The Halletts

Sometimes the universe sends me what I need. This week it was Analysing Shakespeare’s Action by Charles and Elaine Hallett, which came courtesy of a post on Official Playwrights of Facebook.

The Halletts intended this book for directors and actors, but I recommend it for playwrights too. They set aside the act and scene structure favored by publishers in favor of recognizing action beats and sequences. Foreshadowing stands out more clearly, as does Dead Horse Beating. Their analytic method is a most useful dramaturgical tool — for Shakespeare yes, but really for any theatre piece that has significant structure or wants it.

I struggle with structure, as some critics say Shakespeare did. This extraordinary insight into how he solved problems with action was worth the price of admission.

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