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Summer 2003
Will Power
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Hoping 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."

"There 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 the two."

In 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."

The results? "Visceral, powerful, dynamic" performances and classical theater that's "alive … so vibrant that you're just absorbed by it."

WHAT 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.

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