top of page

Autumn 2019 Session 2 started here. ->

Spring 2020 Session 1 starts here. ->

Spring 2020 Session 2 will start around here (wherever Session 1 leaves off). -> 

The Shakespeare Workbook and Video: A Practical Course for Actors

Full Curriculum


Over the course of this year, as part of our Shakespeare Studio courses, we are working through a curriculum created by David and Rebecca Clark Carey in their book, The Shakespeare Workbook and Video: A Practical Course for Actors. We used selected parts of this curriculum for our 2016 class, "Preparing to Perform: Mining Shakespeare's Text," and this year we are attempting to get through the entire curriculum in full.

We taught our own crash course in text clues in our "Fundamentals" class in Autumn 2019 Session 1, and began the Careys' curriculum in Autumn 2019 Session 2. In Spring 2020 Sessions 1 and 2 we are continuing in the curriculum, and we hope to get through more in the Summer and/or Autumn of 2020.


Chapter 1: Language and Action

Exploration: Mark Antony (Julius Caesar)




1. Having an Effect

Speeches in which the characters state openly what it is that they want from the person they are talking to. They know what they want and are trying to persuade the other person.


Joan Puzel

(Henry VI, Part One)

-Word order

-Adding adjectives


-Handling Evidence


Lady Percy

(Henry IV, Part One)


-Show and Tell


-Closing In


2. Negotiating Complications

Speeches in which the characters can’t say what they want directly. They might be trying to pin down what they want as they speak, or they might want two different, conflicting, things and need to negotiate between those two objectives. It's important to remember that the characters are making up their strategies as they go along. They start with a desire or impulse and then engage in a constant process of evaluating how close they are to achieving the desired effect and choosing what to say next.



(Julius Caesar)



-Saying the Unsayable



(The Merchant of Venice)

-Keep Away


-Back and Forth


3. Solving Problems



(The Two Gentlemen of Verona)

-Love and Honor

-Good Angel/Bad Angel

-Object Lesson



(Twelfth Night)

-Putting Together the Pieces

-Question Time






-Good or Bad

-Pushing Through

-Stepping Stones




Chapter 2: Language in Action: Imagery, Sound and Story


Exploration: Mark Antony




1. Picture Painting



(Henry V)

-Physicalizing the image

-Specifying the image

-Showing the image



(A Midsummer Night's Dream)



-Crossing the line

-Putting it all together


2. Ear Catching


Lady Macbeth


-Repeating Sounds

-Words in Action



(A Midsummer Night's Dream)

-Couplets and Triangles

-Tap the Balloon


3. Storytelling



(Romeo and Juliet)

-Proceed with caution

-See what I see

-Team spirit



(Henry IV, Part One)


-I said, he said

-Carry the bag





Chapter 3: Rhythm and Meter

Exploration: Mark Antony




1. Finding the Rhythm



(The Two Gentlemen of Verona)

-Expanding and contracting


-The Tipping Point



(Richard III)

-Expanding and contracting

-Six feet

-Tracking trochees

-Feminine endings

-The final word



(The Taming of the Shrew)



2. Mastering the Rhythm 

These exercises look in more detail at the variations and irregularities in iambic pentameter and how they contribute to character development and argument, concentrating on examples from Shakespeare’s middle period, when he had gained mastery of the form. We also look further at prose rhythms.



(The Merchant of Venice)

-Rockier Rhythms

-The Tipping Point



Portia and Lucius

(Julius Caesar)

-Sharing lines



(Henry IV, Part One)

-Drum kit



3. Breaking the Rhythm

“Once an artist has learned his trade and gained mastery of his chosen medium, he is likely to experiment with new ways of doing things. Shakespeare was certainly this kind of artist, and in his later plays he experimented not only with dramatic forms but also with the medium of iambic pentameter, as he made greater use of rhythmic variations to represent the variety and intensity of human communication (159).”



(King Lear)

-Syllables and action

-Long and short

-In and out of step



(The Winter's Tale)


-Exploring enjambment


Antony and Cleopatra

(Antony and Cleopatra)

-Fine tuning

-Putting it all together




Chapter 4: Rhetoric and Style

Exploration: Mark Antony




1. Recognizing Rhetoric



(The Two Gentlemen of Verona)





Queen Margaret

(Henry VI, Part Two)

-Identifying rhetoric

-Exploring rhetoric

-Landing the point

-Comedy and Style


Touchstone and Audrey

(As You Like It)

-Trump cards

-Contrasting cards

-Closing the gap

-Wink, wink, nudge, nudge


Phoebe and Silvius 

(As You Like It)

-Don’t go

-Get out of my way

-Let’s get literal

-Complicated Characters


Desdemona and Emilia


-Verse and prose


-Language play

-Rhetorical strategies


Edmund and Gloucester

(King Lear)

-Identifying rhetoric





Chapter 5: Preparation for Performance



-Sound the Space



-Muscularity and definition





-Accent and character

bottom of page