Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 2, No. 165. Thursday, 13 Jun 1991.
Subject: The Actors' Perspective
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 91 15:34:17 EDT
Dear Fellow SHAKSPEReans;
Among my favourite events at Shakespeare conferences are the
discussions or performances given by professional actors and actresses,
shedding light on their preparation for, interpretation of, and unique
perspective on plays by Shakespeare. Fortunately, it would seem that
this is becoming a regular feature of the second nights at Shakespeare
Association of America gatherings: Tony Church and Vivien Heilbron
were wonderful in Philadelphia (1990), as were Fiona Shaw and Juliet
Stephenson in Vancouver (1991). As a student of Shakespeare with
little theatrical experience (I remember playing Tweedle-Dee in grade
school, but that's about it...) I find the actors' perspectives
enlightening and fascinating.
I've just finished reading Philip Brockbank's 1985 collection,
*Players of Shakespeare: Essays in Shakespearean Performance by Twelve
PLayers with the Royal Shakespeare Company*, and as the title
suggests, it's a wonderful opportunity to get more of the same (only
different). Its 1988 sequel, edited by Russell Jackson and Robert
Smallwood, is also proving rewarding. And although satis quid
sufficit, as the illustrious Holofernes would have us know, I can
never have quite enough of a good thing and am seeking more sources of
theatrical insight into the acting, directing, and rehearsal of
playtexts, Shakespearean and otherwise.
Yesterday I spotted another possibility in Toronto's "World's Biggest
Bookstore": Susan Willis' *The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the
Televised Canon*. This is a very recent book, but has anyone seen it
yet? How does it compare to the other two books mentioned above? And
more importantly, are there other sources people would recommend?
Basically, I'm trying to get backstage vicariously, to better
understand the nature of stagecraft, rehearsal, and performance.
Any guidance would be much appreciated.