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Customer Review

6 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Theoretical sans joy, 10 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Playing Shakespeare (Performance Books) (Paperback)
Two-stars is harsh, for the book has advantages, notably its subject, being open to endless fascination. What's more, the dialogue inside is spoken by famous actors, such as by David Suchet, who bring a more practical insight to the words. Thus there is both the wisdom of Shakespeare and of the actors. It's entertaining in it's way, but as a magazine at a doctors surgery, it's a distraction. If you want a discussion of Shakespeare's language, the book by Frank Kermode may warm the heart. If you want a guide to speaking the lines, trust yourself and open your own mouth to speak. Whatever lesson, one learns it best oneself. Being a dialogue of actors discussing how to play Shakespeare, it is of partial interest both to the actor and to the scholar, but of insufficient merit to warrant purchase.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Sep 2009 08:43:14 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2011 18:21:06 BDT
It is Kermode's book on Shakespeare's language that is mainly 'theoretical' (drama as static 'literature'), rather than (as in Barton's case) largely practical (drama as living 'theatre'). I think that you'll appreciate and enjoy the content of 'Playing Shakespeare' if you watch the DVD version (currently available for less than 13 quid).

Posted on 2 Apr 2010 22:31:11 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 28 Dec 2013 18:24:30 GMT]

Posted on 2 Oct 2010 19:14:46 BDT
Zoe King says:
'Being a dialogue of actors discussing how to play Shakespeare, it is of partial interest both to the actor and to the scholar, but of insufficient merit to warrant purchase.'

Hmm, I think you have entirely missed the point. Actors of the calibre of Kevin Kline, Dustin Hoffman, Charles S Dutton trusted themselves, opened their own mouths to speak, and yet how much more powerful their performances were with input from John Barton. I am with Early - vacuous and arrogant, and displaying little understanding.

Posted on 28 Jan 2014 23:40:41 GMT
Two stars is indeed harsh for the seminal work in its field by a preeminent director in the preeminent Shakespeare company in the world, working with world class actors in what was an London Weekend TV series. This is but the script, and watching the DVDs is a MUCH richer experience, but all the wisdom of studying Shakespeare under actors rather than with a literary critic's book or just as horrendous, as English Literature, is available to you in this one marvelous and valuable little tome. I am very sorry for you that you so badly missed the mark on this one. Perhaps try re-reading it.
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