Shakespeare is an interesting topic for me.
As both a theater major and an English major, I’ve looked at Shakespeare from both sides, so to speak. I’ve analyzed plays from a literary viewpoint, looking at the different prevalent themes that make Shakespeare’s plays so good, and I’ve analyzed characters to perform, looking at their dreams, their desires, and why they feel whatever it is they feel. It’s a great viewpoint to have because it means having the ability to see a character or a situation in a few separate ways – both as a piece of academic mastery and as human beings living human lives.
However, despite having some experience in Shakespeare, I would not say I’m even close to being “good” at Shakespeare, that takes years of experience.
I’ve played Shakespeare’s characters, sure, but only in classes. I’ve done a scene here and a monologue there, but I’ve never acted in a full Shakespeare play. Throughout the development of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’ve been continuously learning new things both about Shakespeare and about acting. This is especially true since I’m taking a Shakespeare acting class this semester as well, taught by the director for Midsummer. Most of the class is also in the show, so we can talk about our character’s in the play and compare them to the characters we’re studying in the class. It’s really a wonderful experience.
While I don’t have a very large role (unless you consider the Fairy Servant a large role), I’m perfectly content with what I have.
The way Shakespeare writes his characters, even the smallest role has more than enough characterization with which to play around. There’s just enough there – just enough hints, just enough suggestions – for an actor to let his or her imagination run wild with backstory and personality.
I adore characterization, and while I’m inexperienced in terms of Shakespeare, there’s plenty enough here for me.