Instant Shakespeare: Just Add Time

Studying Shakespeare is not for the impatient. To the astute scholar this may seem obvious. But to the young enthusiast and/or less Shakespearienced actor can always use a reminder. There is no possible way to speak the text very well with your first time with the text. Even after a month of rehearsals for a play it’s not likely you’ll be great. If you work hard, and study all you can during that time you can be good but don’t beat yourself up over it! Actors study for several years before being proficient. English majors can easily read everything in the libary on Shakespeare and still struggle.

So what can you do? Be patient! To be a good classical actor takes years, decades even. An English teacher can cover Hamlet in class for a decade and still learn more every time. I don’t think anybody out there refers to themself as a Shakespeare “master” or “expert,” because those who know the most know that there’s always more to know. Those titles are usually bestowed upon those people by others.

You heavens, give me that patience, patience I need!
– King Lear (II.iv)

Have patience, I beseech.
– Comedy of Errors (IV.ii)

I know how hard this can be. I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and I will often try to learn much more than I have been able to put into practice. It’s not a great habit to have if you’re trying to get better at something. Take your time with Shakespeare, frustration is a natural occurrence before you get something right. Slow down and enjoy the ride. Don’t get ahead of yourself!

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.
– Romeo and Juliet (II.iii)