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Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes Hot

Ron Severdia
Written by Ron Severdia     February 17, 2007    
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Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes
  • by Scott Kaiser
  • Publisher: Allworth Press
  • Published in October 1, 2003
  • 5
If you're serious about performing Shakespeare's plays, then the name Scott Kaiser is one you should know. Working at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, he has been an acting coach and dramaturg for a number of years. His simple, straightforward approach to dissecting Shakespeare's text is well worth the price of the book.

Written in a workshop-style format prmarily based on Stanislavsky's System, Scott shows the process of exposing the nuggets of the text through dialogue. He carefully guides his students without actually having to spell out for them as if to allow the mystery to unfold before their eyes (a far more effective teaching method). My biggest criticism of the book is that his students are the ideal students; they know the answers to all his questions, they've all done their homework and understand the sample texts strongly, and they are written a bit too enthusiasticly (though being in a class like this with Scott would be an exciting experience, but this is just too perfect). This point aside, the book addresses aspects like:

The Art of Orchestration: "Orchestrating" the text through punctuation, operative words, pentameter, and measures.

Focal Points: Managing your focal points between yourself and the audience.

Images: Further on focal points and imagery positioning.

Spoken Subtext: Secret fear, hopes and doubts and how they pay into character decisions and actor physical placement

Actions: Creating physical, opposing, and other kinds of action choices to suit the character and play.

Complex Orchestration: Creating a toolkit for the actor.

Towards Performance: Previsualization, types of objectives and other questions are explored.

All this leads to finding the "meat" of Shakespeare's characters and the best means for making solid acting choices.

If you already own this book, you'll be happy to know that Scott has written a follow-up book, which eventually will be published (no details available at this time).

View Scott Kaiser's bio at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Reviews on this site are subject to this required disclosure.


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