Shakespeare Acting Exercise – Playing With Emotions

Shakespeare Acting Exercise - Playing With Emotions_550
Photo Credit: Nic McPhee via cc
When acting Shakespeare it is very likely that you will be dealing with emotions which are unfamiliar to you: murder, extreme grief, fury, rage, etc.
Here is an exercise from the BBC archive which you can play with in rehearsal for any play or performance where you are having to delve into extremities of emotion which are feeling slightly alien to you as a performer.
In this exercise you play with levels of emotion. You explore your lines at different levels of emotion using a one to ten scale. Once you are familiar with the one to ten scale it is easy to pitch the performance correctly for the scene. You can also discover that in certain venues you may need to go up or down the scale, and certainly can explore different levels for more intimate camera work.
This exercise is terrifically useful when you are preparing a Shakespeare monologue for a drama school audition, it always feel safe to go to a high level of emotion for an audition, you really want to prove your acting socks to the panel – however, I always think the most exciting acting choices for auditions is to take the level down and play with levels 1 to 4. Explore in these more internalised emotional places and I think you will stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
Having a common vocabulary like the one to ten scale is great for a company, as everyone knows where they are and giving notes is easy. You can talk to a fellow actor about what level they are pitching their emotion so you can match or even go against them during a scene, a director can change you from level 4 to a level 8 if they feel a scene needs more oomph. This one to ten scale can also be adapted for volume and energy as well as emotion.
Watch the video and try it out for yourself:
To see the original page on the BBC website please click here
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