A sample of audition preparation notes from mentor Zoe for a Shakespeare speech:
EDGAR from “King Lear”
I heard myself proclaimed,
And by the happy hollow of a tree
Escaped the hunt. No port is free, no place
That guard and most unusual vigilance
Does not attend my taking. Whiles I may ’scape,
I will preserve myself; and am bethought
To take the basest and most poorest shape
That ever penury, in contempt of man,
Brought near to beast.
During the speech, Edgar decides to take on a different identity, that of ‘Poor Tom’. This evidently involves a big vocal change for the actor playing Edgar in the whole play – even his own father doesn’t recognise his voice when he meets him later on. What kind of voice might Edgar take on? And are there any moments during this speech when he might try this voice out?
Line 1. ‘proclaimed’ – publicly declared an outlaw.
The speech starts with a real energy and vigour – Edgar immediately catapults us into his story. Remember he could get captured at any time. How can you portray a man who is on the run and has only just escaped arrest? There has to be real urgency and sense of having snatched a few moments of safety. But do be careful not to let it become a jumbled rush.
Line 2. Managed to hide from the people hunting him in a timely/opportunely discovered hollow tree.
Line 3/4/5. There is nowhere to go where someone isn’t waiting to to capture him.
Line 5. ‘scape‘ – shortened version of ‘escape’
Line 6. I will keep myself safe.
Line 6. ‘bethought’ – resolved/ have made my mind up
Line 7/8. I will take on a disguise as the most poverty stricken beast-like man possible (‘in contempt of man’ meaning to scorn humankind’s pretensions of humanity).