Speak the speech . . .

Speak the speech, I pray you..." 

Shakespeare wrote for performance. After four hundred years, his tragedies, comedies, and histories still hold the stage: they play well. And they act well. Shakespeare's terrific stagecraft came from over twenty years' work in the theatre. All the intricate business of direction--the traffic of the stage--is managed damn near flawlessly: entrances, exits, intricate doubling, breaks for changes of costume or for respite. As an experienced director will tell you, the lines themselves tell players how to speak them. 

Oxfordians, of course, will tell you that the plays were written in a tower somewhere, by an earl for his looking-glass. Some believe that the plays were never sullied by performance on the vulgar stage. This is lunacy. 

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