Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

14 April 2004

Shakespeare

Why are there whole classes about how to act William Shakespeare and not classes about how to act, say, Molière, or Tennessee Williams, or Neil Simon, or Eugene O'Neill?  Are any of these playwrights easier to act than Shakespeare?


I think I know the reason.  First, these playwrights are just as difficult to act, and in actual fact are usually more difficult to act than William Shakespeare.  The reason we teach Shakespeare instead of O'Neill... there are rules to acting Shakespeare.  We can act Shakespeare "by the book."  There is no book about how to act Williams or O'Neill or Simon.  So we don't teach Shakespeare because it's more difficult.  We teach it because it's easier.  We, as educators, feel like we know how to teach Shakespeare and maybe we feel like we don't know how to teach the others.  I almost hate to say it, but we teach Shakespeare because he's much easier to put into a box than anyone else.