'All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
--As You Like It, Act II
Amateur dramatics without any of the stress: we pick the parts we want, then read the plays out-loud. No need for costume, props, or accents; no need to memorize lines, to "look the part," or to be the same age (or gender) as your character! All you need is a willingness to try it - we're a friendly group!
We get together, in a quiet location, to give voice to Shakespeare's plays and make The Bard come alive.
Bring a copy of the play if you can (doesn't matter which edition - when there are discrepancies we just wing it). Speak up if you know which part you'd like. We do read the entire play, so it often takes most of the afternoon. Afterwards we choose the next one, usually alternating comedies, tragedies and histories. We've been meeting every 2 weeks on Saturday afternoons.
The more Shakespeare you read, see, and hear, the more natural his language comes to feel. If you're just getting started, try reading a synopsis first, reading a version with footnotes explaining the language, and/or watching performances (live or on video) to help you follow what's going on. And know that there's still going to be some wordplay that almost no one these days gets, and that's okay. You'll find you recognize many lines because his work has been so influential, we quote it all the time without realizing it. The beauty of the language, the insights into human nature, the humor, compassion, intelligence and scope of this work make it a treasure that you can return to again and again, finding something new each time.
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