The Shakespeare-Whisperer

Professional British Actor and Theatre Practitioner Julius D’Silva – How presenting Shakespeare’s lines in harmonic rhythm is literally a heart’s matter.

On the 10th of October, the English Drama Group had Julius D’Silva as a guest at the Münster Studiobühne. As a professional actor and theatre practitioner with acting experience since the 1980s, he provided us with a socially distanced and Covid-19 minding but nevertheless mind-blowing and emotionally unifying workshop.

Mr D’Silva welcomed the first group of 15 people with an open heart, giving all of us a feeling of equality and a relaxed start. But when he began the workshop, he transformed into the world class actor he is. His charisma let him shine in the spotlight he is so well used to, and his deep and full voice got the attention of everyone in the room within a second.

We performed a couple of speaking exercises. Most of them connected with movements. He explained the importance between punctuation in the text and the motion of the body working together in synchronicity. For example, when Hamlet, in great distress, tries to find a poignant answer to the question: ”To be or not to be?” and as a result, gets lost in his soliloquy and raging anger. The lines are short and mirror the indecisiveness of his mind.

Moreover, Shakespeare’s lines are in a certain rhyme scheme within which sentences are interrupted and end in the next line which, sometimes, makes it difficult to read them in one breath. D’Silva tried to conjure up the image of reading the lines in the rhythm of a human heartbeat or in sync to the sound of a galloping horse, thus giving them a melody and making it easier to speak them out loud.

Furthermore, the British actor gave us an insight into the history and background of the time in which Shakespeare wrote his plays. For instance, highlighting the fact that he was an actor himself and therefore knew both sides in the development of a play. Moreover, he taught us the reason why the Queen speaks of herself as “us” and why a lot of Shakespeare’s women are often fierce and powerful, despite recurring criticism.

If anyone ever has difficulties in understanding Shakespeare, D’Silva is the right man to make everyone come to grips with the world’s greatest dramatist and maybe even to spark an interest in Shakespeare which may lead to future enthusiasm. Thank you for all the joy and enlightenment of that day!

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