Hamlet’s advice to the players is at an end, but your work is just beginning. I’d just like to wrap up the wealth of information covered in this speech.
There’s no end to the advice that can be given on acting Shakespeare, but everything you really need to know is in this text. The rest is just mastering it… which of course takes years and years.
Visit the speech every now and then. You may connect to certain parts better over time. Actually, I can almost guarantee that you will. You’ll see a performance either good or bad, come back to the speech and you’ll discover, “Oh, I see what that means!” or, “That’s why he sucked,” etc. You might even recognize things you’re doing in a performance. Maybe get in the habit of speaking this speech every time before you start a new production.
And now to sum up your actor’s checklist that Hamlet so eloquently spoke in this speech:
- Speak you lines fluently
- Don’t do odd, extraneous movements
- Find the emotional balance between too tame and too wild
- Be honest
- Don’t be “real,” Be believable.
- Don’t add your own lines
- Tell the story
That list is in my words, not Hamlets. I feel those are some of the most important points in the speech. If I were to pick one most important one, it would be the last one on that list. Because you must do all the rest in order to tell the story well.
You’re work is cut out for you. I’m still working on it and I’m plan to always do so. Play. Have fun, make discoveries. Use the wonderful words you are given and your performance will shine. So what are you waiting for?
Go make you ready.