'So I'm sitting here backstage, waiting for my entrance, caked in fake blood and taking part in a play that is brutal, nihilistic and offensive according to all criteria of 'good taste'. And it's thrilling.'
Did Shakespeare really write all those plays? Why do you do Shakespeare in modern dress? How do you prepare a role? What's it like doing a long run? Did he believe in ghosts? Was he a subversive ...?
Every day, after every performance, around the world, theatregoers ask these sorts of questions. And in On Shakespeare, John Bell, actor and director, a man who thinks, breathes and interprets Shakespeare's canon every day of his life, gives his response based on experience and reflection.
After many years of reading, performing and directing Shakespeare, in the UK and in Australia with the Bell Shakespeare Company, John Bell offers us a unique 'backstage pass' to the histories, tragedies, comedies and romances and a memorable insight into the sonnets.
John Bell's passionate relationship with Shakespeare informs and deepens our understanding of the man and his works. On Shakespeare is vivid, accessible and fascinating-a book that confirms Shakespeare's enduring relevance to our lives.
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2 Starting out
4 Shakespeare himself
5 An interview with Robert Greene
6 Acting Shakespeare
7 Directing Shakespeare
8 An interview with Ben Jonson
14 A fireside chat with John and Harry
15 The sonnets
16 Romeo and Juliet
17 Troilus and Cressida
18 Timon of Athens
19 The Romances
20 The Bell Shakespeare Company
9 The Histories
10 The Tragedies
11 The Comedies
12 Shakespeares books
13 The Romans
Appendix A What Shakespeares contemporaries said about him
Appendix B The sequence of the plays
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