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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: April ::
The Tucker Method
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0947  Monday, 26 April 2004

[1]     From:   Alan J. Sanders <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 Apr 2004 07:50:35 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method

[2]     From:   Scott Sharplin <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:56:01 -0600 (MDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method

[3]     From:   Cornelius Novelli <
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        Date:   Friday, 23 Apr 2004 12:44:47 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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Date:           Friday, 23 Apr 2004 07:50:35 -0400
Subject: 15.0935 The Tucker Method
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method

I had the privilege of taking a workshop from Mr. Tucker several years
ago as he was promoting his Original Shakespeare Company.  He was quite
entertaining as a speaker and his analysis of the text from an 'actors'
point of view was compelling.  However, after all of the quips and
exercises and general discussion, I was left with one unshakeable
thought-would a "modern" audience accept an unrehearsed play?

I think the concept is fascinating and a 'true theatre goer' might enjoy
watching a cast perform using this methodology, but the typical,
non-seasoned theatre goer likely has expectations on the level of
performance they are wanting to see-especially at today's ticket prices.
  This is only my gut feel, but I think this concept might leave some
disappointed at a less-than-polished feel.  This is simply my opinion as
both an actor and a director.  I like the exercise, but I don't think I
would risk including it in a season-not when every show (typically) is a
struggle just to pull in enough revenue to keep the theatre alive.

Regards,
Alan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Scott Sharplin <
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Date:           Friday, 23 Apr 2004 08:56:01 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: 15.0935 The Tucker Method
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method

I have directed about a dozen Shakespeare plays over the years, so I had
a particular interest in Patrick Tucker's theory/practice of unrehearsed
performance.  I must admit that I have never tried it, nor have I seen
productions which have tried it. It's still theory to me.

Tucker's approach isn't completely unrehearsed. The more of his book you
read, the more you realize that he's stretched the notion somewhat. He
does what he calls "verse nursing" (what anyone else in the theatre
would call "text work") with individual actors, and makes directoral
choices where he deems necessary. His major innovations are to free the
actors from blocking (he believes the clues for blocking are all in the
text), and to keep the actors separated until the last possible moment.

I find it hard to believe that even a company as busy as the King's Men
would not have found time to rehearse their plays. I do agree with him
that their rehearsal periods were not nearly as long as ours (anywhere
from three weeks to six months), and I also agree that blocking (ie.
placing actors in specific places on stage) was not a high priority on
the Globe stage. The way that stage is designed, there are limited
blocking options, and the company probably had fixed conventions for
recurring stage motifs (eg. court scenes, battles, etc.).

As far as keeping the actors apart...I suspect that it would lend a
spontaneous energy to the proceedings, but it really is
counter-intuitive to any actor working in theatre today. If that's truly
how the plays were rehearsed, it suggests a dramatic paradigm which is
completely incompatible with our own. I find that a bit depressing,
because it means that we will never really perform Shakespeare as
Shakespeare intended it.

Scott Sharplin

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cornelius Novelli <
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Date:           Friday, 23 Apr 2004 12:44:47 -0400
Subject: 15.0935 The Tucker Method
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0935 The Tucker Method

I have tried the "unrehearsed" approach on various scenes with highly
successful results.  The students are not necessarily drama or lit majors.

We work out basic blocking and props, etc., and then each actor prepares
separately by concentrating on his or her role and the cue lines.  The
aim is not to prepare as little as we can, but as much as we can in a
limited time (and usually the limited time is a reality).

The method has worked for scenes like the Box Hedge in TWELFTH NIGHT,
Tavern Scene in HENRY IV, Play-Within-a-Play in HAMLET.  I can see that
professional actors might be able to do really intricate things, working
in semi-improv fashion.   -- Neil Novelli

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