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to "bridge the 400-year generation gap" between today's
young actors and the way Shakespeare's plays were meant to be performed,
Dragicevich teaches "the lost art of rhetoric — persuasion
through the spoken word."
are super-charged verbal tools embedded in Shakespeare's texts,"
he says, leaning forward in his chair, "like in the opening
of Richard III: 'Now is the winter of our discontent
made glorious summer by this sun of York.' He's talking about war
versus peace, and Shakespeare has given the actor the rhetorical
tools, but so many actors just rush through it. You have to stretch
'winter' away from 'summer' — making a distinction between
an odd mirroring of Dickey, Dragicevich and his students focus entirely
on the text, "not even worrying about the meaning" of
the play. Instead, "by figuring out how the phrase is said
literally, verbally — what kind of cadences and rhythms are
used, what is a short flurry of words, or what is drawn out —
the actor will find what that might say about the character."
results? "Visceral, powerful, dynamic" performances and
classical theater that's "alive
so vibrant that you're
just absorbed by it."
HAS MADE UCLA A HOT SPOT for Shakespeare scholarship at
every level? It would be impossible without access to great resources
for research. In addition to the tremendous wealth of material in
UCLA's own Young Research Library, the university's proximity to
such rare-book treasure troves as the Getty, the William Andrews
Clark Memorial Library and the Huntington Library has been a magnet,
drawing some of the top Shakespeare scholars to UCLA, says Braunmuller.