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

Great If You're Interested in Acting, Directing or Shakespeare
24 September 2005 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Incredibly informative and interesting. I especially liked the dueling Shylocks episode, in which Suchet and Stewart play the same scenes back to back and explain why they made their different choices.

Also very interesting is the episode in which each actor does a brief speech from Troilus and Cressida, then gets direction from Barton and redoes it, usually for the better.

You also learn a little about the actors as people. For instance, Patrick Stewart is a bit of a ham. Ben Kingsley is soft-spoken and quick to admit what he sees as faults in his acting style. Ian McKellen is rather teacherly, expounding at length whenever he's given the chance.

Highly recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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