Shakeathon Introduction


Welcome to Shakeathon 2000. LSW’s celebration of the Bard’s birthday, the first of this century.

Sound Effects    ani ancient mouth.gif (17240 bytes)   Warm-Up:

If you want to be Henry V scaling the walls what do we have? -- BATTLE NOISES;


  Actual Shakeathon Introduction

The Shakeathon will begin properly now.  Please find a space on the floor and lay down. 

Now take a deep breath, exhale. Take another, and this time close your eyes while you exhale.

Again welcome to the Shakeathon. This is a concept developed by the very distinguished Robert Langdon Lloyd, who worked for the RSC during its heyday in the sixties and early seventies in the last century and then moved on to work with Peter Brook in France on such projects as The Mahabarata and closed only last night in the Oxford Touring Theatre’s production of Troilus & Cressida.. Robert christened his concept: Shakespeare Dreaming; for it is as if Shakespeare had fallen asleep and this is his dream.  (BW looks around and sees all the actors lying on the floor:-)

Why is it always at this point that I always feel like I’m in a funeral home. Oh, well.

We’re here today to celebrate the joy of each other’s work. Don’t be frightened to applaud or to laugh. Don’t be frightened. Don’t be frightened to celebrate with your friends. Don’t be frightened to find rapture in your own joy. Indeed, DON'T BE FRIGHTENED.

What will happen is this:

In your own good time we will begin with a litany of names of characters we have both enjoyed and inhabited from throughout the Bard’s cannon. Those who may have thought the Name Game had not practical utilisation will be deceived..

Titania, Prospero, Viola, Nerissa, Sir John Falstaff, Bottom, Snout, Wierd Sister, Sir Eglamour, Bardolph, Abraham, 2nd Waiting Woman, Quintus, Hal, Thomas Rotherham.

Then - we’ll move on to phrases describing both those and other characters.

My leige, The Fair Ophelia. The Fairy Queen, My Good Lord. My Tricksy Spirit. O, sweet, bully Bottom. Plump Jack. He that is mad. That hunchback prodigy. Dickie: Your boy. Every inch a king.

Then, one topping another, we’ll begin to pile on phrases.

Farwell the dogs of war. Wake inconstant moon. God Knows when we shall meet again. O Brave New World. A dish fit for the Gods. Oh, wonderful, wonderful words, - Still my beating mind - words, - Fear not a kingdom for a stage – words! Let me play the fool. My own flesh and blood. Thou art not thyself. (pause) The oldest have borne most.

Then Max Bonamy, one of LSW’s original heavy clumpers, will, in his best tradegic style will lead us all in the opening chorus of Henry V, please JOIN IN – we’ll pull the curtain to reveal for the first time this century our own, , 21st Century celebration.

A few scattered pointers before we begin.

DON’T BE AFRAID. Don’t be afraid - if someone comes in and begins a speech that you know to share that speech. Sharing is key. Relax, listen, smile and enjoy each other’s company. Intersperse the lines. Make it a duologue. If Party A takes the first line; Party B will take the second and so on. You may find yourself with a party line of up to ten. Enjoy. Celebrate. Explore. Share the Lines. Be generous. One note however: Choral Speaking can be effective, but only when it is used sparingly – one, two, three lines at most -- so that it can have a proper effect. Even more effective, however, is the use of Echo: Listen and echo. For example, help me by echoing from: My crown is in my heart .... Good.

DON'T BE STUCK BY SEX. We’ll congratulate ourselves at figuring out the personal pronouns. Revel in the freedom. DON'T BE STUCK BY AGE. That is merely a matter for casting directors who insist on reading breakdowns instead of plays. Shakespeare’s language, itself, is, after all is said and done, universal: ageless.

EMPLOY DIALECT.  If you’ve done one segment in RP, then take the next one in a dialect: Any dialect. See where it takes you and the words. Own them. Roll them around in your mouths. See what effects the new shapes have on your delivery. Why shouldn’t a king’s speech be delivered in a liverpudlian brogue. Why couldn’t Cordelia’s words thrill to an Eastern European dipthong? See where it takes you. Here we’re using Shakespeare as a tool, and out of the 37 or so plays, creating yet again a new one: Giving the lie to the dictum that there is nothing new under the sun. We’re here. We’re breathing. We’re re-newing.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO PHYSICALISE. Rap. Dance. Song. Turning text to song that wasn’t originally set to music. Chant. Why Not?  Be Free. We’re very lucky today to have the very talented Paul Ayres on the keyboard. (APPLAUSE) Paul has an extraordinary skill to make music a character in and of itself. Don’t be afraid to employ, enjoy and use Paul’s artistry in the shaping of your own drama. Share your leads in rapture of the music.

Don’t be afraid to pick up on THEMES that will develop, shift, repeat, develop further, and shift again.

Life, Love, Death, Laughter, Theatre, Murder, Betrayal, Rejection, Theatre, Time, Honour, Kingship, Inconstancy, Choler, War, Fire, Blood, Sanguine, Blood, War, Families, Tyrants, Nations, Hot, Earth, Cold, Bones, Food, Phlegm, Planets, Time.

Don’t be afraid of REJOINERS. One or two line responses taken out of one context and put into another can be more than pithy; they can both kill and revive. ‘A word I beg you, gently in your ears: Sell while you can, you are not for all markets.’ Another, after a lengthy, earnest speech: ‘Are you finished, my good lord?’ Another, a wonderful delaying tactic, especially if you fancy the speaker: ‘I would kiss before I spoke.’ Of course, If you are feeling a singular lack of momentary inspiration. Don’t be afraid: There are two REJOINER STASH BAGS one you will find on the easel in front of the stairs which you can down today and the other blue tacked onto the door at the entrance to the loos. (SOUNDS OF RELIEF). Don’t be afraid to find a phrase and then mint those words anew.

Don’t be afraid. There is a SCARF – a magic scarf -- which I am now dropping in the middle of the room. If you want to take the attention for a period of time, take hold of the scarf. It will be an indication. It will eventually be your sceptre to hold sway. Of course, it may take some time to get to you – but your bright blinkers, illustrating your desire to take off and not just coast down the runway, will well and truly be flashing. Don’t worry.

Don’t be afraid. This is your celebration. Revel in the richness of the language, in the joy of each other. If your NATIVE LANGUAGE is Polish and you want to do a segment in your native tongue, feel free. Just make sure that throughout the purpose of your intent, whether it be in Polish, Dutch, German, Africans, Southern Baptist or the Queen’s English, is intelligible to all. Many of us are Europeans.  Let's celebrate the heritage that has become, realtively speaking, newly ours.  If you have a very long speech – say Richard II’s prison lamentation break it up in consideration to all. Try not to go beyond TWENTY LINES in one go. Let’s make that a limit. Let the characters come back. Don’t be frightened of meaningful repetition. One aspect of Shakespeare which is most cherished in our own time, is his unique ability to write quality Soap Opera. Let us enjoy your dry spin. Carry us away through your beginning and middle so that we can cherish your ends. Moreover, our glorious space – The ART ROOM - all 1,300 colourful square feet of it - is a magical island full of enriching creativity – don’t be afraid to employ its karma. Don’t be frightened, moreover, of using the many wonderful props which can be suggested by the articles and artifacts lying about the ART Room. One of my favourite lines from Shakespeare is: ‘The best props are warped’. Don’t be afraid to utilise them. Still, I beg of you, try not to break anything or, more importantly, anyone.

Finally, please take an active part in as much as you can. Let’s keep the event buoyant. Let’s keep the passive activity active. Stay on your feet as much as possible, unless, of course, otherwise directed, e.g., 'Let’s sit upon the ground and talk on the death of kings'. But, If someone is doing, say, Katherine’s Court Speech from Henry VIII, then let someone magically be crowned as Henry, another anointed as Wolsey and the rest becoming individual members of the court. THE SHARING OF INDIVIDUALITY IS KEY.

In short: Enjoy, Delight, Listen, Luxuriate, Respond and Relish.

So, In your own good time: After you have had a chance to breathe in and release out – to breathe and release – (WHISPER: Breathe In and Release Out;  Breathe and Release) – Wake up: and ENJOY YOUR OWN SHAKESPEAREAN REVERIE.

shake cake.bmp (90050 bytes)  Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too! 
        You can even pick-up your fork and return to the Shakeathon Home Page