on 13 April 2010
Sir Peter Hall believes the best way to learn and understand Shakespeare is through performance--not just watching others perform it you understand but performing it with others yourself. This can be done at any time of life starting in the classroom or for older enthusiasts simply with a group of friends, but it should be done.
This book illustrates how to understand Shakespeare's text for performance purposes. It makes a perfect companion to John Barton's "Playing Shakespeare", which is also newly re-printed. Get the DVD set as well of Barton's 1982 TV series that generated his book. Barton and Hall were co-founders of the RSC.
on 2 March 2010
If you want to understand why Sir Peter Hall has been preeminent in the direction of Shakespeare for fifty years this is the book for you. It may seem intimidating initially, and it isn't primarily aimed at the ordinary audience member, but regular theatre-goers will find it absorbing. Shakespeare didn't do stage directions - except in very rare cases. Hall shows that this doesn't matter because it is all in the verse and prose. The way speeches are structured, both in respect of the language and the form, reveal how they should be played. For Hall there are few doubts about Shakespeare's meaning or his intentions because it is all there in the text.
There are two geniuses on show in this book - the inimitable Shakespeare and the extraordinary Peter Hall. Why is a Hall production un-missable - because he understands Shakespeare's intent every time and has the ability to communicate that intent to his players.
on 28 March 2011
This book is one of the two classics available to actors who work on shakespearean drama. It provides a thorough grounding to uncovering the clues in the bard's plays. However, I think that the argument on how prescriptive form is has shifted in the last few decades so that if you were just using this book your interpretation might appear a bit dated. Used in conjunction with a good tutor/class, acting skill and organicity, it is a valuable reference.
on 11 December 2009
An absolutely brilliant and entertaining explanation of the glory of Shakespeare's verse and prose by the greatest director of his plays. No one understands, appreciates and communicates Shakespeare's text better than Peter Hall, and this book is not only an inispensible one for actors but an egrossing one for anyone who enjoys theatre. The choice of illustrations compliments the selection of texts.