By exploring the mechanics of Shakespeare's writing, these books clearly illustrate how to speak and understand his texts and ultimately break down the language barrier. Both cover the bard's powerful iambic pentameter and its effect on pronunciation, the irregularities that reveal the emotional and psychological state of each character, and how each word works in relation to another concerning prose, verse, blank verse, and rhyming verse. Scheeder, founder and director of the Classical Studio at New York University, and Younts, professor of the techniques of voice and text at the same institution, present a highly useful pronunciation dictionary, supplemented by a glossary that defines character names, places, and unfamiliar words. They use the International Phonetics Alphabet, respell vowels in their key to pronunciation, and intricately mark in scansion each word. When a word can be pronounced two different ways, they indicate both followed by the play, the act, and the scene in which each form is used. Rodenburg, director of voice at London's Royal National Theatre, divides her training guide into four parts, offering practical exercises that aid in comprehending the speeches that define a character's mental state and intentions. Her book uses two guideposts: the givens (including the word, the line, rhyme, and the story) and the imaginative connections necessary to make a piece engaging to both the actor and the audience. Many books exist to help actors approach Shakespeare's works, but they tend toward more general overviews. Both of these books are rich with information and nicely focused. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Elizabeth Stifter, Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.