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How to Speak Shakespeare

Overview


In How to Speak Shakespeare, authors Cal Pritner and Louis Colaianni teach readers how to make sound and sense out of the Bard. Their methods have taught thousands of people—from high school students to English literature and theater arts graduate students, from beginning actors to professional actors—how to understand and effectively communicate the poetry of Shakespeare.

In order to make the book user-friendly, the authors have organized it around passages from Romeo and ...

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Overview


In How to Speak Shakespeare, authors Cal Pritner and Louis Colaianni teach readers how to make sound and sense out of the Bard. Their methods have taught thousands of people—from high school students to English literature and theater arts graduate students, from beginning actors to professional actors—how to understand and effectively communicate the poetry of Shakespeare.

In order to make the book user-friendly, the authors have organized it around passages from Romeo and Juliet. The material has been tested successfully with high school students, graduate students, amateur actors, and professional actors. The authors' teaching method is essentially a simple three step process: Test Your Understanding, Stress for Meaning, and Celebrate the Poetry. Classroom and rehearsal-tested exercises are included along with additional background on Shakespeare and his work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“It is clear that How to Speak Shakespeare is not only for drama classes, but it can also be easily integrated into an English literature class. It provides a step-by-step guide to cracking the code of Shakespearean language and structure. . . . This book takes something that can be very daunting and makes it easier to understand.” —English Journal

“Mr. Colaianni and Mr. Pritner have created this important book devoted to the technique for speaking heightened texts on the stage. By studying the fundamentals Colaianni and Pritner here provide, the serious actor can begin a lifelong commitment to this important, and all too often ignored, essential part of the actor's tools.” —Marco Baricelli, artistic associate, American Conservatory Theatre; Leading Actor, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“This one won't sit long on the shelves after students and teachers discover it. Presented in the most simple—but not condescending—terms, Pritner and Colaianni teach readers how to understand and speak Shakespearean plays...lessons are easy to follow and written with a friendly hand. Thankfully, there are no synopses or critical interpretations, just excellent tutelage in Shakespeare's word usage, punctuation and poetry.” —Today's Librarian

How to Speak Shakespeare is an invaluable, entertaining and informative book. This is the most accessible and unintimidating work on this subject I have read. It will be of equal interest to actors, scholars and lay people.” —Vivian Matalon, Tony Award-winning director

Choice
Eminently readable and understandable, this book is best described as a workshop guide for a class in reading Shakespeare. The authors' attack the problems of acting Shakespeare, speaking the language, through the use of only one play, Romeo and Juliet. They employ extensive explanations and exercises, noting comparisons and exceptions with standard rules and emphasizing the Oxford English Dictionary for definition of unfamiliar vocabulary. A fine resource for college students just beginning to explore the vicissitudes of dealing with iambic pentameter in all its variety, this book is recommended for lower-division undergraduate acting classes.
ForeWord Magazine
Indispensable. . . . a must have for most students of Shakespeare, regardless of their background or motivation.
English Journal
A tool for any student or teacher to utilize when performing Shakespeare. . . . This book takes something that can be very daunting and makes it easier to understand.
Today's Librarian
This one won't sit long on the shelves after students and teachers discover it. Presented in the most simple but not condescending terms, Pritner and Colaianni teach readers how to understand and speak Shakespearean plays. First on the praise list is their decision to use only one, familiar play for illustration, Romeo and Juliet. One cannot learn classical acting from reading a book alone, so the authors include both written and suggested oral exercises. But the book isn't only for young actors. It's superb for high school students facing a mandatory Shakespeare unit who still think Juliet is asking "where" Romeo is. As the authors explain better than many English teachers "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" means "Why are you 'Romeo'?" The lessons are easy to follow and written with a friendly hand. Thankfully, there are no synopses or critical interpretations, just excellent tutelage in Shakespeare's word usage, punctuation and poetry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781891661181
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,408,782
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author


Cal Pritner, Ph.D., has chaired theatre departments at Illinois State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and served as the founding artistic director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Dr. Pritner has been inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He lives in New York City.

Louis Colaianni is an authority in voice, speech and Shakespeare performance. His innovative approach to phonetics and stage accents is used by dozens of theatre schools throughout the United States. He is an associate professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has served on the faculties of the American Conservatory Theatre, Ohio University, and Hunter College among others. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

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