Widely esteemed as the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an actor and theatrical producer in addition to writing plays and sonnets. Dubbed "The Bard of Avon," Shakespeare oversaw the building of the Globe Theatre in London, where a number of his plays were staged, the best-known of which include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth. The First Folio, a printed book of 36 of his comedies, tragedies, and history plays, was published in 1623.
Once More unto the Speech, Dear Friends: Volume I: The Comediesby William Shakespeare, Neil Freeman
(Applause Books). There has been a great change in the last twenty years to actor auditions, which now require the demonstration of enormous flexibility. The actor is often expected to show more range than ever before, and often several shorter audition speeches are asked for instead of one or two longer ones. To stay at the top of his or her game, the Shakespearean actor needs more knowledge of what makes the play tick, especially since the early plays demand a different style from the later ones. Each genre (comedy, history, tragedy) has different requirements. No current monologue book deals directly with the bulk of these concerns. One More unto the Speech, Dear Friends now fills that gap. This three volume set will help actors discover the extra details of humanity that the original folio texts automatically offer. Of Shakespeare's 37 plays, only Pericles is not included. In the trilogy of books there are over 900 separate audition possibilities. This represents about 600 more monologues than are available in any other series. There are four parts to each speech:
• A background giving context and approximate timing;
• A modern text version;
• The original folio version;
• Commentary to explain the differences between the two texts including full discussion of the devices peculiar to that speech's genre, the age and gender of the character, and more.
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