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Led by the Royal Shakespeare Company's John Barton, the series features nine master classes on Shakespearean performance with 21 of Britain's finest actors, including Oscarr winners Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, Iris), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler's List), and Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage to India), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings, Gods and Monsters), Patrick Stewart (X-Men), and David Suchet (Agatha Christie's Poirot). The enlightening series aired on PBS in the mid-1980s and its companion book remains a popular acting guide to this day. Bonus features include a 20-page viewer's guide and exclusive extras that take the educational experience beyond the screen.
The Royal Shakespeare Company founder John Barton holds a master class featuring…
Sit in on nine intensive acting workshops conducted by the legendary John Barton of the Royal Shakespeare Company. How does this world-renowned troupe make classic plays accessible to modern audiences, without compromising the text’s integrity? How do actors search Shakespeare’s verse for hidden clues to their characters’ motivations? How do they balance intellect and passion to make theatre’s most famous soliloquies seem fresh?
The answers come from Barton and 21 of Britain’s finest actors, including Oscar® winners Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love, Iris), Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindler’s List), and Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage to India), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings, Gods and Monsters), Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation), and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot).
Also starring Sinéad Cusack, Susan Fleetwood, Sheila Hancock, Alan Howard, Donald Sinden, Michael Williams, and more.
- 20-page viewer’s guide includes key points, discussion questions, avenues for further learning, a history of the RSC, and "Vocabulary of Verse and Stage."
- Actor biographies and RSC stage credits
- Exclusive web extras
Cofounder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Barton directed productions there for over 40 years. In 2001, he received the Sam Wanamaker Award from Shakespeare’s Globe for his pioneering contributions to Shakespearean performance.
View an Excerpt from the Guide Included with Playing Shakespeare
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I watched the first hour on grainy video tape in an acting class many years ago and jumped at the opportunity to own it when it became available on DVD, it does not disappoint. It is well worth the cost for any actor looking to make sense of classical dialogue, pacing and motivation. In addition it serves up an insider's view for any nonfactor looking for a greater understanding of some if not all of the methods and processes by which some of your favorite characters are brought to the stage.
The set includes one of the single best hours of television ever produced in my opinion in which host/producer John Barton, Patrick Stewart and David Suchet (Captain Jean Luc Picard and Hercule Poirot respectively) discuss and demonstrate the differences in their respective interpretations of Shylock from "The Merchant of Venice". I cannot recommend this video series enough; it is well worth the money.
If you're looking for clips of Shakespeare speeches, this is not it. It is an acting class, but also for me a HOW to listen to not only Shakespeare but other (especially) older plays with language that is written not like ours today.
I'm nibbling through these and will either donate, or pass to a budding playwright for his perusal.