Shakespeare Masters John Barton and Peter Hall Give Away Acting Secrets in Documentary

News   Shakespeare Masters John Barton and Peter Hall Give Away Acting Secrets in Documentary "The Shakespeare Sessions," an hour-long documentary in which Shakespeare masters John Barton and Peter Hall share secrets about how to approach the bard, will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide Feb. 13, 2003.

In the film by Oren Jacoby, famed directors and founders of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) John Barton and Sir Peter Hall travel to America to work with Kevin Kline, Dustin Hoffman, David Hyde Pierce ("Frasier"), Cynthia Nixon ("Sex in the City"), Liev Schreiber (The Mercy Seat) and Charles S. Dutton (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom).

Barton and Hall "share secrets discovered over the course of their extraordinary directing careers about the ways actors can make Shakespeare accessible to modern audiences," according to production notes.

John Barton has been acclaimed as "the Shakespeare swami" by three generations of great RSC actors, from Peter O'Toole to Ian McKellan and Judy Dench to Harriet Walter (who appears in the film). Focusing on language as the way into Shakespeare's magical world, "Barton guides his all-star American cast in intimate workshops where some of the Bard's most famous characters are brought to life."

The film also shows Sir Peter Hall, acclaimed as one of the great directors of our time, in rehearsal with Dustin Hoffman for their Broadway production of The Merchant of Venice.

Other actors who appear in the documentary include Patrick Stewart, Lynn Collins, Peter Francis James, Janet Suzman and Mia Tagano. Oren Jacoby of Storyville Films produces and directs. His most recent credits include "The Topdog Diaries" (PBS "Stage on Screen"), "Swingin' with Duke" starring Wynton Marsalis, "Sam Shepard: Stalking Himself" (Great Performances), "Long Journey Home: Success" (PBS, "Irish in America") and "The Beatles Revolution" (ABC & VH1).

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The documentary is a co-production between Storyville Films and Denver Center Media, the teleproduction wing of The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Denver Center Media is an international and Emmy award winning full-service video and film production studio that produces arts, cultural and entertainment programming for broadcast and cablecast audiences worldwide.

Check local listings for time and channel for "The Shakespeare Sessions."