Shakespeare’s Text

Shakespeare’s Text

NOV 8 – DEV 13

Tuesdays, November 8 through December 13
6:45–9:15 p.m. ET
In-Person: 516 8th Street SE, 3rd Floor Rehearsal Studio

Instructor: Matt Castleman
Prior experience: Not required

Take ownership of the text by developing a process to examine, analyze, and rehearse Shakespearean text. With multiple opportunities to do the work, you will begin to dig beneath the surface of the text, allowing you to approach, connect and perform the Bards works, confidently and professionally.

Essential Question: What methods can I use to dissect the text, follow Shakespeare’s directions, and perform his works in a fresh and compelling way?

Course Objectives Participants will:

– Examine the structure of Shakespeare’s language

– Use language to activate sound and movement though the mouth and body

– Explore the theatrical process of bringing these classical scenes to life onstage

Course Outcomes: Participants will be able to:

– Scan verse using iambic pentameter, rhythm and tempo, and finding irregularities.

– Paraphrase, highlight operative words, and use Shakespeare’s embedded directions.

– Develop a method to go from text to performance preparation

Key Knowledge & Skill
– Language and text analysis

– Transfer text from the page to the mouth and body

– Theatrical process for preparing for monologues and scenes

Enduring Understandings: Everything you need to know to analyze and perform Shakespeare’s work is found in the text.

Week One: Scansion and Language Structure

*Scansion Basics

*Iambic Pentameter and its quirks

*The use of meter in verse; poetry and drama
Week Two: Language Structure 2, Imagery and Metaphor

*Operative words and their function

*The interplay between operatives and scansion

*Imagery, metaphor, symbol, and their scenic function

Week Three: Rhetoric and Given Circumstances

*Shakespearean text’s primary function: persuasion

*Three tools of rhetoric: Specificity, referentiality, and opposition

*Rhetoric as a character’s tool in a scene
Week Four: Speaking Shakespeare, Monologue Assignments

*Turning theory into practice

*Expressing vocally what you’ve developed intellectually

*Picking a monologue to work!

Week Five: Scene Work, Connecting Rhetoric to Character

*Text in scenic context

*Textwork as part of broader dramatic arc

*Working on monologues – workshopping and Q&A

*Examples from modern movies

Week Six: Monologue Performance, Analysis and Discussion

*Everyone gets to perform their monologue!

*Commentary and discussion of monologues

*Open discussion/questions any remaining time

Matt Castleman, STC Teaching Artist

Matthew Castleman is a stage actor and writer originally from New York City, now making D.C. his home. Shakespeare has been the core of his performing career for years, and in that time he’s done workshops, classes, and educational performances up and down the East Coast. As an author he’s visited many schools and libraries and taught kids from elementary to high school about storytelling, dramatic structure, and the creative process. Matt spent the summer of 2019 teaching and directing at STC’s Camp Shakespeare, and also works as a teaching artist with Wolf Trap’s early childhood program. When not on stage or at a keyboard he can be found practicing 14th-century German fencing (competently) and bass guitar (less so).

Tickets and Schedule


Dates     November 8 – December 13

RESERVE