by Julian Curry
‘This book gives some of the very best of Shakespeare’s twenty-first-century colleagues an opportunity to share insights that can only come from playing him’ Nicholas Hytner, from his Foreword
Twelve leading actors take us behind the scenes of landmark Shakespearean productions, each recreating in detail their memorable performance in a major role.
Roger Allam on his Falstaff in both Henry IV plays at Shakespeare’s Globe * Eileen Atkins on Viola in two productions of Twelfth Night seventeen years apart * Simon Russell Beale on Cassius in Deborah Warner’s modern-dress Julius Caesar * Chiwetel Ejiofor on his Donmar Warehouse Othello, directed by Michael Grandage * Sara Kestelman on Hippolyta and Titania in Peter Brook’s iconic white-box Dream * Ian McKellen on one of Shakespeare’s most demanding of roles: King Lear * Michael Pennington on stepping in at the eleventh hour as Timon of Athens * Alan Rickman on re-evaluating the melancholic Jaques in As You Like It * Fiona Shaw on Shakespeare’s Shrew, Katherine, in Jonathan Miller’s production * Patrick Stewart on his Las Vegas-set Shylock, a role he has played many times * Harriet Walter on Imogen in Shakespeare’s late romance, Cymbeline, at the RSC * Zoë Wanamaker on her National Theatre Beatrice, directed by Nicholas Hytner
Each actor leads us through the choices they made in rehearsal, and how the character works in performance, shedding new light on some of the most challenging roles in the canon. The result is a series of individual masterclasses that will be invaluable for other actors and directors, as well as students of Shakespeare – and fascinating for audiences of the plays.
‘Absorbing and original… Curry’s actors are often thinking and talking as that other professional performer, Shakespeare himself, might have done.’ TLS on Shakespeare On Stage: Vol. 1