And now the first in the series of posts expounding Hamlet’s Advice to the Players. Let’s begin at the beginning.
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc’d it to you, trippingly on the tongue.
With a couple couples of alliteration Hamlet speaks volumes. “Speak the speech … trippingly on the tongue.” Chapters of acting books and entire books have been written on being able to speak a speech trippingly on the tongue. Well what exactly does that mean?
Trippingly means light and quick, with a sense of ease, fluently. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Basically this means that when you speak, it generally shouldn’t sound like you’re proclaiming your lines “Full of Sound and Fury” (Macbeth), but rather let them come out.
Easier said than done. You need a detailed understanding of everything you’re saying, the important words needed to tell the story, awareness of the literary devices that make the verse and prose come alive, memorization of the piece so good that you could recite it in your sleep, and a very well exercised set of articulators (mouth, tongue , lips) for excellent diction. It’s a lot, but who ever said acting was easy?