Playing Shakespeare (1982)

TV Mini-Series  |  Documentary
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Ratings: 9.4/10 from 129 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

John Barton holds a master class in how to play Shakespeare, using members of the RSC doing scenes, sonnets, and commentary as prime examples.

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Complete series cast summary:
John Barton ...
 Himself (9 episodes, 1982)
 Himself (7 episodes, 1982)
 Herself (6 episodes, 1982)
 Himself (6 episodes, 1982)
 Himself (5 episodes, 1982)
Michael Pennington ...
 Himself (5 episodes, 1982)
 Himself (5 episodes, 1982)
 Herself (4 episodes, 1982)
 Herself (4 episodes, 1982)


In 1979 Trevor Nunn, then artistic director of Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company, devised a two-part television workshop to consider the art and technique of acting in Shakespeare's plays. He was joined by RSC co-founder and Associate Director John Barton and a group of the leading actors of the day, including Alan Howard, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jane Lapotaire, David Suchet, Michael Pennington and Terry Hands. The programs were co-produced with London Weekend Television and broadcast on consecutive Sunday evenings as part of the South Bank Show series, collectively titled "Word of Mouth." Four years later Mr. Barton greatly expanded the series with nine additional installments, which he hosted. To the roster of actors were added Tony Church, Sinead Cusak, Mike Gwilym, Susan Fleetwood, Sheila Hancock, Lisa Harrow, Ben Kingsley, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Richard Pasco, Norman Rodway and Donald Sinden. Three episodes featured extended turns by leading lights Judi Dench, Roger Rees ... Written by John Chapot

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29 July 1982 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

Veteran actors of the RSC demonstrate how to play Shakespeare.
23 December 2002 | by (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews

This is a definitive instructional video on the problems and approaches to playing Shakespeare; an invaluable tool for the student actor and an entertaining and enlightening guide for the lay person on the actor's craft.

I wish there were more videos like this one, whereby techniques are demonstrated by actors who are experienced and actually good. I have seen countless other instructional videos on acting, from audition techniques to acting for the camera, where the so-called actors featured came across as amateur and self-conscious.

Here, we have the privilege of watching seasoned film and stage actors, such as Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellan and David Suchet (among many others, and I apologize for omitting some fine actresses) show us how there are infinite ways of interpreting and acting Shakespeare's plays, as well as reminding us why they are such good actors.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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