Repeat and Repeat and Repeat : Liev Schreiber on Shakespeare

Although modern moviegoers may know him now as Sabretooth from the X-Men movies, Liev Schreiber is actually an accomplished Shakespearean (which I personally learned when he was a guest on NPR). So when he was the invited guest at Yale University Theatre recently, interviewed by Dean of the Yale School of Drama, the conversation was not about Magneto and Wolverine:

He added that he attributes his success to rehearsals. Schreiber said he was initially intimidated by the ambiguous notion of success in theatre.

“In French, rehearsal is called repetition,” he emphasized. He added that it is important to repeat rehearsals until the actors know the verses “upside-down.”

Luckily, he said Shakespearean verses come much more easily to him than normal script.

“It’s like a nursery rhyme,” Schreiber said. “It’s so easy to just repeat and repeat and repeat.”

I appreciate the simplicity of that thought. It says that anyone can do it – but don’t fool yourself, it’s going to be hard work. He doesn’t say you have to repeat yourself a dozen times. You’ll have to repeat yourself hundreds of times.

UPDATED for spelling the man’s name right.  Thanks, Christine!

6 thoughts on “Repeat and Repeat and Repeat : Liev Schreiber on Shakespeare

  1. Yup. Like anything else. How do pro golfers make it look so easy? Thousands of swings a day on the range. They're simply repeating what they perfected in real time –this time on the course– without having to 'think' about it.

  2. Interesting, Duane. Age-old wisdom given a 'new age' twist. Wonder where I've heard it before…oh yeah: "Practice makes perfect." 🙂

  3. Ah yes, but now with a meaningless metric!

    "You know why you'll never be like Tiger Woods? Because he practices, like, a lot."

    "I practice a lot."

    "Yeah but he's probably practiced, like, ten thousand hours. Have you practiced ten thousand hours?"

    "Oh, geez, no, not ten thousand. I could never do that. Yeah, I guess I see your point."

  4. –And she was literally "age-old". I think she said it at least once a day. Sister Ignacio, 4th grade, Holy Trinity grammar school. 🙂

  5. I think that's where the mysterious 'talent' thing comes in, Duane. Something about having a "knack" for what you're practicing makes it easier to practice (sometimes)–I think. The faster you "get it" the faster you progress, the more you're spurred on to continue–or something like that.
    Also, there's a factor Patsy Rodenburg explores which I think has a lot to do with finding 'it'. Before anything can become perfectly rounded, we have to deal with Self. It's the most difficult part of the equation to solve.

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