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    Category Archive: Acting Shakespeare

    Open Workshop with Ben Crystal & Company – London – September 2013

    Come and work with the Passion in Practice Company

    A day-long intensive workshop, introducing our work towards fresh and accessible approaches to playing Shakespeare.

    Over the course of the day we will share our method in finding fluency with Shakespearean text, to discover a truthful and simple way of speaking verse.

    The workshop will include:

    • Text and rhythm exploration
    • Performing Shakespeare with a free physicality
    • Speech and scene analysis
    • Mini Sonnet workshop with Will Sutton  **NEW**
    • RP accent absolutely not required…

    Places limited

    COST
    £50 / £40*

    DATE
    14th September, 10-6pm

    WHERE
    Central London – Moving East

    Interested participants please email your CV by clicking here

    *Early bird rate for the first 10 participants

    Shakespeare Verse Masterclass – June 18th

    In celebration of my forthcoming Springboard Shakespeare series:

    A Shakespeare Verse Masterclass
    with Ben Crystal & Company
    Guest Sonneteer – Will Sutton

    Tuesday 18th June, 2pm

    Jackson’s Lane Theatre, Highgate

    £10 on the door
    First 10 places £0

    email us at Verse Masterclass

    “One of the most-shared, most popular performances” – Shakespeare Sonnets

    Very nice to hear, from Henry Volans at Faber & Faber:

    Ben Crystal’s reading of Sonnet 141 in Original Pronunciation is one of the most-shared, most popular performances in the app…

    More on Wired.com’s interview with the creators of the Shakespeare Sonnets iPad App here

    Shakespeare Sonnets iPad App – “Wonderful… Extraordinary… A treat!”

    The Shakespeare Sonnets iPad App came out a couple of weeks ago, to great acclaim:

    Ben Crystal’s reading of Sonnet 141 in Original Pronunciation is a treat – theverge.com

    Ben Crystal’s reading of Sonnet 141, delivered in Original Pronunciation, is a salutary reminder of the warmth and unpretentiousness of our national poet – Poor Rude Lines

    A digital delight – Ben Crystal gives his approximation of Shakespeare’s own pronunciation, rugged and lilting at once – The Independent

    An extraordindary achievement – The Times

    A wonderful app that will provide hours of enjoyment -
    The Telegraph

    Faber’s app commissioner now wields as much power as the person who decides where to open a new Waitrose -
    The Guardian

    Just a wonderful iPad App… An absolute star for classrooms – iPadinsight.com

    The App is produced by Illuminations Media, Faber and Faber, Arden Shakespeare and Touch Press, and features Sir Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, Fiona Shaw, Kim Cattrell, Dominic West, scholars James Shapiro and Katherine Duncan-Jones, and the poet Don Paterson, amongst many others.

    I act Sonnet 141 – In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes in Original Pronunciation – take a look at the video here:

    And you can download the App now from iTunes UK or iTunes US

    Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation – Live! – The British Library – May 4th, 6.30pm

    First, a very happy 448th birthday to Will… Your work never ceases to amaze. Well done. Take the rest of the day off.

    Now! This coming Star Wars Day, I’ll be giving a talk at the British Library based on the CD of Shakespeare sonnets, speeches and scenes I curated for the BL.

    Together with a fab line-up of actors, we’ll intercut the blah-blah-blah by performing speeches & scenes from Shakespeare in Original Pronunciation. Some will be from the CD, some won’t have been heard in OP for over 400 years… Come one, come all…!

    For details of the event, and to purchase tickets, click here

    How did Shakespeare sound to the audiences of the day?

    Ben Crystal, together with actors from the company formed for the new British Library Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation CD, offer us a rare chance to hear new meanings uncovered, new jokes revealed and poetic effects enhanced.

     

    ‘Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation’ is currently available on CD & to Download here.

    You can have a sneak preview to Sonnet 116, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet here

     

    Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation – CD Available Now

    The first ever CD of Shakespeare sonnets, speeches and scenes that I curated for the British Library launched yesterday. Click here for the full press release.

    It’s now available to buy, and the Live event will take place on May 4th, 2012, at the British Library.

    The Telegraph ran a feature on it with some extracts to listen to, as did the New Statesman, and Mark Lawson interviewed me on BBC Radio 4′s Frontrow last night (available to download as a podcast, dated 14th March 2012).

    Enjoy!

    Hamlet – Year of the Prince

    Photos of the Contemporary World Premiere of Hamlet in the Original Pronunciation can now be seen here:
    www.YearOfThePrince.com

     

    Hamlet. In OP. In Nevada. This November… & a few other ‘bits’…

    Apologies for the lack of posting to this site in recent months…

    Unless you follow me on Twitter you may not know I was playing Demetrius in Iris Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream this last July, in the gardens of St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden, London.

    Nor that I curated a 70 minute CD of well-known – and not so well-known sonnets, speeches and scenes of Shakespeare for the British Library, the first of its kind spoken by professional actors, and out March 2012.

    I’m about to adapt Venus and Adonis for Roughhouse Theatre & Bath Theatre Royal… and very excitingly, will be beginning work on a new series of books I’ve been commissioned to write for Arden Shakespeare

    Nor indeed, will you know that I am about to leave for Nevada, USA, to start rehearsals to play Hamlet

    It’s going to be an Original Pronunciation production, the first for 400 years, and will open November 1st.

    I’ll be keeping an account and diary of the whole process – the first of which will be up very soon – and found via my Twitter feed…

    Passion in Practice – May 2011 – Acting Shakespeare Workshop

    Passion in Practice is a collaboration between actor Ben Crystal and director Dan Winder exploring fresh approaches to acting Shakespeare.

    The starting point for all our work is the words of the writer. Using a solid textual foundation, we play Shakespeare as simply as possible, without any great conceptual frame placed between participants, audience and the play.

    By allowing Shakespeare and his words to direct us we discover new ways of approaching Shakespeare for the 21st Century with honesty and great passion.

    The next Passion in Practice workshop will be May 16th-20th 2011 in London.

    Please head to www.passioninpractice.com for more details.

    “Now is the Winter of our discontent…” — in Original Pronunciation

    The Richard III Quarto, at the British Library Evolving English Exhibition, 13 November 2010 -- 3rd April 2011

    I was asked to record the opening speech of Richard 3 for the British Library’s Evolving English Exhibition. Knowing the listener would be using headphones while reading the original Quarto edition, I found myself whispering the speech into the microphone. Have a listen and get inside Richard’s head… The Folio text is below.

    Now is the Winter… in Original Pronunciation

    Enter Richard Duke of Gloster, solus.

    Now is the Winter of our Discontent,
    Made glorious Summer by this Son of Yorke:
    And all the clouds that lowr’d vpon our house
    In the deepe bosome of the Ocean buried.
    Now are our browes bound with Victorious Wreathes,
    Our bruised armes hung vp for Monuments;
    Our sterne Alarums chang’d to merry Meetings;
    Our dreadfull Marches, to delightfull Measures.
    Grim-visag’d Warre, hath smooth’d his wrinkled Front:
    And now, in stead of mounting Barbed Steeds,
    To fright the Soules of fearfull Aduersaries,
    He capers nimbly in a Ladies Chamber,
    To the lasciuious pleasing of a Lute.*
    But I, that am not shap’d for sportiue trickes,
    Nor made to court an amorous Looking-glasse:
    I, that am Rudely stampt, and want loues Maiesty,
    To strut before a wonton ambling Nymph:
    I, that am curtail’d of this faire Proportion,
    Cheated of Feature by dissembling Nature,**
    Deform’d, vn-finish’d, sent before my time
    Into this breathing World, scarse halfe made vp,
    And that so lamely and vnfashionable,
    That dogges barke at me, as I halt by them.
    Why I (in this weake piping time of Peace)
    Haue no delight to passe away the time,
    Vnlesse to see my Shadow in the Sunne,
    And descant on mine owne Deformity.

    *In the Quarto text the word is Love, not Lute
    **I think my favourite bit is the way the rhythm begins to canter here…