At auditions you will be asked to select one of these pieces to read. Please make sure you read the piece ahead of time — out loud — and take a look at the tips. Believe me, we can tell if you are just looking at the selection for the first time when you come in. We are just getting an idea here of how you handle the language- it is not an audition for a specific part, so choose a piece you feel you can play well.
Nay, I’ll conjure too.
Romeo! humours! madman! passion! lover!
Appear thou in the likeness of a sigh:
Speak but one rhyme, and I am satisfied;
Cry but ‘Ay me!’ pronounce but ‘love’ and ‘dove;’
He heareth not, he stirreth not, he moveth not;
The ape is dead, and I must conjure him.
I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,
By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,
By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us!
- Find changes in this piece. When is he yelling and when is he talking to Benvolio?
- Find the pauses. (There are at least two)
- What is the overall feeling of this piece?
- Find and play the implied action.
Tybalt, here slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay;
Romeo that spoke him fair, bade him bethink
How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal
Your high displeasure: all this uttered
With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly bow’d,
Could not take truce with the unruly spleen
Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts
With piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,
Who all as hot, turns deadly point to point,
And, with a martial scorn, with one hand beats
Cold death aside, and with the other sends
It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity,
Retorts it: Romeo he cries aloud,
‘Hold, friends! friends, part!’ and, swifter than his tongue,
His agile arm beats down their fatal points,
And ‘twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm
An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life
Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;
But by and by comes back to Romeo,
Who had but newly entertain’d revenge,
And to ‘t they go like lightning, for, ere I
Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain.
And, as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.
This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.
- Find the implied action in this piece. How does that enhance the story being told?
- Make sure you can see the story that he is telling. It needs to come out clearly.
- Use the adjectives and descriptive words to drive your performance.
Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?
Ah, poor my lord, what tongue shall smooth thy name,
When I, thy three-hours wife, have mangled it?
But, wherefore, villain, didst thou kill my cousin?
That villain cousin would have kill’d my husband:
Back, foolish tears, back to your native spring;
My husband lives, that Tybalt would have slain;
And Tybalt’s dead, that would have slain my husband:
All this is comfort; wherefore weep I then?
‘Tybalt is dead, and Romeo–banished;’
That ‘banished,’ that one word ‘banished,’
Hath slain ten thousand Tybalts. Tybalt’s death
Was woe enough, if it had ended there:
But with a rear-ward following Tybalt’s death,
‘Romeo is banished,’ to speak that word,
Is father, mother, Tybalt, Romeo, Juliet,
All slain, all dead. ‘Romeo is banished!’
There is no end, no limit, measure, bound,
In that word’s death; no words can that woe sound.
Where is my father, and my mother, nurse?
- Find the two sides to her argument with herself. How can these be contrasted?
- What is the significance of the words that are repeated?
- What is the swing of her emotions in this piece?
‘Tis torture, and not mercy: heaven is here,
Where Juliet lives; and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her;
But Romeo may not: he is banished:
Flies may do this, but I from this must fly:
They are free men, but I am banished.
And say’st thou yet that exile is not death?
Hadst thou no poison mix’d, no sharp-ground knife,
No sudden mean of death, though ne’er so mean,
But ‘banished’ to kill me?–’banished’?
O friar, the damned use that word in hell;
Howlings attend it: how hast thou the heart,
Being a divine, a ghostly confessor,
A sin-absolver, and my friend profess’d,
To mangle me with that word ‘banished’?
- What is Romeo arguing here? How can you contrast the two sides of it?
- Where is the major change in his interaction with the friar? How can you play this?
- Find the adjectives and descriptive verbs- how does this drive your performance of the piece?
Hold thy desperate hand:
Thou hast amazed me: by my holy order,
I thought thy disposition better temper’d.
Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit.
What, rouse thee, man! thy Juliet is alive,
For whose dear sake thou wast but lately dead;
There art thou happy: Tybalt would kill thee,
But thou slew’st Tybalt; there are thou happy too:
The law that threaten’d death becomes thy friend
And turns it to exile; there art thou happy:
A pack of blessings lights up upon thy back;
But, like a misbehaved and sullen wench,
Thou pout’st upon thy fortune and thy love:
Take heed, take heed, for such die miserable.
Go, get thee to thy love, as was decreed,
Ascend her chamber, hence and comfort her:
But look thou stay not till the watch be set,
For then thou canst not pass to Mantua;
Where thou shalt live.
- Find the contrast between what the friar is arguing is happy and sad.
- At what points is he describing something and when is he giving a command? How can you play this?
- Where is he chastising Romeo? And for what?
Faith, here it is.
Romeo is banish’d; and all the world to nothing,
That he dares ne’er come back to challenge you;
Or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth.
Then, since the case so stands as now it doth,
I think it best you married with the county.
O, he’s a lovely gentleman!
Romeo’s a dishclout to him: an eagle, madam,
Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye
As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
I think you are happy in this second match,
For it excels your first: or if it did not,
Your first is dead; or ’twere as good he were,
As living here and you no use of him.
- What is the Nurse trying to persuade Juliet of?
- How do you coax an upset teenager to listen to you?
- Where does her sense of romance get interrupted by her practicality? How can you play this?
Tell me not, friar, that thou hear’st of this,
Unless thou tell me how I may prevent it:
If, in thy wisdom, thou canst give no help,
Do thou but call my resolution wise,
And with this knife I’ll help it presently.
God join’d my heart and Romeo’s, thou our hands;
Give me some present counsel, or, behold,
‘Twixt my extremes and me this bloody knife
Shall play the umpire; I long to die,
If what thou speak’st speak not of remedy.
O, bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave
And hide me with a dead man in his shroud;
Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble;
And I will do it without fear or doubt,
To live an unstain’d wife to my sweet love.
- What do her emotions swing between here?
- Where is the implied action?
- Where can the volume be changed in this piece?
- How can you play the hysteria she feels without going over the top?
Well, think of marriage now; younger than you,
Here in Verona, ladies of esteem,
Are made already mothers: by my count,
I was your mother much upon these years
That you are now a maid. Thus then in brief:
The valiant Paris seeks you for his love.
What say you? can you love the gentleman?
This night you shall behold him at our feast;
Read o’er the volume of young Paris’ face,
And find delight writ there with beauty’s pen;
So shall you share all that he doth possess,
By having him, making yourself no less.
- Where is she coaxing Juliet and where is she telling her what to do?
- How do you give instructions to a teenager?
- What does she think about the marriage and Paris, and how does this come out in the text? How can you play that?