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Sonnet 29

One of the best books ever written on acting
Read by Claire Marchionne
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Acting notes from Playing Shakespeare by John Barton: This sonnet is an example of how Shakespeare’s verse can help to phrase a very long sentence.   It ’s vital to pick out what is important and what is less important.  The acting trap is to break it up too much.  Keep the whole long sentence going. Though you seem to be in a sad mood at the start, you must beware of being swamped by your sadness.  The whole point is that when you’re low you think of your love and then you’re joyful.  Play it as if it is you yourself who are in the situation and try to laugh at yourself a little.

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,-- and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate,;
  For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
  That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

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