A sequence of 25-minute programmes used to teach students the Open University course on Shakespeare that ran for 12 years. The programmes are:
RECONSTRUCTING THE BANKSIDE THEATRES
Professor Glynne Wickham looks at the latest proposals to reconstruct Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre near its original site in Southwark, examining the historical evidence for the construction of theatres in Shakespeare’s time, and discussing the effect of modern alterations to these designs on the authenticity of the project. Professor Wickham is then assisted by actor Robert Powell in examining the possible theatrical effects which could have been achieved in Shakespeare’s day, as well as getting an actor’s point of view of the problems presented by the original stage. The question of cost is discussed with the project’s organiser, Sam Wanamaker.
THE TEMPEST, ACT IV
"This presentation of Act IV--the Masque scene--of The Tempest provides the variety of drama suggested by the text: different kinds of speech and action, dance, music, song, pictorial effect; depth of thought, beauty, fright, and fun. The act shows two parts of the magical triumph of Prospero--the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, and the defeat and punishment of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo."
Presented by Brian Stone.
Emma Kate Davies
HENRY IV, PARTS ONE AND TWO: WORKSHOP ONE
"... In this programme, director John Russell-Brown asks Timothy West (Falstaff) and Michael Thomas (Prince Hal) to try out some of [the] crucial scenes, and asks them to explore the ways in which the ebullient humor casts light on the darkest historical elements of the play."
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA WORKSHOP
"... In this programme, director John Russell-Brown concentrates on one ... short scene, in which Antony (James Laurenson) takes his leave of Cleopatra (Gillian Barge) before going into battle with Caesar. Running alongside the moving poetry of farewell is the need to deal with the "business" of the text -- in this case, the donning of a suit of armoUr..."
Presented by Cicely Palser Havely.
TWELFTH NIGHT WORKSHOP
"... a group of experienced Shakespearean actors first read through, and then rehearse, Act II, scene 3, one of the funniest scenes in the play. This rehearsal culminates in a runthrough of the scene, showing how the discoveries of the workshop are brought into the play."
HAMLET: WORKSHOPS ONE AND TWO
1) "...The program investigates the question of Hamlet's character as director John Russell-Brown takes actor David Yelland through various interpretations of the role, working on some of Hamlet's key speeches and interactions with other characters and trying out various ways of presenting this complex character."
2) "This program expands on the idea of Hamlet's character to bring the prince into dramatic relationship with other characters. The program looks at how far such interactions modify or support issues of character resolved in the first workshop, and how the actor playing this complex role relates the meaning of the famous soliloquies to the dynamic, political moments of the play."
Presented by Cicely Palser Havely.
KING LEAR: WORKSHOPS ONE AND TWO
1) "... In this programme, director John Russell-Brown takes actor Julian Glover through Act II, scene 4, as far as to the storm scene. The central issue is Lear's madness; how can an actor convey it and at the same time be aware of the "reason in madness" so central to the meaning of the play? Answers to this can come only through detailed enactment and discussion of certain crucial moments."
2) "... The program looks in detail at Act IV, scene 6, the storm scene, and at Lear's poignant re-encounter with the blind Gloucester, played by Basil Henson."
Presented by Graham Martin.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE: WORKSHOPS ONE AND TWO
1) "... This programme concentrates on Act II, scene 2, in which Isabella (Jenny Agutter) comes to plead with Angelo (Michael Thomas) for her brother's life. Director John Brown asks what, and how much, each character can be said to reveal of themselves here. Through this highly focused rehearsal, it becomes possible to discover an Isabella far more passionate and far more complex than sometimes portrayed."
2) "In Act III, scene 1, Isabella comes to tell her brother Claudio (David Yelland) that he must die, since she will not forfeit her chastity to save him. The emotional focus of this great scene is intense, and its poetry extremely complex and compressed. By working carefully through its most difficult moments, director John Russell-Brown examines the extent to which actors can convey this emotion through gestures and language."
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Please note film has never been commerically released on DVD.. We have transferred from tv recording onto DVD