Archive for January, 2011

SkullThat you may not be in dire need due to a lack of helpful language, I have just added this useful page to the Acting Shakespeare Resources:

Acting Shakespeare – Useful Notes on Language

You’ll find a lot of quick information there on pronunciation, punctuation, verse, grammatical usages, etc. This post may also be of interest, on plot vs. language.

Had a laugh too – as a result of my Shakespeare twitterings over on Twitter, while I started typing this, thebardbot (Twitter name for an account that responds to #shakespeare with a quote from the bard) sent me:

O, there has been much throwing about of brains.

This is spoken by Guildenstern about players (Hamlet – Act 2; Sc. 2) and feels wonderfully apt for all the hard work I’ve been doing on the Skills for Shakespeare series and this Useful Notes page!

Now for that other quote – the title for this post:-

I know you are the Muskos’ regiment:
And I shall lose my life for want of language;
If there be here German, or Dane, low Dutch,
Italian, or French, let him speak to me; I’ll
Discover that which shall undo the Florentine.

This is the braggart Parolles in All’s Well that Ends Well (Act 4; Sc. 1) – he is ready to ‘discover’ (reveal) treasonous information, offering a deal while he believes he is being held captive by the enemy, which he isn’t. Yep, those Shakespeare folk love a good trick!

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Sonnet 18 - Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?While working on the Skills for Shakespeare articles looking at iambic pentameter and blank verse, I used two lines from Sonnet 18 for an example.

Sonnet 18’s first line is the title of this post and it includes reference to ‘the darling buds of May’. I became so distracted by all the wonderful online versions available, including as part of film and television, that the first article was in danger of being completely derailed.

So: the 1st article to do with speaking iambic pentameter can be found here:


and another article, which is about Sonnet 18 and has lots of lovely multi-media links for you to dip in and out of, can be found here:



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The Skills for Shakespeare series looks at techniques that help you with acting Shakespeare.

The first in this series is an introduction to iambic pentameter.

Iambic pentameter is the term for a particular type of rhythm: an iamb is a meter which has two beats, the second one stressed, as in the word iamb itself, pronounced ”I AM“. Penta means five, so 5 x iamb = pentameter.

This is explored in simple steps, with multimedia links and clear examples, in:

Discover Fine Acting’s Skills for Shakespeare – Speaking in Iambic Pentameter

Do comment / ask questions! You are welcome to do this here or at the full article.


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Dancing for Joy!Incredibly exciting news here, so I’m mentioning it even before I can go into any detail about my own involvement – that’s how exciting this is!

On 2nd February 2011 (yes, next month) Shakespeare organisations, enthusiasts, scholars and professionals worldwide will join together on the AskShakespeare panel, ready to answer your Shakespeare questions.

Find out how this works at bloggingshakespeare.com/askshakespeare and check back for further information here.

O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!

Celia enjoying a spot of teasing anticipation-building in As You Like It (Act 3; Sc. 2), but I’m afraid I simply had to “speak apace”!

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At this time I am working on a series called ‘Making Friends with Shakespeare’, designed to help with thoughts that re-occur in Shakespeare’s work:-

“One of the many marvellous things to enjoy in Shakespeare’s plays is that a lot of ideas keep turning up to greet you. You may need a little helpful introduction on the first encounter, but at the next meeting there will be that lovely jolt of recognition. After that, you can enjoy the comfort of increasing familiarity right alongside the thrill of further exploration and deepening insight.

Discover Fine Acting’s ‘Making Friends’ series provides those helpful introductions: before long, you’ll be greeting once strange and distant concepts with open arms, gleefully announcing how well you know them.”

If there is a particular concept you feel could benefit from such an introduction, be sure to tell me. What tasks your thoughts?


“We would be resolved … of some things of weight that task our thoughts”

Henry V in (surprise, surprise!) Henry V – Act 1; Sc.2

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Don’t worry, no need to be “smiling at grief” – the lack of posts as yet is not truly a tragedy.

Still, exercise a little smiling patience and keep returning for advice, information and fun with Acting Shakespeare!

First though, let me know what you want to find in this blog and – as sung at the end of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – I “will strive to please you every day.”

Actually, it may not be that often, but you understand the thought that counts, I’m sure.

Your responses are what will make this practical acting blog of the very best use to all those interested in performing Shakespeare’s text – it’s what it was written for, after all!


“She sat like patience on a monument, smiling at grief. Was not this love indeed?”

The disguised Viola in Twelfth Night – Act 2, Scene 4

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