid there's no way to
insure complete success, unless one has a class of students one knows well
already.

In the ensuing weeks of spring semester, the difficulties inherent in any
collaborative venture quickly surfaced. Six students who had been
assigned "roles" quietly dropped out of the process due to illness, work
conflicts or sloth. Several groups were thus incomplete, and their work
proved more difficult without all "roles" being filled. Then, even though
the sick students resurfaced, two groups lost valuable collaboration time.
As expected, some students worked well together; others became frustrated
or apathetic, at least until the May 1 deadline began to near. Also, in
giving class time over to their group work, I lost valuable hours when we
could have been doing practical performance work.

Still, I realized that many were enjoying the work. The books which I had
put on reserve in the university library, supplemented by the Bergeron/de
Souza Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide, began to be checked out.
Students came to my office, or phoned, with questions. After a four-hour
session devoted to group-work for the Dramaturg's Program book, some groups
began to meet outside of class (I encountered six students at 10 PM on a
Saturday night working in Fresno's City Cafe.) We also devoted one hour
weekly of our four-hour time to further group-work, starting in April.

Regular class discussion continued to be fruitful. Sometimes we worked in
a familiar literary way through close textual analysis of the scripts. For
each Shakespeare play that I teach, I prepare a 4-5 page handout titled
"Reading Questions." These "reading questions" are open-ended, but ask
for students' detailed scene-by-scene responses, and more general
interpretative conclusions . Having these questions with them as they read
and re-read the scripts on their own helps students to explore for
themselves some of the myriad choices offered by the written text. Thus
they read "on their own," but get some idea of what they might look for as
actors/directors/ audience/reader. They come to class better prepared
with their own point of view. Then in class discussion, we elaborate on
issues raised by the reading questions (such as genre, gender, theme,
character and poetic style), and further explore the historical context of
original performances in early modern London. Equal time, however, is
always devoted to performance issues, such as choices of character
motivation and action, design impact, and tonal effects. In Spring 1996,
through a variety of class exercises (noted in the final syllabus below,
and elaborated in our Recipe Book of Exercises) I tried to extend our area
of discussion and experience further.

The results of this experiment will follow in a Postscript section, which
will include an overview of their group presentations to the rest of the
class, comments on their individual work, and finally their own comments
about what they thought of the course. I know now that when I next offer
the course, I will use brief written assignments to guide students toward
particular research areas, instead of allowing them the relative freedom of
this semester. I know that those who already have some background in the
period found the research easy; others, however, needed more guidance at
the start of the process than I was comfortable about giving this semester.
By structuring a set of required mini-papers on performance issues, I can
also monitor the students' work in a more efficient way. Those who did not
contribute enough to the group did not have any check on their sloth except
the frustrations of the other group members. If I, however, had known
about problems of discipline or just plain confusion, I could have helped
sooner. Additionally, scheduled conferences with each group early in the
semester would have helped. Although I did ask for reports from groups in
March, I asked them to be given publicly, in class. I would have done
better to have met with groups in private, where their worries could have
surfaced without their losing any face before the whole class.
Clare-Marie Wall
Department of English, California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740-0098
(209) 278-2248
email address: clare_wall@csufresno.edu

Interpreting Shakespeare as Performance:
Using a Dramaturg's Program Book as the Core Project
in an Undergraduate Shakespeare Course

Clare-Marie Wall
part 2

SYLLABUS FOR ENGLISH 189: SHAKESPEARE SPRING 1996
Meeting Wednesday nights, 6:10-10:00 PM, for 15 weeks

This course provides an introduction to Shakespeare's plays, with
an emphasis on performance criticism and practice. We will be using the
group creation of a Dramaturg's Program Book as the major project.

TEXTS

Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide, Third Edition, Revised.
Eds. David M. Bergeron & Geraldo U. de Sousa. Lawrence:
University Press of Kansas, 1995.
William Shakespeare. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. David
Bevington, ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

GOALS OF THE COURSE

Above any other goal of this course is your own personal engagement
with some of Shakespeare's plays. You will need to read the scripts,
imagine possible performances, re-read the scripts, view films and videos,
mull over and re-read the scripts, then write and talk about and enact
them. Reading a plot summary, or cribs, or the occasional scene, won't do.
All assignments--whether prepared or improvised performances, critiques of
performance, speculative writings or quizzes, group discussions, and
preparation of dramaturg-book materials (see appendix)--are designed to
help you respond richly, specifically and individually to these really
remarkable works.

When you first encounter Shakespeare's scripts (written texts), I
recommend that you read aloud, that you listen to audiotape recordings in
the Music Library while you read silently, that you view whatever
productions you can, whether live or filmed. I will show parts of some
videos, and the Music Library of CSUF has many excellent videotapes (BBC
and others) available for viewing. Don't miss Kenneth Branagh/Emma
Thompson's Much Ado About Nothing. Other films like the Branagh or Olivier
Henry V, or the Zeffirelli Hamlet or Taming of the Shrew, are easily
rented. Don't miss such superb versions as Akira Kurosawa's Throne of
Blood (Macbeth ) or Ran (King Lear ), for example, or the Kosintsev Hamlet
and Lear. Orson Welles' Othello is now on tape as well. In addition to
viewing films, you could also read scenes with a classmate or friend before
we work in class. Remember that Shakespeare, as actor and theatre owner,
knew that his playscripts were catalysts for theatre experiences. We have
to work our imaginations hard to create them in the classroom or the study,
even as actors and audiences do in the theatre.

Always remember that what you are reading are Shakespeare's scripts
(written texts). The actual plays (performance texts) are rich experiences
of sound and movement, performed by actors in front of an audience. You,
as READERS of plays, must be playwright, actors, director, designers,
technicians and audience--all at once--in order to let the plays live fully
in your imaginations. So as you read, keep in mind Tadeusz Kowzan's list
of 13 theatrical systems: word, intonation, movement (blocking), gesture,
facial mimicry, set, props, costumes, hairstyle, makeup, music, lighting,
sound effects. Consider all of them as you read the dialogue and sparse
stage directions of the script. And then let your imaginations go, to
collaborate with the words and actions that Shakespeare provided.

In teaching Shakespeare, I have always emphasized that we are
reading only the pre-texts of the fully staged Shakespearean "plays." This
kind of criticism is usually called "performance criticism" of Shakespeare.
For the past five months, I have been a participant in a National
Endowment for the Humanities Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in
Washington, D.C. This institute, called "Shakespeare Examined Through
Performance," is dedicated to exploring various methods of using in-class
acting, production comparisons, and videos, in our undergraduate
Shakespeare courses. To capitalize on this experience, and on my years of
experience as an actor, dramaturg (literary advisor) and assistant director
at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and elsewhere, I've decided to
experiment this semester with a more emphatically performance-based
approach to studying Shakespeare. Our exercises, acting, viewing of
performances, writing, research and presentations will all support our
explorations of the theatrical reality of these plays, and help you to
enjoy and understand theatre experiences based on Shakespeare's scripts, to
become better readers and critics of both scripts and performances, and to
be better able to teach others to do the same.

However, because this is an experimental semester, you can expect
some variation in the syllabus. Here are my plans so far. I will not ask
you to do any MORE work; I may however have to cut something. I am still
tied somewhat to the familiar idea of examinations; so there will be weekly
reading quizzes on the scripts assigned to be read.

SCHEDULE Original plan 1/31/96, revised 2/7, 4/3 and 5/1/96.

Never before have I been as open as I am today to decisions about
which plays we will work on in this class. They're all so wonderful that I
think we should do 35 or 36 plays. But I'm not yet insane, and I know we
should limit ourselves to 6 or 7 for this kind of experimental class. I
would like to propose the following plays: The Taming of the Shrew, A
Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Macbeth, King Lear,
and The Winter's Tale. I also want us to view and discuss the
Branagh/Thompson Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing, and the Judi Dench/Ian
McKellen Macbeth directed by Trevor Nunn. We ABSOLUTELY MUST see Ed
EmanuEl's direction of The Merry Wives of Windsor which will be playing
on campus at our John Wright Theatre May 3-5 and 8-12, especially since no
film or video can ever match a live performance.

However, I also propose that we VOTE on which plays we do. So,
during the first class of January 31, we will decide on seven plays to do
together. Because I don't want to waste our first four hours, I will begin
with a discussion of Shrew; but if the class chooses, we can move on to
another next week.

[After extended discussion and much lobbying for favorite plays,
the class voted to substitute As You Like It and Othello, for Shrew and
Measure. The following list of plays was approved. I here reproduce the
final schedule which we followed.]

SCHEDULE

31 January Introduction to course, theatre systems, dramaturg books
Exercise: comparison of openings/framings
of The Taming of the Shrew
videos and Atomic Shakespeare
7 February A Midsummer Night's Dream. Introductory
discussion; multiple plot
structure, character criticism, poetic imagery,
thematic concerns (imagination in love and art.)
14 February Hamlet. Introductory discussion with Dr. Laurel
Hendrix.
Overview, heroic tragedy situated in history.
21 February Hamlet cont. Antiheroic tragicomedy in other contexts.
As You Like It . Discussion of students'
interpretations.
Extended warm-ups.
Exercise: Variant performances of 1. 2.
231-260, with Orlando,
Rosalind, Celia.
Exercise: Redirection of scene by class
members.
28 February Assignment of group projects: selection of 2 groups
on Hamlet, 2 groups on Dream 1
group on Macbeth.
Roles (director, lit crit, production
critic, designer,
pedgagogue assigned.
As You Like It discussion continued.
Exercise: choices of musical worlds for
Dream, As You Like It.
Exercise: creating different design
versions of Frederick's
Court and the Forest of Arden.
6 March Othello Introductory discussion.
Exercise: comparison of Zeffirelli's film
version of Verdi's Otello
with Othello's 1. 3. narration,
"Her father lov'd me."
13 March Othello, Macbeth Feminist and historical
criticism. Willow
scene/ witches, Lady Macbeth, evil and
childbirth imagery.
Character collages.
20 March Macbeth Scenes presented by CSUF theatre students:
1.1- 1.5, Sleepwalking
scene 5.1.
Discussion with actors and director Terry
Miller.
Exercise: extensive text work on Macbeth's
1.7 and 5.5. soliloquies by
entire class.
27 March King Lear
"What do you think this play is about?"
Fathers,
children, loss or gain, or both?
Jan Kott, Theatre of the Absurd, Existentialism.
3 April Spring Vacation
10 April Group rehearsals and preparations for presentations.
17 April King Lear
Discussion of tragicomedy,
Verbal staging of heath scenes, Dover
Cliffs, Awakening,
1 May FINISHED DRAMATURG'S PROGRAM BOOKS DUE, 6 PM.
The Winter's Tale
Exercise: showing of videotape
Shakespeare: The Last Plays.
Hall's rehearsal of beginning of
play, discussion of variant approaches.
Discussion of romance, masque traditions, myth.
Exercise: showing statue scene, Barton's
Playing Shakespeare: Passion
and Coolness for the majority
of class who had not read play, with
discussion of staging choices for ending.
8 May Performances and Presentations on Hamlet
15 May Performances and Presentations on Dream
22 May Performances and Presentations on Macbeth
Critical Reviews of Performances Due.

REQUIREMENTS

Whatever playscripts we finally decide on for our classwork
together, certain requirements are fixed. They are as follows:

1. ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION in our discussions will help
you to experience the plays, so be here physically and mentally. Since we
meet only once a week, attendance is simply required. In case of an
extreme emergency, please contact me before class, at least via a message
on my office phone.

I also expect you to read each play IN ITS ENTIRETY before the day
we are scheduled to discuss it, and I suggest that you have something
interesting and worthwhile to say about it when you come in. You should
know the characters' names, plot details, important thematic and imagery
patterns, the meaning of crucial speeches and words, and have done some
thinking about staging difficulties. I will give weekly READING QUIZZES to
confirm reading, your attendance and participation, so be on time, please.
(No makeups on quizzes.)

PARTICIPATION (Attendance, class participation in discussion, and
written quizzes) = 35 % of your final grade.

2. This experimental section will ask you to do various acting
and writing exercises. We will do warmups together, so please wear
comfortable clothes and shoes to class. (You may be lying on the floor, so
be prepared for dust.) You may be asked to paraphrase speeches, in other
words to translate them into other language; so be sure you read carefully.
You will definitely need to "get the scene or character on its feet," by
speaking Shakespeare's words, and moving and interacting with other class
members. You will be asked to respond to others' acting explorations, with
courtesy and clarity and honesty. You will often work in groups: your
dramaturg-book group will be your semester-long colleagues, but you will
often work with others in pairs, trios, quartets and clumps. You will
experiment not only with performing, but with directing and designing. You
will probably do at least one collage, of a character or of a director's
concept for a play.

YOU WILL NOT BE GRADED ON YOUR ABILITY TO ACT, DIRECT OR DESIGN!!!
I know that this is not a theatre class. You will be graded on your
willingness to participate and to experiment, your thoughtfulness of
analysis and interpretation, your ability to "read" like an actor, director
or designer, your incisiveness and courtesy in your observation of others'
work.

PLEASE BE REASSURED! I will be continuing to clarify my expectations as
the semester continues.

PARTICIPATION IN THEATRE WORK = 30 % of final grade.

3. In addition to the weekly quizzes and in-class writings,
you will have two longer written assignments: a CRITICAL REVIEW of a
Shakespeare production and part of a DRAMATURG'S PROGRAM BOOK (See
appendix.)

The brief but detailed CRITICAL REVIEW should be of a complete
Shakespeare production which you have seen within the past year, either
live, on film, or on videotape. I can recommend the films directed by
Branagh, Zeffirelli, Olivier, Kurosawa, Welles, Kosintsev. The recent
Othello with Laurence Fishburne is still playing, and Ian McKellen's
Richard the Third is on its way. The CSUF Merry Wives of Windsor will be
performed in May, and all of us should go, definitely.

In your review, you should give a personal response, concentrating
on acting, concept, design, etc. as you wish. You may want to compare and
contrast the version to your interpretation of Shakespeare's complete
script, for excample, or even compare two versions of the same script. If
you want to do extra credit, you may write more reviews of more
productions. They're always a joy to read, and to reward.

Your section of the DRAMATURG'S PROGRAM BOOK (see appendix) should
be 5-10 pages at least, typed, double spaced and proofread. You also must
turn in an annotated bibliography with your section. Sign-ups for plays
and sections will begin soon (after introductory discussions of Hamlet and
Dream, since those are the plays you will be working on in your groups.)
Be thinking, therefore, about which play you would prefer to research and
write on, and which kind of interpretive "role" you wish to play. You will
be meeting regularly with your group on your chosen play, to discuss your
findings, collaborate on a shared vision of the play which you can all
agree on, and plan a good way to present your finished "production" and
program book at the end of the semester. FINISHED DRAMATURG'S PROGRAM
BOOKS MUST BE READY BY MAY 1! Presentations of those works to the class
will follow. Reviews are due during the last class, May 22.

EXTENDED WRITTEN WORK (critical review of a play and section of
dramaturg's program book) = 35 % of final grade


APPENDIX TO SYLLABUS FOR ENGLISH 189: SHAKESPEARE Sp 1996

READING A SCRIPT

I am a devout believer in the theory which holds that when you read
a "play," you read not essentially a finished work, but a script, a written
text which is the jumping off point for the play in performance. (Tom
Stoppard calls his scripts "pre-texts.") As far as I'm concerned, the
fullest kind of playreading absolutely requires every reader to play all
the roles (aloud and in motion, at least in one's vivid imagination),
"direct" the production toward a satisfying single experience in time and
space, to visualize and imagine the costumes, set, stage properties, and to
hear the sound effects and musical score. Lastly, of course, each reader
is the ideal audience member, participating fully with mind and feelings in
the rich, complex experience of the play.

We will be discusssing such issues in the course of the semester,
naturally. But I want you all to keep thinking/feeling about the many
systems of signs which are working at every moment onstage, and which are
either called for explicitly by the playwright's written text, or
potentially present in the performance text, experienced by the audience.
Tadeusz Kowzan's list of 13 theatre systems is a starting point: word,
intonation, facial mimicry, gesture movement, costume, hairstyle, makeup,
sound, lighting, set, properties, music. Others might include the playing
space (or theatre) itself, the program material, poster, pre-show
entertainment. I always include the AUDIENCE as a crucial determining
factor.

DRAMATURG'S PROGRAM BOOK ON A PLAY

In order to explore the acting, designing and directing roles, I am
going to work from my own useful experiences as a dramaturg for various
theatres, and ask you to join with fellow classmates to compile a
Dramaturg's Program Book on one of Shakespeare's plays, which you will work
on during the semester, and which will be due in May. There is nothing
particularly mysterious about a dramaturg. In European theatres,
traditionally, the dramaturg has served the company as a literary
advisor--a reader of plays, a shaper of playwrights, an assistant to
directors and casts, and a liaison with the audiences, via lectures,
articles and, usually, a published Program Book on each one of the plays
which the theatre company performs. This Program Book is more than a cast
list: it is an introduction to the written text and the performance text,
through essays by the director and dramaturg, quotations from previous
criticism of the play (both written and performance texts), descriptive
analysis of the design of this production, pictures, background on
historical contexts, even bibliographical material for extra study.

So, instead of asking you to write the usual extended paper, or
even several shorter essays, I ask you to to participate in compiling a
Program Book on a single play. You must choose between A Midsummer Night's
Dream or The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. [One group lobbied
successfully for Macbeth.] After this kind of preparation, you will know
your play nearly as well as a theatre company member by the end of the
semester. By then, we will have a superb collection of Program Books to go
into our libraries, to use in our own reading, teaching and theatrregoing
futures. Please make a copy for me to keep, and I will find a way to keep
it in a permanent collection at CSU Fresno.
Each of you will responsible for performing one "role"--director,
literary historian, theatre historian, designer, pedagogue. Usually, the
dramaturg reflects the director's and designers' work in the book, and
performs the other three "roles" herself or himself.
Most Dramaturg's Program Books include the following elements:

1. A 450-word plot summary (which can guide audiences toward your
production's concept.)

2.** Director
A director's "concept"--essay on what the director sees as the
driving elements, the nature, the essence, of the play, at this
time in this space. You, of course, are the director as well as
a dramaturg. You might justify your reason for putting the
play on, at this particular moment in history.

3.** Literary historian
An extended critical essay on the script and the ways it has been
read by dramatic critics over the years since it was written.
Usually this essay puts the current production into a literary-
historical context.

4.** Theatre or production historian
An extended critical essay on the production history of the play,
emphasizing certain acclaimed productions, and showing both
traditional approaches and exciting revolutionary approaches.

5.** Designer
An explanation and illustration of the design concept--words from
set, costume, music designers are sometimes used.
Illustrations would be helpful, such as production stills,
relevant artwork, set mockup, costume renderings.

6.** Pedagogue
Teaching exercises, or a plan for educating audiences about the
play, this production, and their importance.

7.** An annotated bibliography of your sources and other relevant
materials should be included.

8. Additional material could included quotations from theatre critics,
scholars, historians, philosophers and scientists, other
artists. Such passages often illustrate the director's
concerns. Actors' interviews, past and present, and
illustrations of past productions are interesting.
So are directors' interviews, both for this and for past
productions.

Those sections with double asterisks will be written up by
different members of your five-person group: the director, the literary
historian, the theatre historian, the designer and the pedagogue. Each of
you will need to include an annotated bibliography of your sources. I have
put many useful books--including scholarly editions of the plays--on
reserve in Madden Library in the Reserve Collection. Use them.
Your contributions should be 5-10 pages long, typed, double-spaced,
carefully proofread and worthwhile. If you wish to add material or revise
your work between May 1 and the final May 22 deadline, I would welcome any
improvements.


Postscript to English 189: Shakespeare, Spring 1996

The first round of presentations and performances on Wednesday May
8 and the written work turned in the previous week, have justified the
experiment of this semester to a large extent. The two groups on Hamlet
demonstrated the variety of possible interpretations. Group A re-set their
production to a 1920's American city, with mobsters instead of royalty as
the power source. Group B imagined Denmark as an eclectic world which
combined an oppressive medieval castle set with multi-period costuming to
emphasize an omnipresence of degraded, rotting social evils which gradually
engross all the characters of the play.

Group A
The first Hamlet group, consisting of five women, placed the
action in an urban alley (battlements), nightclub (public and private court
scenes) and a graveyard. Roaring 20's costumes, props and mores helped
this group to emphasize the seedy underworld nature of Claudius and
Polonius, and also to emphasize the two women in a post-enfranchisement
world. Their feminist interpretation led them toward a wise and
power-hungry Gertrude, whose soliloquy was resituated as a dying speech.
Ophelia, in a Thelma and Louise echo, committed suicide as a final act of
defiance, after having passed out marijuana and cocaine as her rosemary and
rue, visibly pregnant all the while. Music by Duke Ellington, and a little
Ravel's Bolero, was the score. Their presentation began with performances
of Ophelia's 3.1. soliloquy, in an angry rather than weepy rendition,
followed by her shocking mad scene. She connected strongly to our
predominately female audience members, as well. Gertrude's closet and
death scenes followed, with the all-woman casting emphasizing the group's
issues. The designer followed their scenework with a presentation of
costume and designs. A discussion led by the director then brought in the
rest of the class, while a tape of jazz provided background.

Group B
This six-member group of 2 women and 4 men began with a series of
mini-lectures by the production team, from director through pedagogue.
Scenes followed. A moving prayer scene was followed by a closet scene
which frightened the class members and brought wild applause. These
non-actors had fully memorized, and passionately performed, surprising even
themselves (they said) with their inventiveness. Again, I realize that
future courses MUST include more scene work, especially allowing for large
groups to work together all semester, as this one did, improving throughout
the term. Everyone got very excited about what this group revealed, and
our discussion lasted an additional hour. This group also produced a
professional-quality Program-Book, invaluable for other students in the
future.
I also include some representative student comments. Since the
semester is not yet over, I have not elicited or received any complaints.
I'm sure there will be some, since this course was such a departure from
the usual Shakespeare course. So far, though, these are favorable.
1. "What a difficult yet delightful process to research the words and
productions of Shakespeare. The Dramaturg's Book allows for so much
interpretation--an insight into many years of work. This class allowed the
freedom to explore what is often left unexplored because of fear of not
understanding. We were allowed to feel the words, the language, the
scenes, the underlying strengths and weaknesses.
I must say that, as a group, it was difficult to pull everything
together. As an individual, I felt like I could never get enough. I think
it would be satisfying to create a Dramaturg's Book on an individual
basis--a semester-long project that would tie everything together for each
individual.
Yet, to go against myself, I've learned so much from everyone else.
I wouldn't want to go against their interpretations or without them.
Overall, this experience was exciting and worth every hour of work."
2. "I have taken Shakespeare before and the professor tried to get
across the way in which these plays were put on. But having to actually
become a director of the play Hamlet brought the significance together for
me. Although learning the themes, plots and language and subplots are
important, it was actively getting involved in the play that helped me to
appreciate it all the more. It helped me to understand why he
[Shakespeare] has been held in such high esteem. I think that this is a
much better way to learn it than simply coming to class and reading it
aloud."
3. "The beginning process of preparing for [Dream ] did not excite me
much. But once I started reading and researching, things started to come
together. The additional discussion of the play with my group members made
concepts and themes more clear to me. My assignment as pedagogue made me
realize the difficulty does not just lie in the learning but in the
teaching presentation of the play. By the end of the semester, I feel I
have a better grasp on this play than any of the others. I would recommend
the future assigning of this project to other classes."

English 189: Shakespeare
Spring 1996
C-M Wall


Books on Reserve

Wm. Shakespeare. The Variorum Hamlet (2 volumes)

The Variorum A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hamlet (Arden/Methuen edition, ed. Jenkins)
PR 2807 A2 J4 1982

The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet (1st quarto)
PR 2807 A1 1992b

Hamlet (New Cambridge edition, ed. Edwards)
PR 2807 A2 E4 1985

Hamlet (2nd quarto facsimile)
PR 2750 B07 1964

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Arden/Methuen ed.)
PR 2827 A2 B68 (1979)

Ernest Jones. Hamlet and Oedipus (Freudian reading of Hamlet)
PR 2807 J63 1954

Eleanor Prosser. Hamlet and Revenge
PR 2807 P77 1971

Leavenworth, ed. Interpreting Hamlet: Materials for Analysis
(criticism anthology)
PR 2807 L355

John A Mills Hamlet on Stage: The Great Tradition
PR 2805 M54 1985

J.C. Trewin Five and Eighty Hamlets
PR 2807 T74 1989

R.M Frye The Renaissance Hamlet: Issues and Responses in 1600
PR 2807 F79 1984

Raymond Mander, ed. Hamlet through the Ages (pictorial history from 1709)
PR 2807 M37 1971

Robert Speaight. Shakespeare on the Stage
PR 3091 S 58

Richard David. Shakespeare in the Theatre
PR 3100 D38

Leigh Woods On Playing Shakespeare (actors' advice)
PR 3112 W 66 1991

John Russell Brown. Shakespeare's Plays in Performance
PR 3091 B73 1993

Andrew Gurr. The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642.
PR 3095 G67 1992

Ann Pasternak Slater Shakespeare the Director
PR 3891 S5 1982

Russ McDonald Shakespeare ReRead: The Texts in New Contexts
PR 2976 S3383 1994

John Elsom, ed. Is Shakespeare Still Our Contemporary?
PR 2976 I8 1989

John Drakakis, ed. Alternative Shakespeares
PR 2976 A64 1985

Ivo Kamps, ed. Shakespeare Left and Right
PR 2970 S52 1991


The Down and Dirty Guide to Scanning Verse:
Some Hints to Help with Sounding Shakespeare's Words

Kurt Daw


Introduction

For actors about to speak a few of Shakespeare's lines aloud for the first
time the most intimidating thing is rarely the depth of the
characterization, or the memorization, or even the unfamiliar language. It
is the scansion. Characterization can be debated. Memory can be improved.
Odd words can be looked up, often right there on the page in the extensive
footnotes. But somehow word has gotten out that there is a non-negotiably
right way to scan verse. That way is (I frequently hear) a closely guarded
secret and incredibly difficult even for those who are allowed to be
initiated into its mysteries. Scansion cannot be finessed!

As an acting teacher I find such rumors cruelly overstated. My purpose in
writing this guide is to help anyone facing this task for the first time to
learn a few
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