HAMLET: Speak the speech just as I taught you, musically and easily. If you exaggerate like other actors, I might as well hire a town crier.
Move gently—even in the whirlwind of passion, keep your temperament smooth.
Oh, it offends my soul to hear a blustery wig-headed fellow tear a sincere work to shreds just so he can split the ears of the rabble, who are only capable of appreciating noise or pantomime!
I’d have such a fellow whipped for overacting. Please avoid it.
FIRST PLAYER: I will, sir.
HAMLET: But don’t be too tame, either—use your discretion. Suit the action to the word and the word to the action. Be natural!
Exaggeration has no place in the theater, which must represent reality, holding up a mirror, as it were, to virtue, vice, and the spirit of the times.
I’ve seen highly praised actors who couldn’t speak or walk like any human I’ve ever seen. They strut and bellow so strangely that they seem like poorly made imitations of men, constructed by unskilled craftsmen.
So, my lord, will the king hear this piece of work?