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for actors, directors, readers
and enlightened teachers
by Roger Gross, PhD
A practical handbook for Shakespearean Performance. The bard wrote the world's greatest
verse plays. Almost all of them are performed or read as prose—by default, not by
decision. This is a tragic waste but it is fixable.
THIS BOOK HAS TWO GOALS:
to persuade you that the great rewards of verse speaking and reading are worth
much more than the modest effort required to master them
to provide the information and guidance needed to lead you down this path
Use this book and experience the music of Shakespeare as never before.
Praise for Shakespeare's Verse
What a great book! If only we had that under our belt back in the days of blood and guts. I
enjoyed reading it and I loved learning from it as well.
This is an excellent book for learning how to understand, love and use Shakespeare's verse.
A book that everyone can benefit from. But for me, Roger Gross' book, Shakespeare's Verse . . . is
an acting book! It aids actors in finding their character through the use of verse. To find out how Shakespeare
intended us to read his lines helps in the development of the character. Rhythm, emphasis as well as meaning,
tell us much about the intelligence, class, intentions, age and abilities of a given character. All this Gross
shows us how to mine from the text though the verse. He teaches us not only how to find the beauty of Shakespeare's
verse but he gives us a valuable tool to help us find the essence of his characters.
~ Kurtwood Smith, award-winning television and film actor
This book changed the way I teach Shakespearean acting to middle and high school students.
It is a clear and comprehensive handbook that teaches readers the value of speaking and
reading verse. This book is a great tool for all looking to be stronger educators, actors,
directors, and lovers of Shakespeare.
~ Amazon Customer on October 19, 2015
As a Dance Educator and Artist, I was enthralled by Shakespeare's Verse. Roger's passion on
the subject is inspiring, and his explanation of how to speak in verse is easy to follow,
even as a beginner!
~ Amazon Customer on October 19, 2015
This book is a must for all actors and teachers toiling in the field of Shakespeare production.
It is as stated, "A User's Manual" to help actors speak the Bard's verse well. Thus giving the
plays a richer and more exciting life! The book is easy to read and written in a conversational
and humorous style. He presents the material clearly and with great excitement. If you are a
teacher, director, or actor of Shakespeare productions, this book is for you!
~ James Dunn, Director, Actor, Professor Emeritus College of Marin
The book is terrific.
Shakespeare's Verse: A User's Manual is an essential text for the actor and director;
a comprehensive and persuasive method for tackling the challenge of speaking Shakespeare.
Roger Gross' lifelong love of Shakespeare is evident on every page as is his musician's ear.
The result is an easy-to-understand, lively and most important, practical guide.
~ Michele Gallery, two-time Emmy Award winner.
Roger Gross brings his long history of directing Shakespeare both professionally and academically,
as well as his years of scholarship, to his very readable, very practical guide to speaking
Shakespeare's verse. It's a treasure trove of information and advice for lovers of Shakespeare
at every level.
~ Dakin Matthews, Actor, Scholar and Producer.
This book is a wonder! Written in such a straightforward—almost conversational—style that no reader can
possibly be inhibited by the material. It is delightfully short yet manages to be absolutely comprehensive.
~ Dr. Robert Barton, author of the popular book Acting: Onstage and Off and seven others
Roger Gross spent his life studying, directing and performing in Shakespeare's plays. His work with
Shakespeare led to his first book, Understanding Playscripts, which literally started my career. The
intent of his work with the verse is to teach techniques that are easy to follow, but that enhance
the actor's ability to "speak the speech" more understandably for the modern audience. This book WILL
improve your work as an actor. Imagine: A lifetime of experience synthesized into a guide that will
ensure your own lifetime of experience!
~ Gerald S. Argetsinger at Amazon.com
Shakespeare's Verse: A User's Manual is user friendly. It will be very helpful training my students,
and valuable to teachers who are helping students speak Shakespeare appropriately, as verse not prose. I
thought my Sonnets were pretty good, but when I learned to speak them as intended, they really took off.
~ Arts Learning Specialist at Amazon.com
Dr. Gross is a playwright, composer, actor, director, and teacher. He is Professor Emeritus and
former Head of the MFA Program in Playwriting at the University of Arkansas. He was Founder and
Artistic Director of the original California Shakespeare Festival, President of the University
and College Theatre Association, and author of Understanding Playscripts. He has directed over
180 plays including 40 Shakespeare productions. He counts King Lear and Falstaff as favorite roles.
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