fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

'Shakespeare's Wordcraft'

Scott Kaiser, Oregon Shakespeare Festival's head of Voice and Text, has recently had his book "Shakespeare's Wordcraft" published by Limelight Editions.

Drawing on Kaiser's two decades of experience working with actors on the art of speaking Shakespeare, the book provides a comprehensive look at the Bard's extraordinary use of language devices in his plays, devices he used to create famous lines like "I must be cruel only to be kind," "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" and "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!"

"Shakespeare was a master craftsman with words," says Kaiser in a press release, "using hundreds of rhetorical devices during his career as a playwright. Because his writing is packed with these devices, an understanding of Shakespeare's wordcraft is essential knowledge for anyone grappling with the language of his plays."

"Unfortunately, most of what is written on this subject is impenetrable stuff," Kaiser continues, "penned by scholars in dense prose, using unpronounceable Latin terms and employing arcane definitions that baffle the average reader. This book is written for readers that have a passion for Shakespeare, but don't have a doctorate in English."

Rather than using academic language to explain these language devices, Kaiser identifies nine patterns that can be easily recognized, and illuminates each of them in chapters with titles like "Reverberations," "Transformations," "Order" and "Disorder."

Within the chapters, topics such as curses, metaphor, paradox, nicknames, exaggerations and personification are explored, using plain terms, simple definitions, modern quotes, and thousands of examples.

Kaiser has been with OSF for 17 seasons and has worked on more than 80 productions. His other writing credits include OSF's adaptations of William Shakespeare's three Henry VI plays into two parts, "Talbot Joan" and "Henry Margaret," and the play "Splittin' the Raft," which was produced at Marin Theatre Company and Peoples Light and Theatre Company.

"Shakespeare's Wordcraft" is Kaiser's second book. His first, "Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes," is published Allworth Press. Both are available at OSF's Tudor Guild Gift Shop, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland.