Shakespeare and Meisner
Aileen Gonsalves & Tracy Irish
Published by Methuen Drama
This practical handbook is invaluable for anyone performing, teaching, studying or simply wanting a new way to enjoy Shakespeare
It provides an outline of Meisner's work and legacy, a discussion of that legacy in the light of the enduring global popularity of Shakespeare, and a wealth of practical exercises drawn from Meisner's techniques
Shakespeare writes about the truth in human relationships and human hearts
Sanford Meisner's work unlocks truthful acting
They would seem a perfect match
Yet, following Meisner's note to his actors that 'text is your greatest enemy', Shakespeare and Meisner are often considered 'strange bedfellows'
The rhetorical complexity of Shakespeare's text can often be perceived as rules an actor must learn in order to perform Shakespeare 'properly'
Meisner's main rule is that 'you can't say ouch until you've been pinched' - in other words, an actor must genuinely feel something in order to react in a performance which is alive to the moment
This book explores how actors can use Meisner's tools of 'acting is reacting' to discover the infinite freedom within the apparent constraints of Shakespeare's text
“Beautifully written and highly accessible, this book contains a treasure trove of ideas. It brilliantly illustrates how the techniques developed by Meisner can bring Shakespeare's language vividly to life. It made me immediately want to try out the techniques and start to play” ~ Jacqui O'Hanlon, Director of Education, Royal Shakespeare Company