Actors' Quotes

Actors Talk About ShakespeareActors Talk About Shakespeare

Kevin Kline: “I’ve never regretted turning down movie work to do Shakespeare. Why would I do that?”

Stacy Keach: “We don’t encourage classical acting in this country. What we encourage is ‘Get your nose fixed. Get your boobs fixed.’ It drives me crazy.”

Kenneth Branagh: “You have to be brilliantly clear, technically precise, and then you have to be unaware of that as you absolutely experience, moment to moment, the journey of the character.”

Zoe Caldwell: “I would look at what Tanya Moiseiwitsch puts in her costume drawings because she was very careful. She would give you a little purse held in such a way, and I would always find a moment to hold it exactly like that because there was always a connection with the character.”

Derek Jacobi: “I think the most important thing is to go for the sense of the line. Don’t begin with the meter. Aim for making it accessible for the audience to understand the meaning.”

Martha Henry: “I break the text down word by word so I don’t gloss over anything. If it is not absolutely found in the text, don’t make an assumption. When you look for that specificity, it’s amazing what opens up for you.”

Hamlets and Their SoliloquiesModern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies

Ben Kingley: “The audience were so close they were almost hanging off my nose, and I thought that if we didn’t allow ourselves to connect with them, we would lose out. There was so much energy pouring in from the audience. It was like tennis.”

Simon Russell Beale: “As for ‘To be or not to be,’ it’s wonderful when it works, but that’s quite rare. Although it’s a stopping soliloquy, it mustn’t grind to a halt. It’s a delicate balance.”

Actor Nicholas PennellActor Nicholas Pennell:
Risking Enchantment

Nicholas Pennell: “The reviews may persuade you to try to alter a performance, and that is wrong. No matter how objective you try to be, they can be destructive. So I may read them late in the season.”