No, I have never performed Shakespeare before. My high school did Julius Caesar the year after I left. I certainly would’ve loved to do a Shakespeare play, just to see what it was like, but I never really got the opportunity.
Until this year.
Sheila hounded me relentlessly at the end of last year, telling me that Theatre Westminster was putting on MacB for the 50th anniversary and that I should absolutely do it. I figured: why not? In preparation, I listened to some line delivery by the wonderful Patrick Stewart and some other actors, getting a feel for proper delivery.
Despite the sudden change to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I still auditioned, keeping in mind the type of energy and emotion that Shakespeare’s dialogue demands. Lester asked me “Have you done Shakespeare before?”
I haven’t, but I am ecstatic for having auditioned for the show. I don’t think I’m particularly good at acting in general, but with each run-through, I try to put a little more into my character. A gesture, some inflection, the way I hold myself as I tell a story to Oberon, they all go through my mind in terms of what I should tweak or change as I act.
I plan on watching various renditions of MND so that I might see how other actors have taken the role of Puck. I don’t imagine that this will sully or trump my performance direction, but I hope that it would give me a little bit of insight about how to handle my character in some moments. For instance, I typically am not sure how I should be emoting during scenes in which I am not actively engaging. If I can’t come up with the reactions myself, I’ll look to professional productions and see how they dealt with the scene.
Shakespeare is a bit rough to do, but I am finding immense enjoyment in the show. Part of that, I imagine, is a result of the cast, which will likely be the subject of my next post.
No, I haven’t done Shakespeare before, but I’m damn glad that I am doing it now.