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Twelfth Night: A2S4 ‘Like Patience on a monument’

Introduction:

The audio of the following video reading is taken from an episode of John Barton’s Playing Shakespeare. It’s called ‘Rehearsing a text’. Playing Shakespeare,  nine 45 minute episodes on how to play Shakespeare’s text, uses a host of famous RSC actors from the 70’s. It is the best series I know on how to play Shakespeare. It’s available on Youtube, and if you go to My Channel on Youtube, you’ll find links to the episodes. The episode we’re using rehearses A2S4 of Twelfth Night, with Judi Dench playing Viola, and Richard Pasco playing Orsino.

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The extract from that episode that we’re posting here,  shows Viola, disguised as a boy – Cesario – telling Orsino that women can love as deeply as men. She (he) nearly lets Orsino know that she loves him.

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The text which is shown on the video, comes from Players-Shakespearre.com’s edition of Twelfth Night. There’s a number of points worth noting:

  • I think the real interest in this video reading is Judi Dench’s magnificent reading of Viola, and so we’ve shown her text in ‘Highlight Text’ mode. Hear how Judi varies her speed, tone, and emotion throughout the piece to really get the audience to engage and be moved.
  • Perhaps John Barton thought the interest was in Judi’s exploration too, because quite a few of Orsino’s lines have been cut – usually to ease comprehension for a modern audience. Be prepared to follow swiftly the actual words spoken.

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Click on the arrow in the image below to hear / see the extract:

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(If you like this click here to subscribe to our Youtube channel)

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You may not want to try to improve on this rendition, so maybe you should play it again. If you like this video reading, then you should have a look at some of the others read by the Edinburgh Shakespeare Playreading Group we’ve published by clicking on one or more of the following links:

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In case you want to play the Twelfth Night scene yourself, here are links to the two parts: Orsino and Viola / Cesario. Both players will need to scroll down through the scene until just after Feste exits. The scene starts with Orsino’s line: “Let all the rest give place.” Here are the links:

Let’s play,

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Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

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