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Brutus and Other Heroines: Playing Shakespeare's Roles for Women

Author: Walter, Harriet
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Pub Date: 27/10/2016
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
ISBN: 9781848422933
Availability: Out of Stock
Price-Match is available in-store only for recommended titles in CCCU module handbooks
Quick overview Award-winning actress Dame Harriet Walter reflects on performing Shakespeare's most famous roles - both male and female. An exploration of the Shakespearean canon through the eyes of a self-identified 'feminist actor' - but, above all, a remarkable account of an acting career unconstrained by tradition or expectations.
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'A part we have played is like a person we once met, grew to know, became intimately enmeshed with and finally moved away from. Some of these characters remain friends, others are like ex-lovers with whom we no longer have anything in common. All of them bring something out in us that will never go back in the box.' In a varied and distinguished career, Harriet Walter has played almost all of Shakespeare's heroines, notably Ophelia, Helena, Portia, Viola, Imogen, Lady Macbeth, Beatrice and Cleopatra, mostly for the Royal Shakespeare Company. But where, she asks, does an actress go after playing Cleopatra's magnificent death? Why didn't Shakespeare write more - and more powerful - roles for mature women? For Walter, the solution was to ignore the dictates of centuries of tradition, and to begin playing the mature male characters. Her Brutus in an all-female Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse was widely acclaimed, and was soon followed by Henry IV. What, she asks, can an actress bring to these roles - and is there any fundamental difference in the way they must be played?In Brutus and Other Heroines, Walter discusses each of these roles - both male and female - from the inside, explaining the particular choices she made in preparing and performing each character.
Her extraordinarily perceptive and intimate accounts illuminate each play as a whole, offering a treasure trove of valuable insights for theatregoers, scholars and anyone interested in how the plays work on stage. Aspiring actors, too, will discover the many possibilities open to them in playing these magnificent roles. The book is an exploration of the Shakespearean canon through the eyes of a self-identified 'feminist actor' - but, above all, a remarkable account of an acting career unconstrained by tradition or expectations. It concludes with an affectionate rebuke to her beloved Will: 'I cannot imagine a world without you. I just wish you had put more women at the centre of your world/stage...I would love you to come back and do some rewrites.'

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