Workshop 3: Textual and verse analysis in relation to performance: a workshop to read Shakespeare from the performer’s viewpoint

Schedule / Horaire

Wednesday 23 April 2014, 16h-18h.

Room: V106B.

Leader / Organisateur

Colin David Reese (UK)

An actor and director for over forty years, trained at The Webber Douglas Academy, London & Jacques Lecoq, Paris. Colin David Reese has worked in the UK, Canada and France, with such names as Sir John Gielgud, Harold Pinter Lauren Bacall… Specialised in Shakespeare, he attended numerous workshops – e.g. “Is Shakespeare Still our Contemporary?” (Jan Kott) and “Original Shakespeare” (Patrick Tucker) and ran many workshops on Shakespearean acting in France, UK, Netherlands, Israel, Australia… (lately at Hebrew University, Jerusalem and John Curtin College, Perth). Currently performing his play Gift to the future, celebrating John Hemminges.


The workshop will examine speeches and scenes from several plays, comparing the First Folio with different modern edited texts : The Riverside, Peter Alexander’s Collins Tudor, Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor’s “The Oxford Shakespeare”, The New Cambridge Shakespeare, among others – the participants being asked to read and analyse the texts from the performer’s point of view. Shakespearean verse gives many indications to the creation of character by exploiting the iambic pentameter and deforming its structure, thereby giving indications to the actor concerning interpretation and characterisation. The use of mid-line endings, enjambments, end-stops, short lines (less than 5 feet), trochees, spondees, anapaests, assonance, alliteration, simile, metaphor and repetition are all used by the author to guide the actor, helping with character creation. Coded into the structure of his writing are instructions to the actor – where to pause, which words to stress, etc; in much the same way as a composer instructs the musicians through the use of bars and symbols. Being able to decode these instructions helps the actor to be able to create the character out of the text. Switching from verse to prose and back again, Shakespeare guides the actors through the emotional roller coaster of his plays. Shakespeare uses the whole range of linguistic devices available in the English language and they are employed for the actor to use when creating his character.