ACTORS SKILL UP: Masterclass – Finding “Character” in Shakespeare’s Verbal Music
So.. you’re an actor being asked to prepare a monologue for an audition? Or you want to work with Bell Shakespeare Company but find it all a bit daunting… or you plan to audition for an acting school at the end of the year… perhaps this will help you out?
This Masterclass, for professional and emerging actors, explore ways to use Shakespeare’s rich and complex language as the essential element that inspires your emotions and dramatic choices. The patterns of sound and rhythm in poetic language are a powerful source of emotional information: information that offers infinite potential for inspiration of the actor’s action and intention, physicality and intellect.
Ever been moved to tears by the way a piece of music sounds? Or terror? Or excitement? Shakespeare wanted language to have the same effect. Like any poet, Shakespeare chose language for how it sounds as much as for what it means. Moreover in a time when the word ‘psychology’ didn’t exist he shaped this ‘verbal music’ to express the psyche of the character.
In performing Shakespeare, connecting to how the words feel is just as important as understanding what they mean.
“Concept is there, but beyond concept is the ‘concept brought into life by image’, and beyond concept and image is music – and word music is the expression of what cannot be caught in conceptual speech. Human experience that cannot be conceptualised is expressed through music. Poetry comes out of this, because in poetry you have an infinitely subtle relationship between rhythm, tone, vibration and energy, which give to each word as it is spoken concept, image and at the same time an infinitely powerful further dimension which comes from sound, from the verbal music.” – Peter Brook Evoking (and Forgetting) Shakespeare
This masterclass explores two questions:
How can you develop your speaking and listening so that you can hear the music in the words?
How can you switch on your imagination to those sounds, so that they begin to inspire your acting choices?
Group work will focus on– discovering the full variety of sound in the language
– learning how the weight of the words shapes the rhythm, and how you can use it.
– exploring the emotional impacts of sound in language
– developing physicality in response to sound, rhythm, image and emotion.
We’ll explore the differences between what happens when you work on a speech from the meaning first, and when you start with the sounds and rhythms in the language first. So you’ll need to come along with one monologue or soliloquy that you know really well, and you’ll work on another one that Chris will select that’s entirely new to you.
The masterclass is lead by Australian theatre director Christopher Hurrell, who is currently living in London, where he is undertaking a practice-based-research PHD at leading international drama school Rose Bruford College and Goldsmiths College, University of London. His research focuses on developing performance practice for Shakespeare based on the principle of exploring and interpreting the ‘verbal music’.
Companies with which Christopher has worked include leading Australian and international cultural organisations such as The Bell Shakespeare Company, Griffin Theatre Company, Belvoir, The National Institute of Dramatic Art, The State Theatre Company of South Autralia, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Really Useful Company, LaSalle College of the Arts (Singapore), Opera Australia and the Chicago Lyric Opera.
This Masterclass is offered in two sequences.
Either: Monday, April 2 1pm-5pm
Monday, April 16 1pm-5pm
Tuesday, April 17 1pm-5pm
Or: Saturday, March 31 10am-5pm
Sunday, April 1 10am-5pm
Venue: The Loft Rehearsal Room
East Coast Theatre Company
249 Bulwara Road, Ultimo
And in Brisbane
On: Saturday, March 24 10am-5pm
Sunday, March 25 10am-5pm
Venue: La Boite Rehearsal Room
Cost: $180/$130 concession (including MEAA and Griffin Artist Card Members)
A version of this masterclass for 15-18 year olds is also being conducted in Sydney at ATYP
Each Sequence is strictly limited to 10 participants. Participants are expected to already have basic actor training or stage experience.
To book and for further information email firstname.lastname@example.org