“Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc’d it to you, trippingly on the tongue…”. Legendary founders of the Royal Shakespeare Company, John Barton and Sir Peter Hall, reveal the secrets to bringing the Bard to life, as world-renowned American actors focus on language as the way into Shakespeare’s magical world. Barton and Hall, who revolutionized the way Shakespeare is performed in Britain, travel to America to work with Kevin Kline, Dustin Hoffman, David Hyde Pierce, Cynthia Nixon, Liev Schreiber, and Charles S. Dutton. The documentary explores the keys Barton and Hall have discovered over the course of their extraordinary careers to unlocking the way Shakespeare writes and the way actors can interpret the text to make these plays accessible to modern audiences. Barton has been acclaimed as “the Shakespeare swami” by three generations of great RSC actors, from Ian McKellan and Judy Dench to Harriet Walter (who appears in the film). Sessions includes some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes in remarkable new interpretations by an extraordinary cast. Other actors appearing in the documentary include Patrick Stewart, Lynn Collins, Peter Francis James, and Janet Suzman.
– Premiered on PBS