Although Shakespeare is the most famous-and lauded-writer in English, most adult readers, theatergoers and students would be hard pressed to admit they fully understand the complexity or complete meaning of his language. Rodenburg, the director of voice at London's National Theater, has written an excellent training guide for actors tackling the Bard, methodically escorting the amateur or professional thespian from understanding individual words to reading lines to performing entire speeches, emphasizing breathing, finding a rhythm, grounding the character in imaginative time and place, and understanding Shakespeare's world view. While Rodenberg's book will be a boon for actors, it deserves a wider audience. By approaching Shakespeare's plays through the lens of the building-blocks of performance, she gives both the common reader and playgoer enormous insight into reading-and hearing-the playwright's words. It's difficult to think of a better way for the layperson to understand Shakespeare's language than by approaching it from the inside out. Her brief but extraordinarily useful explications of the use of puns, irony and rhyme, as well as her examination of how contrasting verse with prose changes tone and meaning, also give a terrific underpinning in understanding the plays. In Rodenberg's capable hands, Shakespeare's complicated words and ideas become completely clear. Her systematic analysis of 17 speeches from some of the more famous plays is a great primer to how character and plot are intertwined in the work. While not a full analysis of Shakespeare's works, this book will be incredibly worthwhile for actors as well as anyone interested in his plays.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan