Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice

E-book – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3991-6

Paper Text – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3990-9
Publication Date
May 2019
Page Count
248 pages
Trim Size
5 x 8

Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice

A Guide for American Actors
Linda Gates

Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice: A Guide for American Actors is a book for undergraduate and graduate students of acting as well as for the professional who would like to perform Shakespeare with the skill of a classical actor. It is also valuable for European actors interested in performing Shakespeare in American English and British actors who would like to explore Shakespeare from an American perspective.

?This guide focuses on the technical elements of voice and speech, including breathing, resonance, and diction, as well as providing an introduction to verse speaking and scansion and to Shakespeare’s rhetorical devices, such as antithesis, alliteration, onomatopoeia, irony, metaphor, and wordplay. These topics are annotated with examples from Shakespeare’s plays to demonstrate how an actor can apply the lessons to actual performance. The book also explores the history of Shakespearean performance in the United States and provides guidance on current editions of Shakespeare’s text from the Folio to online Open Source Shakespeare. A helpful appendix offers examples of two-person scenes and contextualized monologues.
About the Author

LINDA GATES is a Shakespearean vocal coach, actress, and director who has worked with both British and American directors on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in regional theaters, as well as at the Prague Shakespeare Company, where she teaches, directs, and acts. Former students include Meryl Streep, Lily Rabe, Alan Paul (associate director of the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.), Irish actor James Nesbitt, and English actor James Purefoy. She has taught voice and text for Shakespeare at NYU Tisch SOA, Yale School of Drama, Circle in the Square, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and the BADA’s Midsummer in Oxford program. She is Head of Voice in the acting program in the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University.

"Linda Gates is a master at clarifying the mystery of speaking Shakespeare. Her insight into the text is transformative." —Barbara Gaines, Artistic Director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater“Linda Gates’ Speaking in Shakespeares Voice is an invaluable guide for anyone interested in understanding how Shakespeare works from the inside. This should be required reading not only for undergraduate and graduate acting students but for professionals of all ages and disciplines. Directors, designers, dramaturges and all serious minded students, practitioners and artists will deepen their relationship to Shakespeare and the requirements of his texts with careful study of this book. Bravo Linda Gates!" —Guy Roberts, Founder and Artistic Director, Prague Shakespeare Company

“One of the clearest, most concise, and informative books on Shakespeare I have come across, this is an essential book for anyone wanting to know about Shakespeare’s language by one of the English-speaking world’s most respected teachers of voice and speech.” —Jared Sakren, Producing Artistic Director of 6th Street Playhouse, former Producing Artistic Director of Southwest Shakespeare Company

"Linda Gates' Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice is a fundamental resource for any actor seeking to speak Shakespeare's words with clarity, power, and total technical control. This book contains vital information on how to approach classical poetry in a distinctly American style." —Alan Paul, Associate Artistic Director, The Shakespeare Theatre Company

Speaking in Shakespeare's Voice is a valuable resource for students and professional actors who wish to deepen their understanding of Shakespeares texts. Linda, an expert coach, skilled in rhetoric, provides useful tools and exercises to develop necessary technique to effectively speak Shakespeare’s beautiful texts. Especially interesting is her well-researched history of the performance of Shakespeare in the US, her rhetorical examples, and her selection of scenes and monologues for further exploration.” —Jill Walmsley Zager- Resident Voice Coach Guthrie Theater