Shakespeare Pronunciation Mobile App

Advanced Class Begins Shakespeare Monologues

The Advanced Class in my private Voice and Speech program is working on their first Shakespeare monologues. We finished a series of scanning exercises. These included discussions about short verse lines, long verse lines, shared verse lines, epic caesuras, elisions, stretching a word, and acting on the verse line. Now the challenge, and I think it is an exciting challenge, is to use all of the technical tools the students have learned while acting.

It’s one thing to read the words with a nice supported voice but it’s something entirely different to invest in the emotional life of the character, understand her/his point of view about the other characters in the scene, and play the objective. While they are acting, they are trying to remember to breathe, keep the voice supported, and use the clarity of the speech sounds that we worked on during the First Level of the Program. It’s a lot! And it’s also the reason that after working on Shakespeare monologues, the actors feel like they can handle any language whether it’s voice-over copy (which can very tricky), a modern film script, a new play or a TV show.

Using the Shakespeare Pronunciation App For Shakespeare Monologues

All of the students have the Shakespeare Pronunciation app. With this app they have a wonderful source at their fingertips for the correct audio pronunciation of the words. In addition to the pronunciation of every word, I showed them that clicking on “More” takes them to the “Official Shakespeare Pronunciation Reference Website”. This website includes sections on “Scanning the Verse”, “Latin”, “Accents, Dialects and Foreign Languages”, and “Words to Watch Out For”. The section “Words to Watch Out For” gives a sampling of words in each play that expand or contract to fulfill the demands of the meter. In addition there are examples of words where the stress is different than the stress used today. One example is the word “demonstrate” which today we stress on the first syllable. In contrast, in the plays, it often scans to a stress on the second syllable.

The Shakespeare Pronunciation app is becoming an essential tool for the students. Download your copy today!

shakespeare monologues

Shakespeare Pronunciation Mobile App

Royal Shakespeare Company’s Recent Production of “King and Country”

The Royal Shakespeare Company recently finished a run of “King and Country” a series of four of Shakespeare’s history plays performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The opportunity to see “Richard II”, “Henry IV” (Parts 1 and 2) and “Henry V” does not come along very often. The RSC’s new (since 2013) Artistic Director is Gregory Doran and he directed all of these productions.  The highlights, for me, were David Tennant’s Richard II and Antony Sher’s Falstaff.  Tennant gave a layered performance which was filled with passion, strength, and humor and he had an ability to make the verse sound natural without losing the beauty of the poetry. Not easy to do.  Sher breathed new life in to a character that  has been performed by so many extraordinary actors including Simon Russell Beale, Kevin Kline, Orson Welles, and Robbie Coltrane to name a few, that it’s hard to imagine someone finding something new. But this incredibly creative actor did just that.  Falstaff was funnier than I’ve ever seen him but also touching and vulnerable.  Over the years, I have seen Sher play numerous roles – Malvolio in “12th Night”, Shylock in “the Merchant of Venice”, and Richard III in “Richard III” and have always found his performances exciting, truthful, inventive and memorable.  His Falstaff goes to the top of this list.

King and CountryI attended Henry IV (Part 1) with a group of my students including some from my private classes and some from my Graduate Acting Class at NYU.  The students enjoyed the production and were excited by Sher’s performance. One of them was working on a production of “Hamlet” at NYU and she said that hearing the actors had inspired her and had given her new ideas for her own performance.

After the productions I checked the Shakespeare Pronunciation audio app to be sure the actors were pronouncing the words correctly!

Shakespeare Pronunciation Mobile App

"All's Well That Ends Well" with Shakespeare Pronunciation

Recently I was working on a production of “All’s Well that Ends Well” for the Graduate Acting Program at New York University. Because I had taught the students for two years, they were familiar with my voice and speech work and knew how to incorporate our classroom work in to the production. During the Third Year, we worked on scanning the lines, how to build a speech, how to find the spine of the thought, how to do a parenthetical and other technical elements. Having the opportunity to use all of the tools we had worked on in class, while they were acting the play, was incredibly valuable for the actors.

One of the challenges of “All’s Well that Ends Well” is to pronounce the names of the characters correctly so that all of the characters are seen (and heard) as living in the same world. We used the Shakespeare Pronunciation audio app so that everyone was saying roh-SIL-yuhn for the Countess Rossillion and her son, Bertram. Parolles is always interesting because there are two possibilities with his name. We used puh-ROHL-iz. The actor playing the role chose this from the two pronunciations that were listed on the Shakespeare Pronunciation audio app. Consistency within the names of the characters is important so that the audience is not pulled out of the action by going “What did he say? I thought she said the name another way.” We want the audience engaged in the action of the play.

Everyone who saw the production of “All’s Well that Ends Well” commented on how clear the actors were. The audience understood everything that they were saying which is no small thing in Shakespeare! The actors were also dealing with the demands of being heard in a huge theater with bad acoustics and again the audience commented on how clear the actors were and that they could be heard in that large space.

All’s Well that Ends Well

Shakespeare Pronunciation Mobile App

Shakespeare Mobile App is LIVE

News Update On Shakespeare Mobile App

The Shakespeare Mobile App is now available in both the Google Play store and Apple store. To download your copy click below.

Shakespeare Mobile App Shakespeare Mobile App

This new and unique app is an essential tool for actors, producers, professors, students and everyone who enjoys the plays of William Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Mobile App contains AUDIO pronunciations for over 5000 words including every character name, geographic location, mythological reference and any unfamiliar word. Words can be found using the advanced search function and the word history or by scrolling alphabetically. The Shakespeare Mobile App also includes the respelling of each word including the variations of pronunciation based on the scansion of the verse line.

The authors of the Shakespeare Mobile App, Shane Ann Younts and Louis Scheeder, have adapted the extensive research found in their book “All the Words on Stage, a Complete Pronunciation Dictionary for the Plays of William Shakespeare” and have carefully recorded each word.