ACTORS INTONING.. I posted here about how Mary Jane and I each liked Mel Gibson’s performance as Hamlet because he avoided the “intoning” of Shakespeare’s lines that we each associate with John Gielgud—a style which always seemed to be focused not on the words but on displaying a beautiful voice.

John Stokes had an apt description of this old-fashioned style of acting in a review in the TLS of a revival of a Terence Rattigan play from the 1940’s.The play was produced by the Kenneth Branagh Company, and Branagh portrayed an aging leading man in a “ramshackle” theater company. In a play within the play, Branagh’s character played Romeo.

Stokes has a wonderful description of Branagh’s take on the acting style of the 1940’s and 1950’s that gave Mary Jane and me so much trouble: “…when delivering his lines as Romeo, Branagh does indulge in the breathy technique that once approached Shakespeare’s long sentences as if they were verbal mazes to be decorously but triumphantly negotiated. There’s a good deal of Gielgud in there, as well as echoes of Branagh’s personal hero, a little touch of Larry in the spotlight.”

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