Focus Your Interest

After reading the script and seeing it performed, choose something specific about it that interests you most:

  • The plot or story, or part of it: a single scene, or episode or brief exchange

  • A character - or a relationship between two or more characters

  • An idea suggested by plot, character, or theme

  • Some of the language, particularly how it is delivered vocally

  • The set or scenery and its historical period, if any

  • The costuming

  • The choreography: not just the use of dance or fights (always important in Shakespeare) but the blocking and physical relationships and gestures of the actors

  • The sound effects: not only music, and song, but battle or storm sounds, etc. Sound effects can crucially affect the audience, as with the storm in King Lear.

  • The visual effects: how actors’ bodies shift between background and foreground (from representing aspects of the environment or object world to representing characters, as for example the moving statue of Winter’s Tale); how props, lights, machinery, technology shape the visual environment.

This selection of an aspect of performance is the most subjective and local: Aristotle considered plot to be most important, but nineteenth-century criticism favored characterization, as do most modern actors who follow Stanislavski and Method. However, directors now often favor theme (usually political, as with a Tempest reflecting wicked European colonization of innocent natives). Non-Marxist literary critics favor language, with abstruse and often misleading stress on imagery (such as Caroline Spurgeon’s misrepresentation of light and fire as positives in Romeo and Juliet). Designers currently favor the most unexpected settings and costumes possible (Pericles in Lapland; Two Noble Kinsmen in Japan; The Tempest in Outer Space).

Please offer comments and suggestions on any aspects the site to: Director Hugh Richmond at See samples at the site Blog.

Except where otherwise specified, all written commentary is © 2016, Hugh Macrae Richmond.