This workshop examines the prose texts in one classic play, Henry V, and in one modern play, Edward Bond's Lear as well as texts from Julius Caesar, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth. Cicely Berry opens up the process of integrating the meaning of the text with the motive and intention of the characters. Blythe Danner works on the Hostess in Henry V and delivers the moving speech that describes the death of Falstaff. Robert Sean Leonard is Lysander to Claire Danes' Hermia as the group keeps them literally and physically apart. The yearning of the two young lovers is all the more powerful when the bonds that hold them apart are made palpable. Cherry Jones as Lady Macbeth and Toby Stephens as Macbeth deliver one of the play's most famous scenes. Macbeth brings the news that he has killed Duncan and is overcome with an indelible sense of guilt. Reading the scene standing, seated back to back and finally seated at a table brings the scene to new depths of understanding. We gain a visceral sense of the shared rhythms in drama and learn to appreciate and recognize the inner momentum of a play. Samuel L. Jackson as King Lear is at odds with and in fateful negotiation with his daughters, Regan (Lolita Davidovich) and Goneril (Cathy Tyson). As Jackson passionately argues his case for more independence, his daughters calmly manipulate him, stripping him of one item of clothing after another, and finally gently wrestle him to the ground, where they wrap him in a blanket. Jackson resists all their efforts, and as he writhes under the strictures of the blanket, one feels Lear has been put into a straitjacket by his daughters. Lear's resistance transforms the scene; the energy of his language now erupts spontaneously into frustration, and the speech he unleashes has the marks of a thunderstorm. The application of Cicely Berry's workshops is widespread throughout drama and literature, from the classics to contemporary drama. Duncan Bell, in one of the most memorable episodes in the workshop, experiments with a soliloquy from Edward Bond's Lear. We are reminded that there is always so much happening under the text, even in a modern play, which takes us far beyond its literal meaning.
Episodes Comprise: - Exercise 1: Prose Structure - Exercise 2: Humour Through Rhythm and Underplay - Exercise 3: Collective Emotional Response - Exercise 4: Music Within Dialogue - Exercise 5: Power in Imagery Leading to Action - Exercise 6: Relationships from Shared Rhythm - Exercise 7: Ways of Informing Dialogue - Exercise 8: the Dynamic and Rhythm Within Modern Text