ACTING SHAKESPEARE'S VERSE

taught by Deloss Brown   
--who has directed eight of Shakespeare's plays, and yet Shakespeare is unharmed!

New Classes: MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Tuesdays: starts October 17) and
KING LEAR (Thursdays: starts October 19).
Full schedule: click here.

 

"Thank you for an awesome class! I never thought I could somewhat understand Shakespeare, much less perform it! I heard back from four NJ theatres and have an audition on Saturday for one! It's all in the preparation and I can't thank you enough for working with me. I feel like I jumped a huge hurdle in successfully auditioning with a Shakes monologue!" --Melinda G.

"Great MFA news! I wanted to let you know that I have been accepted into A.R.T. at Harvard's incoming class of 2017!! I'm incredibly excited and happy!!! I am grateful to you for your keen guidance and knowledgeable insight." --Zonia E.

"I booked it! I'll be playing Lady MacDuff at the Public! Thank you so much for all your help! --Nicole L.

"Deloss Brown! I wanted to let you know that our play [a production of ALL'S WELL] won the second position. The first prize was bagged by Romeo and Juliet because it was much more appealing to the audience. However it was an amazing experience for my friends and I. We made a lot of memories and enjoyed ourselves. Thank-You so much for uploading this [ALL'S WELL II.5], we found it really helpful." --Rhea (writing from India)


What is this class?

Acting Shakespeare's Verse is an acting class in Manhattan that concentrates on Shakespeare and Shakespearean technique. We study Shakespeare's verse techniques and how they can be used directly in your own acting. Mostly we work on monologues with the goal of teaching you to audition successfully, to get the part and then to be a success in it, so that you'll get hired back and other people will hire you, too. Of course we also work on auditions for graduate school. The class is not restricted to monologues by Shakespeare; you can bring in any monologue you want. The curriculum is designed for students at all levels, from absolute beginners to actors who have already performed Shakespeare.

What's in it for Me?

A really good understanding of Shakespeare's use of language, and confidence in speaking it, and how to project your own emotions through Shakespeare's verse. I teach techniques that work not just for Shakespeare, but for any monologue. I taught Shakespearean acting to Juilliard actors for 11 years, in addition to teaching Shakespeare's plays for 23 years at NYU.

Why should I take your class, as opposed to (X, Y or Z)?

"There are about six million acting classes advertised in Backstage, and many of them say they specialize in Shakespeare. Why should I take your class?"

I have a lot of experience directing Shakespeare and even more experience teaching Shakespeare at the college, graduate school and conservatory level. You can examine my résumé. But that's not what's important to you. You take this class if you decide that my teaching techniques and knowledge suit you and that I can help you make progress. That's why the regular class cycles are always preceded by at least two free classes, so you can see what you're getting into.

You can also get some vague idea as to whether I know what I'm doing by checking out our You Tube videos of All's Well I.3 and AWW II.5.


"Will I learn anything?" Oh, very probably. See the testimonials above.
There are three sample lessons below right, but of course they deal only with text analysis.
Half the class is devoted to acting, not just Shakespeare acting. Acting technique is something not easily discussed on a web page.

"How much does this marvel cost?" See rates. The condensed version is: $25/class, total for this cycle $150. You can also get some idea about the class--at minimal risk--if you come to one (or both) of the

FREE SAMPLE CLASSES were already held this year, and the next ones will probably be in January.


at Shetler Studio, 244 W. 54th, 12th floor.

On both days one-half of the sample class is devoted to dealing with Shakespeare's verse
and one-half devoted to acting techniques. Please see the schedule.
Please make a reservation with me . . . (212) 865-1127
but if you can't reach me just show up at 4:00PM or 5:30PM. You'll have more fun at the free class if
you've recently read Romeo and Juliet.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CLASS SCHEDULE

WHAT ELSE? An example of the kind of thing we talk about as far as text goes was my column in the January 9, 2008 issue of Back Stage:

BACK STAGE

Back Stage published another column by me on September 4, 2008. I don't believe that Shakespeare actually has a cell phone, but I was grateful for the free publicity. Back Stage, in one of their many, many reorganizations, took down the page with my column on it, but I am slowly and painfully rebuilding it.    

My essay "Where Is Love's Labor's Lost?" was published in the Journal of the Cerise Press (in Paris!--just like ULYSSES) on July 1, 2009.


The second part of the essay, (titled, logically enough, "Where is Love's Labor's Won?") was published in the same journal on July 1, 2010.
  



WHERE: The free classes were taught at Shetler Studios, 244 W. 54th, on the 12th floor, room 1202. The regular 5-class course will be taught at my own palatial studio. But again, the schedule is here

There is a curriculum for the class, and I will ask you whether you are willing to commit to the entire cycle. I occasionally have impromptu make-up classes for those who have irregular schedules. But you can't understand most of the rest of the class if you don't know what iambic pentameter is. Want a head start? See the discussion at Blank Verse.

That discussion (Blank Verse) sounds very technical and difficult. To understand Shakespeare is not, not, not difficult, and in recent classes I have found myself repeating "Talk like a human being" as the most useful advice I could give. Shakespeare was an actor and a very successful commercial playwright, and he knew what to put into his plays to make them easy and fun to act, and appealing to audiences, and the audiences of Shakespeare's time were no more or less intellectual than a typical Broadway audience of today. Honestly. This is not meant to deprecate the intellectual capacity of the Broadway audience.

Sample lesson: HAMLET:  "To be or not to be"
I have given up any semblance of organized finances. I want you to commit to the whole cycle, unless I behave objectionably, but you may pay me by the class.

CLASS SIZE? Class size is limited to 8 people (I hope), so that you can work frequently. In practice, the class size has varied between 1 person and 10 people, but the 10-person class got sorted out and reduced to a manageable size.
Sample lesson: LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST:  "Love's Labor's Lost: a comedy"
WHEN? The next cycles will each have 5 evening sessions that will run on Tuesday evenings beginning Oct 17th or Oct 19thfrom 7:00PM to 10:00PM. Full schedule here. We will use Measure for Measure to study the verse on Tuesdays, and King Lear on Thursdays.

There may well be mistakes and typos on this page, which I have been trying to get right since 1994. If there's anything on here that's not clear, please call or write me:



Sample lesson: AS YOU LIKE IT
:  "As you Like It"



Who really wrote those plays?
Click here for the shocking truth.
 
Who, me?  Click here to find out.
MORE INFORMATION: call me at (212) 865-1127 or EMAIL ME at delossbrown@prodigy.net.

Deloss Brown taught Shakespearean acting at The Juilliard School     for 11 years and taught Shakespeare for Writers in the
Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing of New York University for 24 years. Click his portrait (below left) to see his résumé.
 Mr. Brown, the distinguished instructor.  Click here.

Mr. Brown, the distinguished instructor.
 

The first part of each class (about one and a half hours) is spent studying verse basics so that you will have the knowledge and confidence (and the practice) to handle any kind of Shakespeare challenge.  Some of the topics covered are scansion, feminine endings, inverted stresses (trochees), long lines, short lines, lists and antitheses.  Don't they sound boring?  But they all lead to skills that will help you bring the character to life.  If they don't, what good are they to you as an actor?

In the second hour and a half, actors work on scenes and monologues which can be from any Shakespeare play.  In fact they can be by any writer at all, so you can use the class to prepare any audition.  You should finish the cycle with at least one polished Shakespeare monologue.

In any cycle we always study the verse using one play--Measure for Measure or King Lear for this cycle--because Shakespeare used a different verse style for each play, matching the verse to the content.  So we'll also have to discuss the content, and such things as character, intention, subtext, even (horrors!) meaning. 

You may (I hope!) wind up with a better knowledge of what the plays are about, which won't hurt you. But mostly this class is meant to teach you how to prepare a Shakespearean audition, and how to prepare the part when you get cast. Most competent teachers are concerned that their students shall be commercial successes, and I hope I am competent.

If you would like more information, please call me at (212) 865-1127.  If you leave your phone number, I'll be glad to call you back, and you can ask me any questions you have (e.g., does the instructor have horns and a tail?--because obviously that picture has been retouched).   You can also E-mail me; see below.  When you come to class, please do not pull my tail.

I also coach privately, not just Shakespeare, any monologue.    For more information about any of the above see rates, or please call (212) 865-1127 or

    E-mail me at delossbrown@prodigy.net

Thank you for your interest.

KAREN KOHLHAAS


"Telling the truth is easy and pleasant," says Yeshua (Jesus) in Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA. So here's the truth about Karen Kohlhaas. I went out to dinner with a friend and his protégée very recently. This actress has used up all the opportunities in her home state--she had a lengthy and impressive résumé--and she wants to come to the big city, and I was invited to advise her. The one class which I told her was essential was Karen's monologue class. Karen teaches you a way of approaching a monologue audition that is incredibly solid and reliable. You will never walk into an audition not knowing how to present yourself. Karen and I frequently work with the same students (though we don't teach the same stuff), and I make sure that any student who has had Karen's classes follows Karen's procedures. It's not like a Procrustean bed; it's simple, logical and reliable, like making sure your shoes are tied. If you click on her picture, you can find her impressive credentials in her bio.

"Well, then, why should we study with you, if Karen has all the answers?" Because Karen and I don't teach the same things. Ask her. We both give free classes from time to time, so that you can see the difference.

Karen has published several books, including How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition, and the book is just as complete as the title suggests. You can buy a copy by clicking on the book's picture. I recommend it very highly.

Karen has far more regular cycles than I. Check her website for new cycles (her latest monologue workshop began May 2). I have seen Karen work with actors a couple of times, and she is very smart and very competent, and what she teaches is very useful. She's also nice to the actors.

JESSICA MYHR


Jessica and Karen have recently started working as a team. Jessica's expertise is in your look, starting with your headshot. She works to get you through the door and to make a strong first impression. In seminars, she points out some things you probably would never think of--at least I wouldn't--and some things that will make you slap your forehead and cry, "Of course!" Among the smart things she says are, "They will never forget the first impression you make," and "Often we dress for the role we are going to play, and forget about ourselves. Dress YOU first with a dash of the role!" Jessica is a very smart actress whom it has been my great good fortune to work with, but I myself could never help you in ways she can. When she puts her slides up, I can tell which one is Zooey Deschanel and which one is Will Smith, and that's it. Go to http://www.inherentstyle.com/ or click her picture.

VOICE AND SPEECH

I very frequently recommend that actors study voice and speech. Here are three teachers I know and trust (all three have taught in my private class). Why so many? Because they are all very busy, and you may have to try more than one. We all studied with Robert Neff Williams, privately, at Columbia or at Juilliard. I can't recommend Robert himself any more because he died March 23, 2015 at the age of 95. He left behind a large number of excellent students who teach what he taught, and here are three:

Susan Finch graduated from Juilliard. One of the best things about Juilliard was that the students got four years of excellent voice and speech training, and Susan now spends a lot of time teaching there. She is terrific!

Shane-Ann Younts was a colleague at Juilliard and is now on the faculty of NYU Grad Acting. She co-taught privately with Robert Williams for many years. She is terrific!

Donna Germain successfully petitioned Robert Williams to be allowed to take his private class, even though he generally didn't allow speech teachers. Donna is very, very busy at NYU but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try her. She is terrific!

I wouldn't mention any of these people if I hadn't worked with them extensively.

OVERDONE SHAKESPEARE MONOLOGUES

Karen Kohlhaas maintains a horrid list of OVERDONE MONOLOGUES (including SHAKESPEARE). I say "horrid," because that one you were planning to work on is probably on it. Don't worry about it. Will wrote a bunch more monologues besides the ones on the list, and better ones, too. (Helena in ALL'S WELL has much better monologues than the one on Karen's Dreaded List. "Like what?" "Like, 'Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.' " AWW III.2.97-127). Besides, a student of mine recently got three callbacks from a monologue on That Horrid List.

UNPAID COMMERCIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

My friend Marc Palmieri is producing his own web series The Thing. I'm in episode one, and critical acclaim for what I could convey in 12 seconds has been tremendous.

You can also see my friend Alexis Fedor in her own web series, Gray Matters.

My friend Amy Russ will build your own website for you. Visit her at Actor-Webs.com. Unlike me, she's competent. The result will not be messy, like this. My page was put together with rubber bands and Elmer's glue, with occasional advice from my son Lyman, a programmer, and a student, Brendan Kelly. See the bottom of this page.

My friend Gwyn Gillis is a marketing coach, and among other things runs agent seminars where you actually get to meet agents and casting directors. I'm sorry that the business has degenerated to the point where you have to pay to meet agents, but we have been in a recession--almost a depression--since 2008, and everybody is desperate for money. You can see Gwyn and get some very useful tips about agent interviews in her video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ruandx8tug8&feature=youtu.be.

Does the teacher have fangs?

If you really really really want to see what the Shakespeare teacher looks like and how long his fangs are, you can look at the BACK STAGE COVER for September 7, 2006. I'm on the right. As I just said, I'm also in The Thing, but it's hard to get a good impression of me in 12 seconds. You could rewind and watch me over and over again.
"If you think I come hither as a lion, it were pity of my life! No, I am no such thing; I am a man as other men are"--and there indeed let him name his name, and tell them plainly he is Snug the joiner. --Will Shakespeare, playwright

This page was created originally with Netscape Navigator and Macromedia Homesite.
Lyman Brown-Whitehill and Brendan Kelly helped a lot.
If you think it's tasteless now, you should have seen it before they got their hands on it.

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Mr. Brown--click! "Who, me? Click here to find out." The distinguished instructor. Click his nose for his resumé.