FAS110 Module 2 Discussion (January 2018)

FAS 110 Living the Theatre

Module 2 Discussion

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

Hamlet: Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to you,trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipped for o’erdoing Termagant — it out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.

In Hamlet’s speech to the players (traveling actors) he urges them to present a performance that is truthful, that has substance. He advises the actors not to over exaggerate, but to give the performance a smoothness (through acquired temperance).

Constantin Stanislavski introduced Method Acting that encouraged truthful acting through self reflection, discipline, rigorous training and analysis. The objective for Stanislavski and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet was to construct truthful, three dimensional characters that an audience would believe. Even more importantly that the actor could convey (naturally and truthfully).


Why is this method of acting still so important today? Why can’t I just memorize the lines and be done with it? If I (as an actor) can conjure up emotions at will and give a good speech, shouldn’t that be enough?! Why do I need to study, research and learn about the characters that I am portraying?

Can you think of any actor today (who you admire) who discussed what they went through in order to become a character they were hired to portray? If so, provide an example in your discussion. If not, perhaps you can research this topic (select an actor in a famous role), and/or discuss what you think it would take for an actor to make a character believable to an audience.

You did so well in the last discussion, I’m looking forward to reading your opinions and ideas.