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Countdown to Playreading… T – 7: Let’s Explore the principal characters in the play

In the previous step, you  read some, or all, of the play. Now  it’s worth exploring some of the more interesting bits of the play, using some of the features we provide to make it easier to read some of the soliloquies. This will let you explore or deepen your understanding of the main characters in the play, and also get you used to how to use various features of our edition.

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The easiest way to get to the soliloquies, is to use the index to the play. If you’re using a laptop, or most tablets, you’ll find the index to the right-hand-side of the script. On smartphones and some tablets, the index comes after the script. Assuming you’re exploring Macbeth, if you look at the index now, you’ll see that there’s a section called Let’s Explore, just below the cast lists. Click on the third entry, labelled “Macbeth‘s Soliloquies’. The script of the play is replaced by a post outlining some of Macbeth‘s soliloquies.

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Now click on the link labelled ‘Act 1 Scene 7: Should I murder Duncan’.  The post of Macbeth‘s soliloquies is replaced by the script of Macbeth, at Act 1 Scene 7, and with only Macbeth‘s speeches shown, plus the cues for each of his speeches, and stage directions. We call this ‘Parts and Cue’s mode. It can be useful in many ways, the most obvious of which is that it allows you to focus on a particular character’s part. Now read the speech starting ‘If it were done, when ’tis done;’ out loud.

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If you want to understand a little more about Parts and Cues, have a look at “Macbeth’s first scene (A1S3) in Parts and Cues mode”, again in the index. Again – read it out loud!

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When you’ve read the speech, click on the index entry labelled “Macbeth‘s Soliloquies'”, or click the back-button, probably twice,  to get back to that post. Now you can click on some of the other links  at the beginning of each section to read other soliloquies.

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The most famous of these soliloquies is ‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow’ and as well as providing a link so that you can read it, we also provide a Video Reading of it.  Click on the arrow in the middle of the picture, and the Video Reading will start to play, letting you hear the speech, as you read the text.

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There are some soliloquies you can read for Lady Macbeth as well. Find the index again and click on the “Let’s Explore” link labelled ‘Lady Macbeth‘. A new post opens up, showing you two soliloquies by Lady Macbeth. To see the first, click on the link labelled  ‘Lady Macbeth in A1S5 (Parats and Cues)’ and read the speech.

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The second soliloquy isn’t really a soliloquy. It’s Lady Macbeth‘s sleep-walking scene. In the complete scene, Lady Macbeth‘s words are interspersed with lines from the Doctor, and the Gentlewoman. Dramatically, this is very effective, but if we want to explore Lady Macbeth‘s state of mind, it’s helpful to see only her lines. You can do this by clicking on the link labelled ‘Lady Macbeth in A5S1 (the sleep-walking scene in Parts and Cues mode)’.

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So now you’ve read some of the play in standard script mode, and you’ve read some soliloquies in parts and cues mode. You’re getting familiar with how the index works, and how you use our script.

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You’re building your skills and are ready to start passing those skills on to other members of your play-reading group.

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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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Before you go, we re-start play-reading in September, for our fourth year, and we’re hoping some other groups around the world will join us play-reading Macbeth or some other play. You can find out more about this initiative by looking at our checklist of activities to prepare for the play-reading:
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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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