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Acting Shakespeare

Acting Shakespeare
Your Price: $25.95 CDN
Author: John Gielgud
Publisher: Applause Books
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 219
Pub. Date: 1999
ISBN-10: 1557833745
ISBN-13: 9781557833747

In this book, John Gielgud, considered by many the greatest Shakespearian actor of the 20th century, draws on his lifetime of experience of Shakespeare, as both actor and director, to analyze just what makes a good (or bad) Shakespearean performance.

Playing Hamlet is considered the greatest challenge for any actor, interpreting the verses which are concerned with ideas of theatricality and performance, along with the struggle to discover one's real self. In 1930 John Gielgud played Hamlet for the first time and was a sensation. No less a critic than James Agate wrote "At twenty-six, Gielgud is the youngest Hamlet in living memory, and I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying that it is the high-water mark of English Shakespearean acting in our time. This actor is young, thoughtful, clever, and sensitive. His performance is subtle, brilliant, vigorous, imaginative, tender and full of the right kind of ironic humor." A master of Shakespearean roles, he played Hamlet more than 500 times in six productions over a 23-year period, and would return to such parts as Macbeth and King Lear again and again, making critical and commercial successes out of the productions in which he appeared — and often directed and produced as well. In Acting Shakespeare the celebrated actor gives his views on how to approach the major roles and on acting in general.

Originally published as Shakespeare: Hit or Miss?, this book takes you behind the scenes, as John Gielgud examines the influence of the director and producer, as well as the pitfalls an actor may face in the shape of unsuitable sets and costumes.

What people say:

"Acting Shakespeare is extraordinary. The tone of the voice is unmistakably Sir John's, the atmosphere congenial. We're in the company of our greatest actor, who holds in his hands the last links of a chain of tradition leading to Shakespeare himself ... this book is crucial for anyone who believes that Shakespeare on the stage should be Shakespeare at his greatest ... Gielgud is by turns, wise, witty and wicked, but unfailingly modest." — The Sunday Telegraph (London)

"Offering a bridge between the theoretical and the practical, this book is an important contribution to theatre studies." — BackStage

About the Author:

Sir John Gielgud (1904-2000) was an English actor, director, and producer. One of the theatre's greatest legends, he spent almost 80 of the 96 years of his life appearing in countless plays that saw him portray every major Shakespearean role. He worked up to a month before his death, performing in over 60 films and numerous television productions when he wasn't busy with his stage work. One of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award, he is also the oldest artist to complete the EGOT as he was 87.