An Actor's Guide
By John Barton
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385720854, 288pp.)
Publication Date: August 21, 2001
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Now in its first American edition, Playing Shakespeare is the premier guide to understanding and appreciating the mastery of the world’s greatest playwright.
Together with Royal Shakespeare Company actors–among them Patrick Stewart, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Ben Kingsley, and David Suchet–John Barton demonstrates how to adapt Elizabethan theater for the modern stage. The director begins by explicating Shakespeare’s verse and prose, speeches and soliloquies, and naturalistic and heightened language to discover the essence of his characters. In the second section, Barton and the actors explore nuance in Shakespearean theater, from evoking irony and ambiguity and striking the delicate balance of passion and profound intellectual thought, to finding new approaches to playing Shakespeare’s most controversial creation, Shylock, from The Merchant of Venice. A practical and essential guide, Playing Shakespeare will stand for years as the authoritative favorite among actors, scholars, teachers, and students.
John Barton has been associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for more than thirty-five years and has directed more than fifty productions. He lives in London and conducts Shakespeare workshops throughout the U.K. and the U.S.
“One of the sanest, wisest, and most practical volumes I have ever read about Shakespeare.”–Michael Billington, The Guardian (London)