July 26, 2010

Fact #15: There are levels of Shakespeare-ness

I've been spending a lot of time lately pouring over my script for "Much Ado About Nothing". I'll be starting rehearsals in less than two weeks, and the closer it gets, the more excited and nervous I get.

I have a theory that there are three levels of Shakespearean acting:

1) The actor doesn't really know what he's saying. The audience doesn't know either. The performance is bland and general, but he speaks loudly and gestures grandly.

2) The actor has done all of his research. He's deciphered the dialogue and knows what he's saying. But the audience still doesn't. The performance is more emotionally connected, but it's like watching a movie with the sound turned down - the audience is left to figure out what's going on from the visual clues.

3) The actor has done his research, and then found a way to translate it. He knows what he's saying and so does the audience. It is alive and visceral and poetic and nuanced. He's guided by the language but not precious with it.

I had a revelatory experience in London, watching Mark Rylance perform in "Twelfth Night" and "Richard II" - his performances were so clear and immediate and connected. It was an amazing 'ah-ha' moment for me, seeing what Shakespeare can look and sound like when it's done right.

So I know what I'm aiming for. Now I just have to get there. Hence, the excitement and nervousness. :)


Til tomorrow!

5 comments:

Rick said...

I am really glad that we are going to get to see you perform!

marianne said...

Well, I've seen you do Shakespeare once since your time in London. I thought you were definitely in the #3 range.

Pinolera said...

Yes this is true. I saw Nate in a Shakespeare play once (a play I had read for a class and discussed, and seen the movie), and he was very good in the play. However, every else was at Shakespeare level 1, and despite already knowing the play I had no idea what was going on the whole time. Are there three levels of Pear Gynt? Because I think that was a level 1 also....

Laurel said...

No way! Leave Peer Gynt out of this!!

Q Schroe said...

That's really interesting to hear you say, I think I had a similar "ah-ha!" moment watching Othello at the globe theatre in London. Iago was played by Tim McInnerny (I only new him from Notting Hill) and he was astounding. Definitely in the 3rd category.