Maxwell offers month-long Shakespeare scene study class

BRATTLEBORO — Hooker-Dunham Theater and Gallery's resident acting teacher Jim Maxwell will return to teach a month-long Shakespeare Scene Study class through the month of January.

He will be offering a free introductory workshop on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., in which students will select scenes and learn what to expect from the classes.

After the introductory workshop, participants will meet twice a week in January on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m., and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

In a news release, Maxwell said that after the introductory workshop, participants will choose and learn short scenes, then bring them into class.

“We'll take a run at them. Then we'll open a window into the structure of the scene,” he said. “We'll go to the basics without considerations or concerns about the period of the play or the language, without concern for the fact that it's Shakespeare. We'll work on a structure common to all dramatic theater: relationship of the characters, circumstances and intentions.”

After exploring the structure, Maxwell said participants will next “pay attention to the language. Words come last, they are loaded with intention but we should first be very clear and specific about what the intention is. When we understand that the words, exactly in the order and in the way they are written, are a means to an end and not the end itself, we will have the priorities in the right place.”

In Shakespeare, Maxwell said, “that understanding is very important to effective performance. So the goal is to clarify our approach to a Shakespeare scene so that we'll be more comfortable and assured in our development of the role. As always, the class will be a safe place where you can explore the material without fear of failure. There is no such thing as failure in an acting class.”

The cost is $25 per class and participants must show proof of full COVID vaccination. Email [email protected] to register. The Hooker-Dunham Theater is located on 139 Main St. in Brattleboro.

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