How to Tackle Classics
Again, keeping with the theme of the week - Shakespeare!
I'm sure there are plenty of techniques for classics, but I would like to share one that I use.
Dropping In / Feeding In
This is a technique developed by Tina Packer and Kristin Linklater in the early 70s. It aims to build an organic connection between the actor and the words. In this case, Shakespeare's words.
So here is how it goes.
Typically, an experienced professional would be helping you in this exercise. They will feed you each word and all you have to do is drop in the image they give you. But because not everyone has that luxury, I will explain it in a way you can do on your own.
So, have your text next to you. No need to have it memorized. Lie down on the floor. Breathe. Connect to your body and breath. Relax. I will use the following text from Romeo and Juliet as an example:
Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!
The first word is Alas. Breath it in and let it out on voice. Alas. Now, you will come up with questions in your head, as you FEED in the word, and let it out on voice.
Have you ever felt deep grief? Alas
What/when did it happened? Alas
Where in the body does this grief live? Alas
Do you want to let it out? Alas
If you did, how does it feel to let out such sorrow? Alas
What does it make you want to do? Alas
Really, you can go on and on. Try not to perform or control how the word comes out. Let the fed questions move the words how it wants to. It's an exploration. Once you feel satisfied, which can take many minutes, you can move on to the next word. Sine that is a determiner, we can skip that word. Next word is love.
Have you ever felt love? love
Is it Love with a capital L? love
Is Love the other name for cupid? love
Is Cupid blind? love
Have you felt the arrow of Cupid work on you? love
Who do you love? love
Who was you first love? love
How did it feel? love
Where in the body does love live? love
What will you do for the person you love? love
Again, this can go on and on. So just with the first two words we learn the backstory of Romeo. He is feeling sorrow and love. He is heartbroken. And yet those two words are right next to each other. The brilliance of Shakespeare. Ok, next word - view.
What is it like to see? view
Can you imagine what it's like to be blind? view
Is love blind? view
What does your love look like? view
What's your favorite physical aspect of them? view
Next word - muffled.
Does this mean hidden? muffled
Do you have feelings that you're hiding? muffled
Is muffled - darkness? muffled
Are you in darkness? muffled
Next word - still
What is you feeling? still
Do you want to get rid of it? still
Is this feeling still in you? still
And then you look at the whole line - Alas, that love whose view is muffled still - and see how it comes out. Is it more colorful, layered with meaning? That is the hope.
What are other Shakespeare techniques out there? Share in the comment section below.