From Patsy Rodenberg’s Speaking Shakespeare.
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A SPEECH IN 10 STEPS
1. Get a clean copy of your speech with plenty of room for markings. Read it silently to yourself.
2. On the back, in a single statement write a summary of what the speech is about.
3. Read it out loud to yourself and feel the words. What is the emotional response the feel of the words gives you? Again, write this initial reaction to the words on the back of the sheet.
4. Now scan the text.
–Note the variations in the rhythm.
–Consider what is happening that causes the break in the rhythm.
5. Look at the last words of the lines in the speech.
–What does this tell you about the thought structure of the speech?
–Read it with a clap and emphasis on the last stressed syllable.
6. Mark where the thoughts begin.
–Mark the punctuation. Highlight each comma, period, colon, etc.
–Walk your speech. Find the shifts in the thought.
–What changes as the thought changes? (Pace? Volume? Etc.)
–How does this change the way you speak the text?
7. Look for Antithesis, rhyme, irony, puns, repetition. Underline them
– How do they change the feel of the speech?
– How do they increase the intensity?
8. Read the speech for imagery.
–When you find it close your eyes and say the text out loud. See it.
– What do the word choices do for the imagery?
– What does the imagery say about the character? Write this on the back of the paper.
9. Put the speech down and think through it, thought by thought. You should know it well enough at this point to not need the text in front of you.
– Breathe and center yourself.
–Exhale on ahhhh three times.
10. You are ready to perform this speech.