I have never done a Shakespeare piece outside of class work.
In high school, Shakespeare was a huge part of our English department- we even had an entire day dedicated to a school Elizabethan Fair! We read at least one play a loud each year of high school but being in an actual production is so much different.
Even working on scenes and monologues in collegiate courses does not equal a full-blown Shakespearean production. I’ve always loved reading and seeing Shakespearean pieces, but have not up until this point had the chance to act in one.
Like any show, it takes understanding a character’s objectives throughout each scene, however in addition to creating the character one must do so while mastering the classical text of Shakespeare.
In a way this is easier than just doing a scene for a class, because one has a place to work from to add depth to a character. In another way, however, this is harder because there is more text to cover. I’ve found that for class assignments memorizing the text is very simple, but now that I’m in a Shakespearean production all of my memorization skills fly out the window.
My problem was that I wasn’t being true to my character. I wasn’t internalizing what I was saying, leading me to forget all of my lines. This was very frustrating for me, my fellow actors, and my director. I found it especially difficult to memorize monologues that dealt with imagery.
My lack of understanding exactly what I was saying made it tough to make the audience understand what I was telling them.
After I researched the passages and certain words I did not know, the lines became almost second nature. I could finally begin to act. I’m very excited to further develop my character and tell the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.