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Countdown to Playreading… T – 6: Play some key scenes with friends

Now we’ve reached  the fun bit!  If you’ve followed our ‘Countdown to Playreading’ posts, you’ve  read the play (probably Macbeth, but it could be another) on your own; you’ve read some soliloquies out loud; so you’re pretty familiar with how you read our plays on the web-site. It’s time to invite one ore two friends  who are going to come to the play-reading round to play some scenes together.

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If you do this, you all start to experience the emotions in the play much more strongly than just reading on your own – even if you’re reading out loud – and you start to spread the knowledge of how to use the web-site among other play-readers, so when it comes to the play-reading a few of you will be able to help the new play-readers with the technology. And all of you will build your play-reading skills from hearing each other reading the scenes. Three bangs for the buck! It can’t be bad.

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Assuming that everyone brings their own smartphone, tablet or laptop to this session, he first thing you have to do with your friends is connect them to your wi-fi broadband router. You’ll have to know your Wireless Network ID and the password to log on. Give that to each of your friends and they’ll be able to connect to the Internet. Once they are connected to the Internet, you can all go to https://www.players-shakespeare.com  and select the play from which you’re going to read extracts from the front page.

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For the purposes of this post we’re going to assume you choose Macbeth, but it could be any of the plays coloured blue on our Home page.

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So which scenes from Macbeth are you going to play? Let’s assume there are three of you at this first try of play-reading. You’ve got a lot of choice. You can choose most of the scenes from the Let’s Explore and Let’s Play sections of the index. (You can find the index to the right of the script on laptops and most tablets held in landscape mode, and after the script on smartphones and some tablets).

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Here’s some of the scenes I’d like to play:

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For three people the obvious scene to start with, is ‘All my pretty Chickens, and their Dam! (A4S2, 3 players)  because it’s for three players. If you all click on that link, a new tab will open up with the details of that scene. Each of you click on a different player no. and you play the scene. It’s actually a pretty difficult scene, particularly for the player playing MacDuff, but good fun to try out. Don’t just read it once, you can read it many times rotating the parts so everyone gets a chance to play the three roles. If you’re anything like our group, you’ll learn a lot from hearing other people playing the same role.

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Although you’re three people, you don’t all have to read every scene. You can read the scenes for two players, with one of you acting as audience. Play the scene two or three times so that everyone plays each character. A great scene to do this with is Macbeth shall sleep no more (A2S2, 2 players), one of the most exciting scenes in the play.

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If you want to challenge yourselves with dark humour, try The porter’s scene (A2S3, 2 players). That not hard enough? Then try and express Lenox’s irony in Lenox talks ironically (A3S6, 2 players).

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Finally, you’ll learn a lot from trying some soliloquies. Open up Macbeth’s soliloquies and try to play Act 5 Scene 5: Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow. or  A2S1: Is this a dagger that I see before me?

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By the time you’ve done all this, if you’re anything like our group, you’ll find your friends want more and don’t want to go home, they’re having too much fun. When you’ve exhausted Macbeth, you can try out other plays by looking at the scenes we’ve set up for two or three players. You can find these in the Let’s Play menu at the top of the page, or you can use the links below:

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For two players, use the following link: Playreadings for 2 players

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For three players, use the following link: Playreadings for 3 players

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Before you go, we;re in our fifth year of play-reading and each month we play-read a different play – usually our “Play of the Month”. Some other groups are also running monthly play-readings, not always the same play as us. We’re hoping some other groups around the world will join us play-reading Macbeth or some other play. This is our fifth Countdown post to help you set-up a play-reading group. You can find out more about this initiative by looking at our checklist of activities to prepare for the play-reading: Countdown to Playreading
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If you’re really interested in organising a play-reading group using our Shakespeare plays, ask to join our Support for Playreading FB group

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Let’s Play!!!!.

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Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

To find out what Players-Shakespeare.com is all about, check out What we do.
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