Working with Shakespeare

One week down of 4 for Team C in WA and what a week it’s been!

Firstly, we’d like to thank all the schools that have had us so far and send out a thank you in advance to all the school we’re going to visit – our job wouldn’t exist without you guys and it’s actually the best job in the world so it’d be a shame if it didn’t exist !


Now down to business, ahem, Shakespeare. The guy’s a genius – although the Players knew it before, we’re definitely convinced by it now. He would have turned 451 years old last week and the fact that he’s still impacting the lives of people (young and old) is pretty darn impressive!

So to kick off this blog post, here are some things that Team C has learnt about The Bard and his work.

Communicating with the audience

With 3 plays swimming in our heads it was a bit tricky as first to fully let the language take effect. Then, as we’ve settled into the shows and really started playing, this is one thing that I’m particularly having fun with.
Shakespeare writes his work to be spoken and played, to be directed at people and to be responded to. The way I approached it at first was to shy away from the language and try to ‘act’ everything which stifled me.
As the tour has progressed I’ve found that the more the audience is given access to the language, the more the play works on them. For example in an aside or a soliloquy to the audience, if you don’t really communicate with them – the next part of the plot (that the aside or soliloquy foreshadows) falls short. It is often as much of a dialogue with the audience as it is with the other person onstage.

Don’t judge your character

Within the first few seconds of meeting someone, we often quickly make up our minds about what we think of them – the same can be said for characters in a play or novel. It’s a rushed conclusion in real life as it for the characters in a play.
The best thing Shakespeare has done is to not judge his characters – he never paints them in a ‘good’ light or a ‘bad’ light – they just are what they are. Like people. They have their flaws and they have their redeeming qualities. Increasingly, I’ve realised through the tour that that’s what makes his work relevant and playable even so many years after his death. Even though they speak a different version of the English we speak today – they’re just people like us, trying to make meaning of their life and get along in the world in a way they think is best.shakespeare

There’s definitely still more to mention but I’ll keep it short(ish).

Big love,

Team C


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